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[Weekender] Pouring heart into diary for 15 years

Author of diary book offers tips on keeping one for 2018

Many welcome a new year with a new diary.

Sadly, buying a diary is the easy part. Filling it can be much more difficult and many fall into disuse over the course of the year.

While people buy planners, journals and schedulers fully determined to use them until the year-end, they are often forgotten about when the temperature starts to climb, and are pushed into the corner of a dusty bookshelf. Some people even give up before the spring comes.

(Im Eun-byel, The Korea Herald)
(Im Eun-byel, The Korea Herald)

Some “quitters” successfully switch to mobile apps to manage their schedules, but others try to keep up with their daily lives by depending on their memories, often forgetting tasks.

Seo Bo-ra is a professional when it comes to keeping a diary. She even wrote a book titled “How a Hotshot Salesperson Keeps a Diary.” As the marketing director of a kiosk service company Hunik, Seo has been using diaries for the past 15 years.

“Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to work until now,” Seo said, presenting more than 15 diaries that she has kept over the years. “I am a working mom, 24 hours are not enough for me, but that is not an excuse to make a mistake at work.” 

(Im Eun-byel, The Korea Herald)
(Im Eun-byel, The Korea Herald)

She said writing everything down has made all the difference when it comes to working efficiently and projecting a professional image.

“Having meetings with colleagues or clients, I take memos of every little detail. With the information I note down, I can give detailed feedback and people like it,” she said.

Even during the interview with The Korea Herald, Seo wrote down a task on her diary, after taking a phone call from work, saying she might forget about the task if she didn’t.

Seo does not just keep a diary, but physically keeps the diaries close by at her workspace.

“By having them by my side, I can go back and refer to them whenever I want to, no matter how long ago,” she said. “I can check exactly what I did 10 years ago.”

For her, it’s not just about being professional. Seo said that she is comforted by looking into the planners from the past.

“The diaries contain the records of the work I’ve done in the past 15 years. It’s as if they tell me that I cannot give up now, after all the work I’ve done,” she said. “They encourage me to keep going and stay strong.”

Some people tend to feel stressed about keeping a diary or journal. “Some think that writing down schedules is meaningless, because they keep on changing,” she said. “But with Post-its, one can easily change the written schedule on a diary. Just move it when the schedule changes. Also, when running errands, you can take the Post-its instead of the diary.”

Seo’s diaries are filled with countless Post-its. She recommends formatting a document to print in a post-it style and attaching post-its to the A4 page before printing so they can be easily inserted into the diary. Her tactic is to go analog and digital at the same time.

“I write down simple but urgent issues on my smartphone, using three apps,” she said. “But for more complicated tasks that need to go through other processes, an analog diary is better.”

Seo does not think that everyone needs to keep a diary. She said that there are people who don’t need a diary to keep up with their lives. But to those who hesitate to do so, she said keeping a diary was definitely a plus in life.

Seo said, “Buying a diary at the start of the year is an annual event for me. Some still ask me, why do you pay for a diary? But I pour my heart into it for a whole year. It’s worth it.”

By Im Eun-byel (
Korea Herald daum