Keep a Daily List of Accomplishments as an Act of Self-Care

Over the past several weeks I’ve been playing around with various journaling styles. My goal has been to manage my professional productivity, while making sure I don’t overlook my self-care needs. One best practice that has been effective on both counts has been to keep a daily list of accomplishments.

My daily log page is split into two columns. The left-hand column is then split into three blocks of time: morning, afternoon, and evening. I don’t have many appointments, so there’s no need for an hourly breakdown. If I do have, say, a meeting at 11am, I write it in the morning block, highlighting it or just using a color gel pen so it stands out.

The right-hand column is a task list, where I write what needs to be done that day. We all know how satisfying it is to check things off a list, right? I pull the tasks in from my monthly spread and project pages. As tasks are completed I mark the task list, but I also write them into the appropriate time block with any notes what went well, what didn’t, and what I can improve next time.

Keep a Daily List of Accomplishments as an Act of Self-Care

The reason I do this is so that I can look back not just at the whole day, but chunks of the day, and see how things went. For a while there was an element of guilt to it, if I realized I lost an afternoon to daydreaming or a morning to chronic pain issues. But I am aware of why I lost that productivity. Having the data allows me to plan. It lets me see patterns and identify issues that I wouldn’t otherwise.

But the best case scenario is when I do get a lot done, and I can see specifically what went down. Not just things crossed off a list, but some notes on what I got done in spite of a probllem, or an “aha!” moment I had working on something, or that a task was a lot easier and was accomplished far more quickly than I anticipated.

Keeping this sort of daily list of accomplishments has been a boon to my self-care. It not only gives me a self-esteem boost at the end of the day, it helps me to avoid feeling guilty when things didn’t go well. Of course I only got a couple of things done, when I spend most of the evening having a panic attack. It allows me to recognize my actual needs, because I’ve logged them.

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