(Work) Journaling

Recently I've started journaling mostly for work, but also for personal purposes. It's nothing super unusual or complicated, but every time I've tried doing this in the past I feel like I've complicated it too much or put way too much overhead in front of what should be a simple process.

This time I feel like it's working. I'm not sure how long I'll keep up with it, but I'm also not concerned about being super strict.

I use this both for work and personal purposes.

For work, it helps me get an idea of what I've done and accomplished for a day, but also for keeping track of my train of thought on more complex tasks.

For instance, recently I've been doing some work on a fairly complicated codebase which no one else has knowledge of and I'm also fairly new to. Journaling my way through it has helped me from getting lost and too distracted, and I can always go back and review assumptions I've made about how some things possibly work and correct them.

I also add personal stuff to it, and I'm still not sure if I'll keep mixing personal with work stuff but for now I don't yet feel the need to have two separate journals. If I do, I can just duplicate the process.

Notion has been super helpful in this regard, and I'm making use of some of it's nice features to make the whole process easier.

Here's some notes on what I'm doing:

  • At the start of each week, I create a weekly document. I name it after the week start date. Then structure it with subtitles for each day of the week.
  • I've created a simple template button, which creates a new document every week.
    • Start by creating a document like the picture above, which acts as a template
    • Create a page to hold the list of all weekly journals and type /template to create a new button
    • Name it whatever you want, and drag the document you created previously from your sidebar onto the "template" field in the Template Button config
  • On each day, write a todo list for what you plan to on that day.
    • Add bullet points for what you did that wasn’t planned.
    • Bullet points may be single lines, something vague, longer pieces of text, or links to other documents
  • At the end of the week
    • Any todo items that you're certain you still have to do the following week, move them to the new week document
    • Any todo items that you think you might not get around them any time soon, move them to a separate more general todo list
      • You may still not get around to do them ever, but it gives you peace of mind that it's still written down somewhere
  • Structuring by week lowers overhead of creating a new document each day.
    • It also allows for finding things by time frame more easily and deals with document and performance limitations in Notion
  • Set a reminder at the start/end of each week to review your weekly document