The importance of the daily log

Journal pile

Keeping a log of my days and weeks is one of the best habits I’ve ever started and one I wished I started years ago. I wrote about daily logging in how I organize with Notion and a notebook, but it doesn’t matter what tool or system you use (and there are a lot out there, just Google daily logging/daily journaling and see).

It’s the practice that counts. Here is what I do.

Each day I work I record what I completed, read, or worked on. Just a couple of bullets sometimes, other times quite a few bullets, and wherever I can I link to the thing I did (a post I made, an interaction I had, etc) and if I can’t link to it, I probably should so I share it in some way and then link to that thing.

Then, each week I pull all these bullets together and summarize them in a weekly update that I share with my team.

I do the same thing for personal stuff, although I’ve been much looser with that system and I wish I hadn’t been. Here is an example of what I shared from my personal log last week.

Started the week visiting Brassie beach for the new year, which was fantastic. Spent the rest of the week mostly with the kids on their last week of their Christmas holidays. It was fun, if a bit exhausting of course. We played with legos and I started an attempt to re-assemble a Tie Fighter. I also did some reflection on how I wanted to approach the new year and came to a simple conclusion that 2023 is my year of reading. 2023 is also the year of using my new Wacom tablet and wok, albeit for separate ends. I also installed a vented clothes dryer in our shed and all is right with the world.

Notice how I’m linking to a lot of stuff that will still be there a year from now? It doesn’t have to be fancy, the rule is just to document what comes to mind. Also, everything counts! Did you think about a problem you were having (but not solve it)? That counts, write it down and link to an example! You set the rules.

I just did my semi-annual self assessment at work and a process that used to take me days (because I had to comb through back-scrolls of emails, calendars, notebooks, and files) is now done in a couple hours. I just go through my weeks (roughly 25 entries) and all my examples and work are right there.

This whole habit has proven to be another of those keystone habits (like regular reading time) that has other, unforeseen benefits. When you write out what you did, you become more mindful about what you are going to do. You start making connections you didn’t realize were there, like why some days feel good and others don’t.

The daily log has proven to be a foundational habit for me and one I can’t live without. I highly recommend it.

One response

  1. Thanks for this post. The amount you achieve and the way you organise and link things is truly awesome! No way I could be that organised.
    Apropos of your earlier blog on journeling I did start a written journal which was really helpful in focusing my somewhat scatty brain. My natural predisposition results in a trail of unfinished projects as I chop and change, and lose interest before completion.
    I will resume the journal for 2023. Ha Ha told you; lost interest in the journal towards the end of ’22. The upside of not keeping a resolve is a chance to start afresh.

Comments welcome!

%d bloggers like this: