Planning your day

With Work Day Logger, reporting what you’ve done each workday is much simplified but there’s more than reporting time to have a successful workday. You have to be proactive and plan your day. Especially in our modern-day and age when stress and burnout syndromes are getting more common. So what can you do about that? Well, quite a lot, in fact.

One important thing is to plan your workday. Many schemes and strategies have been invented to help people get more effective, and most of them involve buying apps, books and online courses. Do that, by all means, but becoming more effective is much simpler than that. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is quite simple. You can do it in two simple steps:

  • Plan your day
  • Follow your plan

Sounds really easy, right? Well, it is and it isn’t. Changing one’s behaviour is about the hardest thing there is to do. But it can be done if you really want to. Start with a thirty-day commitment.

  • Get an old fashioned monthly almanac. You know the kind your mother had on the fridge door with a month on each page with all the days of the month as boxes. (Your dad might have had one as well, in his workshop in the basement. That one most probably didn’t have garden flower illustrations on it though).
  • Get a black permanent ink marker.
  • Make up your mind to 1) Plan each day before you leave for work and 2) Make up your mind to stick to your plan.
  • For each day you succeed, draw a big X on that day on the calendar. For each day you fail, draw a big – (minus) on that day.

On planning and failing

You should put the things you feel you need to get done that day on a piece of paper. It’s probably three to five things. You will need to plan for interruptions and distractions during the day, not what they are or even how much time they will steal, but that they will happen.

Failing your plan is when you don’t plan or don’t follow your plan. Not when you don’t manage to complete each task on your plan. The important thing is to want to complete them and try to follow your plan. Shit will always happen that will make you not complete all tasks, and that’s ok (for now). The important thing here is to get into the habit of making a plan and trying to follow it.

Failing isn’t that a big deal. Everyone fails, and when you do, just start over. If you have a big minus sign on yesterday, just go ahead and make a new plan for today. It’s never too late to give up, so you can do that tomorrow.

A new feature in the Work Day Logger

I’m cautiously moving in the direction of proactivity with the Work Day Logger. It’s already pretty good at being reactive, accepting all your time logs and even allowing you to start a Pomodoro timer, start a timer on an existing log and add notes to each log item. But I feel it would be nice to use the WDL as a planner as well. Well, don’t get me wrong, I won’t be building a calendar tool (even though some sort of calendar might end up in the app) or a project management tool. But I’ve found myself adding time log entries at the start of the day as a planning method. I don’t put time spent on it, which makes it stand out in bold. It’s a marker for what I need to do during the day.

I’ve also found myself adding these empty time log during our daily standup meetings. It could be build the latest features or check the specs for this or that system we need to connect to. And I’m also using the Copy to today feature a lot to continue work on items that started yesterday or a few days ago.

So in the next release there will be a Get the Day Started view that helps you with that.

The view will show you logs for the last week that you can select to copy to today and give you an option to add activities that comes up during a meeting or other planning. I’m also toying with the idea to integrate with other task systems that provide an API, like Google Tasks, Todoist and others. I’ve already started sandboxing a task manager following my own planning strategy the Big Picture, but I don’t know if that will be realised yet.

Feedback, feedback, feedback!

So, please help me out by sending me feedback on the app. What works well, what doesn’t? What would you like to see in the app in the future? I will be setting up some sort of feedback system to make giving feedback easier, but for now, email or commenting on this site works just fine. So please, tell me what you think.

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