Do you have a hard time focusing on your day and aren’t sure what you can do to stay on task? A daily log might be an excellent option for you! A daily or activity log is a powerful time management tool that can give you better insight into how you plan your day and make focusing on your tasks easier. This simple guide will help you understand daily logs and give you an example and a daily log template you can use.
What is a Daily Log?
A daily log journal is a time management tool that tracks your daily activities and plans important work-related tasks. You can use them not only to track a week’s events but also to reference past activities. For example, you can check your daily log to spot when you held meetings or completed a deal.
Time management logs typically include daily entries that break your day down into hourly blocks. You can write down what you did each hour of the day, including planned and unplanned activities. For instance, you can note an unexpected meeting or email from a potential business partner in your log.
Typically, these logs include sections for Tasks, Events, and Notes. Tasks include anything planned in your day, such as specific work activities. Events may consist of unexpected things in your day, such as a surprise phone call from a work partner. Notes let you discuss or explain these entries in more depth.
Why is a Daily Log Important?
A daily log provides many unique benefits. They create a running commentary on your work and personal life that helps you plan and assess your days. You can carry a day long as you work, noting specific events to keep track of important life occurrences. Regularly updating your daily log journal can help you:
- Track important events in your work week to ensure you didn’t make mistakes when they happened
- Help you time specific events by gauging how long they took from past incidents
- Review your day or week to gauge your successes and struggles
- Provide a record that others can use when gauging your activities
What Should I Write in My Daily Log?
There are many things that you can write in a daily log. These include the “Tasks,” “Events,” and “Notes” previously mentioned. Let’s take a look at a few things you could include in each of these categories to make your daily log more beneficial for your needs:
- Tasks: Detail all your work tasks, including reading emails, finishing meetings, completing a coding project, and everything else you do.
- Events: Note things like unexpected meetings with co-workers, sudden changes in plans, injuries you might experience, and work you didn’t finish.
- Notes: Briefly explain why a meeting was important, discuss how you felt about changes in your plan, highlight how well you did on a task, and discuss how your day might affect the rest of your week.
It is important to regularly update your daily log to get the most use out of it. Update it immediately to ensure you note it properly after a task or event. Trying to log in at the end of your day may make it harder to remember what happened, leading to inaccurate logging.
Daily Log Example
In this simple daily log example, we’ll use the working student Tom as an example. This student not only works a part-time job as a tech customer service rep but also attends classes every day. We’ll look at a typical Monday for Tom, including breaking down his completed tasks, events, and notes by the hour:
- Tasks: Wake up, make breakfast, shower
- Events: I slept for half an hour when the alarm failed to go off.
- Notes: Uneventful but productive start to the day.
- Tasks: Drive to work, answer emails, and prepare for the day.
- Events: I got a call from mom and narrowly missed an accident on the freeway.
- Notes: First one in the office, with a full email box about problems with the internet server.
- Tasks: Take customer service phone calls, and track service records.
- Events: The phone line went out for about an hour, backing up our system.
- Notes: Frustrating start to the day may make the next few hours tough.
- Tasks: Continue to track customer calls.
- Events: Nothing to note.
- Notes: I caught up with calls by 9:39.
- Tasks: Prepare reports for the day.
- Events: I learned I’m getting a raise.
- Note: Talk about time off for mom and dad’s visit.
- Tasks: Leave work, drive to campus, and start the first class at 11:45.
- Events: Learned about a pop quick in class, saw Margaret, and made plans for a date.
- Notes: Study programming tasks; I felt confused during the lecture.
- Tasks: I went to three more classes.
- Events: I saw a posting for a volunteer position.
- Notes: Consider taking fewer credits next semester.
- Tasks: Drive home.
- Events: Another near accident on the freeway.
- Notes: Try to find an alternate route home.
- Tasks: Make dinner and relax.
- Events: Bob came over to play video games for a while.
- Notes: I got to bed by 9:58, feeling worn out.
3 Crucial Tips for Keeping Your Daily Log Journal
When creating a daily log journal, it is important to make sure that you follow a few simple guidelines to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
You can use these simple tips when creating your daily to-do list and producing an effective daily log that meets your needs.
1. Log Everything That Matters
Integrate everything in your day into your daily log, including surprise meetings with friends and any emotional struggles you may feel. Though these moments may seem minor, knowing when they occurred may help if they lead to any changes, such as meeting a friend for lunch after seeing them unexpectedly one day. Logging these events helps you remember what you did and learned and can help you become more reliable as a person.
2. Provide In-Depth Details
Always use the “Notes” section to discuss your daily activities. Provide any details that help these events make more sense. You can even include your emotional reactions to these incidents. Doing so can help refresh your memory and ensure you remember them properly later.
3. Don’t Set Them Too Far Ahead of Time
Some people like using their daily log like a scheduler or daily planner; while you can do that, it is best to focus on a day as it occurs. Your log should be a living document that changes to meet your needs. Planning too far ahead may cause time conflicts when unforeseen events occur.
Learn From Your Daily Log
If you want to learn from your daily journal, it is important to ask questions regularly that make tracking its development easier. Doing so can help ensure you improve your productivity by increasing your efficiency. Just a few questions you can ask include:
- Can I Use My Time More Effectively?
- Is There Anything I Should Leave Out of My Log?
- What Causes My Time Inefficiencies?
- Are There Ways I Can Avoid Wasting Time?
- Should I Share My Log With Others?
Daily Log Template
If you feel uncomfortable starting a new day log, you can use this daily log template to make this task easier. This template includes multiple entries that help you keep track of your day. Print out multiple copies of this free template, use a hole punch on each entry, and store them in a three-ringer binder to track your activities over an extended period.
A daily log is a significant step for people in almost any field. While we talked heavily about using one in business-oriented areas, even builders, construction workers, or healthcare specialists may find daily logs useful. Think of it as your task journal, and start tracking your activities today!