Andy Crouch - Code, Technology & Obfuscation ...

Journal Your Work Days

Open Journal Wiht Pencil

Photo: Jan Kahánek - Unsplash

I have read some articles recently covering the merits of documenting your work days. It’s interesting that this is something that appears to be taking off. I have been doing it for over 10 years.

Why did I start? I don’t know! It started around the time I worked for my first startup. The change from working on a big team to the chaos of a tiny startup was the main reason I would imagine. I was working on so many things I needed a way to gain closure at the end of the day.

Is it beneficial? Yes! I find it helps me to clear my mind at the end of the day. I can restart the next day knowing exactly where I was. It makes me think about what I have achieved and what I still need to work on. When coding it allows me to remind myself between sessions why I have done what I have done. It also allows me to document things that have failed during the day. I may come back to some code much later on and I get to look back and find why I approached it in the way that I did.

It also comes in handy when things go wrong or are questioned. Over the years my Work Diary has come to the rescue many times. Recently a set of Git merges seemed to have gone wrong. I was able to look back to when the issues occurred and see what the main problem was. When my senior developer asked how I figured it out, I told her about my Work Diary.

I actually write my Work Diary throughout the day now and have done for some time. I find it more productive than writing it all in one go at the end of the day. I use Evernote at present and have done since it came out. I don’t actually think it’s that good anymore but have been too busy to switch. I like the decentralised approach and find the ability to search as key. I do not have any fancy templates I just use a standard bullet list of points under a date heading. I keep one note for each month and have them all grouped in one notebook, tagged.

I am quite interested in some of the approaches I have read of late. There seems to be a trend in keeping a journal in Git. Some people have gone so far as hosting their journals in a public repo.

However you decide to journal your work day, I guarantee that you find it beneficial over time.