Productivity Reports

I'm somewhat hesitant to write a post about this new habit I'm forming, because I kind of like this habit and usually no sooner do I write about some productivity related topic, as I decide to completely reorganize my process. Here's what I'm doing:

I've started keeping a daily archive of what I get done/finish/do in any given day. This includes information about everything from knitting, to the number of words I write on a project, to what I read. There are a couple of ideas at play in this:

  1. I do more things than I give myself credit for. Even when I'm not doing things that need getting done in the strictest sense, its not like I'm not doing anything. I've found it helpful to keep track of these things, and give my self credit for all the things I do, not just those things that I think need doing before I do them.
  2. Knowing what you've done is useful for project planning. I must admit, that when I do something on my To-do list I delete it, rather than strike it out or move it to a new list. This additional helps me stay aware of what I'm doing through out the day, and keep track of time.
  3. Allows for more proper reviews. The only way to do a proper review is to collect data in the moment, rather than in retrospect, where memory and mood can play havoc on an accurate view of the past. I almost always feel like I've gotten more done after reading a list than I would otherwise.

I maintain this list using a markdown template that I keep in my Quicksilver Template Folder. I append new accomplishments using Quicksilver [1] or a nifty shell script that I wrote, and keep an eye on the list using GeekTool (It shows up on my desktop right next two the todo list), and I have to say that it's pretty darn nifty. I keep tweaking the template every now and then as it suits. Should I ever need to produce a report, or whatever, I can simply combine the files that I need and run it through a markdown converter and have a great looking XHTML file.

I'm a big fan, and maybe you will find this kind of a list helpful in your day-to-day organization.

cheers, tycho

[1]I begin every line with a "-" which markdown uses to make a bulleted list. Except I never complie it using markdown, so it's theoretical/make believe at this point.
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