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Retrospective journaling

gayanhewa profile image Gayan Hewa ・2 min read

From the time I started practicing GTD, I also adopted a daily journaling practice. I managed to stay regular to this practice for the past 3 months. I find it useful, in most cases it helps me when I want to review some decisions or incidents from the past few weeks.

Since starting, my journals although they are regular, they don't necessarily have a structure. I tend to capture stuff as the day processes so I end up with a bunch of entries for a particular day with a timestamp:

  21st Aug 2019
    [10:00] First Entry
    [13:00] Next
    [23:00] Last Entry

I added this style on purpose, it's automated with org-capture. But in general, I wanted to be able to capture entries with less friction. The problem I am faced with my journals right now is they lack perspective. I have notes of what happened throughout the day, frustrations and venting out sometimes, aha moments when solving a problem and sometimes even meeting highlights/notes.

During my regular reviews, I realized that I wanted to figure out what worked out for me on a daily basis, this would ideally work as a routine review that could cut down the weight on the end of the week review which usually takes up about 45-90min of my time. With this in mind, I decided to try out something most of us programmers are used to in the scrum world. I decided to continue to have the entries as usual, but to sum it up with a final entry that had three key points:

  1. What worked out today
  2. What didn't go as planned
  3. What can I improve for tomorrow

I am starting with summarizing one thing that is most important for every question. That helps me weed out the trivial many from the vital few (one in my case).

I am expecting this to give me a sense of acknowledgment for a day's work regardless if its work or personal. And set the perspective for tomorrow's actions.

I am not sure if this itself is going to work out well. But, I plan to experiment with this method for a few weeks before altering my journaling habits again.

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