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Evolution of the progress log

Stirred by a comment from David Seah, I thought it would be interesting to look over my progress log for the last few months, and see how it's changed. It's still a relatively new book, but there have already been some big modifications:

  • Fewer goals – I used to have 3 goals per day, which in hindsight was a little too much for me. Now I have my “Big 21” at the front, and 3 smaller goals for each week. This seems to work much better, and I don't feel overwhelmed anymore.
  • More focus on reflection – Because 21 weekly goals took up a lot of room, there was very little space left for reflection at the end of the page. I used to write one or two lines about how each day had gone, but now I have a whole side of the page for reflection, which I use to make notes of what went right and wrong.
  • No more analysis – I removed the daily reflection, and tried a brief period of writing a section called “Analysis” which focussed on the week instead. Unfortunately it usually ended up as some pretty harsh criticism. It's no great surprise that I got rid of it.
  • No rating – My "b-Alert" tracker used to have a small column at the end where I would rate myself out of 10 for that particular day. As with my analysis section, this usually turned into a chance to kick myself. Not very productive. This has since been replaced with my PCO implementation, which I prefer as it's not my opinion of how I've done, but based on physical evidence of how I've performed.

It's been interesting to look over how things changed, and it's one of the reasons I chose to use a book. I really wanted to be able to look over it at a later date and see how things have changed. It's also nice and flexible, as all these changes show.

This week's change is the addition of a progress bar underneath each goal, inspired by the "Task Progress Destruct-o-Matic Edition". I'm not too sure about it at the moment, but it's worth a try. It's more than likely that I'll change my rather lacklustre progress bar into something with a finite number of steps, possibly involving explosions. Everybody knows blowing stuff up is cool.

Too much planning?

Gerard's comment on got my attention:

That's just too much planning. Life is meant to be lived, not planned like a well-organized conference complete with grading each and every facet of life. I went over to the sodaware site and looked at both parts of the Keeping A Progress Log post and thought, ‘What are we becoming?' The answer - if we are not careful - is pre-programmed, graded, narcissistic people-bots who have taken the life out of living.

Naturally I disagree, but it did give me food for thought. All those goals sound like a lot, especially when you think that there are 60 goals for a 90 day period. However, considering I used to be at 3 goals a day, which equates to nearly 300 goals for a 90 day period, I think there's been an improvement on that front.

As for taking "the life out of living", I'd have to disagree with that too. I don't plan each day in excessive detail, and I usually just have a “next actions” list to work through. I've tried planning in more detail, but I like flexibility in my day so I ditched it. I don't think having this system is detrimental to my enjoyment of life. If anything, it's helped me enjoy things even more. Perhaps it's just a question of personality and lifestyle.

Everybody has different ways of doing things, so just do what works for you.

Read More: Keeping a progress log

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