Productivity experts say that logging one’s accomplishments is a terrific morale booster and motivator at work and home. On the days we do little, we can look and see previous days’ accomplishments and feel good about ourselves.  Consider this as another voluntary behavioral modification technique.

In that spirit, sometimes before I go to sleep, I write out what I have accomplished that day in my journal. On the days that I actually do something worth recording, it really does give me an energy boost and feelings of satisfaction. The problem with this is that once I write it down, I never go back and look at it. The benefits of knowing what I have done are lost.

The other problem is that I don’t really have a journal. I have a spiral bound notebook next to my bed that sometimes gets moved mysteriously to another part of the house where I can’t find it. (Notice how adroitly I denied responsibility for the notebook getting moved.)

So, I then get a new notebook and begin anew. This means there are now at least a dozen or so different notebooks in different parts of the house that have records of what I have done, want to do, or have done.

End result: Until two days ago, I didn’t have a consistent way of keeping track of my accomplishments.

Daily Diary – An Easy New Tool

Now here comes LifeHacker.com to the rescue with a recommendation for a handy PC-based tool.

The idea is to use Window’s default notepad to start a daily log that you can keep in the Windows Task Bar and access easily from your PC at any time.

Didn’t know that Windows had a notepad? I didn’t know it either. A notepad is a handy little program in your computer that you can open up and type text notes into. Click here for  instructions on how to find notepad on XP.

I’m sure there are equivalent instructions for Vista and Windows 7.

How to Create a Daily Diary

Once you have located and set up notepad, then follow LifeHacker.com’s instructions for the daily diary and you’re set. Briefly, here are the steps:

  1. Open up notepad and type “.LOG” (without the quotes) at the top of the file. Be sure you use all caps.
  2. Now save the daily log wherever you want it on your hard drive, giving it a name of your choosing. I saved it in my “records” folder where I keep all kinds of records and named mine “Dailylog”.
  3. Now open it back up and you will find that Notepad has very considerately put a time and date stamp on it so you know when you created the entry. You have now created your daily log file.
  4. I certainly didn’t want to go digging through multiple folders on my computer to find my Dailylog, so LifeHacker tells us how to put create a shortcut to the file and then put it in the taskbar. (The taskbar holds that bunch of icons at the bottom right of the computer.)  I prefer to use the Quick Launch bar which contains that string of icons across the bottom so that’s where I decided to put my shortcut file. Here’s what he said to do:
    • Right-click the file and select properties.
    • Select the Shortcut menu.
    • From within that menu, select “change icon”.
    • Choose an icon that you prefer. I selected a bright red icon that would really stand out.
    • Click OK and you’re done.
    • I then selected the shortcut icon and dragged it down to the Quick Launch bar.

That’s it. LifeHacker has other tricks on how to use the daily log, so I suggest you check it out.

I created it. What next?

I have played with my brand-new DailyLog a couple of times and am now settling into how I will actually use it. A bonus I have already discovered is that it helps me keep track of where my time goes. As you probably well know, keeping track of your hours is one way to find those time wasters so that you may reduce your stress at work.

Now that I have created and started using the daily log, the question is whether I will keep it up. I’ll let you know in future posts.

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