Coffee Space


Daily Log Removal

Preview Image

Since September 2021, I ran a daily log as part of a push towards public accountability. It was an experiment about holding myself accountable by publishing my daily tasks publicly on my website.

Historically, I have always liked to write TODO lists. I like having some focus for the day and a list that I can easily refer to in order to find out what I should be working on.

The Good

There were some good points though:

  1. Reading news was taking significant time - I went through and deleted tonnes of RSS feeds I didn’t really want to read, and reduced the update period to something less distracting (every 15 minutes to once every 3/6 hours or so).
  2. Highlighted lack of progress - I spent a lot of time not getting anything really done. It didn’t help in making this much better, but it did at least highlight the scale of the issue.

The Bad

Unfortunately, there were some flaws with this idea though:

  1. Additional workload - It created an enormous workload for me. It literally took 30 minutes to write sometimes, sometimes longer. The pen and paper version takes minutes, if that, to update. One of the flaws with the CoffeeSpace website is that the formatting processing is more cumbersome than it should be, something I want to address in the future with a browser-based editor.
  2. Public tasks - One problem is that all of the tasks are public (by design), but not all tasks are suitable to be written publicly. I wasn’t comfortable with being that open about my daily routine, but I’m also not comfortable with lying on my website.
  3. Additional pressure - Not being able to complete some tasks over several days, several weeks, or more, is embarrassing. I found myself hating updating it, it was a physical reminder that I wasn’t as productive as I wanted to be.

The Future

Over Christmas I got a gift of a small notebook:

Small A6 notebook

The paper is of nice enough quality, it’s of a small nice size and naturally limits what can be written on each page. Since New Years I have been writing tasks in it daily.

Example page from notebook

The date is at the top, along with a checklist of items to be completed that day. The tick in the corner indicates there are no tasks on that page in the backlog.

The benefits are as follows:

  1. Naturally limited - Virtual TODO lists can be infinitely long, this one is naturally limited. I have to pick and choose which tasks get done in a single day.
  2. Offline - Even if my laptop freezes up or my internet goes down, I can still access my TODO list.
  3. Zero effort backlog - Anything that doesn’t get completed in the day just sits where it is until such a time I have time to bring it forwards. This saves having to rewrite items too many times.