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I recently started a new job where my manager is very hands-off. I’m working on increasing our contact but I want something to help aid me in tracking what I’m doing daily so I can accurately report to him and self-assess my progress.

Do any of your journal your workday? If you do, what tools do you use?

My largest constraint is that my solution has to be hosted locally on my workstation yet backed up. I’ve given thought to using TiddlyWiki. I have OneNote and could just creation a new section for journaling and create new pages daily/weekly. I’m on a Mac but command line tools are completely in-bounds.

I’m interested in what the rest of you have done, what value you’ve derived from it, and why you continue to do it or why you stopped.

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      I am a heavy org-mode user too, one feature I use a lot is capture templates, actually. I have one for taking meeting notes, another for recording project decisions, and another for any arbitrary notes I think are worth remembering.

      1. 1

        The one thing I really dislike about org-mode is that I could never find a decent CLI app for it. Sometimes I just wanna query from the command line without firing up emacs. If someone has a decent utility to talk to org-mode files without org-mode, please please send it my way.

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          This might seem a bit obvious but the best support for org-mode is always going to be within Emacs. So why not write whatever is it that you’re after as a eshell/emacs script that you run from the command line?

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            I’ve alliased vi to emacsclient -t it launches an emacs server on the first call the next call will open it almost instantaneously. Perhaps it would be good enough for you.

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              Some suggestions to make this easier:

              • grep -E '^\*+ TODO' has always been good for me as my “todo” alias.
              • org-batch-agenda-csv can be used along with pulling your org-agenda-files and agenda config into a separate file, and you can use that with other CLI tools fairly easily.

              They’re only textfiles, I think state changes are the hard part without emacs

              1. 1

                I think the beginning of your last sentence is really the key for me. “They’re only text files”. I can script the hell out of those, as it turns out. Onwards!

                Seriously though, one of my main cases is to have a way to accumulate notes easily. I always have an emacs instance running too. I think my problem might abstract itself away, in the end.

              2. 1

                what kinds of queries? you can always run emacs with a one off command against a file. alias that in your shell.

                see:

                https://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/BatchMode

                https://emacs.stackexchange.com/questions/18111/query-the-org-agenda-from-the-commandline#18119

                you could also just do a simple ag or grep search as org files are all just text depending on what you want to do.

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              I love org-mode and consistently feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. You can start with a really simple workflow and build it out as you see fit. Occasionally I end up in a yak shave, like trying to sync with google calendar or jira or some other part of the outside world, but yeah emacs + org-mode + (some file syncing service) has served me well.

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                I also use org-mode with deft. My ~/.deft is a symlink to a folder in my iCloud drive so my notes are always sync and saved. Furthermore I also append .gpg to the file name so my notes are encrypted with my gpg.

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                  Org-mode is also what I use. I’ve tried many different tools, but come back to org-mode each time - it’s worth learning emacs basics just for org-mode. For example, I love how I can get a myriad of different views and reports on how I spend my time.

                  Here is an example clock report from a few weeks ago. (The far-right column, unlabeled, is actually a custom calculation, my estimated hourly-rate multiplied by how much time I spent on the task. I use this to estimate how “valuable” a task is. It’s not a perfect metric, but I find it’s better than just time-spent on a task.)

                  I try to put everything in org-mode, and the more I do so, the more organized I get and the more I get done. Like (I think) Peter Drucker said “what gets measured, gets managed.” Org-mode is my manager-self, so my engineer-self can actually get work done without worrying about which work is important.

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                  Yes I do! I thought I was alone in this practice.

                  1. Set a cron job to call espeak every 16 minutes and say “Please make a log entry” (so I don’t forget)
                  2. Use jrnl (http://jrnl.sh/) to keep logs, making backups as needed.

                  Being able to remember what you did Friday afternoon on a Monday morning is valuable.

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                    What I like about jrnl’s date syntax is how easy it is to inject events into the past. For example I just got interruped by a coworker so I can tell jrnl after he left: “jrnl 45 minutes ago: hunt for bug foo #32456”

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                      OMG. This is almost exactly what I need in my life.

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                        Never heard of jrnl before. Thanks! I am using my own scipt log-append, but it’s only meant to report what’s happening right now. In workplace I plug it into booting, shutting down, screen lock and unlock too, so I have rough estimate of time spent outside of desk and time spent in work in general. My other scripts help me here: day and month (which I have somehow forgotten to commit and push).

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                        I extensively use my own terminal-based personal organizer/mind map for tracking personal tasks, priorities, notes, brainstorming, and basically making sure I’m staying on-track. Everything is a tree, infinitely nestable/collapsable. It’s got to-do lists, hierarchical task weighting and task auto-selection for avoiding decision fatigue, and configurable sparklines for showing me an overview of what my progress has looked like for various things I’m tracking. The keybinds are a bit daunting for new users, but if you’re curious, try starting with the tutorial.

                        I made this when I was taking a break from work, and traveling around, but wanted to grow in a bunch of ways to take full advantage of my time. It was super useful for me, and I’ve been using it even more now that I’m trying to squeeze even more tasks into my time, balancing with a job.

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                          I’ve tried a variety of things over the years, but the thing I’ve most consistently found useful is a script where I can type:

                          $ c a couple words about what is happening right now
                          

                          and it will get appended to a log file with a timestamp, such as:

                          2017-07-25T07:50:03-0400 a couple words about what is happening right now
                          

                          I wrote the script while at a job where I needed to track time closely for invoicing, but got in the habit of just typing “c lunch” or “c in” or “c switching to issue X” whenever I switched contexts. (c stands for “capture current context”.) That log captures enough raw details that I can write something more detailed at the end of the day, with the benefit of hindsight.

                          The script is:

                          #!/bin/sh
                          TIMESTAMP=$(date "+%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S%z")
                          LOG=~/.c.log
                          CONTEXT=${CONTEXT:-20}
                          
                          if [ "$1" == "-d" ] && [ "$2" -ge 0 ]; then
                              grep $(date -v "-$2d" "+%Y-%m-%d") ${LOG}
                          elif [ -z "$*" ]; then
                              tail -n ${CONTEXT} ${LOG}
                          else
                              echo "${TIMESTAMP} $*" >> ${LOG}
                          fi
                          

                          If I run it as c (no arguments), it prints the last 20 entries. c -d N prints all entries from N days ago.

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                            TL;DR I write down in a notebook the one or two most important things I accomplish each hour.

                            During the school year I use a lined, ring-bound notebook as my daily log. I sit down in the morning and plan out each hour with one or two items per hour. Then I look at the next three or four days and choose the three most important tasks I want to accomplish on those days. They’re not set in stone, and obviously things come up that bump my priorities, but it helps me to know what I want to get done so I can weigh it against other compelling goals. Then, throughout the day I note what I completed, what things changed, and so on.

                            During the summer, I have almost complete freedom in how I structure my day since I am not teaching, and I haven’t yet found a way to track my progress that I really like for this unstructured work. I have a lot of freedom to dive into problems and pursue ideas, so it doesn’t make sense to overly plan my day. But I also sense that not having clear constraints sometimes makes me use my time on things that aren’t top priorities.

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                              I’ve used Trello for self-organization in a poorly-structured environment. I had columns for current work, completed tasks, tasks I had been explicitly assigned, my ideas for tasks, task ideas I’d overheard/extracted from conversation, and goals I knew I’d be evaluated on. Additionally, I took notes during meetings to make sure I didn’t lose track of tasks, ideas, or limitations. I took notes to a text file but thought of the board; if I couldn’t imagine exactly what card I’d put up and how I’d complete it, I’d ask a question. When I had progress checkins, I could look at the “done column” and evaluate that + what I had on deck against my longer-term goals.

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                                I’m a simple man, I use Simplenote for pretty much everything since it’s available on all my devices and… simple. I have a note titled {company_name}: STATUS that’s just a long list of dated sections with any notes I take that day, including notes from standup and such. If anything ends up being too long or worth keeping a handy reference to I’ll break it out into another note like {company_name}: {some_app}: troubleshooting or such and reference the title in the STATUS note. You can see a lot of the value comes from naming convention for the note titles.

                                I really do use Simplenote for everything from work, to grocery lists, to music I want to check out, to Minecraft base locations, etc.

                                1. 5

                                  Moleskine graph paper notebooks, BIC mechanical pencils, and an eraser.

                                  Pros: Cheap, effective, you can impress people with your penmanship (or lack-there-of)

                                  Cons: I forgot it at home today.

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                                    I write work related notes irregularly, and I use Quiver because the data is stored locally, it has enough structure (tags, notebooks), it supports Markdown (with built-in preview) and has search.

                                    I also use it for other things like notes on books I’ve read, setup instructions, ideas and so on.

                                    I like it because it’s less friction than a web app or a local wiki, and my threshold for the convenience of jotting down a note is low enough that I can’t be bothered to use most other tools (I’ve tried quite a few).

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                                      Quiver looks pretty great as an alternative to OneNote. I might use Quiver for my personal, non-work stuff!

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                                      I use a Moleskine notebook with a mix of bullet journaling and org-mode markup to log times, events that happen, doodles and diagrams. I try to transcribe as much as I can back to my Org-mode files. I keep a $workday tag, and separate each org-agenda-file by each task type like backend, ops, and such. For most cases, I keep everything in my org-mode files, just like someone else mentioned in their reply, it’s quite useful to rely on the capture capability, to capture interruptions, meetings, and quick notes. The big win of Org-mode are the capture templates. I can have notes and attendees of a meeting all setup in a heading with multiple sub-headings in one key stroke, ready to be edited, and filled up while the meeting is clocked. This makes sharing meeting notes or transcribing your notes to another document a breeze. I clock all my tasks and do effort estimates for each task which can later be filled back in any Bug Tracker. I follow as close as I can Norang’s Org-Mode document.

                                      I wish I could spend more time on my notebook, but I’ve become accustomed to this workflow. It’s hard to break the habit now.

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                                        I do journal about my workday, and it’s mostly to keep track of what I do from one day to the next. These days, the idea of a workday is somewhat muddled since I’m woking full-time on my own projects to bring them to profitability, so I work things into my retrospective of the day before I go to bed.

                                        When I most recently worked in a shop that bought into Microsoft’s groupware and office software suite, I used OneNote. I had a separate section of a notebook labeled “Retrospectives,” and I had things broken out into one page per month. On each page, I had one heading per day, and I organized things under that heading as necessary. I had this published in my Public folder on OneDrive for Business for anyone to read. For things that were particularly sensitive, I used OneNote’s built-in password protection.

                                        For my personal journaling, I have a gigantic org-mode document that I rotate out quarterly. The formatting is mostly the same, modulo the addition of heading levels for the year and the month as well there. For notes that are particularly sensitive, I have a separate document that is PGP-encrypted.

                                        I’ve kept with this habit largely because I can search through my notes from days previous and jog my memory about what I did/encountered that day. At my most recent gig, I was on-call reasonably often, and it was customary to provide a sort of post-mortem report after the shift was over and after incidents were handed off. This helped tremendously with that.

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                                          A friend of mine and fellow lobster @squarism blogged a few years back about how he devlogs. In the past few years since reading and getting it set up locally I’ve tried pretty hard to log the highlights of my day and/or any useful information I pick up when diving into a project or issue. It’s especially handy for recalling what I did in my weekly retrospective meeting and/or daily standup. The file is sync’d to dropbox so it’s generally available on all of my devices, although I probably have about a dozen swap files that I need to clean out every few months.

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                                            I carry a ring-bound notebook, which mostly functions as mental swap space. I write down todo items, scratch them out as they are completed, and when the page gets too crowded I copy the remaining items to a fresh page. There’s also room to doodle or sketch out solutions.

                                            The pages aren’t dated, and when I scratch off a workitem I don’t write down the time. But the pages are kept linear, so it sort of functions as a journal of work over time. Keeping track of time doesn’t seem worth the administrative overhead to me, although that could be because my side projects are unorganized and my workplace uses an issue tracker. I can leaf backwards if I need to recall something, but the notebook is pretty useless for answering “what was I doing at X hour on Y day?”

                                            1. 3

                                              I’m using a mix of mac-notes-app to scribble down quick TODOs and notes. It’s synced with my phone and macbook, which makes it convenient and always available (especially on the go), but nothing you’d want to use for longterm storage or organization.

                                              I use Trello borads for structured processes, and to keep track of mid-and really-long-term stuff. It’s more for planning than having a tool to look back at a week or month.

                                              The biggest game changer for me though, was starting to always carry a pen & hardcover notebook, using the bullet journal system to have structured monthly/weekly plans and daily tasks/notes, which you can revisit after fixed periods of time to look at what has happened.

                                              Just having those is not enough though. From working on my own business and while being a co-founder, I had to make it a conscious effort to sit down weekly/monthly/at the end of a day, and review what I have achieved. Not only review, but write down the results in a separate doc, which is meant to “for me in the future”, if that makes sense. Just having stuff in your notebook is not enough and will not magically result in learnings, accurate reflection or reports.

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                                                I work in a place with very flexible hours, which means I have to keep track of when I get to work. I made a script which combines that with having a log file: https://gist.github.com/mortie/f4aba996d45d6535941e013f3e29ca8c

                                                That script sits in a ~/job dir on my machine. The first thing I do when I arrive in the morning is to run job/log, which appends a new line to job/log.txt which looks like this: # 2017-07-25 (Tuesday): 08:47-16:47. Subsequent runs of job/log just opens log.txt with $EDITOR (in my case vim), which is what I do to note down progress or problems I want to remember the next day. Then, lastly, job/log time gives me the time I have been there; if I ran job/log first time at 08:47, and it’s currently 16:50, job/log time will then print 08h 03m 00s.

                                                The next day, job/log will notice that the last line starting with a # refers to yesterday and not today, and so will append a new line with a new date and time.

                                                The log file will then look something like this:

                                                # 2017-07-25 (Tuesday): 08:47-16:47
                                                
                                                * Did something
                                                * http://example.com/very-useful-link-I-found
                                                * Why is <thing> broken?
                                                
                                                # 2017-07-25 (Wednesday): 09:33-17:33
                                                
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                                                  This sounds like a great mixture of jrnl and ledger timekeeping mode. I like how yours keeps track of when you started. How do you handle days that you don’t necessarily work eight hours straight? I’m falling into that irregular cadence myself. I’d love to have real ledger integration with jrnl so I can more closely track my time spent on certain tasks.

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                                                    I don’t handle that case. I personally just work 8 hours after arriving at work (obviously with stuff like lunch and pauses interspersed), and don’t start working again after I stop working at the end of a workday.

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                                                  I use plain Apple Notes and just write stuff down. I keep tasks and notes all bundled together, in chronological order. Most of my notes explain why tasks took longer or shorter than expected, what problems I encountered, or are context for the task that make it easier to “page in” and get started (e.g. a bug tracker link).

                                                  I have focus issues so I optimize my note into a work queue. It’s mostly a FIFO that I blindly follow, and periodically step back and reorder. That way adding new things to the note is cheap, so I can add things and forget about them instantly rather than shifting my focus.

                                                  Since I constantly reorder the note into chronological order, it always shows what I’ve done and when, and the exact next thing I need to be doing at any given time: the top unchecked thing on the list.

                                                  My strategy is definitely bullet journal inspired, but works for me much better digitally because I aggressively reorder.

                                                  Just pick a simple tool, and come up with a productive strategy while using it. Then, if some other tool has a feature that would help with your strategy, switch.

                                                  1. 2

                                                    I’ve used ikiwiki for similar purposes.

                                                    1. 3

                                                      I do some editing with the web interface, but much more simply using a checked out copy of the repo. All the wiki content is stored in git, as markdown documents and images. When I push to a certain remote, git-hooks are invoked and the markdown is rendered into html pages, which I then serve up via a local apache.

                                                      I think I can configure instance to render the pages without the editing buttons, and then serve that html up as fully static content, for co-workers. That was the idea anyway… I don’t think that side of it is presently needed.

                                                      The template functionality is great! I use templates to generate technical documentation customized for individual customers. I just create a new wiki page using a snippet that populates several variables. …The last step of the workflow is top copy/paste rendered HTML into Outlook… *sigh*

                                                      [ed: elaborated re: templates]

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                                                      I mixture of Google Keep and Emacs org-mode, depending on the note is. For things that are “oh this is interesting” or that I need specifically on mobile I use Google Keep. Otherwise, I use org-mode for todo lists and comprehensive documentation/note taking.

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                                                        I have people log issues directly onto my VCS source tree that I work on, I can then reference the issue in pull requests as I work each day, so then people can easily see 1) my work and 2) how much is being done. Nearly everything I write is custom web stuff for internal applications, my work never really gets inspected, but having people log features via issue tracking on the VCS (we use bitbucket) gives total transparency. I have to heavily comment my code, as it is viewed/reviewed by several people who are in no-way technical, it probably isn’t the best practice, but it works for us here.

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                                                          I use Day One. It’s everywhere I am - my laptops, my phone, my iPad, etc etc.

                                                          http://dayoneapp.com/

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                                                            Just a note - I use this app’s tags feature to separate out work posts because it’s also my personal / private journal as well.

                                                          2. 2

                                                            I use vimwiki with some success. You can easily link between different text files, create log entries and use tags to categorize notes and log entries. I use it to keep notes during discussions, plan specific tasks and also to track general todos that go into issue tracking at some point. I really like the simplicity of it, because I just have a bunch of markdown files within a directory. I’m not very good a keep a log of things I do, so I have been thinking about adding a cronjob to remind me to keep notes.

                                                            1. 2

                                                              A git repo with markdown logs for each day. I render them using Jekyll and this template: https://github.com/MovingBlocks/DevlogTemplate

                                                              jrnl looks interesting and has Markdown export… I’ll be looking into seeing if it can compliment my current setup.

                                                              1. 2

                                                                I have a Markdown file for each day. I can use main body of the Markdown file to describe on what I worked, for how long and what I accomplished.

                                                                I have a YAML frontmatter for each file containing the data on what day the file is for, how long I worked for and what different projects I worked on. I’ve got some Python scripts alongside this that go through all the notes and can produce statistical analysis and graphs of how long I worked on various projects, how many hours I worked and when, &c.

                                                                1. 2

                                                                  I’ve been using Paperwork as a sort of note-management tool for a while now. I like its setup; it’s basically just a rich text editor with a web editor that saves notes to a database.

                                                                  The nice thing about it is that I have access to all of my notes on any computer, since it’s hosted on a server. You give up the nice text-based, local aspect of some of the other solutions here, but I’ve found that it meets my needs well.

                                                                  I’ll use it to sort of flesh out plans for things I’m about to work on, sort of as a staging area for thoughts. I don’t really use it for recording stuff that I’ve finished, preferring overly verbose commit messages for that, there’s no reason you can’t do that as well.

                                                                  1. 2

                                                                    I have been journalling my day, (almost) every day, for the last 14 years. The key for me has been a DayMinder G545 and a Paper Mate ComfortMate Ultra.

                                                                    I find that the space for one day in a DayMinder is just enough for me to think “hey, I can write that much for today.” I’ve tried other formats, but they have always been too open-ended. With the DayMinder, the space is perfect for me to reflect on my day for 5 minutes of writing time.

                                                                    The best part of journalling for me, though, is looking back at any given day. I can take a journal from 10 years ago, open to a random page, read what happened, and the rest of that day comes flooding back into my mind. I write about work, home life, anything I did that day, and the magic of it is that the rest follows.

                                                                    I’m not the best writer in the world, but journaling has helped me a lot. I hope it can help you, too.

                                                                    1. 2

                                                                      I’ve done this on and off for years, and I think it’s really useful. It’s great to be able to look back in your notes and remember the context behind a decision you made six months ago, or the exact command you used to generate some important plot.

                                                                      I currently use org-mode, and have for a few years. For a long time I used it for notes and for tasks, and it was convenient to be able to add trackable tasks inline with notes. This was handy for meetings, etc. However, the lack of good mobile support made me switch to Todoist for task tracking. I still use it for notes, but I don’t have the ideal workflow. I like having things organized by date, but having a new org file for each day is unwieldy.

                                                                      Prior to org-mode, I’d used VoodooPad ( how I used it ), with a new page for each day and automatic links set up to go back and forth between days. I liked the default linking and native text styling in VoodooPad, as well as image handling - not something I used often but when I did it was great to have.

                                                                      After mostly moving off Macs for work, I had a similar day-based setup in emacs with notes-mode, which I liked, but it had minimal tooling, and I was lured into using org-mode by the agenda view. One nice thing about that mode was that by convention, it would link pages together by entries titled “Today”, which was a good place to put a todo list, and any reminders.

                                                                      One downside of starting a new log on each day is that if you had a long-running topic that you wanted to keep adding notes to, you end up splitting it across days, or just editing previous days’ notes. This was one other reason I explored org-mode, since it is more naturally topic-based.

                                                                      Ideally there would be a way to view the same notes in a topic-oriented view and in a date-oriented view, depending on what you wanted at the time. I would also like a tool that makes it as easy as possible to copy and paste terminal commands and output into my notes, like I could do in emacs with eshell if eshell wasn’t so slow. Ideally it’d be something that was easy to at least add to from various cloud instances I’m working on without a ton of setup. If github made a notes service that synced live, I might use that because I already have to have those creds most places.

                                                                      1. 2

                                                                        I keep a journal of my workday for the last 6 months and I wrote this article to explain how I do it https://lobste.rs/s/ksmgwe/journaling_my_life_at_work_using_github

                                                                        1. 1

                                                                          Google doc. It’s pretty barebones and rough, though.

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                                                                            I use Google Keep notes. I have a daily checklist and a weekly checklist that each get rotated with unfinished tasks. It’s nice because works great on mobile and my desktop.

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                                                                              I just send an email to my manager with a bulleted list of the big tasks I accomplished in a day. If they want to ignore it that’s fine, but it at least gives us both a log of what I’ve done and where I’m at.

                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                I use TiddlyWiki as a general personal wiki and journal - I love TiddlyWiki for its power and flexibility. I put a lot of things in my journal, such as:

                                                                                • Things I’ve learned (I have a <<til>> macro for this so I can easily assemble TILs in a single tiddler view)
                                                                                • Code snippets I’ve found useful (I have a <<snippet>> macro for these)
                                                                                • Interesting things I’ve read or watched, sometimes with thoughts I have on it
                                                                                • Things I’ve accomplished
                                                                                • Feelings I’ve had (feeling motivated, burnt out, etc)
                                                                                • Things I wanted to get done that day but didn’t

                                                                                The first three are more for future reference, while the last three are useful for regular reflection so I can focus on the macro-level of things - discovering patterns on my focus or lack thereof, as well as discovering trends in my emotions and goals.

                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                  I use Tagspaces (http://tagspaces.org/) in combination with Owncloud. So it’s always in sync and I don’t have to think about that. Documentation,notes and such should be created and managed with the least effort.

                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                    I always kept a work journal. I also figured it was some of the best advice I could give to my people- write down a journal entry just before lunch, and just before you leave for the day. It makes writing your weekly status reports a breeze.

                                                                                    Mine was a TCL/Tk script I wrote that would automatically pop up a “What have you been working on?” text entry window on the right days and times. The text entered into the widget got appended along with a date to the end of a plaintext file.

                                                                                    In fact, after reading this post I went back and read my daily journals from a startup-turned-zombie that I worked at for about three years. What a neat thing to look back on and remember fifteen years later!! So yeah, definitely keep a work journal, and definitely back it up for yourself so that you can enjoy it later.

                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                      I use Notepad. It’s very useful on Windows, and generally way better than OneNote for what I need. Notepad is great for chronological records.

                                                                                      What you do is you start the file with a line “.LOG”, and name it anything, but usually “w.log” &c. When you open the file, Notepad will jump to the end of the file & insert “\n${timestamp}\n”, leaving you on the last line. You can also hit F5 to enter the timestamp manually. After each entry, you can leave 2-5 newlines to separate the next from it.

                                                                                      If you really want to be retentive, you could draft your emails right in the log and paste them wherever. You could also livestream yourself with VODs. I think Notepad is good.

                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                        Several methods for different purposes.

                                                                                        I keep a small pocket notebook for keeping track of daily taks - one or two entries per day at most (too many entries usually mean I got very little done). I write these at the end of the day. The main goal is to be able to look back at the end of the month or later.

                                                                                        For work notes it depends a lot on what I am doing at the moment. For meetings/presentations I usually write stuff down in Vim (vim-pad and some other plugins)

                                                                                        When I’m working alone I sometimes like to think by writing down free text on paper, I have a larger notebook just for this.

                                                                                        For very quick one line notes I have a small program that writes a rotating log file. I dont use it much to be honest. Most times I just jot it down in my pocket notebook.

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                                                                                          I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I never quite liked any of the tools that I found, so I built my own: DailyNotes, with my usual creativity in naming things.

                                                                                          I mostly used plain text files for this before, edited in Notepad or VIM, depending. I would put the date on its own line as a day separator, and keep a year’s worth per file. More often seemed to create too many files to me - I considered it critical to be able to search for strings in my files. I would put ticket and commit numbers and other such things in various places to make things easy to search for.

                                                                                          I found it tremendously helpful to be able to quickly review what I had done the day before right before scrums, particularly after weekends or long vacations. And to flip back to a day months or years ago and see exactly what I did and why, or search for exactly when I worked on some particular thing. I find keeping the notes a good way to keep focused as well.

                                                                                          I always wanted something more cloud-y, so I could see and add to my notes from multiple computers, but while preserving easy searchability and also not constantly uploading and downloading the whole meg of year’s notes back and forth to a server. Because of that, I never felt quite satisfied with Google Drive or Dropbox. So I built my own DailyNotes website, and uploaded some of my previous streams of notes to it. I’ve been keeping notes on it and using it myself for about a year now. It lets you take arbitrary notes for a day, only uploading that day’s notes on save, and automatically generates a new one each day, while showing you a paged non-editable list of your old ones. Also allows going to a particular day on demand, and searching your entire stream for any particular string. You can also always download as much of your set of notes as you want as a plain text file.

                                                                                          I just made an effort to tidy up the user experience a bit, so anyone who’s interested is welcome to try it and see if it works for you.