Don't Be A Diary Boss

Don't Be A Diary Boss
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Whether you call it a diary or a journal, it’s a crutch you might be leaning on a little too heavily to record your every thought; penning it all down can easily become a habit difficult to shake. Bosses, CEOs and higher ups have long depended on personal assistants and stuffed calendars to capture their day-to-day minutes and ideas, but it can turn into a self-made trap that leaves you with no breathing room. With ever-changing business conditions and technology advancements, it might be okay if bosses go easy on their diaries. Let’s have a look at some of the benefits you might get by deviating from the diary.

It may make you a multi-tasker.

In recent years, researchers have shown that only two percent of people can truly multi-task. Everyone else thinks they’re juggling numerous activities, but in reality, they’re not doing any of them well. Bosses are typically Type-A personalities who equate being busy with being productive -- and they want to be good role models for their employees.

They also want to prove to their investors and colleagues that they can do it all. To keep themselves organized and in check, keeping a diary is often the go-to strategy. However, keeping a diary is often used to focus on one thing at a time and inhibits your ability as a boss to multi-task.

Related: 4 Simple Steps to Getting Twice as Much Done in Half the Time

Maybe you'll become more agile.

A lot of CEOs like to write down business goals in their diaries. Goals are a fantastic item to keep in diaries, but remember that writing down a goal doesn’t mean you have to do it. Goals change as you do, as your business does and as your dreams shift. So it’s better to approach your goals with an open mind and be agile and flexible enough to accept changes. Having written a goal on paper might set you on dogged path to fulfill a goal which might not be beneficial for you in the long run.

Diaries may trigger depression.

C.S. Lewis examined the darker side of keeping a diary as he felt his habit of writing about his wife after her death aggravated his grief. Writing down each and everything from your goals to failed meetings can cause depression. When you do write down goals, make sure to balance short-term and long-term goals. Shorter goals that are achievable, and are part of baby steps, provide a better sense of accomplishment. Our brains love short-term goals because humans desire instant gratification. 

Makes room for extra-curricular activities. 

The idea that bosses should constantly have a planned day with investor meetings, team building activities and client visits can be taxing. All work, no play can make you dull. If your schedule doesn’t leave time for pursuing your hobbies, workouts and passions, put the diary away. Make time for extra-curricular activities. It’s totally understandable that you can’t go cycling or mountain biking, but you can always make time for indoor workoutsb y utilizing free time during the workday.  

Related: 4 Tips to Keep a Personal Journal That Can Help You Disconnect and Focus

Expert opinions on keeping diaries.

Quora asked CEOs and bosses if they kept a diary. The Q&A website wanted to find out what the diaries included and how the owners saw potential benefits. The responses were scattered at best, with many CEOs considering annual reports, income statements and other reports to be their “diaries.” Others noted that they kept diaries sporadically, such as when they were dreaming up new business ideas. None of the successful bosses admitted to writing down everything on a daily basis. How you keep a diary (and whether you call it that or not) is a unique experience with strategies that have been adopted and honed over several years.

There’s nothing wrong with jotting down ideas and inspirations as they strike. In fact, it’s a must for writers who know these gems can easily be forgotten. Many creative types have found that their best ideas happen right before falling asleep or in the middle of the night. They've learned to keep a notepad lying next to the bed. There’s no pressure to write in these notepads daily, but they’re readily available when a great idea arrives. Bosses can keep a similar diary, either in hard copy or on their phone, but should resist the pressure to use it as a crutch.

What to keep …

The act of writing something down, especially with old-fashioned pen and paper, has long been hailed as a way of turning dreams into reality. Whether it’s an idea for a new product or service, you’ve just spotted a prime location for the next company retreat, or you’re re-committing to a low carb lifestyle so you can be a more energetic and fit boss, keep your diary entries for only the most pressing of notes. Some bosses feel naked without a diary or diary app clutched in their hands, and it’s very easy to turn what should be a tool into a chore. 

Aim to make your diary a positive experience. Acts of self-love are critical to success and happiness. Research has shown that self-love leads to more motivation, prevents procrastination and improves your mental and physical health. Writing positive notes to yourself can be an intimate act of self-love that improves your outlook, attitude and success. Plus, remember that there are no rules with diaries. Add photos, positive notes from loved ones, ticket stubs from an event you  any uplifting keepsake that you’d like to remember.

Related: Flexible Schedules Help Create a Healthier Workplace. Here's How.

... And what to leave.

Don’t let your diary turn into a trap where you feel obliged to write for an audience -- especially when that audience is you. Some writers, such as Zadie Smith, steer clear of what they perceive as the artifice of writing a diary. It should be a private platform for expression, but many diarists feel the need to perform and make their diary acceptable to outsiders. By nature, a diary is not shared, so the temptation to put on an act when writing it should be moot.

Another temptation is to fill a diary with negative self-talk in an effort to motivate. It’s similar to athletic coaches who use intimidation and put downs instead of encouragement for their players. How you talk to yourself, including in your diary, will eventually become a reality and truth. If you’re prone to keeping a diary, you might be a “different breed of person,” as author Joan Didion puts it. A diary keeper herself, she considers “her type” to be prone to loneliness and anxiety. A diary can certainly help with these struggles, but only if you allow for flexibility and breathing room.

Putting the diary down.

Keeping a diary can be an immense challenge and one that bosses may not benefit from. It’s too easy to get lost in it and become dependent on it. Approach the diary with caution, knowing that it might not provide you the outlet necessary to become a better boss and person. Some ideas and emotions are best left not captured in writing but worked through via another means such as adopting a healthier lifestyle or prioritizing social occasions.