Keeping a Diary or Journal
Keeping a diary or journal may sound very old-fashioned, something that a Jane Austen heroine would do. It is certainly something that many distinguished people, including a number of established writers, have done in the past. It has also featured in literature over many years, with famous diary-keepers including Adrian Mole and Bridget Jones.
Keeping a diary has many benefits. These include improving your mental health, as a result of giving you a place to vent your feelings, and an ability to process difficult experiences.
A diary is also a way to keep track of your feelings and views and how they have changed over time, which can be particularly helpful in personal development terms.
What is a Diary or Journal?
diary n. a daily record: a book for making daily records, noting engagements etc.
journal n. a daily register or diary, a book containing a record of each day’s transactions.
Chambers English Dictionary, 7th edition (1989)
A diary, then, in its simplest form, is a record of each day. Keeping a diary is a matter of keeping a record of what happens in your life: the interesting and the mundane, and your thoughts and feelings about both.
Diaries can also be used for very specific purposes. For example, those who think that they may have a food allergy or intolerance may be encouraged to keep a food diary for a few weeks to record everything that they eat, and any incidence of discomfort to see if there is a pattern. Similarly, you may keep a diary to record your stress levels or episodes of depression. Here again, a diary is a record of each day, but for a particular reason.
The Benefits of Keeping a Diary
There are many benefits to keeping a diary. Probably the three main ones are:
Keeping a diary has been shown to be good for your mental health
The reason is thought to be because it allows you to process your experiences safely, and review particular events in a less stressful way. Writing your personal story appears to play a part in this, and it seems to be important to focus on both thoughts and feelings, and not just feelings.
Keeping a diary helps to improve your writing
The best way to get better at anything is to practise. Writing a diary allows you to focus on your writing without worrying about your audience or what anyone else will think. And doing it regularly helps to improve your thinking processes, and can even help you become more creative in how you think.
Keeping a diary can help you to remember events and activities
This can be important for a number of reasons. For example, when you are applying for a job, you often have to describe times when you have demonstrated a skill, or done something particularly well. A diary or journal can be a good way to record your successes, and ensure that you have a ready source of examples for job applications. It can also be a way to reflect on your experiences, and learn for the future. Writing about positive events, and looking back on them, can also be a good way to boost your self-esteem.
You may also be interested in our pages on Reflective Practice and Personal Development.
Paper or Electronic?
Back in the 1980s, Adrian Mole did not have a computer or smartphone on which to blog. His (fictional) diary was paper-based for a reason: it had to be.
Nowadays, there is much more choice.
There is a huge range of electronic options as well as the traditional paper-based route. You could, for example, use a diary app such as Penzu, which claims to take security very seriously, try a note-taking app like Google Keep, or just record your thoughts in a Word document stored on your laptop or in the cloud. You could even go ‘open’ and keep a blog, sharing your thoughts with the world, and not just your diary.
All these options have merits. Diary apps are right there on your phone, and quick and easy to access. They are also private. Electronic back-ups in the cloud should mean that even losing your device does not mean that you have lost your diary.
Using word-processing software gives you the option to craft your thoughts more carefully, and to go back and change them later. This could be both an advantage and disadvantage: an advantage because you can refine your thinking, and a disadvantage, because it will not show you your raw thinking when you look back, and may encourage you to spend more time than you really need on your journal.
A paper-based diary may be old-fashioned, but it is also completely private. You can hide it away at home, and nobody need ever suspect that you write it. Writing things down long-hand can also be useful practice in ordering your thoughts in advance, which is good if you will ever have to sit written exams.
Tips for Keeping a Diary
Some people find it hard to get started on diary-writing, or difficult to keep going once started. These tips should help you to do both.
Don’t worry, just write
Your only audience is you, so it really does not matter if what you write does not seem very exciting or inspiring. Over time, you will find it becomes easier to write, so it is important to just put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and simply get started.
Try to write every day, but don’t panic if you miss a few days
It will be easiest to build a habit of writing if you do it often. You will also not need to write as much each time if you do it regularly. You may find it easier to develop a regular time slot: for example, just before you go to bed. This may make it easier both to find the time, and to develop the habit of writing.
That said, of course it does not matter if you miss a few days here and there, or even if you don’t fancy writing anything about what happened that day. Just try not to get too far out of the habit, and start again if you do stop for a while.
Write as if you were writing to a friend, or even your future self
This will encourage a more informal writing style, and also help you to share information about your feelings and deepest thoughts. This is important if you are to get the full benefits of journal-keeping. Some people even find that it is helpful to give their diary a name.
Your diary does not have to be just a written record
You can also draw or sketch, or stick in pictures from magazines or tickets from events and the like. Anything that takes your fancy, really. It is all about having a personal record, and that can be as personal as you like. Plenty of people prefer drawing to writing, and a sketchbook with or without added notes can also be a form of journal.
You can be negative, but remember to be positive too
A diary is a good place to vent about things that have upset or annoyed you, but it is also important to record the positives. When you look back, there is a reasonable chance that you will have forgotten quite a lot of it, and you don’t want reading your diary to be a completely negative experience, dragging you down. Instead, you want to be able to read it to feel good about the things that you have achieved.
A lasting benefit
While few among us will ever become the sort of person whose diaries are published and sold around the world, keeping a diary has benefits for anyone. It is well worth giving it a go for a few months to see if it is helpful for you.
Further Reading from Skills You Need
The Skills You Need Guide to Personal Development
Learn how to set yourself effective personal goals and find the motivation you need to achieve them. This is the essence of personal development, a set of skills designed to help you reach your full potential, at work, in study and in your personal life.
The second edition of or bestselling eBook is ideal for anyone who wants to improve their skills and learning potential, and it is full of easy-to-follow, practical information.
6 Reasons to Keep A Diary
Benjamin Franklin used to begin each day by asking himself “What can I do well today?”. He then wrote those things down in a diary. Come the end of that day, he would then review each of his goals, making a note of how he could improve on the things he didn’t do so well.
It seems that he was ahead of the curve, with scientific research since confirming what he knew; that writing a diary had many psychological benefits. Here are a just a few of them:
1. IMPROVES SELF-AWARENESS
Keeping a diary offers the chance to improve self-awareness. Getting to know yourself in this way provides an opportunity to communicate your feelings in a tangible way. Current research looking into diary keeping has shown that the act of writing provides a tool that can unlock the thoughts and feelings you might be disregarding.
2. MANAGES YOUR NERVES
Keeping a diary has the ability to reduce our anxieties and settle our nerves in potentially stressful situations. To keep a diary of your thoughts and emotions surrounding situations you feel uncomfortable with, enables you to develop a sense of control and therefore reduce your anxiety.
3. IMPROVES METACOGNITION
Metacognition is the ability to critically analyse how you think. This means evaluating how well you performed and what caused your successes and failures. Research has shown that people who keep diaries experience greater metacognition through the development of self-regulatory strategies such as effective preparation, monitoring and self-questioning. This is a key part of developing metacognition (and if you’re not sure what that is still… this blog explains it).
4. REDUCES PROCRASTINATION
Diaries have the ability to improve an individual’s time management. There is a well-known thinking bias called planning fallacy, which states that we underestimate the time it will take to complete a future task. By using a diary, we can evaluate our past experiences in order to better plan for tasks ahead. You can find more tips on how to help students manage procrastination here.
5. IMPROVES MEMORY
Diaries have been shown to improve our working memory by allowing us to retain information for greater periods of time. The American Psychology Association state that although effects were modest, expressive writing frees up space in the working memory by removing intrusive and avoidant thoughts. For more depth and detail, our blog on 15 Ways to Maximise Memory is a great starting point.
6. IMPROVES WELL-BEING
Evidence has indicated that keeping a diary can make you happier. Whilst it seems like a trivial task, diary keeping has shown to reduce depressive thoughts and behaviours by providing the writer with increased control. This useful intervention has also been seen to have long-lasting effects on mental health. It’s not just a quick fix.
We have discussed the scientific benefits of keeping a diary. Diary keeping helps people in all walks of life and it’s a really easy way to improve your well-being. Just as Benjamin Franklin did, by writing down your targets, reflecting on how well they went or consciously trying to improve them for the next day, you give yourself the best chance of success.
We have lots more information on how to improve metacognition available, including free resources and blogs.
Top 8 Benefits to Keep a Journal or a Diary
There are many reasons why we journal. From travel journals, dream journals, gratitude journals to prayer journals, we keep specific journals for different aspects of our life. In the past, many people kept personal journals, where they recorded the day’s events and their observations. Without diarists like Anne Frank and Samuel Pepys, we wouldn’t know much about the personal side of our history. Although people nowadays keep blogs or vlogs, and record their lives on social media, very few of us jot in a journal and write down our experiences. So why not give it a try?
There are many benefits of keeping a journal. Here are the top 8 reasons why you should be starting a journal today:
1. Keep your thoughts organized.
Diaries help us to organize our thoughts and make them apprehensible. You can record daily events, thoughts and feelings about certain experiences or opinions. Journey allows you to tag and archive your diary entries.
2. Improve your writing.
Journaling helps you to train your writing. If you want to practice or improve on your writing, the best thing to do is to start a journal. You may not have the perfect topic. All you need to do is to start writing your thoughts in Journey. The more you write, the more your writing improves.
3. Set & achieve your goals.
A journal is a good place to write your goals, ambitions, aspirations and new year resolutions. By keeping them in a diary, you can monitor your progress and feel motivated to continue to focus on your next milestone!
4. Record ideas on-the-go.
The benefits of keeping a journal is that you can record all of your ideas in one place anytime and at anywhere. Whenever an idea comes to your mind, you can write it down in your journal. You can then revisit these ideas later on to look for new links, form conclusions or even get a fresh idea!
Start a digital journal – download Journey app today!
5. Relieve stress.
Writing down your feelings helps you to “brain-dump” your anxieties, frustrations and pains on a journal. This can help you to reduce and release any stress which you have accumulated overtime. A good way to relive stress is to write in the stream of consciousness style first thing in the morning called “Morning pages”. You can also use the mood tracker found in Journey to indicate your sentiment level. Overall, expressing yourself in a diary is a good way to free up any tension that prevents you from feeling happy.
6. Allow yourself to self-reflect.
As Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Our fast-paced lives can become even more hectic as we start shouldering on more responsibility, making us feel the pressure as others place high expectations on us. This results in us getting frenzied as we are easily caught up with the day-to-day.
Journaling is a good way to help us to stop, take a step back and reflect on ourselves. We can self-reflect on gratitude or what we did today and write it in our diary. Daily reflection can also be done at night before bed. We can look back at our life in a journal and think about how we’ve changed and what we can do to improve ourselves.
7. Boost your memory.
Your brain is likely to store information that you have written down in your diary. Your brain will make stronger connections with the information you have learnt after you write them down in a diary, making it easier for you to recall in the future too!
8. Inspire creativity.
Writing a journal is a great way to unleash your creativity. Everyone has the potential to be creative, just that most of us haven’t discovered it yet. Your journal is the best place to start exploring your inner creativity. Write down anything that comes to your mind. Let your imaginations run wild and record it in Journey.
There are many other benefits to keep a journal. You’ll discover more when you start one!
Start a digital journal – download Journey app today!
How to Start a Diary and Write Entries
A diary is a private place where you can keep your thoughts, feelings and opinions on everything from work to school and everywhere in between. There are all different types of diaries, like food diaries, health diaries or academic diaries. But your diary doesn’t have to be specific if you don’t want it to be, it can also just be a place where you write about whatever you want. If you’re just getting started, maybe you haven’t decided what you want to write about, and that’s fine. That is what we are here for – to help you with all those moments of writer’s block you may be having. Our tips can help guide you and inspire you. Let’s begin!
How to Start a Diary
To start a diary, all you need is a willingness to write. Start by figuring out what you want to write in your journal. If you aren’t sure, simply start writing and see where that leads. It can also be useful to set a time limit in your early writing sessions. Set an alarm for 10 to 20 minutes and start writing.
Keeping a diary is a great way to record your growth and personal development. More entries will allow you to look back and see what has changed over time. The earlier you start, the more grateful you will be later on.
8 Tips When Starting a Diary
Writing can be hard and getting started is usually the hardest part. If you feel like you don’t know how to write a diary entry, don’t stress over it. You can start writing about anything. You can even write about how you can’t think of anything to write. Once you start getting words out, they will start to flow naturally.
1. Decide to write
First, you need to decide you want to start a diary. Once you have decided you want to dedicate time to creating a diary, starting one will be easy.
2. Decide what to write
This is definitely the hardest part when writing a diary, but it is probably the most important. If you want your diary to be specific, decide what topic you would like to discuss during your entries. You can create multiple diaries for different topics, or just have one diary that has everything. Generally, diaries are personal and private thoughts, but they can also be a great way to keep track of personal musings on anything you would like:
These are just a few ideas to get you started, but if you would rather keep your diary more general, it is totally up to you!
3. Create a schedule
Starting a diary requires that you write in it frequently, but it is up to you to decide how frequently you want to write in it. Whether it be once a day or once a week, create a schedule that you can adhere to. The more you can make writing in your diary a part of your routine, the more comprehensive and helpful a practice it will become.
When you have decided what you want write in your diary, decide on a writing schedule that is appropriate for the topic. For example, if you want your diary to be general, maybe you want to decide to write in it at a certain time everyday, like right before you go to bed. If you want your writings to be more specific, like about food, maybe you will write in it every time you cook or find a new recipe. Make your schedule work for you and your topic.
4. Set a time limit
It is easy to get carried away and write too much when diary writing. A way to stay concise and on track is to set a time limit for your writing. Depending on how much you want to write, set a time limit that reflects that. Somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour is ideal. If you feel like you want to spend more time than that, feel free.
5. Date your entries
The great thing about a diary is that you are able to look back through it and see how you have progressed over time. It is important to date every entry you write. Luckily, Penzu dates your entries automatically.
6. Create an introductory entry
For your first diary entry, try to write an introduction to what your diary will be about. Introduce yourself, what things interest you, what you think it important and what you want this dairy to be about. Open up and be yourself.
7. Act like you’re writing to a trusted friend
Wondering how to write a diary entry? The best way to write is as if you’re talking to your best friend. This is your personal diary, for your eyes only, so you should feel comfortable writing as if you’re talking to a trusted companion. As cliché as “Dear Diary” may sound, it can really lead you in the write direction in terms of the tone you should be writing in. The goal of a diary is to discuss things honestly and candidly, as if you were talking through them with a best friend or family member.
8. Have fun!
Writing in your diary should never be a chore or a burden, so remember to have fun with it. It can be a place of solace, a place of creativity, a place of reflection, a place where your thoughts can roam free. When starting a diary, make sure you are writing about things you care about and are passionate about because. As long as you enjoy what you’re writing and the process of it, you will never miss an entry!
Writing Diary Entries
Diary entries can be long. They can be short. They can be specific. They can be broad. Whatever type of diary you decide to write should relate to the entries within it.
Your diary entries should be shorter narratives, and here are 8 tips to consider when writing entries:
1. Brainstorm what you’re going to write about
Take a few minutes before you begin writing to decide what you’re entry is going to be about. Hopefully you have already decided what your diary is about, so dig a bit deeper into the topic or topics you have decided to focus on and get specific.
2. Ask yourself questions
To get yourself writing, ask yourself questions:
- What did you learn today?
- What do you want to accomplish?
- What do you want to fix?
- How are you feeling?
These can relate to your general life, or specific parts of it, but turn inward and ask yourself things.
3. Write down your answers
Your diary entry can be your answers to the questions you have asked yourself. This is a great way to get writing when you don’t know what to write about.
4. Pick a format
Your entries can be in all different types of formats, depending on what you’re writing about. Maybe you are making a list of things you want to accomplish in your future. Maybe you’re writing about a conversation you had, or wish you had. Maybe your entry is just bullet points of thought you have had that day. Some people prefer writing in short notes, others like writing in detailed paragraphs. Decide what you enjoy most and go for it.
5. Make them different
Try and have a variety of different entries, so you don’t get bored. You may be writing about a certain type of topic, but you never want to write the same entry. Differentiating your entries will also highlight progresses you’ve made and things you have learned.
6. Don’t be hard on yourself while you’re writing
Your diary is a judgement-free zone, so don’t feel like they need to be perfect. Let the words flow.
7. Keep your thoughts in order
Your entries date themselves, so you know when you write what, but also try and keep your thoughts in order. Your diary will become a journey as you add more entries, try to keep the narrative something you can follow. For example, try to write about events in the sequence they happened. Avoid jumping around.
8. Get your creative juices flowing
Your entries don’t just have to be words, Penzu also let’s you add pictures. Adding some visuals to your entries will add some colourful and vibrant reminders.
To Write a Diary Entry with Penzu
Penzu offers easy-to-use diary software, so you can create a digital diary that can be accessed anywhere.
- Go to Penzu.com to create a free account.
- Create a login and password you will easily remember.
- Design your online diary to reflect your personality and your diary’s topic.
- Give your journal a meaningful name.
- Adjust your privacy setting to suit your preferences.
- Choose ‘New Entry’ and begin writing!
Tips for New Journal Writers
Is this your first time keeping a diary? Don’t worry. There is a first time for everything. Here are some things to help you get the ball rolling:
Look forward to starting a diary. It is both a fun and productive habit.
Reflect on yourself, the people around you and what you believe is most important. Once you look back, then you can move forward.
Unstructured writing is probably the best way to start writing. Once you get into the habit of keeping a diary, you will then feel more comfortable with structure.
Keys To Successfully Writing a Diary
A diary is a personal journey and should not be compared to any other writings, but here are a few way you can get the most out of your experience.
Your diary is for your eyes only, so be honest with yourself. Don’t hide anything or hold back.
The more often you write, the better.
Don’t try to write a certain way, just be yourself.
Like we said in the beginning, the earlier you start keeping a diary, the more grateful you will be later on, so sign-up with Penzu today!
There’s no time like the present – start your free online journal today!
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How to make the most of your diary
Whilst some of us have moved over to a digital diary, such as Google Calendar, to plan our work and personal lives, there are a large chunk of us who still use a paper calendar and physical diary to keep track of such things. But are we making the most out of our diaries? These items are packed full of organisational possibilities, when most of us just tend to write birthdays and daily commitments in them, and nothing more. Below we take a look at how to unlock your diary’s full potential.
Diaries have two main functions; one is to make note of future events so we don’t miss them, and one is to comment on past events. The first use is organisational, and the latter is more of a reflective action.
Noting future events
Using a paper diary or organiser for remembering future events such as birthdays, anniversaries and social engagements works well. In fact, Jonathan Guy says it is far quicker to add an event to a paper diary than to an online calendar system. As long as you use your diary daily, and remember to check ahead, you will be perfectly organised.
Using your diary in a reflective manner to make comment on past events is often referred to as ‘keeping a diary’ or journaling. This can be very beneficial for your mental health, as it helps you work through your daily thoughts and feelings, and see where you need to make changes in your life, or where you are doing well.
You could very well think we have now covered all possible uses for a diary, but how wrong you would be! A diary or planner can be anything you want it to be. For example, here are a just a few things you can use them to take note of:
- Food diary
- Mood diary
- Period diary
- Fitness diary
- Medical diary (you could track symptoms or medications)
- Weight loss diary
- The day’s highlights
- Things you have learnt today
- ‘To do’ lists
- How much water you are drinking
- Inspirational quotes
- Time tracking
- Countdown challenges (such as save £150 by June, or lose a stone by Christmas)
As you can see from the list above, the options really are endless! Say you have just started a new healthy eating diet, which may well be the case in January for many of us. Alongside using your diary or planner to organise your engagements, you could also track if you’re drinking 8 glasses of water a day, the food you’re eating, your mood, and the exercise you are doing. Not to mention your weight or body measurements. I personally find that if I write these things down, I am far more likely to stick to my plan than if I try to use my phone and apps. There’s something about handwriting, which connects you to the words you are writing.
“But my diary is tiny…”
You may think your diary is too small for storing so much information, but there is always a way; for smaller diaries or planners, I recommend using a colour coding system. In my own diary, for example, I use the top right hand corner of every day’s section to draw a small blue cross for every glass of water I drink. I aim for 8 crosses. If I attend the gym, I draw a yellow tick in the top left hand corner. Sometimes I track how much I am spending on lunches, and this is noted in green at the bottom of the day’s section.
What do you plan or using your diary for next year? Do you have any more tips you could share with our readers? Let us know, below.
When Diary-Keeping Gets in the Way of Living
Sarah Manguso is the author of an 800,000-word diary that she’s been writing for more than 25 years. She’s also the author of the short, 93-page book Ongoingness: The End of a Diary, which comes out on March 3rd. The title is sort of misleading, as the diary hasn’t ended yet—she’s still writing it every day. The book explores how her attitude toward writing the diary changed over time.
Early in the book, she portrays the diary as a frenzied attempt to hold onto memories, a way of dealing with mortality:
I didn’t want to lose anything. That was my main problem… I wrote so I could say I was truly paying attention. Experience in itself wasn’t enough. The diary was my defense against waking up at the end of my life and realizing I’d missed it.
But halfway through the book, something changes. She gets pregnant. Though she doesn’t stop writing, during her pregnancy, and after her son is born, she begins to think about the writing differently. She cares less about forgetting things, doesn’t feel as strongly the need to record and reflect on moments:
How could I have believed that if I tried hard enough, I could remember everything?…
I used to harbor a continuous worry that I’d forget what had happened, that I’d fail to notice what was happening. I worried that something terrible would happen because I’d forgotten what had already happened.
Perhaps all anxiety might derive from a fixation on moments—an inability to accept life as ongoing.
Below is a lightly edited transcript of my conversation with Manguso about memory and writing, and how they affect thinking about time and life.
Julie Beck: When did you start keeping the diary?
Sarah Manguso: It wasn’t a daily diary when I began it, it was an occasional diary. That would have been around 1988 or 1989, and then it became a daily diary around 92 or 93.
Beck: How old were you in 1988?
Manguso: I was 14.
Beck: When you started, what was the motivation? Was it a deliberate act, like “Henceforth I will chronicle my life from this day forward” or was it more of a whim and you wrote whenever you felt like it?
“I wanted to create a product that provided some kind of medicine for my low-level anxiety.”
Manguso: I didn’t have that grandiose self-awareness but it wasn’t really a whim either. I describe in the book this art opening that I go to. I remember that event as being a somewhat historic event in my life because it was a very early, if not the very first, experience after which I felt that so much had happened to me—mostly internal and invisible—that I really wouldn’t be able to responsibly survive without writing about it. Or without just trying to make sense of these extreme feelings I had felt, by writing them down in manageable prose. Even then I wasn’t really interested in just writing for the experience of writing. I wanted to create a product that brought some kind of relief, that provided some kind of medicine for my low-level anxiety.
Beck: So at first it was just you waiting for something momentous to happen, and then eventually it was every day no matter whether something momentous had happened or not?
Manguso: Yes and no. It did eventually become daily, but that premise is slightly troubling. I guess what happened was my ideas about what was momentous had undergone this metamorphosis, and I no longer separated momentous events from non-momentous events. Everything just seemed equally important. Everything that happened seemed to have equal potential to change my life utterly. And so every day became equal to every other day.
Beck: Can you tell me more about how your style of writing in it changed over time? Did you write lengthy missives or just a few quick notes and how did that correspond to where you were at in your life?
Manguso: The entries started out the longest, and are now the shortest. In Ongoingness I think I list a couple of formally important changes that the diary underwent. One of them was this gradual but complete change from writing in past tense, like “This happened and then this happened,” to the present tense. Like, “This happens, and then this happens.” And around that time, the first person pronoun also fell entirely out of the prose. I never say “I give interview.” I would just say “Give interview.” That wasn’t really a conscious decision, but the pronouns no longer seem necessary. It is true that I look back and I read earlier entries and I sort of appreciate the verbosity, but it’s just not really a style that I feel I can write in now without it seeming like a kind of drag. It does feel as if my natural register now is a much more abbreviated prose than I had in the beginning in the 80s and 90s.
Beck: That makes sense especially considering how brief the book is, written in little nuggets.
Manguso: Yeah. Yeah, you’re right. All of my writing has become more compact over the years.
Beck: Without the first-person pronoun, do you think there’s less interiority to it now?
Manguso: Well, no. The amount of internal experience that I’m recording is the same. I have over the years stayed fairly steady at [writing] about 33,000 or 34,000 words a year. So it seems to have reached some kind of stasis. I have a document in which I record the number of words per year, and I can just bring it up right now and tell you, if you like data. I like data. The 90s had between 46,000 and 61,000 words per year, and then the 2000s were actually highly variable—30, 60, 50, 40, 40. I guess since 2010 it’s been fairly static at 34,000 each year. I don’t know what that means.
[The diary] is ongoing, it’s just very very different from the way that it began. It’s also a different kind of tool, and it occupies a different function in my life from the function that it served when I began it.
Beck: Things changed when you got pregnant, right? How did you start thinking about diary-keeping and also time, and how that was going to function in your life, differently after that?
Manguso: In retrospect I can speak about it logically and methodically, but at the time it just seemed like swirling chaos. When I became pregnant I’d been working on the book for a couple of years. At that point, I had envisioned it as a book about compulsive diary keeping. And so I was reading a lot about other people’s diaries, and about the neurological reasons for graphomania [the excessive urge to write], and then I became pregnant and my previously rather thorough and reliable memory stopped working.
Despite my reluctance to represent pregnancy as a weakening, because of course there are enough sources in our culture that tell us that biology is destiny and women are weaker intellectually than men for the very reason that they are the ones that make the babies—despite all that, I have to say that I was really shocked by what I can only assume were these physiological changes. I became sort of a mess. Previously I had been a fairly obsessive organized person and I was no longer an organized person. And so the diary was nowhere near as thorough because I was scrambling to just keep it together in my regular life.
I mention in Ongoingness that I was teaching a class while pregnant. I would show up and I’d bring my lecture notes and my students would tell me things we’d talked about the week before and actually quote myself back to me and I would have no memory of what I had said. It was pretty mortifying. Basically every area of my life was like this. I had this great awareness that my memory, which I had previously considered this static, highly functional force in my life was no longer going to be this way. And I had no idea when or whether it would come back. That stage lasted really until after I gave birth to my son.
“I used to think that I would simply record everything that happened to me, upload it to the diary, and that would prevent my living thoughtlessly.”
And then when he was quite young, not one year old yet, I began having these moments in which extremely detailed preverbal sense memories of my own infancy returned. I would be hanging out with this little preverbal creature, and, to maybe romanticize it slightly too much, it seemed as if my brain was trying to help me relate to or communicate with this preverbal creature by reminding me of what it had seemed like to be a preverbal creature. In the book I talk about this incredibly detailed sense memory of a panel on the inside of my crib that was orange, there were all these little cranks and buttons to push and turn and play with, and there were visual and tactile and audible components to this memory. And there were several other early childhood memories that kind of came up for the first time in my life that I had remembered.
I was simultaneously forgetting more than I ever thought I could survive forgetting and remembering more than I ever thought I would. And it just became clear to me that my experience of memory and self and time were not as I thought they had been. I guess pregnancy and motherhood were triggers for a new understanding of the position of the self in time.
Beck: What was your understanding of it before versus after?
Manguso: Before, I thought I would simply record everything that happened to me during a day and kind of upload it to the diary and that would prevent my living thoughtlessly. It would enable me to live thoughtfully always. And I took for granted that I would just remember everything in time to write it down and I also took for granted that I’d probably forget everything after I recorded it. It became clear to me that neither of those two assumptions were correct.
Beck: You wrote in Ongoingness that for you, diary-keeping was a vice, not a virtue. Why do you think that?
Manguso: Obsessive behaviors always feel a little dirty don’t they? This was definitely something that I didn’t feel I could stop doing. In the book I talk about this particular day on which a friend of mine offered me a ride from New York back to Boston, back to college and I declined because I thought “Oh God, I have this whole system of getting onto the Greyhound bus and writing in the diary the entire time,” the whole four hours that it would take to get from New York back to Boston, and I thought “I’d really rather do that than spend 4 hours with my friend,” which seems insane to me now. I don’t know that I would make the same choice now. But at that point I was really enthralled by this need to record. It felt unsafe to put that at risk.
Beck: The friend who offered you a ride back to Boston, he died young, right? I think you say that in the book.
Manguso: Yes, he died young.
Beck: Was that close to the time of that incident?
“It seemed that everything would be the same forever and ever. And then of course it isn’t.”
Manguso: It wasn’t, but in retrospect I can add that fact. Certainly the moment he offered me the ride I had no idea he was going to die at 30. I was in college and I think he just graduated. So we were in our early 20s. This feeling that certainly attended my middle class privilege at the time was that we weren’t going to die young. We weren’t living in poverty, nobody was at risk of coming to a violent early end, and I just thought, “Eh I’ll take the bus, I can always spend time with so-and-so because we’re going to live forever right?” It just seemed that everything would be the same forever and ever at that point. And then of course it isn’t. One learns this gradually and then suddenly.
Beck: Did writing in the diary bring you comfort at all or was it only a source of anxiety?
Manguso: Absolutely. It brought me great solace to write things down and to make sense of them. Not “sense of them” in the way that, say, a narrative would, where one event leads to the next event, and then the end comes and it’s just an inevitable outcome of all the things that have happened. I wasn’t trying to predict the future or find any order in the day-after-dayness, but I was trying to just make sense in the incredibly complex interactions that you have with people all day long. Every exchange that I had with another person, everything that I observed, every little throwaway moment I had on the subway observing this and that, the denseness of experience just seemed unmanageable without writing it down. After I wrote it down, it was a great relief to just have at least made that much sense of it in translating it into prose. So I guess it was a low level constant anxiety attended by a simultaneous gentle relief. But it was a long time before that anxiety dissipated almost entirely, which is where I am now.
Beck: So if that anxiety has dissipated now, has the comfort also dissipated? And if so, why keep writing?
Manguso: Yeah, good question. Why keep writing? I can’t really come up with a logical answer to that question. I think in the book I kind of side-step by saying “There’s no reason to continue writing other than that I started writing at some point—and that, at some other point, I’ll stop.” But I can’t imagine making a reasoned decision to stop it on a particular day, because it just seems so haphazard and meaningless. I guess it does serve a function in the way that every repeated life-long behavior serves a function. It feels nice to drink coffee out of the same mug every day and it feels nice to just continue making these daily entries as I have for so many years now.
Beck: You mentioned that a lot of the reason you were so obsessed with writing things every day was so that you wouldn’t forget things. Did you find that having it actually helped you remember things better?
Manguso: It wasn’t that I wanted to keep everything in my working memory, I wanted to document so I wouldn’t have to keep it all in working memory. There was a point in the writing of Ongoingness at which I had to decide whether I was going to excerpt the diary in the book. I went back, just chose a year, and opened up the file, scrolled down to some random day. It’s like reading about someone else’s life. But as I read it, I remember it. I don’t think that’s unusual for compulsive diary keepers.
Beck: The thing with memory is research is always pointing out that memory is faulty, and it’s so unreliable, and your memories can even change the more you remember them. Do you think that writing something down right after it happens or the same day that it happens helps create a truer memory?
Manguso: Well, I dislike the word “true” because it always has a kind of moral tinge, doesn’t it? Like if it’s not true it’s a lie. I prefer accuracy or precision, which is what I think we’re really talking about here. And I’m not a memory scientist, I’ve only read very shallowly and spottily in that field. So I guess I would say that writing it down at the end of the day probably affords you a more accurate account than if you’d written it down years and years later but it’s certainly not perfect.
Beck: Do you think it would be better, in some ways, to just let things fade and warp as they naturally would?
Manguso: Unfortunately I’m not really easygoing enough to accept that, but I know very many people who are and they seem fine. And they’re serious writers too. There are celebrated writers who have recently written about diaries—everyone’s talking about diaries suddenly, I don’t know why.
Beck: Are you talking about the Zadie Smith thing?
Manguso: Yes, yeah. I didn’t want to make it all about Zadie.
Beck: We don’t have to, I’m just affirming that I read that as well.
Manguso: Yes, Zadie Smith, productive thoughtful writer, doesn’t keep a diary.
“It’s represented as virtuous in our culture to live in the moment, to be unpolluted by the past and unhampered by anxiety about the future.”
Beck: At one point in the book, you point out that living in the past is generally seen as bad, as is worrying too much about the future. You write “I wanted to know how to inhabit time in a way that wasn’t a character flaw.” What makes those ways of inhabiting time “wrong?” Do you think you ever found the right one?
Manguso: I don’t think they’re “wrong” per se. I was definitely referring to this cultural assumption that it’s considered socially incorrect to just be bathing in nostalgia all the time, but it’s also considered socially incorrect to just be focused on your potential and to ignore the actual state of events. It seems virtuous, or I think it’s represented as virtuous in our culture, to live in the moment, be unpolluted by the past and unhampered by anxiety about the future.
Beck: Except it’s kind of crazy, especially with the Internet, where it’s so easy to just be nostalgic about everything all the time.
Manguso: Yeah absolutely. The Internet is a big problem.
Beck: Is it now?
Manguso: [Laughs] Yeah, interview title: “The Internet is a Big Problem.” One of the ways that I manage the great nostalgia machine of the Internet is that I don’t participate in social media. It’s too overwhelming. There are already too many obsessive practices that I have to keep up every day. I don’t know how I would manage that. On the other hand, occasionally it does feel as if I’m missing out on everything that’s happening.
Beck: Eh, most of it’s garbage.
Manguso: Everybody says that, but most of everything is garbage.
Beck: That is true. But the thing about social media is interesting because I feel like of the various things to read and do and be on the Internet, that one is the most diary-esque.
Manguso: Yeah. But it’s public and not private and that’s the essential difference right? My diary is written for an audience of zero. I think once you have an audience everything changes. Whether that’s the audience you actually have or the audience you imagine you have.
Beck: Did you write Ongoingness over a long period of time? Because at the beginning you write about these worries, and at the end there’s a part that says “When I remember how this document began, I remember it as something I used to worry about.”
Manguso: The book is written in past tense and then at the very end it kind of enters the present day and that is its form. So you did notice the end is kind of meant to represent the present day.
Beck: How long were you working on it?
Manguso: I think I have a log of that too, let me just bring that up.
Beck: You have a lot of metadata about the diary.
Manguso: I know, I have a lot of metadata about everything. You’re learning a little bit about how I am in general.
In August 2010 in my journal I wrote: “Start writing about the problem of depicting ongoingness in autobiography.”
And then in March 2011, I wrote “Take heavy pass through Ongoingness, still don’t know just what it’s about.” So around March 2011 I gave it its title.
In October 2012: “I can’t even tell you what I’m trying to write about in Ongoingness, it arose from some terrible anxiety I no longer remember.” That was when my son was about 9 months old.
And then January 2014: “The magic of composition over, Ongoingness is now just a set of problems to solve. Take a light pass, cutting viciously of the interruptive anecdotes. The essay must form an unbreakable ongoing skein.”
Beck: That brings me to—I also wanted to talk about a diary as a narrative of a life. In one way, as you establish in the book, reflection kind of takes you out of the river of life, right? But of the available options, a diary seems like the most ongoing story you could tell.
Manguso: If language is your medium, as it is mine, my medium of choice, the one I feel most fluent in—yeah, the diary was by far the most useful tool I had in just trying to live thoughtfully and carefully and responsibly.
Beck: But at the same time it’s still an interruption.
Manguso: You can’t do both, right? If only we could.
Beck: In the afterward, you write: “Imagine a biography that includes not just a narrative but also all the events that failed to foreshadow. Most of what the diary includes foreshadows nothing.” Which reminded me of this part I love from Howard’s End—and I hope it’s not really pretentious of me to quote it, but it goes: “Actual life is full of false clues and signposts that lead nowhere.”
Manguso: Of course Forster is much more elegant than the clinical way that I say it, but yeah. It seems as if we’re talking about the same thing.
Beck: It definitely seems more true to include those in your life story, but do you think it’s helpful or instructive at all, to look back on all those things that seemed like they were leading up to something and then just sort of floated away into thin air?
Manguso: Narrative is not a mode that has ever come easily to me. I neither produce nor consume it with much ease and I don’t really need to read or reread an entire book or watch or rewatch an entire movie.
People for whom story is very important find this just so impossible. We just live differently, me and people who are bound by narrative convention. It’s not that they’re more conventional, it’s just a convention that’s never really seemed necessary to me. So I’m not even really interested in trying to create narrative momentum in the diary. Which is maybe why it’s a form that has been so appealing to me for so long. All you have to do is talk about a moment. You don’t have to anticipate anything. You don’t have to really digest anything that happened before that day. It’s just the day.
A new reason for keeping a diary
Writing about stressful events has long been known to cause improvements in health and psychological well-being. Now, a new study provides clues to why that is.
The research, published in the September issue of APA’s Journal of Experimental Psychology: General (JEP: General) (Vol. 130, No. 3), indicates that expressive writing reduces intrusive and avoidant thoughts about negative events and improves working memory. These improvements, researchers believe, may in turn free up our cognitive resources for other mental activities, including our ability to cope more effectively with stress.
In the past few years, research has hinted that a cognitive mechanism may help explain the link between expressive writing and health, notes University of Texas psychologist James W. Pennebaker, PhD, who has taken the lead, in the past decade, in research on expressive writing and health. He and his colleagues have found that the people who benefit most from expressive writing tend to use more causal analysis and express more emotion in their writing, leading some psychologists to speculate that expressive writing helps people simplify and organize fragmented memories.
The trouble, says Pennebaker, is that these ideas have been frustratingly vague. Now, he says, “Along comes this new study, which in my mind is almost revolutionary. It’s a different level of analysis that none of us had thought about.”
“If you’re suffering from a traumatic or stressful event, your ability to pay attention and focus on life’s stressors isn’t what it should be,” proposes the study’s lead author, North Carolina State University psychologist Kitty Klein, PhD.
As a consequence, she suggests, “It’s going to take you a lot longer to come up with effective coping strategies. That may be a vehicle for getting you into poorer and poorer health.”
The new results hint at a way to short-circuit that destructive process, says co-author Adriel Boals, now a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University. “They suggest that at least for fairly minor life problems, something as simple as writing about the problem for 20 minutes can yield important effects not only in terms of physical health and mental health, but also in terms of cognitive abilities,” he says.
Writing about college stress
In an initial experiment, Klein and Boals examined how writing about a stressful event affected working memory for 71 undergraduates. The participants completed three 20-minute writing sessions during a two-week period. Half, assigned to an “expressive writing” condition, were instructed to write about their deepest thoughts and feelings about coming to college and to “tie it all together” at the end of their essays. Participants in a control condition instead wrote about what they had done that day and how they might have done a better job.
Using a standard test of verbal working memory, Klein and Boals measured participants’ working memory capacity three times: once before the first writing session, and again one week and seven weeks after the last writing exercise.
The researchers also examined the content of participants’ essays, probing for “cause and insight” words–such as “hence,” “because” and “therefore”–that might signal efforts to create a more coherent narrative out of fragmented stressful memories. Finally, the team measured the link between working memory improvement and academic performance, using students’ grade-point averages (GPAs) for the semester during which the experiment took place and the following semester.
The results revealed that participants in the expressive-writing condition showed modest improvements in working memory between the second and third memory tests. In contrast, control participants showed no such improvement.
In addition, participants in the expressive-writing condition used more cause and insight words than did those in the control group, strengthening the notion that expressive writing boosts the narrative coherence of stressful memories. Gains in working memory were also associated both with greater use of cause and insight words and with higher GPAs both immediately after the experiment and in the subsequent semester.
Although that first experiment provided tantalizing support for the idea that expressive writing may improve working memory, it did not firmly establish whether expressive writing freed memory resources by purging people’s intrusive and avoidant thoughts about stressful experiences.
The experiment also revealed only modest effects of expressive writing on working memory. Such effects may have been dampened, the authors hypothesized, by the writing task itself: Because going to college is not a uniformly stressful experience, expressing one’s feelings about it may have less benefit for some people than for others. And instructing participants in the control group to think about how they could have better spent their time may have inadvertently encouraged them to form more coherent cognitive representations of their day, enhancing working memory.
To address these issues, Klein and Boals tweaked the writing task in a second experiment, asking some participants to write about an extremely negative experience and others to write about an extremely positive one. Participants in a control group again wrote about their day’s schedule, but this time, they were not prompted to evaluate the day.
To test the link between expressive writing, intrusive thoughts and working memory, the researchers also asked participants to indicate, at the beginning and end of the experiment, how frequently unwanted memories of their most negative and positive experiences intruded into their thoughts and how often they avoided thinking about the experiences.
The results revealed that participants who wrote about a negative event had fewer intrusive and avoidant thoughts and showed sizable improvements in working memory, compared with those who wrote about a positive event and those in the control group. Further, mediational analyses suggested that expressive writing works to boost working memory only when a person has fewer intrusive and avoidant thoughts. Finally, as in the first experiment, working memory improvements were again associated with higher GPAs, as were reductions in intrusive thoughts.
The findings are exciting for a number of reasons, say psychologists. In a practical sense, the results suggest that the simple act of writing about stressful events can have a positive impact on academic performance–although for how long remains unknown. And as a “first stab” at explaining what’s behind the well-established connection between writing and health, says Pennebaker, “This paper is just remarkable. My only regret is that I didn’t think of it first.”
What’s equally striking, says cognitive psychologist Akira Miyake, PhD, of the University of Colorado, is the finding that working memory is malleable and can be affected by a psychosocial task such as expressive writing. That, he argues, has repercussions not only for physical health, but for a range of domains in which working memory might be impaired. For instance, college students who have math anxiety and fear statistics often experience working memory deficits while working on math problems because of intrusive thoughts and worry about math. Such students, Miyake suggests, might benefit from writing about their anxiety.
But even as Klein and Boals’s findings provide exciting clues to why expressive writing exerts such a powerful effect on people’s well-being, the study leaves unanswered questions–among them, why does expressive writing squash intrusive thoughts and improve working memory?
Pennebaker and others have theorized that forming a more coherent narrative surrounding fragmented memories–as is evidenced by increases in cause and insight words–helps free up working memory. Yet Klein and Boals found working memory effects only for participants who wrote about negative experiences, despite the fact that the two groups showed the same improvements in their use of cause and insight words–an effect that is unexplained by that theoretical rationale.
One possible explanation, suggests Klein, is that positive events simply have less cognitive impact than negative events. That may be particularly true for college students, who, Klein believes, tend to take positive events for granted.
Miyake suggests an alternative explanation, which dovetails with the results of another article in the same issue of JEP: General, by Washington University psychologist Jeremy R. Gray, PhD. In his research, Gray found that verbal working memory is impaired by negative emotion, but not by positive emotion. The opposite, he showed, is true for visuospatial working memory.
To the extent that repeated writing about negative events decreases their emotional impact, Miyake speculates, it may lead to improvements in verbal working memory. If such a mechanism is indeed responsible for Klein and Boals’s results, says Miyake, it may be that tests of visuospatial working memory would reveal a similar effect of writing about positive events.
This article is part of the Monitor’s “Science Watch” series, which reports news from APA’s journals.
90,000 Using the “two-part diary”, write down your impressions of the story “The Overcoat”.
I do not know if I understood the task correctly, but I hope I will help you with something.
Divide into quotes and impressions (comment?)
Quote: “So, there was one official in one department; the official cannot be said to be very remarkable, short, somewhat pockmarked, somewhat reddish, somewhat even blind in appearance, with a small bald spot on the forehead, with wrinkles on both sides of the cheeks and a complexion that is called hemorrhoidal “
Commentary: This passage evokes ambiguous feelings: we laugh at the description of the character, for the first time meeting the image of a little man, but at the same time we feel sorry for him for being described so not polite.
Quote: “It is hardly possible to find a person who would live like this in his position. It is not enough to say: he served zealously, no, he served with love.”
Commentary: This passage told us a lot about the main character: he loves his job very much and is anxious about its implementation. Immediately there is a feeling of sympathy for the protagonist, as a responsible person for his work.
Quote: “Only if the joke was too unbearable, when they pushed him under the arm, interfering with his business, he said:” Leave me, why are you offending me? ” : he suffers all sorts of insults, but sometimes he simply cannot stand it and does not know how to react to it and what to do about it.
Quote: “even he was completely accustomed to starving in the evenings; but on the other hand, he ate spiritually, carrying in his thoughts the eternal idea of a future greatcoat.”
Commentary: Akaki Akakievich reacted with trepidation to the purchase of a new overcoat, he spent all his savings on sewing it, and saved with all his might, waiting for a new overcoat.
“Since then, as if his very existence has become somehow more complete” warmth, joy for this person.
Quote: “” But just shout! “Akaky Akakievich only felt how they took off his greatcoat, gave him a knee kick, and he fell on his back in the snow and didn’t feel anything anymore.”
Commentary: The overcoat was stolen. One can feel how tears are filling in his eyes, Akaki Akakievich is very worried, but he still does not find help and dies in delirium.
I hope it helped)
90,000 Strengthen your success using Success Diary
This material was created by the editor of the Online Platform 5 SPHERES.
Reading Time: 3 min.
Our goal here on earth is to create, and I see this success as we simply walk into our best creations. Whether it’s a million dollar profit or the success of baking the tastiest cupcake ever. It is inspiring. It encourages us to continue to improve the very best in us and also encourages others to reach their stars.
When you have conquered your goal or problem, which once seemed impossible, you are at the height of bliss, which brings a tremendous sense of pride and satisfaction.But that’s not all. Success activates tremendous self-confidence as you understand what you are truly capable of! Thus, success breeds more success.
Each goal that you achieve, try to consider it as the first step into something more – it is the end of one path and many others. And one way to keep in touch with your success is to WRITE it down.
One of the best things I have ever done for myself and my success was to start keeping a success diary.This is my secret weapon in conquering the big one.
Buy a nice notebook and put it by your bed. I just ordered myself one on the Internet. Every night, before you go to bed, write down at least three successes of your day. If you get lost, remember that it can be anything from large to small. My list often includes both. I recently reviewed the notes of one day, which made me laugh – it said, “Received the Ernst & Young’s Winning Women for 2010” and immediately “chose a salad instead of a hamburger for lunch”, and “organized a filing cabinet”.This is the life of a lady. The crucial moment is to start.
You can write your diary entries at any time, but if you do it like I did – right before bed – then you will fall asleep in a positive mood. I think it even helps me wake up and have solutions to problems that I hadn’t solved the day before – my subconscious continued to desire achievement while I was sleeping!
The value of taking notes every day will not only increase your self-confidence, but also motivate you to do more.Try this and you will see – I promise.
I also like to open my success diary when something doesn’t work out. If a project depressing me, something doesn’t work out as it should, or I make mistake after mistake, I open my diary to help remind myself of how much I’ve accomplished so far. Good news: success is becoming a part of you!
The process of writing down your successes every day – especially at night before you go to bed – fixes them in your memory and they become a part of you.Your journal will remind you all the time that you are a successful person. This will stimulate you to create even greater success in your life.
So wait no longer – go today and buy a nice notebook, a nice pen, and write down all your progress tonight. Your first success might be the steps you have taken on this article!
Posted by Ali Brown – Entrepreneurship Mentor, teaches women around the world how to start and grow profitable companies that will have a positive impact.
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TrainingPeaks – Sports Activity Diary
Regular sports activities presuppose the formulation and achievement of certain results. It can be improving your fitness, getting ready to compete, or losing weight. In any case, it will be interesting for you to track your progress. In our age of computers, writing in a paper diary is a thing of the past. Electronic systems and devices allow us not only to record what workouts we do, but also to save many parameters of these activities, including time, speed, calories burned, heart rate charts and much more.Out of competition with paper media and unique opportunities for analyzing the data accumulated in your electronic diary. How your indicators change over time will be the main guideline for you that everything is being done correctly.
How to do it?
Even if you already play sports, it’s never too late to start keeping track of your workouts. There are many electronic assistants on the market, such as programs for smartphones, heart rate monitors, activity sensors, and more.Many manufacturers use their own algorithms and as a result maintain their own interface for analyzing the data stored by their instruments. What if you use one device on your morning jog and the other on your bike? We recommend combining data from different devices using the TrainingPeaks system.
The TrainingPeaks platform supports the import of data from devices and programs from most manufacturers.Here are just some of the most popular ones: Garmin, Polar, Timex, Strava. But a simple combination of data from different devices in itself does not reveal even a small part of the possibilities that we get using this system. Here are its main features:
- Proprietary TSS Training Performance Evaluation System
- Analysis of readings from power sensors for bicycles
- Toolkit for Trainers to Create Activities for Students Right in the
- Drawing up an annual training plan based on one or more competitions
- Analysis of sports form, fatigue, load balance, overtraining control
- Control of the athlete’s heart rate zones and timely tracking of changes in the ANSP indicator
- Keeping a food diary based on daily calorie consumption
- Database of training routes and their search around you, planning joint training
- Tracking mileage for each item of inventory you train with (sneakers, bicycles)
- Availability of own mobile applications for iOS and Android in Russian
What are TSS
Using the Training Load Rating System (TSS) and Intensity Level (IF), you can earn points for all sports.This allows any athlete to rate their workouts based on their relative intensity, duration, and frequency of exercise. One single number can now show how hard and how long you have been training. 100 points obtained by a pro athlete are equal to 100 points for a beginner athlete because TSS is calculated in relation to the personal endurance threshold.
This is the same system that has been used to study the fitness of elite and pro athletes over the past five years.Dr. Andy Coggan and Hunter Allen pioneered the use of TSS based on the original TRIMPS concept invented by Dr. Eric Bannister.
You don’t need expensive power sensors to start using the TSS to analyze your workouts. TSS works for cyclists, runners, swimmers and triathletes. What’s more, any workout with heart rate data can be linked to hrTSS scores.Additionally, pace can be used to calculate TSS scores based on your speed for sports such as swimming or running. Triathletes can now analyze workouts across all of their sports in one common graph – the Athletic Form Analysis Graph.
Once you understand how this simple workout analysis and evaluation system works, you can assign TSS points without instrumentation based on how you feel.Here are some examples to help you understand how the TSS system works:
- You will receive 100 TSS points when training at 100% effort for 60 minutes. Of course, most workouts are not done at 100% effort, so most of your workouts will score less than 100 TSS per hour.
- You can earn more than 100 TSS points in a single workout (assuming it lasts more than one hour), but never more than 100 TSS points per hour.
- Think of the intensity of the exercise as a number between 1 and 10, where 10 is the maximum effort. If you trained at an effort level of 5 for two hours, then you will receive 50 TSS points / hour or 100 points in total. And it doesn’t depend on what you trained for: to win the Tour de France or finish in your first triathlon.
One of the biggest benefits of recording your TSS scores on a daily basis is the ability to build a Performance Analysis Chart to assess your current competition readiness level.As well as comparison and planning of the training plan by periods. TrainingPeaks automatically calculates the levels of systematic training load (also called Chronic Training Load ™ or CTL), fatigue (in the English version of Acute Training Load ™ or ATL), and finally the level of freshness and readiness to carry a new load (also Training Stress Balance ™ or TSB ). CTL is the sum of fatigue and freshness scores.
We all understand that casual sports will not produce results.The Performance Analysis Chart can be your top secret. Consistency and consistency of training is the real secret and the key to achieving maximum results in sports.
The key factor influencing the correct calculation of TSS points for any workout is the correct setting of the thresholds. In Russian, this parameter is called TANM (threshold of anaerobic metabolism). That is, this is the intensity above which there is a critical accumulation of lactate in the blood, making it impossible to continue work.You can define your own thresholds using laboratory or field tests. At the same time, trainingpeaks can automatically track and, with a premium subscription, change these values itself. Methods for determining thresholds are a topic for a separate article. But in trainingpeaks you will be prompted to change the threshold provided:
- TANM for heart rate : changes when analyzing any workout when the average heart rate for 60 minutes or 95% of any 20 minutes has exceeded the set value for the heart rate.
- TANM by power (FTP) : changes if 95% of power from any 20 minutes exceeded the set value of the threshold
- Pace TANM (running only) : changes if the average normalized pace for any 45 minutes has exceeded the running pace setpoint
How We Use TrainingPeaks
In our work, we use all the functionality that TrainingPeaks provides for trainers.By linking your account to our coach, we make the initial configuration of the parameters. The next important step is drawing up a training calendar.
In each workout you see the type of activity, duration, distance, a description of the workout task, the coach’s comments on what to look for, etc. After training, you can leave your comments. As the data is uploaded, your calendar will be filled with reports that you and the coach can use to judge how well your training plan is performing.At the same time, knowing what tasks are coming up for you in the near future, you can better plan your weekly schedule. Moreover, for this it is not necessary to constantly visit the TrainingPeaks website. Depending on your smartphone, install the client for iOS, Android, or visit the mobile version of the site and view assignments and results on your mobile phone.
Let’s take an example of the training schedule of our athlete, who has not been involved in sports for the last 15 years before coming to us.
Training began in mid-September. The goals for the season were defined as ski marathon (2), cycling brevet (3) and 70.3 triathlon (5). Up to (1), the athlete gradually increased his form (blue line, strives upward), training an average of 100 TSS per day. With the growth of the form with constant training, we see the accumulation of general fatigue (the pink line also tends upward, ahead of the blue). From January 4 to January 15, there was no training, during this time the form fell, but fatigue also decreased, the pink and blue lines crossed.Further training was resumed on the way to point (2) – the first competition, a few days before which the intensity (blue dots) was specially reduced. After the competition (2), we observe a sharp drop in the yellow line to a negative value of -27, because your freshness level has dropped dramatically as a result of considerable effort. Then there was again a gradual increase in the load, from April and all of May, the number of TSS points per day at this time stably exceeded 120-130, and the intensity dropped to 0.8 in view of the training session, which lasted more than one and a half hours. As a result, the athlete approached the competition (3) at the peak of his form, a slight decrease was due to the road to the start, during which he did not train. After these competitions, the athlete was on vacation without training, his form began to fall again. In July, training was supportive due to the busyness of the athlete, and in the middle of the month there was an unplanned competition on the half Ironman as an estimate for the main start.Unfortunately, even after the start in July, the athlete could not pay due attention to training, as a result, his form dropped to the main start (5), which entailed covering the distance longer than the estimated time. This is clearly seen in the lower intensity and TSS scores, which are less compared to the same distance (4) in July, despite the longer time that the competition lasted. After the start, two recovery weeks followed, during which there was no training.
This graph is the main tool of the trainer, who, despite the distance form of training, can evaluate the effectiveness of the program built by him as if he was with the student all this time. By studying the schedule, along with analyzing the athlete’s calendar, communicating with him, the coach can timely adjust the plan, making changes that will help the athlete progress. At the same time, using this schedule, the athlete himself can follow the changes in his form, consulting the coach on one or another sensation.
If you are not only exercising, but also taking care of your weight, TrainingPeaks allows you to effectively maintain a balance between the intake and expenditure of calories, which is the key to reducing and further control over weight. TrainingPeaks has an extensive database of a wide variety of foods, which saves you the hassle of having to constantly pay attention to labels, manually entering the calories from each portion you eat. At the end of each day, a graph is built in the form of the sum of calories consumed minus your average daily calorie requirement and minus the calories burned during training.Our trainers will help you compose the optimal diet depending on the workload and goals that you set for yourself during exercise.
Be sure to read our article on setting zones and thresholds in TrainingPeaks.
We invite you to read the second article on advanced analytics of training results using the TrainingPeaks premium subscription.
Author: Alexey Kalinin
Mix your diary or journal with your social network using Loccit
Let’s face it, for many of us, our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds are our public diaries or journals.They may not display most of our dirty laundry, but they represent a lot about who we are. In my constant quest to find and use the perfect digital diary or journal, I think it is a private online and mobile journal and journal site.
Loccit might just be everything I need in this regard.
Loccit is a UK based website and iPhone app (both in beta) that can import your online content on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Foursquare, Flickr and Instagram into one place, keeping your memories online as well and, if you like, in the traditional paper form of a book.It allows you to combine both your public and private diary and diary entries in one private location and that’s what got me hooked.
How it works
I wrote earlier this year
about how I used Twournal to post my almost two years of tweets into a book. But one of the limitations of using Twournal is that it only publishes Twitter content, which often ends with article titles and links. With Loccit, I can now merge my tweets with my personal diary and journal entries, not limited to 140 characters.This means I can post personal, personal activities that Twitter followers don’t have to worry about
In Loccit’s web format, the social media content you authorize to import appears as a book, rather than just a linear list of posts. You can also just use Loccit without importing your social media content.
Loccit currently exists on only two platforms – as an iPhone app and as a web app. Both platforms sync with each other, but each has a unique orientation for those who like to use their mobile device to write diaries, and for those who may not even have an iPhone.
You can flip through digital pages and see the memories of your life (including the photos you post on your timelines) page by page. With the latest update, you can now import Instagram photos into your Loccit diary.
Each set of records is tagged with the day of their occurrence, followed by the time of each message. While this may be annoying to some, full URLs are also published in posts. And, of course, the source of each publication is marked with an icon.
You can add entries to your online diary using the iPhone app or the web app. Entries can include a title, content, photo, and where you write. You can also manage your recordings by chapter, which is really just a way to tag your recordings so you can view them all in one place.
Unfortunately, you can only leave messages for the current date. However, you can go back to the recordings and add them to chapters. Plus, you can delete entries – even those imported from your social networks – you don’t want to be part of your Loccit diary.
Loccit also allows you to add content posted by your contacts to your Loccit diary, as well as write a reflective comment on a selected entry. You can download and track your social media streams from both the web and the iOS app, but I found this part to be buggy. Several times when I clicked or clicked on “My Networks” it said “No results.”
If you are truly passionate about preserving your social and personal memories, you can publish your Loccit dairy magazine in paper or hardcover.I haven’t received a real copy of the sample book yet, but you will get a preview of how your book will look when printed.
When you decide to publish your diary, you can choose a start and end date for your book. Loccit imported my Twitter posts back in February 2011. It doesn’t explain the printable date range. The Loccit Store also has other printable elements using your social content.
Even if you don’t print a book, Loccit is a great private service for bringing your memories together.The developers say the site and app are still in beta, which no doubt speaks to some of the bugs I encountered.
But for those of us who have moved from a traditional magazine and paper journal and journaling to digital, Loccit is a great tool. The UI design is not as attractive as it could be, and the developers should definitely offer an ad-free version of the app. Banner ads at the bottom of the app make it cheap and distracting.
Despite these necessary improvements, I will continue to use Loccit and plan to publish my book of memories later this year. And thanks to Loccit, those memories will no longer be just a bunch of Twitter links and article headlines.
For other magazine writing apps and ideas, check out these articles:
- 4 great magazine apps to write about your day [iPhone]
- 3 ways to keep a journal on your Mac
Let us know what you think about Loccit.Will you try?
90,000 Research: How the use of online tools in school education changed in 2020-2021
IT in the public sector
In the 2020/21 academic year, the popularity of distance education platforms continues to grow, and teachers and students have become more actively using various digital tools and consuming educational content.For example, according to a study by Dnevnik.ru, one of the largest suppliers of electronic diaries and journals to schools in Russia, users of the Dnevnik.ru digital platform have begun to exchange educational materials many times more often. In November 2020 alone, 3 million files were uploaded to the system – 7 times more than in the same month in 2019.
Gabriel Levy , CEO of Dnevnik.ru, noted: “Many schools are forced to work remotely or partially go online.Using the electronic journal, teachers send educational material to the class, and children upload their homework to the platform and send them to the teacher for review. This can be done both in the diary itself and in the chat rooms for communication, which we launched in October. In comparison with the last academic year, the involvement has grown – Dnevnik.ru is often used as a social network. ”
Taking into account changes in the needs and behavior of users, other distance learning tools have been developed: video tutorials and online simulators with built-in homework assignments.The platform is developing its own communication tools: not so long ago, a messenger and communities appeared. Using the messenger, teachers, parents and students communicate with each other within the platform, and exchange personal experiences and news in communities.
Irina Romanenko , a teacher from the Nizhny Novgorod region, said: “As a music teacher, I like that Dnevnik.ru has the opportunity to create on your page a media library necessary for lessons, which children use to consolidate material at home.It is very convenient – no need to search for music and video on different sites, wasting time on this.
Schools of the Tambov region, the Republic of Adygea, Novgorod, Arkhangelsk and Amur regions are most actively using the possibilities of Dnevnik.ru. Here teachers are quicker than others to create timetables, plan lessons, enter grades, attendance marks, and homework into the electronic journal. In total, in the first half of the 2020/21 academic year, more than 370 million grades were given in Russian schools using the educational platform and over 45 million assignments were given.
The Dnevnik.ru company has been operating since 2007 and is a resident of Skolkovo.
90,000 what is it, what are they for in distance learning
What are electronic journals and diaries?
Electronic services at the school began to be introduced in 2009. The Russian government published an order according to which educational institutions were obliged to keep electronic diaries and progress journals by 2014.
In fact, this is an analogue of a regular school diary: it also has a schedule, homework, grades. Here are the advantages of this format over paper ones:
- The diary is available to parents online.
- The child will not lose or spoil him.
- You can receive email and mobile notifications of schedule changes or grades.
- It is possible to attach materials to prepare for the lesson.
What are e-journals and diaries for?
An electronic journal is a digital version of a school journal where omissions, grades are noted, and lesson topics are recorded.The system itself calculates the GPA and makes progress reports. It is now more difficult for unscrupulous students to erase “n” or bad marks.
It was assumed that thanks to electronic document flow, control over progress will become more transparent and convenient. Parents will be able to monitor their child’s grades online, teachers will have less paperwork, and schoolchildren will be able to record lessons and assignments right on their phone in their electronic diary.
Today, electronic journals and diaries are in fact in almost all Russian schools.However, many use a mixed system: they keep both digital and paper versions of journals and diaries. Thus, the workflow has not decreased, but increased.
<< Demo access form >>
Educational organizations have the right to choose the system of electronic monitoring of students’ progress themselves. There are government services (for example, a diary on the website of the mayor of Moscow, on the website “Gosuslugi”) and popular private developments (“Dnevnik.ru”, “ElZhur” and others).
Since September 2017, the Moscow Department of Innovative Technologies has restricted access to data on Moscow schools to third-party developers.Therefore, all educational organizations in the capital use only the electronic diary on the mos.ru website.
Electronic journal and electronic diary for homeschoolers
To register in the above services, you must be attached to an educational organization. Homeschoolers can only access official electronic journals and diaries during interim assessments. During this period, he acquires the status of an external student and academic rights equal to other students.
Indeed, unlike school, family education does not give “enki” and grades. Homeschoolers choose the program themselves and organize the educational process. The responsibility for the quality of knowledge lies with the parents and the student himself. And as such, knowledge testing takes place only during the period of intermediate or final certification.
Keeping an electronic journal and a diary on distance learning throughout the school year is more difficult. To monitor your current progress, it is better to consider alternative versions that are suitable for homeschoolers:
- In the iSchool application, you can create a timetable, write down homework, set reminders, give grades from one to ten points and get a progress graph.There is also the option to add PDFs and take notes. Installed free of charge.
- School Diary is a free Android application with basic functionality, but no ratings.
- The Weeklie class schedule is also a free and convenient service for keeping an electronic diary. Pros: minimalistic design and user-friendly widget.
In addition, Google.Calendar, Trello and other planning services can be adapted to track progress.
At Foxford Home School, a personal mentor helps students and parents manage progress and workload distribution.He will remind you of homework, missed classes and advise you to include the child’s clubs and sections in the schedule.
Foxford’s online home school does not give grades for homework — students are rewarded for effort, not performance. But testing is periodically carried out, and once a trimester or six months – and control work.
Services of electronic diaries and journals are available mainly to students in the traditional form of education. But homeschoolers shouldn’t give up on the convenience of technology.You can use third-party applications and adapt e-services for distance learning for yourself. Applications allow you to automate the organization of the educational process and focus on acquiring knowledge.
Ignite User Manual | Training Planning
You are here: Polar Flow> Planning Your Training
You can plan your training and create personal training targets in the Polar Flow web service or app.
Create a training plan using the Season Planner tool
The Season Planner in the Flow web service is a great tool for creating a customized annual training plan. Whatever your training goal, Polar Flow helps you create a comprehensive plan to achieve it. The Season Planner tool is located in the Polar Flow web service under the Programs tab.
Polar Flow for Coach is a free remote coaching platform that allows coaches to plan their workout in detail, from full season plans to individual workouts.
Create a training target in the Polar Flow app and web service
Please note that before using the training targets, they must be synced to your watch using Flowsync or the Flow app.The watch will tell you how to reach your goal during your workout.
Create a training target in the Polar Flow web service:
- Go to the Diary section, click Add> Training target.
- In Add Training Target, select Sport, enter the Target Name (45 characters maximum), Date and Time, and any Notes (optional) you want to add.
Then select the target type from the following:
Select the duration of your goal in hours and minutes.
- Select a Duration.
- Please enter the duration.
- Click on Add to Favorites to add the target to your favorites list.
- Click Save to add the target to the Diary.
Select the duration for your destination in kilometers or miles.
- Select Distance.
- Enter the distance.
- Click on Add to Favorites to add the target to your favorites list.
- Click Save to add the target to the Diary.
Select a goal based on the number of calories you want to burn during your workout.
- Select Calories.
- Enter the number of calories.
- Click on Add to Favorites to add the target to your favorites list.
- Click Save to add the target to the Diary.
Select an interval-based target. Add high intensity work phases and low intensity recovery periods to your workout to enhance your workout routine.
- Select Interval.
- Select Repeat Phases to unlock the default interval target if desired.
You can edit each phase by clicking the pencil icon on the right: Select Name and Duration / Distance for each phase, Manual or Automatic to start the next phase, and Select intensity. Then click Finish. To return to editing the phases you added, click the pencil icon.
- Click on Add to Favorites to add the target to your favorites list.
- Click Save to add the target to the Diary.
You can split your workout into phases and set a different duration and intensity for each phase. Use this function to create a workout that is split into phases and add warm-up and cool-down phases.
- Select Phase separation.
- Select Create New or Use Template.
- Create a new target: Add phases to targets Click Duration to add a duration-based phase, or click Distance to add a new distance-based phase. Select Name and Duration / Distance for each phase, Manual or Automatic to start next phase and Select intensity.Then click Finish. To return to editing the phases you added, click the pencil icon.
- Using a template: To edit the phases of a template, click the pencil icon. You can add more phases to the template as described above to create a new phased goal.
If you have created a goal and added it to your favorites, you can use this goal as a planned one.
- In Diary, click + Add on the day when you want to use a favorite or scheduled goal.
- Click Favorite target to open the list of favorites.
- Click the desired favorite.
- A favorite has been added to your diary as a planned goal for the day. By default, the scheduled time for the training target is set at 18.00. If you want to change the training target data, click the target in Diary and edit it.Click Save to update your changes.
If you want to use an existing favorite as a template for a training target, proceed as follows:
- Go to the Diary section, click Add> Training target.
- In the Add Training Target window, click Favorite Targets. You will see a list of your favorite targets.
- Click Favorites to use as a template for your goal.
- Select Sport, enter the Target Name (45 characters maximum), Date and Time, and any Notes (optional) you want to add.
- Change the favorites as you like. Editing a target in this mode will not change the original favorite target.
- Press ADD TO DIARY to add the target to your Diary.
Synchronize targets with watch
Be sure to sync the training targets between your watch and the Flow web service using FlowSync software or Flow app. If syncing fails, the goals will only appear in the Diary or Favorites in the Flow web service.
For instructions on starting a target workout, see Starting a Workout.