I’ve now kept daily logs of my activities for a month and a week, on a blog run on my laptop. It hasn’t been an effort to do it as a daily habit, logging activities, notions/ideas/brief thoughts, and state of mind. Early on I noted how it led more easily to spin-offs in the shape of blogposts or (local) wiki pages. There are other benefits as well. It helps me see what I did on days that feel like I’ve done nothing, usually by more readily showing the variety of small things I did do. In the past two weeks as I was extremely stressed out from writing two client reports, it also showed me what progress I actually did make in a day, as opposed to my mind only seeing the amount of work that still needed to be done. Finally it is now gradually allowing me to see and tweak how I take breaks, build in relaxation. That is something I easily ignore otherwise, spending too many hours in one sitting behind the screen.

Starting my day now has a clear and predictable marker: I open up my laptop, click the shortlink to a new blogpost in edit mode, hit two keyboard shortcuts (.dag for the title with date, and .dlist to populate the post with a basic list) and enter what time I started working and on what. After thirtyseven days I think this habit is a keeper.

4 reactions on “

  1. @ton thanks for this update! I have found that keeping my log updated during the day helps me feel more settled, in-control, and that when I feel overwhelmed, updating the log calms me.

  2. My father kept a day log from 1966 until his death last year. The early years are notebooks; in later years he switched to using a PC, and then, later, a Mac. He kept his digital log entries encrypted inside one big Word file; after he died I was able to crack the encryption on this file and gain access to more that 30 years worth of his notes. I thought that I would find great answers to pressing questions there; instead I found “put gas in the lawnmower” and “trip to the dentist” and on and on and on. His log was for him, as yours is for you; the encryption protected us from the mundane, not the scandalous.

    • My grandmother had something similar. A big pile of notebooks in the cupboard. Born in the 19-00’s she never moved away from paper. In those notes she would keep track on prices “150 kg of coals delivered, now 7cts, expensive!” “put 12 portions of beans in the freezer, 20 of rhubarb. Spinach almost finished”. “Neighbour came, said X had broken an ankle”, or some such. Anthropologically/socially highly interesting probably. For us as family it was also a source of fun, because she would make pointed remarks and observations as well.

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