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Does maintaining Diary/Journal really pays back?

How should I maintain it so that when I refer back later it helps me?

With what notion and mind set should I refer back so as that today I become better than what I was yesterday?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

I also keep a diary, in a big text file, partly to record the day's events, but also to keep track of progress toward my personal goals. Sometimes, the act of writing these concepts down makes me think about them clearly, causes them to move from the back of my mind to the front for a time. I used to have a structure, but mine are more free-form now. I do start each entry with notes about the time, weather and my mood. From those entries alone I can sometimes see trends that are very informative and useful.

One caveat: As I unpleasantly found some years ago, if you should ever sue someone in a contentious civil case, U.S. attorneys can get a subpoena for your diary, if they know you keep one and they want to see your state of mind during a series of events. My diary didn't affect the case, but it was kind of embarrassing to have someone else read it.

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The civil case reminded me of this. – Gaʀʀʏ Feb 23 '13 at 18:48

I do have a diary, however I do not update it every day (due to an lack of proper structure in my evening routine).

For me personally the benefit is not the possibility to read again entries from the past, but to be forced to think about what occurred during the day, what things you did were smart (or not so smart) and what the focus during the next day(s) will be. This way, I think taking about 15 minutes out of your time to reflect pays back, but requires a bit of routine (which I do not have yet).

I do not have a special structure for my entries, but I usually begin by what things I did during the last period and then what my thoughts about these events are. For a conclusion I end with answer to "what am I going to do next" or "what will be hard/fun/rewarding to do, and why?".

As a sidenote: If you are looking for a physical notebook, think about taking one with already numbered pages and a preprinted "date" line. Here in Germany I am lucky to get these which I really like.

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Does maintaining Diary/Journal really pays back?

Yes. It is a record of your life. Things you write down bring back memories, emotions, and feelings. It is a great way to reflect on your past.

How should I maintain it so that when I refer back later it helps me?

This is a personal preference. Do you just want something to write in? A diary or journal works fine. Do you want organization that is done for you? Maybe web-accessible? A blog through Blogger or Wordpress would be a good choice then.

With what notion and mind set should I refer back so as that today I become better than what I was yesterday?

This can be done by adding entries daily and reflecting on your progress of that day. It helps to have a set of questions to ask yourself like:

  1. Did I accomplish all of my tasks today?
  2. What went well?
  3. What didn't go well?
  4. How can I improve?
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thanks for the answer – user221287 Jun 18 '12 at 7:52

I believe diary writing is to watch your thoughts. There are sure to be some which you cannot share with anyone but they build your perception on things. That nowhere mean its all about writing what you cannot share but all about composing thoughts and perceptions.For this reason in particular date and no. of pages does not matter as everything is subjective. The events we experience act as triggers to our thought process. Planning your tasks ahead is not where you need a diary, a scheduler would also be of help. The thought behind your schedule/task/action is what goes important. Flipping the pages of your diary makes you realize the gradual improvement you have gone through all these time which is an ultimate boost to self confidence. You can learn from the thoughts which were bizarre. Try perspectives on the ones which seeks improvement.

HUMANS are driven by THOUGHTS. Watching them makes a beautiful YOU.

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In my experience, while maintaining one helps indeed when I look back on it, the main benefit is that the act of writing entries solidifies the contents in my mind. This is just anecdotal, but it seems to me that I have better recall weeks and months later of events that I did write about than those that I did not, even if I don't review entries.

The other benefit for me isn't to recall, but to understand, now. Often, writing a journal entry forces me to sort through a jumble of impressions and reactions to make a coherent sense of them.

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