The Benefits of a Default Diary

What is a default diary and how does it differ from a regular, every-day planner?

Productivity is something everyone struggles with, especially when managing and maintaining a business. It can often feel like there’s no catching up and you’re being endlessly bombarded with new tasks. Creating a default diary and putting it to regular use is one of the most effective ways to manage and improve your time management.

What is it?

A default diary is a specific plan that details all of the most important tasks you need to face within a week. You might look at it as a plan for your ideal week. While your every-day planner may only include planned work commitments, whether that is business meetings, conferences, or personal commitments like going to the gym or going out for dinner with friends, a default diary blocks out time for tasks that need to get done, with space in between to allow for those last-minute meetings or unforeseen emergencies. Default diaries allow you to block out large blocks of time to help give you a guide on what you should be working on. Of course, you can’t expect to get it all done perfectly but it allows you to take a look at the time you have and work out where your time could be better spent.

How do I get started?

Sit down and work out what you need to get done in the week and take in to consideration what tasks may not be getting enough attention. Do you have to make regular client calls, are your emails getting out of hand, or are your staff and interns perhaps not getting enough attention? Ensure that you automate everything you can, this not only makes it easier for you, but it gives you extra time to devote to other tasks.  When creating your default diary, consider when you work best and what gets in your way the most. What distracts you the most and what do you find to be the more difficult aspects of your role? What do you find are your strengths and where do you find you make the most progress? If you can pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses before creating your default diary, it will be easier to stick to your plan and work out your most productive timeline.

What if I don’t stick to it?

The great thing about the default diary is you can change and adapt it as much as you like! If you try it and find that it’s not working, mix it up. Take a look at what time specific tasks are getting done and try changing it. You may find going through your emails first thing in the morning works better for you, or you may like to go through them at the end of the day. You also might find that you’re giving yourself too little or too much time to do one thing. Take notes of how long it’s taking you to do tasks and rework your diary to match your pace. You’ll find that the more you do, the more you’ll learn how long it takes you to do certain tasks. The default diary is in place to help YOU so if you don’t understand it, change it so that you do! If you find printing it out and having it on your wall motivates you more, go for it! This is a tool to work and change to assist you and ensure your time is being put to good use.

Some Tips to Keep in Mind

Make sure you make time to block out your lunch. It may not seem as important when you’ve got work piled up to your ears but taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your business.

Ensure that you block our client nurture time. If you have a day you meet your clients for lunch or coffee, make sure you include this time in your default diary. This will encourage you to keep contact even on the days and weeks that you don’t have anything booked.

Lastly, introduce the concept to your team. Get them to block out their time and perhaps go through it at weekly reviews and see how everyone is doing. This not only keeps them accountable, but you also get a clear understanding of how your team are spending their time.

You can check out an example of a default diary here. You may like to use Google Calendar, Outlook, or you may like to write it down. However you approach it, we hope creating your own default diary helps improve your time management and reduces those work-overload induced stresses.

Do you find yourself losing control of your business and don’t know where all your time is going? Contact OnPoint Strategy for help today at 

Donna Bates

Donna is a Strategic Planning Consultant, whose talents have been refined over 25+ year corporate career.

She is an Award-winning, Business & Marketing Growth Strategist who specialises in consulting with company's going through growth, change & upheaval.

Being a “legacy leader” she has mentored talented people across a wide spectrum of industries globally, helping them to grow & pivot their businesses, to stay relevant & profitable.

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