The 50% rule and other tips on how to use a diary

Greetings, my dear readers! At the beginning of a year, a season, even a month, many of us make important vows and promises to ourselves. They make plans, quit smoking, go on a diet, strive to acquire new healthy habits, and take care of their health. And they even start keeping a diary so that everything will work out now - for sure. But, alas, plans often remain on paper, just like good habits. How to use a diary correctly to achieve your goals? So that everything works out, dreams come true, and plans come true? This is exactly what my article is about today!

Here I will tell you in detail why you need a diary and what benefits it can have. I will also teach you how to fill it out correctly, so that you get 100% return and really become more organized. And also get results every day!

Bullet Journal

How to keep a diary

In 2013, designer Ryder Carroll created a flexible planning system that allows you to keep all your ideas and tasks in one place.
This is Bullet Journal: Who, What and Why Bullet Journal is a hybrid of a diary, habit tracker, idea list and much more. The Bullet Journal: The Notebook is a dotted notebook in A5 format that is ideal for a Bullet Journal: it’s convenient to write, draw and draw in. But you can take any thick notebook.

Leave the first pages for the table of contents.

The next spread is a plan for six months. Using horizontal lines, divide the page into three sectors, and write the name of the month in each of them.

Next is the plan for the month. On the page on the left, write down the numbers and days of the week in a column, and write down events and meetings whose dates are already known. On the next page, indicate goals and plans that are not yet tied to specific days.

The next spread is devoted to daily affairs. Set a date and write down all the tasks in a column. Bullet Journal has its own Bullet Journal: The Notation System:

  • dot (•) - task;
  • circle (°) - meeting or event;
  • dash (–) — note;
  • asterisk (*) — urgent matter;
  • exclamation mark (!) is an interesting idea that is important not to lose.
You can also create lists and collections in the Bullet Journal (for example, a list of books you want to read), keep a habit tracker or track expenses. Write down everything you want, draw, draw, fantasize, most importantly, do not forget to number the pages and include each section in the table of contents.

What are the advantages

  • Bullet Journal is an undated diary that can be started from any day. Or abandon it for a while and not worry that there will be empty pages, which can be very demotivating.
  • It combines many functions and helps organize different aspects of life.
  • Bullet Journal has a table of contents that makes it easy to navigate your ideas and plans.
  • This planning system is very flexible and has almost no rules. Therefore, it is suitable for both minimalists and creative people.

What are the disadvantages

  • For those who are accustomed to classic diaries, the system may seem too sophisticated. You need to remember the conventions, design the pages yourself, and figure out how it all works.
  • For a “correct” Bullet Journal, you will need a notepad that is spot on; these are not sold everywhere.

How can I apply?

Bullet Journal leaves a lot of room for imagination. You can get by with just a notepad and pen. And if your soul asks for creativity and bright colors, try to come up with an interesting design for each spread. Here are some options:

Do it

If you don’t like to make plans for the future, but always write down your upcoming tasks, then the Do it app will become your indispensable assistant. Here all tasks are planned only for the current day and the next. Nothing except. The app's interface is as simple as its function. It looks like a simulator of two pages of a notebook. On the left side are tasks for today, on the right - for tomorrow. With the same simplicity, you mark completed tasks (they are simply crossed out). Everything is clear and very simple. Download the application for iOS, for Android


How to keep a diary

This technique of The Autofocus Time Management System helps you effortlessly tame the chaos in your business and avoid losing important ideas.

Any notebook will do. You need to write down all the tasks that come to mind. If any of them are tied to a specific date, indicate it. When there are no urgent matters left, open your notebook and glance down the list, choosing those activities that you are currently passionate about. Completed items are crossed out. Pages without open tasks are marked with a cross.

Similarly, in stream mode, you can record ideas, dreams, plans, etc.

What are the advantages

  • Requires almost no time or effort. There is no need to divide things into categories or use conventions.
  • “Autofocus” is suitable for people with moods and chaotic natures who find it difficult to plan.

What are the disadvantages

  • Some ideas and things to do can get lost in such a large list. Especially if you have bad handwriting.

How can I apply?

"Autofocus" does not involve much decoration: it is designed as a very minimalistic planning system. But after you have written down all the things, you can draw a beautiful title with felt-tip pens. Or stick themed stickers next to some items. Phone - next to the reminder to make a call, envelope - where you need to send a letter. And so on.

Special date

Just like decorating a treasured book for girls, decorating festive and special pages and spreads is done. Valentine's Day, summer holiday, vacation or an unplanned trip - special occasions can be captured in a special way. By attaching pleasant souvenirs, photos and pictures from memorable events, it is possible to convey the emotions and spirit of that period.

Gift lists, Christmas tree paraphernalia, a photo of a New Year's costume or a letter to Santa Claus are used as New Year's ideas for decorating LDs. These items, saved in the diary, will fill its contents with a festive mood and convey the atmosphere of celebration.

The Muse and the Monster

How to keep a diary

The system was invented by artist Yana Frank - primarily for creative people and freelancers. That is, for those who have a lot of flexible creative tasks.

Each working hour is divided into blocks: 45 minutes for creative or intellectual work, and the rest of the time for routine activities. During this fifteen-minute period, it is better to engage in those tasks that do not require mental stress. If you work at home, you can wash the dishes or water the flowers. If in the office, sort the papers, make copies of documents.

Yana also emphasizes that creative tasks must be planned, and as carefully as possible. This will make it easier to tackle them and you won’t waste time thinking about what to do now. Not just “write an article”, but “Monday - looking for material, Tuesday - making a plan, Wednesday - writing a draft, Thursday - editing.” And so on.

Same with routines: make a list of activities that you should spend time on daily, weekly, and monthly, then write them down in a notebook.

What are the advantages

  • It’s easy to figure out, any convenient notebook will do.
  • The system is easy to adapt to yourself and your needs.

What are the disadvantages

  • The method is not suitable for those who do not manage their time. So, the doctor does not choose when to perform emergency surgery.
  • Planning things this way is difficult if you have strict rules at work - for example, only one break.

How can I apply?

Initially, the diary “365 days of a very creative person,” released on the basis of this system, resembled a coloring book. And Yana Frank welcomed drawing and any creative experiments in a notebook. For example, you can highlight section titles with decorative tape or display a floral design in the margins of the page.

What is LD

LD is a personal diary, an intimate notebook where the most important things are described. For some, it is a habit developed over the years; for others - a daily routine: each step is described in detail; for others it is a friend: they share their innermost secrets with him. Everyone finds something of their own.

Taking notes systematically allows you to develop imagination and creative thinking.

It’s also an album of memories: sweet, funny, touching.

Not to do list

How to keep a diary

The method was created in order to learn how to prioritize and manage to do the most important thing. All tasks are divided into three lists: to-dos, completed to-dos and not to-dos. You can add only three points to the first one, no more. Other activities are considered not so important and end up on the not-to-do list.

The completed task from the first column must be moved to the second. This, by the way, increases How Checklists Train Your Brain To Be More Productive And Goal-Oriented dopamine levels, and with it productivity. Space is freed up in the to-do list for a new activity, which can be moved there from the third group.

What are the advantages

  • The system helps you figure out which tasks are really important and which can be left for later.
  • The method is very simple and convenient, suitable even for beginners in planning.

What are the disadvantages

  • Some tasks may get lost in the to-do list and remain unfulfilled.
  • For those who like to structure everything, such notes may seem too chaotic.

How can I apply?

Complete your lists with pictures, stickers, and magazine clippings.


A simple planner for managing affairs, both work and personal. The application allows you to structure tasks and control their implementation. In the free version, the user has access to the following functionality: adding, editing and marking tasks, access to a calendar for the years ahead and much more. You can run the application both online and offline - everything is synchronized via the cloud. Edits and changes are immediately displayed to the entire group that is working on this task. Download the application for iOS, for Android

System 1–3–5

How to keep a diary

You can only schedule nine things to do each day, no more. The first - the task of the day - is the most important thing, it must be completed. The next three are also important, if possible, deal with them as well. The remaining five are small minor tasks that you can start if you have some free time.

Unfinished tasks are carried over to the next day.

What are the advantages

  • Simple, fast, convenient. Any notepad will do.
  • The system will teach you how to set priorities.
  • Suitable for those who are just starting to keep a diary.

What are the disadvantages

  • For those with a lot of tasks to do, a limit of nine tasks per day may seem ridiculously small.

How can I apply?

For example, make a beautiful collage next to your task list.

Glider design

A great way to break up the seriousness of everyday life, and just to lift your spirits once again, is to place notes with useful tips or wishes on the pages of your diary. If your loved ones leave such notes, finding them every day will become a pleasant association with filling out the organizer.

For girls, just designing a diary can become an exciting activity, a model of harmony and design talent. Moreover, what should be in every girl’s diary is a specially allocated time just for herself, because a girl, being among many things, should still remain feminine and unique.

You can use beads, embroidery, decoupage to decorate title pages. With a little creativity, filling out such a diary in the future will be especially enjoyable. If a teenage girl is to keep a diary, then the appearance may be a manifestation of youthful hobbies, careful selection of design and personal preferences.

Of course, if it’s a boy who keeps a diary, or a busy man, the choice almost always falls towards minimalism. This design does not distract and is aimed purely at practical use.

Adult women also often simply do not have time for sentimental design of the organizer

And here it doesn’t matter at all whether this is a business woman in front of you or an ordinary housewife. Women who essentially work from home have no more time than office workers.

The organizer will help such ladies write down a list of groceries, household chores, and notify them when to pick up their child from school.

By the way, the softly upholstered leather organizer ceases to be just a functional booklet and turns into a stylish and necessary accessory. Such a gift will be valuable for both men and women. And by providing it with a memorable signature, you will make the gift as close to your heart as possible.

Electronic or paper diary?

If you are a fan of modern technology, or have long preferred electronic notes to pen and paper, then how to use a diary can be perplexing. In fact, the solution is incredibly simple: many companies have long developed applications that will help you plan your day wisely. Moreover, such a diary does not need additional space; it easily fits in a phone, tablet, or laptop.

Also, the advantages of the electronic version can include event reminders, easy editing of files, and adding multimedia information. Using such a program, the options for what can be done in a diary expand significantly: from planning purchases to business plan strategy.

How not to abandon your diary

  • First, figure out whether you need it. If you have a good memory and not many tasks, a diary will be a waste of time and effort.
  • Maintain your plan in a way that is convenient for you. Even if it doesn’t look like the beautiful notepads from social networks. Design the notebook as you like, write down what you think is necessary: ​​any small matters or only important meetings. There are no rules, and the planner is your tool, not your master.
  • Choose the perfect notepad. One that will fit into any of your bags and will not irritate you. If you're scared of writing in an expensive notebook, it's better to choose something simpler. If missing pages make you feel bored and demotivate, forget about dated planners.
  • Always keep a notepad handy. Carry it with you to work, for a walk and to a cafe. Take it out of your bag as soon as you get home. Before going to bed, don't forget to put it on your bedside table.

Decide on your goals

What do you want to track in your journal: work achievements, study progress, personal plans, travel, business ideas, or all at once? Will it be a creative diary or a list of routine tasks? Once you answer this question for yourself, it will be easier to decide on the format of your bu-jo.

You can fill the journal with anything, as long as it is useful and enjoyable. If you start a bu-jo for personal purposes and are not going to post its photos on social networks, then you don’t have to think about the external design, but if your goal is to become famous on Instagram, then you will have to spend money on good stationery and watch a couple of video tutorials on calligraphy.

Let's start training

Indeed, you have to learn how to properly keep a diary so that it brings benefits and not just takes up space. First, it is recommended to monitor your schedule for a week. That is, you literally fill out the schedule for each day, minute by minute. From the moment the alarm clock rang until you went to bed, you will need to record minute by minute what you did. This will allow you to analyze how much time is spent on unnecessary things.

So, the week has passed. Review your notes and create a graph that shows how much time was spent on each activity. If watching TV or talking on the phone is in the lead, and you complain about the lack of time to clean the room, you clearly need to reconsider your schedule.

If this is your first time doing this

The first question that arises is: how to design a diary. It all depends on your desire and mood. You can buy a ready-made diary, which is already lined, where the chapters are marked, and you only need to paste photographs and pictures and keep notes. But this option turns out to be very limited. It is much better to buy a regular notebook and line it the way you want.

Another option for organizing a diary is to buy a universal organizer. This is a thick notebook, on one side of which there are numbered sheets for each date, and on the other - just blank pages that can be used as you wish. This makes it possible to use it for study and work, as well as for personal purposes.

DIY notebook creation techniques

This video on how to make a notebook with your own hands will help you master the technique of making the internal contents of a convenient notebook.

To implement the idea, it is important to choose the right technology for fastening the sheets, which will make the subsequent process as simple and accessible as possible; for this you can use:

  • Stitching sheets; for stitching, the craftsman will need a strong silk or artificial thread of a certain color, an awl and a comfortable needle with a wide eye. Lined or regular sheets assembled together must be fastened at the edges and the stitching area marked in the center for ease of carrying out the procedure.
  • Gluing sheets is suitable for the technique of fastening the internal contents of a notebook without stitching, and it is better to choose A5 paper format. The leaves, tightly secured and tied with an elastic band, are glued along the end part; for good adhesion, it can be covered with a piece of tape or a regular medical bandage.
  • Fastening with staples is carried out using purchased or home-made staples; they can be easily made from wire intended for creativity. Well-folded and fastened sheets are marked in the center and, using an awl, corresponding holes are made in the stack, staples are inserted into them, secured with pliers.
  • Using ready-made notebooks with squared or lined sheets will help save time and materials, ensuring the creation of a practical product. It is recommended to carefully remove the notebooks from the paper covers and glue or sew them along the endpaper, which will further increase the strength of the finished gift for yourself or for loved ones.

All proposed technologies will not require special experience or specific skills to implement the chosen idea.

In this case, you should worry in advance about preparing office staples (they can be replaced with ordinary wire with an anti-corrosion coating), strong threads and an adhesive composition such as PVA.

Success Journal

At the end of your planner, set aside a few pages to write down your accomplishments. Every day it is recommended to write down at least ten points of those cases in which you showed your best side. In a week, a piggy bank of 70 points is collected, where you are great. Reviewing your success journal regularly is a great boost to your self-esteem. Try to correlate your achievements with the goals and objectives that you set for yourself. This will allow you to start wanting to do more and more every day.

Step-by-step instructions for making an LD cover

You can learn how to design a LD beautifully from various master classes.

Below are 3 options for decorating a diary cover with your own hands, with step-by-step descriptions. When creating a cover, it is important to remember that its appearance should become a creative reflection of the owner’s inner world.

Cover from an old book

This design option is suitable for diaries made of office paper, the sheets of which have been pre-sewn and glued.

Step-by-step instruction:

  • Measure the thickness of the pages and find a suitable book.
  • It is important to pay attention to how the book's pages are glued to the cover.
  • Using a utility knife, carefully make a deep cut at the fold of the very first sheet.
  • Repeat the steps on the other side.
  • The cover should come away from the book. All that remains is to cut off the excess paper burrs and remove the layer of old gauze at the fold.
  • To make the cover special, it needs to be covered with colored paper. You can choose shiny or craft. Add clippings, stickers, rhinestones. In general, change the cover to your liking.
  • Soak the folds of the pages well with PVA glue and coat the spine of the book. Insert the sheets tightly into the cover and close the future diary. Leave until completely dry.

You can make the first and last pages of the diary bright, and glue them to the cover to cover the old book design, or glue this side with paper before connecting the cover to the pages.

Origami for the cover

Such jewelry is not suitable for diaries that you plan to take with you on a trip and carry in your purse. The paper figurine will quickly tear and become wrinkled. But you can decorate the cover of an LD with origami if it is stored in a desk drawer.

Origami heart:

  • Cut out a rectangular piece.
  • Fold in half lengthwise and crosswise, then straighten so that the fold lines intersect in the center of the rectangle.
  • Bend the top corners towards the center.
  • Fold the bottom ones up so that their bottom edge coincides with the side.
  • Turn the shape over, bend the corners at the top so that the tops of the heart take on a more rounded shape.
  • Turn the heart over again.

Where the bent corners are visible, there will be a wrong side on which glue is applied. The paper figurine is glued in the center of the cover or in the corners.

Leather cover

You can learn how to decorate an LD beautifully by creating an imitation of a leather cover in the next master class.

Tools and materialsApplication
Unnecessary bookTo create a base from its cover.
Thick needle or awlTo make holes for threads.
Leatherette or eco-leatherFor tight fitting.
Strong thick threadsTo create reliable seams.
PVA glueTo make the cover smooth.

You will also need scissors, a utility knife and glue.


  • Carefully separate the book from the cover.
  • Measure its area and cut off the required piece of material, with allowances of 1-2 cm for seams or gluing.
  • If you plan to stitch leatherette, then you need to make holes for the needle.
  • Lubricate the cover generously with glue and carefully apply the skin, smoothing out all the irregularities and expelling the air. This action is necessary so that the skin does not sag or wrinkle when opening the diary.
  • Pull the edges tight and secure with glue.

If you do not want to make a leather cover for the LD yourself, you can purchase it ready-made and decorate it to your liking.
You can make a soft leather cover. To do this, you will need a small piece of foam rubber, which must be placed between the cardboard and leatherette. It is more reliable to stitch the edges than to glue them. If you make several holes in a checkerboard pattern, then selecting buttons, you can sew them through the cardboard, then you get the effect of quilted leather.

We offer several more options for designing the LD cover:

The lace cover looks interesting and romantic:

As you can see, there are a lot of options for designing the cover of a personal diary, it all depends on your imagination and creative imagination.

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