Beeminder Forum

Keeping a list of completed tasks/accomplishments

Do you keep a list of completed task and/or accomplishments? How fine-grained do you get with it? where do you keep it? When do you review it? Do you keep your work items and personal or academic items all separate or do you keep them all together? Do you have a minimalist set up that mainly just notes the item, or do you keep track of the size of something or time it took you? Do you treat the end of a large or even medium-sized project differently? Do you track it separately? Keep it in the same place but highlight it?

What do those of you who keep a list of completed tasks and accomplishments do that works for you (or that you’ve learned doesn’t)?

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Great question! I’m gradually falling deeper and deeper in love with GitHub for project management and task management. My latest conjecture (I’m not there yet in practice) is that I should never be working on anything (maybe literally anything?) or certainly committing code that isn’t tied to a specific gissue.

If I did get there then the list of closed gissues in GitHub would be exactly that list!

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For a while I kept a list of completed tasks in a GitHub Markdown file. I was using Workflowy for managing the tasks, which has the option of sending you a recurring email digest of changes you’ve made to your lists, which I would review and pull out completed tasks into the GitHub file.

Unfortunately, this has gone a bit by the wayside since I moved away from Workflowy to Notion.

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I do. I call them todones. I am excited for todone practice to get as refined and popular as GTD.

I keep it 100% separated from my task list. I keep it in what turns out as a journal. For a while, I reviewed it weekly as part of my weekly review, but I have dropped that off the review.

For most of the items, I could figure out how long it took with some forensics but I do not formally log them along with the todone. I do track the “endings” of things or milestones as separate line items in the journal.

When I do formal pomos/tocks/workcycles, I use some of the time between cycles to do “intersitital journaling”, and I almost always take a few minutes at the end of a workday.

I actually, normally, screenshot the day’s interstitial journal, fuzz out the body of it, and send it to BaaS.

A few years ago, I ended up tagging my todones at the end of the week, to show myself that what I thought my values were and what I actually was valuing were dramatically different.

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I’ve now started doing this. My first impressions is that it’s a little tedious to maintain, but I want to give it some time to see if that’s just cause it’s not second nature yet.

That time between cycles before moving on to the next thing might be just the ticket. I don’t work in pomodoros (I’ve kind of grown to hate them—heresy in productivity circles, I know!) but I do have natural breaks throughout the day in which I could do something like that. Seems like a good way to clean up the brain-space the previous task(s) had been taking up, too.

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I have never found pomos as awesome as they’re reported…

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Pomodoros: Yeah, personally, I found them both too long (to add additional motivation to start) and too short (to not be annoyingly interruptive when I’m deep in work).

I’ve been trying different things with my list of to-dones and I’m noticing that when I try to enter them at the end of the day, I just can’t call to mind as much as I’ve actually accomplished and end up feeling like I’ve done far less during that day. It’s a little more friction to note them as I go, but well worth the extra motivation bump at realizing that I’m doing much more than it can feel.

I’m still trying all this out to see what works for me, though, so I’m still open to thoughts and suggestions and etc.

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I have used Beeminder itself for some time to store a scant handful of past accomplishments: to wit, my weight, the books I’ve read, the documentaries I’ve watched, and (the newest addition) new recipes I’ve tried. The point for me here is to have a record that I can consult—a way to look up the names of the books, etc. later on. (For weight, the point is to have a visual record.)

I’ve recently started using Toggl to pseudo-auto-add data to some newer Beeminder goals, and it’s had the lovely side effect of recording time I’ve spent on what I say are my meaningful pursuits:

Which has been really gratifying to have, even though I didn’t know I wanted it beforehand!

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Yeah I think I need to lean towards something as automated as possible somehow. I’ve fallen off the wagon of recording my to-dones already. I’m climbing back on today, but it doesn’t quite feel like I have the right set-up yet. This still feels too friction-heavy (though, that might simply be because most habits do when first starting them). Still playing around with it, though. It might just need a little more time.

In the end, I went back to using paper for my most important daily to-dos, which I pull from two apps (OmniFocus and OmniPlan) when I’m planning the next day at the end of each day. (When I do other tasks or other things come up that aren’t my most important tasks and that aren’t on the list, I add them too, but I try to focus on the few things that are most important.)

All of the things I get done are checked off on paper (rather than disappearing, like an app does), so I can see what I’ve gotten completed lately. At the end of the day (or the next day) I go over the day and highlight the completed task that’s the most impactful or largest or whatever else makes me feel like making a particular task as that day’s highlight.

Turns out, I kind of love this. It’s quick to glance at past entries and see the biggest thing I got done each day, since the highlighting makes it stick out amidst what would feel like too much information clutter, and I can always read the other to-dos that are checked off if I really want to. I’ve only been doing this for a little bit, but a couple of days ago I was feeling kind of meh about my week and then I glanced over the list of recently highlighted items and was surprised at how many fairly large, unpleasant, or impactful things I was actually checking off but had immediately forgotten.

I’m bad at celebrating medium-sized victories and tend to just immediately move my focus to the next thing and this really helps counteract that. (Which makes getting more done feel better, which makes me feel like getting more done… and upward the spiral goes.)

I think this is the method I’m going to keep, in the end.

In the not-too distant future, I might start to pull out two or three major accomplishments at the end of the week during reviews and then distill those again at the end of the month to select 2-3 so that at the end of the year I have a list of 25-35 accomplishments that stick out to me and make my progress a little more palpable.

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