How Logging Your Day Can Lead To Higher Effectiveness
Logging your day may seem like an excessive effort, but it can be surprisingly beneficial. The idea of a Programmer Log is just that: a time and date-stamped record of what you have done in a day, what you have learned, and any problems to watch for. This article explores how logging your days can lead to higher effectiveness, and why you should consider giving it a try.
Creating a log of your day is relatively simple. All you need to do is write down the date and time and describe what you have done or learned. For instance, you might notice some differences between a production server you are working with and other development servers at work. Take 20 seconds to write down these differences in detail. This seemingly small effort will help you input the details into a document for your entire team on the subtleties between environments.
Another example is logging the start and stop times of a task or project. This can give you a realistic view of how long something takes to accomplish and help you make adjustments, as well as provide estimates for future tasks or projects.
Using and Reviewing Your Logs
The most important part of logging your day is not only creating a log of your activities, but reviewing it. You need to go through your log and identify items that could be brought up at meetings or with other people, create new projects, identify other tasks to be done, or keep track of the time needed to complete tasks.
If you are a GTDer (Getting Things Done follower), then you are looking for potential “inbox items” that are hidden in your logs. Finding meaningful content in your logs can be difficult at first, but after a few days of reviewing your logs, you can pull out valuable items.
For instance, in the above example where there were differences between production and testing environments, you can identify some next actions and add them to context lists. This not only enhances the standard GTD approach, but it also means that potentially meaningful work is not missed.
Logs also help you review work done on a certain topic. Being able to present everything you have done in a current team or personal project helps identify where to go next.
Becoming More Effective
The act of logging your day in detail can help you become more effective in producing desired results in projects. It allows you to track what you have done, the time it took to do it, and anything that came up in the process. Having this information when you approach a project gives you the data you need to make decisions on next actions, as well as how long something will take.
For personal projects, it may not be as essential to identify how long something takes to complete. If you work for a company or own a business, having a realistic outlook on the time a project will take to complete is invaluable.
In conclusion, logging your day may be deemed unnecessary, but it can significantly boost your productivity and overall effectiveness. Consider trying it for a week, and see the things you might miss that are project or action-related that you would not have tracked otherwise. It was an eye-opening experience to track my work for the last month, something that I will continue to do because of the boost in my effectiveness. Give it a try and see how it fits with your work and personal life.