When I was working at Sony, I got into the habit of keeping a ‘daily status’ log on the wiki - a kind of rough work diary listing what I’d been doing each day.
Initially this was prompted by some sort of project management initiative that asked us to report what we’d been doing each week, but I found it to be a really handy discipline, and carried it on long after the pressure from above died away.
When I moved back to Sports Interactive I started to do the same thing again (setting up the SI wiki in the process). I tried to get everyone else to do the same thing, but it only stuck with a couple of people.
Pragmatically, one of the advantages for me was being able to answer the “what have you been doing” type questions, especially when they were really just a thinly veiled “why is this late?”. My job, especially at SI, often lead me off on detours that were entirely necessary, yet completely ignored by the schedule. These were usually things that I’d always just quietly done, or that blatantly needed doing, but that had never been acknowledged - writing them down felt like a good step towards presenting a case for them to actually be part of someone’s schedule.
Beyond that, though, I also found it helpful as a way of focussing my thoughts on what had been done, what still needed doing, and specifically what to do next. For that reason, I think I’ll try to continue the same thing now, even though I’m my own boss and essentially will just be talking to myself!
I’d be half tempted to make the diary public, but it might get a bit tricky if I have to refer to top secret new projects by code names (though on the other hand having fancy code names for everything would make me feel all grown-up and professional!). Of course there’s also a more relevant point - who in their right mind would want to read them :)