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How to keep a diary to benefit from it?

When you hear “diary” you often think of teenager in love, who are writing about their crush. You are quickly deterred and you perceive yourself as too old. Thereby there are many good reasons to keep a diary. But how do you keep a diary so that you can benefit from it in the future?

Realise what your “future-you” wants to read?

You write for yourself! And really just for you. Therefore you will be the only person to read the diary. For someone, not every information is useful, but another one wants to know every information from his past. Figure out what kind of diary you want to read?

A book about successes

Are you doing Brain-Dumps and do you have a bunch of goals in all areas of life? Great! In that case a success diary is just right for you! At the end of the day, write down the successes you have achieved that day. However, you should not mention your failures there. After all the brain will think that you did not accomplish anything, once the failures start outnumbering the successes. If you should still record your failures, remember: One success can be greater than multiple failures.

A book about emotions

You are newly in love or you are going through difficult times. Keep your emotions, because they will help you to react correctly to certain situations in the future. There are also couples who share relationship diaries to achieve common goals.

A book about experiences

If you are planning to go on vacation, keep an experience diary. It is nice to read your own words long after the vacation. Reading can also evoke forgotten, beautiful memories, which may have been suppressed from everyday life.

A book of life

You can get values from every information from your past. If you are interested in politics, as an example, and write about it, you can compare your opinion about past political events with your current. If you like to deal with shares, you can learn the reason why you bought or sold certain shares. But even from inconspicuous everyday situations you can create something that is valuable for you. You can check exactly what you have done for which reasons, when you reached something, how you felt in certain situations and what you have experienced.

How should a diary be written?

Every beginning is hard! Many people recommend to just start writing, but it depends on what diary you are keeping. If you keep a diary about emotions and do not have someone to talk to at the moment, but really want to say something, then this strategy is the right one. However, if you were outstandingly productive this day or if you have experienced important things, then this information should not be missing out.

Making whole sentences with information

Those who work efficiently have probably not written any major texts since school days. Nowadays you only use short sentences or keywords in digital messages to friends, e-mails in the office and notes that are sticking on the edge of the screen. Such fugacious information should not appear in a diary, because a diary is read months or even years later. However, after already a few weeks, the keywords and short sentences could no longer be linked to events.

It would be a pity if you read your own diary and no longer know what it is about. Therefore, details should be mentioned. As an example, if you had a conversation about an interesting topic which changed your view of the world and you write fascinated about it, then you should mention the name of your conversation partner, the reasons for your changed world view or how your previous world view looked like.

If no deeper context is required for an information, side notes are permitted. As an example, if you want to briefly note that the weather has changed quickly, then you might bore yourself, if you read a meteorological report. Or, if you have invested in Bitcoins, you only want a short information about the current exchange rate, like “1BTW / 866,02€”, without reading big explanations about what a Blockchain is.

With what should a diary be written?

Whether a diary should be written with a pen or the keyboard is a question that you should clarify early. As a teenager, a diary written on paper could be dangerous if you write very private things and have curious siblings or parents. However, this data is not safe either if the whole family has access to the same computer. Such and similar situations often limit one’s information flow. You could be afraid that an outsider can read your private thoughts or emotions, therefore you automatically do not expose them. But a diary is supposed to do exactly the opposite. Here are a few pros and cons of digital and analogue diaries:

Analogue diaries

Pros:

  • Writing by hand is a creative process and can help you activate and promote your other hemisphere through a daily diary.
  • Anyone who has already forgotten about writing by hand, can also develop new interests through the creative process. It could be that you try to write incredibly slowly and nicely, to offer something pleasant to your future self or you could even develop an interest of calligraphy.
  • Handwriting improves in everyday life.
  • Analogue diaries can be opened quickly at any time and place. You are free from computer/smartphones, sockets and the battery level.

Cons:

  • If there are people in your direct environment, who break your trust and you do not keep your diary sealed, it could happen that it is read by others.
  • You have to think several times about what you want to write, since correcting is difficult.

Digital diaries

Pros:

  • Anyone who can work efficiently with a keyboard can write his diary entry in a short time.
  • Correcting is very easy.
  • Data can be hidden or even encrypted from unauthorised persons.
  • Older entries can be quickly browsed through using the search function.

Cons:

  • If you use a cloud service and do not encrypt your data, you face the possibility that your data is also going to be sold to other companies.
  • If you do not have a backup and the hard disk gets busted, you lose valuable data about your life.