How about this week? This year? These questions set the stage for what I do today so I make it a priority everyday to keep track.

The main way I did this in the past was with a notebook, graph paper, and lots of sticky notes.

I changed my workflow when I joined HelloSign. The company as a whole strives to be paperless so I was inspired to try something new and wholly switched to making my notes digitally.

I now use Standard Notes. Standard Notes is a cross platform, open source, locally encrypted note taking application that primarily supports text and markdown. It has a short feature set that focuses on writing notes and searching for notes you’ve written which are the only thing I really want to do.

I’ll normally create several notes throughout a busy day. They generally come down to 3 types.

  • The day journal. Almost every date or every few days I create a note that’s just about the day or maybe a couple days. It might have things I need to do, things I want to reference later, sometimes it’s just a brief summary. It’s usually titled with the date and maybe a highlight.
  • The post. A topic that I’ve started thinking about a little but im not yet ready to draft. Usually these are just musings. Sometimes I tag these different ways, whether it’s something I want to publish to my blog or otherwise.
  • TICKET-1234: Sometimes if im working on a specific ticket for several days ill create a note for that topic and ill keep that note updated day to day until it’s done. These are usually Jira epics and often transfer into wiki articles for documenation well.

I’ve been writing all of my notes digitally for around 8 months and it’s come out to a huge success. Standups are easier since I simply summarize my notes, I can store more context since it’s digital and I can copy & paste, and I think my overall performance has improved significantly.