As a busy working professional, you probably complete hundreds of tasks and attend dozens of meetings every week. With so many engagements, it can be challenging to keep track of everything from your upcoming appointments to the results of your latest think tank. That’s where a work diary comes in.
A work diary acts as a clear and concise record of actions taken in the workplace. It can help you to track your goals, monitor your appointments and increase your productivity at work. The best part is, it’s not prescriptive. You can write as little or as much as you want. You can use pages to chaotically dump all your thoughts, or you can section everything neatly with dot points. It all comes down to the individual and how they process information best.
The diary technique, like the one shown here, is used by successful entrepreneurs around the globe, including Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey. If you’re ready to add this powerful professional habit into your working life, take a look at the four apps listed below.
Geekbot is one of the most popular work diaries for successful entrepreneurs and businesspeople. Unlike standard work diaries, Geekbot is highly collaborative and allows users to broadcast to the rest of their team when they’ve made an update to a project. This is particularly helpful when the workflow may move between multiple departments within the company. Sporting a clear UI and other intuitive tools, Geekbot can also be used to keep track of your project timelines and build a historical reference of updates you’ve made. Not only does this act as a useful changelog, but you can also use it to monitor your productivity.
For managers, Geekbot is an invaluable tool for keeping track of reporting lines. The app allows nominated users to set up automated check-ins which will then prompt their team to update them on their progress and challenges. These check-ins can be scheduled daily, weekly, or even monthly to ensure tasks are completed on time. In addition, access to advanced analytic tools can help managers identify productivity trends which can then be used to sensibly allocate resources and offer additional support where needed.
OneNote isn’t the newest or fanciest work diary application on the market, but it has stood the test of time, largely due to its simplicity. Research has shown that writing things down plays a huge role in committing information to memory and helping the brain focus on what’s important. OneNote assists with this process by providing users with a digital notepad that can be used to dump large amounts of information and then sort it into meaningful categories and sections. With options to create multiple notepads and pages, you can organize your thoughts by client, project, deadlines and more for a high degree of flexibility.
Another advantage of OneNote is its extensive multimedia support. You can add images, audio recordings and embedded files to your journal to improve your recall and flesh out your ideas. Using a combination of images and text, you can even create a digital corkboard to aid brainstorming sessions.
OneNote is ideal for workers on the go as the program is supported by Windows, Mac, IOS and Android. That means you can access your work journal on multiple devices and watch it sync in real-time. This speedy synchronization also makes it easy for you to collaborate with co-workers. By sending them the link to your OneNote, they can keep up to date on your project contributions without the need to email a new copy every time you make a revision.
Web developers and creatives typically prefer Notion for their work journalling needs. This dynamic tool promotes itself as a freemium productivity and note-taking browser-based app and essentially feels like OneNote’s stylish older sister. It contains all the same organizational features but with a much higher degree of customization available.
Using tables, databases, and custom-built blocks, you can build and save your own templates which can then quickly and easily be applied to new pages within your journal. For users that aren’t comfortable building their own templates, there are stacks of premade pages available to edit. The notion also lets you link journal entries and pages together, so you can create interconnected tasks, projects, and notes.
In terms of multimedia support, Notion supports several types of media, from images and audio to video files and other embedded content. The ability to add color and other visuals to your pages can help you highlight important sections of your pages or alert you to upcoming deadlines.
Like the other apps mentioned, Notion gives you access to robust collaboration features, which allow you to share your work with your peers in real time. Available on all major platforms, Notion also offers users integration with other commonly used office tools, like Trello and Google Drive.
Evernote’s main function is to help you take notes efficiently, making it a good work journal option for individuals who don’t want all the bells and whistles. It’s also favored by professionals who work with a lot of sensitive information, as the app includes powerful security features, such as two-factor authentication and encrypted notes.
Evernote provides several note-taking options, including the ability to attach files or scan your documents directly into your journal. Many users favor a simple bullet point list journal style, but you can also clip web pages or add audio recordings if desired. The app excels in organization, offering the ability to create custom tags and a clear hierarchical structure for your content. Clever searching capabilities, like the ability to search tags and keywords (even within embedded pdfs) can help you stay organized even as your journal grows.
Evernote is another app that boasts full cross-platform availability and swift synchronization between devices.
Implementing a work diary into your professional life can reduce stress and increase productivity. By reviewing the popular work journaling apps above, you can decide which one best suits your vocational needs and adopt the practice today.