I want to keep track of my work; I want to know where I spent my time last week for myself and for the clients I work for. But I am terrible at logging. I tried numerous applications and even wrote my own to no avail. I simply forget to write stuff down.
I need to make it work. Firstly, I need a way to remind myself each working day to write down what I did. Secondly, I need a centralized place for those notes available wherever I am. I’ve tried paper, various note-taking apps on my laptop and even full-fledged journals, but I never keep it up.
So, here is what my current workflow looks like.
I use Periodica for iPhone, a small application by Jelle Vandebeeck, to quickly set repeating iOS reminders. It’s annoying enough to bug me but can be easily skipped when the reminder is not relevant when I already logged today’s work or during the weekends.
My worklog is a simple Markdown plain text file in Dropbox at the moment. Using Markdown makes sure it’s more or less structured and easier to parse later on without the need for all the heavy structure, like a database table, for example. I can edit the file from my laptop with my favorite text editor when I happen to be near my laptop when the reminder sounds. If not, I revert to Drafts, a powerful note-taking app for iOS. I have a Dropbox action in Drafts that quickly appends the current draft with today’s date to my worklog file in Dropbox.
Thanks to Merlinn Mann in Systematic episode #33 for pointing this out.