How Planning and Journaling Help in Developing Effective Habits

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86,400 seconds is what we get every day and how we use this time decide whether we achieve our goals or not.  The first few seconds after we wake up and the kind of activity we immerse ourselves in, largely decides the tone for the rest of the day and therefore it is important to take control of these first few seconds and minutes before we move onto the bigger culprits.

Lot of times we do not even realize how much time we waste on;

  • Just browsing on the phone after the alarm rings in and this is normally the first thing we do in the morning, which is of no help to us at all.
  • Snoozing the alarm while continuing to lie down for a few more seconds, which though quickly turns into minutes and sometime to hours.
  • Reading the news in paper or on mobile, an activity, if very important can also be accomplished during the commute. If reading is not possible and you drive, the problem can be resolved by making use of applications, which read out, to you.

The list is just indicative and I believe we all may have our own individual situations to deal with which may be different than this but similar to an extent especially in terms of how we tend to not use the time judiciously.   One simple way to overcome these patterns of behaviour, which not only turn addictive but also pull us away from our goals, is to start noticing them.

How do we notice them?

I propose one simple solution.  Note Down.  Write Down.

A habit of writing down every activity we engage in from the time we wake up to when we sleep will give us amazing insights into how we spend our waking hours.  Many people are stunned and surprised upon seeing their own activity charts and find it difficult to believe that they themselves are spending so much time in watching TV or consuming the content on their phones, when they have a contradictory self-belief of spending much lesser time on these activities.  On an average people, spend close to 7 hours on their mobile phones in USA and we may not be entirely different.

Journaling how we spend our day will also aid us in allocating more time to the important activities, activities, which may not provide instant gratification like reading or working on a long-term project but are critical to our success while also reducing the time spent on non-productive activities like gazing at the mobile screen, going through Hollywood and Bollywood news articles or watching tik-tok videos.

An easy start would be to divide the activities into categories and then take a decision on whether you would like to remove them or continue with either reduced or increased time.  A sample table given below can be of some help.

Activity Remove Allot more time Reduce time New Time Allotted
Yoga × Yes × 45 Mins
Reading Newspaper × × Yes 5 Mins
Browsing Shopping Sites Yes × N.A 0 Minutes


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