Daily work log

Lately I’ve started keeping a daily work log of things I’ve been working on throughout the day. As a consultant developer, I routinely find myself switching between two to three projects per day and very often switching between four to five projects throughout the week. With that much context switching I find it nearly impossible to remember what I’ve done in any given day, let alone an entire week.

Something I’ve been experimenting with over the last couple months is keeping a daily work log per project and after some great success doing it for work, I’ve expanded it to my personal projects and even more so to just my day to day life.

I’ve found great success in using Obsidian.md for my note taking. One of the things I like the most about it is the Daily Notes feature, which simply automatically creates a file everyday and titles it with today’s date. It’s well paired with another Obsidian core plugin called Templates, allowing you to set a template for your daily note to enforce some structure.

These daily work logs allow me to keep context on projects that I maybe away from for a few days or weeks. This happened a few days ago when I was dealing with a reoccurring issue on a website that I’m webmastering for my brother. An issue with caching that has happened a few times, which I’ve been addressing and finally fixed a few days ago. Every time it occurred, I jotted down a few notes related to some fixes I attempted. Each time I’ve addressed it, it became easier and quicker to fix the next time.

Update: Thomas Burette’s blog post from 2014 also goes into a bit more detail on this in The power of keeping a coding journal. He outlines many more uses of a daily work log in his post. Additionally he highlights an interesting tool I’ve never heard about called jrnl, which seems to be a command line journaling tool.