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How Logging Your Day Can Lead To Higher Effectiveness

How Logging Your Day Can Lead To Higher Effectiveness
    From http://www.flickr.com/photos/zak/

    I recently started a job as a Programmer Analyst for a large insurance company and spend most of my days fixing technical issues, programming, and creating solutions with other engineers. It’s an awesome job, yet at the same time can become extremely technical and complicated in nature. Not just because of the technical stuff that I need to remember how to do but because of the inherent business processes that I have to take in and learn on a daily basis.

    After doing a little research online I found that there is the idea of the “Programmer Log”, which is simply a time and dated log of things that you have done in the day, things that you have learned that are related to your job, and even problems to watch out for as you go through your work day. Also

    I started to log my days everyday at work and at home for the past month to see what this logging idea was all about. In this short period of time I have found just how much more effective you can become in work and life if you keep track of the things that you have done and encountered throughout your day.

    The Premise

    Starting to log your day is pretty simple stuff. You just write (or type) the date and time and explain what you have done or even something that you have learned.

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    For instance, I noticed that there was some small differences between a production server that I was working with compared to other development servers at work. I wrote down these differences in my log in detail and then got back to work. Doing this took a whole 20 seconds but what I gained in the long run was input to a document that I created for my entire team on subtleties between environments.

      Another example is logging when you start to work on a task or project and then logging when you stop work on those things. This builds a realistic view of how long something takes to accomplish that you can use to make adjustments as well as estimates on future tasks or projects.

      So, the act of logging is simple; pretty much everything you do write it down with the date and time. Of course, that in itself is the end. You have to use your logs to become more effective.

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      Using and reviewing your logs

      Having a log isn’t enough. You have to go through and review the stuff that you have written down to see if anything needs brought up at a meeting or with other people, a project needs created, another task needs done, or you just want to see how much time it takes to do something.

      In other words, if you are a GTDer, you are looking for potential “inbox items” that are hiding in your logs. Finding these can be a little difficult at first, but after a few days of reviewing your logs you can pull out meaningful content.

      Let’s take my above example about the differences between two servers. At the end of the workday I noticed those differences I pulled them out of my logs and added a project to my project list:

      “Create small document on differences between production and testing environments”

      I then identified some next actions and proceeded to add these actions to my context lists. Pretty standard GTD stuff here. But in reality, this process isn’t “standard” for most people, and because of that potentially meaningful and needed work is missed.

      Something else nice about logs is that if you are speaking to someone about a certain topic that you have been working with you can always go back and review what you have done (or even what you haven’t done) with this topic. Being able to present the things that you have done in a current team project or personal project, you can then see where to go next.

      Becoming more effective

      The definition of effective is:

      “Successful in producing a desired or intended result.”

      Keeping a detailed log helps you produce intended results in projects by tracking what you have done, the time that it took to do it, and anything that came up in the process. Being able to look at these logs 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.

      In personal projects it may not be as important to decide how long something will take to complete, but if you work for “the man” or even your own business, having realistic outlooks on the time a project will take to complete is invaluable and one of the only ways to produce the intended result.

      So, readers, I challenge you take a log of you day for an entire week to see the things that you may miss that are project or action related that you wouldn’t have tracked otherwise. For me, 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.

      More by this author

      CM Smith

      A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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      Last Updated on February 15, 2019

      7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Make the Most of Your Business in 2019

      7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Make the Most of Your Business in 2019

      There’s nothing more fulfilling than the sense of accomplishment you get by achieving your business goals.

      Gone are the days when you used pen and paper to take notes and manage your work day. As millennials are relying heavily on technology to manage almost everything from finances to their personal fitness, goal tracking apps are also becoming increasingly popular.[1]

      In this piece, we will shed some light on 7 such goal tracking apps that you can use to streamline your operations.

      I have handpicked these apps from a software rating web services site Best Online Reviews. Industry experts review software on these websites and help businesses to find the right solutions to meet their various, unique business requirements.

      1. Aha!

        Aha! is a California-based roadmap software provider and offers excellent goal tracking app that lets you define goals and objectives for projects. The app also lets you list out primary tasks and allows you to focus on them.

        Hosted securely on the cloud, the app offers enhanced communication tools for sharing updates through emails with select colleagues or the entire organization.

        Aha! is available on multiple platforms such as the web, Android, iOS, Windows, etc. and starts from $59 per month per user.

        Available for Web

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        2. Asana

          Asana is one of the more popular project management apps available for businesses. It lets you organize all your team’s work, such as setting up and tracking goals, creating tasks, sharing files and notes, etc.

          Asana also allows your team to organize all their tasks and focus on urgent priorities. Moreover, the app offers a delightful user experience that makes task management simple and easy.

          Asana is available on multiple platforms from PCs and Mac to iOS and Android. Multi-channel adaptability makes Asana the perfect choice to track your goals anytime, from anywhere.

          Available for iOS | Android | Web

          3. Basecamp

            Basecamp is an excellent tool to manage all your team’s projects and keep your activities organized. It opens a new thread for every task and that task is visible by the whole team.

            With Basecamp, you can schedule tasks, add to-dos, discuss tasks by adding comments, add files and attachments, and much more.

            The app is available on both mobile and desktop platforms and costs $99 per month. It is available on the web, Android, and iOS platforms and offers excellent multi-channel access.

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            Available for iOS | Android | Web

            4. Forecast

              An efficient tool for successful task management, Forecast is also a popular goal tracking app. Apart from effective milestone tracking, the app also offers convenient status reporting.

              Forecast uses project history to let you know the status of your current work. Moreover, it uses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to provide high-quality assistance. It is a robust app for small teams to track goals and time.

              Forecast is available for free and comes with Android and iOS app support. The premium version of the app starts from $19 per month per user.

              Available for Web

              5. Wrike

                Wrike is a cloud-based collaboration and project management app that successfully manages projects from start to finish. It lets you create tasks, track work progress and retrieve reports with ease.

                The app also gives real-time work updates and helps team members to understand their work priorities. A custom report builder helps you to generate in-depth reporting.

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                Wrike’s premium version is available from $9.80 per month per user and is available on multiple platforms.

                Available for iOS | Android | Web

                6. Todo.vu

                  Todo.vu is a unique platform that delivers enhanced customer relationship management (CRM), task management, time tracking, and billing functionality in a single app.

                  According to Capterra, it’s an ideal app for freelancers and consultants, who are looking for tools to improve efficiency and transparency.

                  Although the app is free to use with basic features, the premium plan starts from $5 per month per user. The app also comes with calendar sync and task reminder functionality to keep you on track, always.

                  Available for Web

                  7. Flock

                    Looking for a tool to simplify task management? Try out Flock.

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                    Flock comes with enhanced goal tracking and additional features like instant messaging.

                    Moreover, Flock offers tons of integrations with tools such as Google, MailChimp, Jira, Dropbox, etc. It is a powerful tool that’s packed with robust features such as reminders, notes, polls and to-dos.

                    Even though you can use the tool for free, the paid version of Flock is available from $4.50 per month per user.

                    Available for iOS | Android | Web

                    Conclusion

                    Businesses need high-quality project management tools to streamline collaboration and operations. Enhanced goal tracking apps make it easy for your team to improve productivity by keeping its tasks organized.

                    But it’s essential that you choose an app that meets your unique business requirements. You can choose from the above-mentioned apps to streamline operations and improve the productivity of your team.

                    Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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