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Creativity and Self-development: Why We Need to Keep a Diary and 5 Creative Ways to Do It



Although everyone has a smartphone that stores all the notes, keeping a diary is still helpful. There are many reasons why paper notebooks are superior to electronic ones. But most importantly, a day planner is more reliable and interesting, it develops a person creatively and gives emotional peace of mind. Here’s how you can get creative with a day planner and why it’s worth keeping it in the first place.

Bullet Journal

Designer Ryder Carroll created this planning system almost 10 years ago. Thanks to it, you can keep all your most important notes in one place and not get confused. It’s a mix of a day planner, to-do list, and personal diary. Not only is it handy to take notes but also to draw and even to sketch. Here’s how to design Bullet Journal better.


The first pages are the place for the table of contents. The spread after it contains a six-month plan of the main things to do. Divide the page into three sectors with the names of the months. Then, the planning for the month’s events comes. On the left, write the numbers and days of the week in columns, events, and appointments. On the next page, write goals and plans for which you don’t know the exact dates yet.


Next, add your daily activities. Under each date, write your important tasks, using a special notation system:

  • A black dot is a current task.
  • A blank circle is an event or meeting.
  • A long dash is a note.
  • An asterisk is an urgent task.
  • An exclamation mark is something important you should remember.


In Bullet Journal, you can create collections (for example, interesting books or articles you would like to read), keep track of your expenses or track your habits. You can jot down anything you want in here, you can draw and sketch. Just be sure to number the pages and put each section in the table of contents.

The “Autofocus” System

This technique will help you to cope with the chaos in the notes, with it, you will never lose important events and ideas. Any notebook will do for such a diary. Write down all the tasks that first came to your mind. If some are tied to dates, indicate them. Once all the urgent tasks are done, open the notebook and look for the items on the list that you feel most passionate about. Cross off what has already been done.


You can use this technique to write down your plans, dreams, interesting ideas, and so on. Keeping a diary doesn’t require much time, you don’t have to divide something into categories or memorize different designations. The “autofocus” methodology is suitable for chaotic people whose moods change rapidly, and planning isn’t their best trait.

Diary for Freelancers

This system is designed for freelancers and creative people. Each hour is divided into blocks: 45 minutes for creative work, and the rest of the time is allotted for chores, like washing dishes, cleaning, and laundry. If you work in an office, sort papers or make copies of important documents in these 15 minutes.


Many tasks are subject to planning, then no extra time will be spent thinking. Mark not just “become a pro in a particular betting strategy”, but as follows: “Monday – gather general information about live betting in Tanzania, Tuesday – pick a particular strategy, Wednesday – watch how experts use it, Thursday – try implementing it yourself in a demo mode”. You should write down the activities that you should devote time to each day. The entries can be supplemented with drawings, colorful strips, or plant ornaments.

List of Things Not to Do

This method will help not to be dispersed on a lot of small ideas and choose only the most important ones. Divide tasks into three lists: important to-do’s, completed, and “not to-do’s.” Include no more than three items in the first section, less important items go to the “not-to-do” list. Write the completed tasks from the first section into the second one. This psychologically increases your productivity. You will see how your tasks are completed.


This system allows you to figure out which tasks are important and which can be done later. This simple and convenient method is suitable even for beginners. But for those who like to structure everything, this methodology may seem chaotic. The diary can also be supplemented with stickers and pictures.

The 1-3-5 System

In such a diary, you can plan for the day a total of nine things. In the first place, there is the main task of the day (a mandatory one). The next three tasks are placed in order of importance. The remaining five tasks are small tasks to begin with, but only if there is some free time. What is not done is carried over to the next day.


The advantage of this system is that it is convenient, as such a diary is quick to keep and easy to arrange in any notebook. So you learn to prioritize, even if you have never kept a diary before. This methodology will not suit too busy people. The limit of nine tasks will be too small, they will have to choose for themselves another system.

Why Keep a Diary

Keeping a diary is useful, it calms, and adjusts in a creative way. With it, a person has no fear that all the information will suddenly disappear. After all, gadgets can break, hang up, run out of power, and the information on paper remains unchanged. Knowing this, a person stops being nervous. He knows that important notes are always available to him.


Affairs, dreams, plans, and even passwords are safer to record on paper. They are kept that way for decades, you can find everything you need even after a long time. It also calms you down and relieves your brain considerably. There’s no overabundance of information, you can easily focus on what’s important. It has been proven that people absorb handwritten information better.


But one of the main pros of a paper diary is creative development, and room for imagination. In the electronic version, you can’t put a sticker, draw a funny picture or make thematic spreads. In a written diary, you can create and relax.