I used to think that keeping a diary was a waste of time. In my sheer ignorance, I thought this simply entailed writing about my experiences / events encountered throughout the day. Surely this would make me dwell on the past, rather than maximise my time by living the present moment or looking into the future. However, out of an intricate combination of aiming to record my daily achievements and being inspired by bloggers or athletes like Novak Djokovic who confessed keeping a diary as a means of relaxation, I decided to start my own diary.
As I started writing in it, I instantly felt so happy! I was reconnecting with myself while writing about the little things I ticked off my ‘to do’ list and thoughts that came with them or planning what to achieve in the rest of the day. It’s a blessing to take time for yourself! This is vital nowadays, when the information overload that we’re surrounded by clutters our life with things we absorb (whether consciously or unconsciously) and the actions that derive from them.
Writing in a diary transposes one’s mind into meditation-mode, so it’s an excellent exercise of mindfulness and relaxation. It brings peace, spiritual well-being and a sense of happiness. And if you’re like me, keeping an ‘action diary’ gives you an exquisite sense of satisfaction as you write about how productive you’ve been!
Writing my personal stories in a meticulous way, for example by recording the exact time of writing, has made me realise how quickly time passes. If you take (even more) time to reflect on what you wrote, it can strike you to see that at one time you were writing about how good your morning had been and 3 hours later you were planning the second half of the day! However, this is an excellent stimulus to make you cherish your time and make the most of it by filling your day with life-enhancing activities. This will keep you active, vigorous and fill you with a miraculous self-generating energy, a drive that comes from within you. Just like when it comes to eating, once you open up your appetite for something, you want to do it even more! It’s the natural course of progress after all. And I’ve tried and tested it: the more I achieve, the more I want to achieve! The best way to overcome laziness is by motivating yourself to start doing something. And then you’re on a roll! It works wonders!
I’ve recently came across a simple but, for me, inspirational statement which I found, as if by fate, at the back of the very diary I started writing on: “In their free time, people either accomplish or fail themselves”. When I finished reading it, my mind instantly said “Told ya!”. This really struck me. The common acceptance is that as we work so hard most of the time it’s ok to do nothing in the lilttle free time we can squeeze out of a day. However, at the back of my mind I always thought: “Now that ‘official’ work is finished, how can I make the most of the lil’ time I have left for myself?”. Where had this drive to maximise my down-time come from? And for what purpose? It didn’t take much thinking to realise that, since I started professional employment, my life has become split into two, roughly by the 80/20 rule:
80% work life – where my time and activities are controlled by the needs of the business I work for.
20% leisure life – where I have free-reign over my time and what I do.
While I strive to perform at my best and derive my accomplishment from my work life, I seek to attain a sense of achievement on a different level from my leisure life. I came to think that my leisure life is the time when I can re-invent myself, explore, discover and pursue various interests (I have way too many!), start new ‘journeys’ and enjoy the rewards of my work and the relaxation that my hard effort has earned me!
As for the majority of us, as life becomes busier, I feel we are all embarking in a race against time – we work longer hours to perform better, we seek to be healthy to live longer. This ultimately brings the supreme objective: to make the most of our time.
Starting a diary will have the double-edged effect of transporting you into a well-deserved excursion into your thoughts, whilst allowing you to distance yourself from your inner persona and analyse your feelings and actions objectively. As you start writing, your thoughts will start roaming in your head, but, in a sophisticated neurons-at-work process, as you continue writing, you will find clarity and even answers to questions you may not have been aware you were asking yourself. Penning your thoughts is that powerful! Not to mention it will squeeze your creative juices to the point where you may consider writing a book!
Seriously, going back to what I said earlier (the more you do something, the more you want to do it), I started this blog post (which happens to be my first ever!) thinking that I will have to stretch my words to cover a paragraph and ended up with this … glorious 1000-word manuscript!