Why I Use a Daily Log

October 27, 2021

How often do you find yourself on autopilot?

In the early 2000s, I had a daily 50 minute (each way) commute through farmland. On my way home, I would have to make a left turn or else I’d end up in another town. I would regularly find that I had no idea where I was, unsure if I had missed my turn. I’d have to keep going and hope my turn was still ahead of me.

You Need Milestones

This happened so often because one stretch of farmland was identical to every other. My brain tuned it out like a white noise machine. There was nothing to attach my attention to along this route.

The same thing can happen with your life.

Your Life Needs Milestones

How many weeks go by where on Friday, you can’t recall what you did all week? It can make you feel like your productivity has been garbage.

You need a daily log. This isn’t a long-form diary, just a record of what happened so that you can objectively recall what you did at the end of the week. Then you are armed with an actual list of milestones and can objectively measure your productivity.

How I Log My Day

At the beginning of the day, write out three sections:

  1. What’s happening today? List upcoming appointments.
  2. What do I want to do today? List your top 2-3 tasks.
  3. What happened today? For now, this is just a heading.

As I go through the day, I jot down what I’m doing. This doesn’t need to be super detailed. Make sure your notes include any accomplishments. Even if you don’t finish one of your tasks, you can jot down what you did and where you left off for next time.


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Written by Andrew Shell, a web developer from Madison, WI.