Why a diary is your most Important business tool
"Your diary is like a parachute; it only works when it is open."
Your diary is where the daily magic happens. It's where you plan your time, develop your goals and decide on the direction of your day, your week and your personal life. In fact, the quiet time you spend with your diary (and a coffee) every morning is some of the most important planning time you have. So - how much quality time ARE you investing using your diary each day?
Think about it - how many times at the end of a year have you been given, or bought a diary, enthusiastically used it for a month and then pretty much forgot it? Then again, how many times have you missed a meeting, ompletely forgotten about a task that you set yourself or missed an important event or deadline? Diaries are crucial tools for managing the one true, non-renewable resource you have - your time.
How to get the most out of your diary
Idea 1: Get the Right Diary for You
Just visit your local bookstore, stationary shop, or look at any online
diary store and your head will soon be spinning. There are so many
options, so which should you choose? If all you need is a simple Day-to-a-Page diary, then your local bookshop or newsagent should be able to help you. However if you're looking for something a bit more comprehensive, like a time management planning system, there are a lot of really good options.
Whichever diary you decide on, remember that it must be easy for you to carry, have open on your desk and actually use. Some time management diary systems with ring binders and deluxe leather covers might look impressive (and cost a small fortune), but could be impractical to carry around everywhere. Choose one that suits your work and lifestyle.
Idea 2: Now... Use It!
Your diary is like a parachute... it only works when it is open! Take your diary with you to meetings and appointments. I would even suggest you take it home with you each night so you can review any appointments and activities that you could have coming up. By having your diary with you, you'll always know what is coming up and what has to be done.
Idea 3: Set time on Sunday Night to Plan the Week Ahead.
This is one of the most powerful habits you can form. Spend some quality time every Sunday night reviewing your goals and objectives for the week and the month ahead and then plan out the week ahead to ensure that you are reaching those goals.
Idea 4: "I Use an Outlook Calendar an Not a Paper Diary!"
A dilemma facing many professional people is whether to use their email calendar or a paper diary. Basically it all boils down to how much time you spend at your desk. If you spend 80% of your time at your desk then Outlook (or Lotus Notes) should be your primary calendar/diary. If you spend a lot of time in meetings and out of the office, a paper diary will probably be a better option. Unfortunately this might mean having to manage two diary systems: a paper diary and an electronic one.
The bottom line is simply this: whatever diary system you decide to use, make sure you use it. A diary or calendar that is unused is useless!