Daily Updates

In a business setting, everyone is expected to be organized. We just take that for granted. Personal productivity is an individual thing, for everyone to figure out on their own. What if we can improve personal productivity by getting people to engage in self-organizing behaviors? Et voila: Daily updates do this.

 Useful for…

  • Getting off to a positive start in the morning
  • Focus on effectiveness, instead of just charging headlessly at the pile of work
  • Reflecting on what has been achieved this day

Preparation

Minimal. Just start.

For more advanced work, get a partner or group to share your daily update with.

How it is done

  1. Daily send a one-pager of the three question:
    • What has been done yesterday? Keep it short, some bullets of the most important things. Rarely, there should be more than three things
    • What is to be done today? Keep it short, focus.
    • Reflections on your work with whatever comes to your mind. Give yourself to ask yourself some puzzling question – without the need to answer it. Or include some observation or something you learned, or just something funny.
  2. Archive, Email or share your daily update (see variations)

Why it works

Journaling is one of the most accepted human development & mental sanity tools. It results in:

  • Encourages Reflection
  • Initiate positive feedback loop
  • Mindfulness
  • Organization
  • Daily Questing

The problem is to stick with journaling so that it becomes a habit. So get some social pressure in and share your updates with a friend, trustees, a group or the whole company.

Daily updates start with being a personal productivity exercise.  But by sharing the daily update to a  larger and larger audience it becomes more than this: It becomes a symbol of transparency, a sense of shared mission that everyone works towards as a collective. It is not important that daily updated are regularly or systematically screened or discussed.  Just the availability and the occasional view of an update foster trust and a sense of being on mission for the common good.

Variations

  • Variation the recipient of your daily update
    • Only for oneself: Dear Diary…
    • To a trusted partner
    • To a coach
    • To a team
    • To anyone within the company
  • Caution: Don’t share it with just your superior. If you would do that, it would become a politically tainted daily, micromanaging, status reporting.
    • But: A superior can be a part of the group you are sharing it with. In this case, everyone will weigh superiors and colleagues opinions.
  • Advice: If your company is a safe place to speak up, you might opt to share it with a wide audience. If not, keep the group small, possibly down to a trusted friend.
  • In a high trust environment, use a billboard system to post your daily update, for example, Slack or Trello.
  • Advice: Just start-off “Daily Updates” by sharing your daily update via email with a trustee in your organization.

Origins

Variation of the “Journaling” theme. Journaling is the name of a self-help, psychological exercise which really is as old as religion is.  It involves self- contemplation, and self- reflection.

Useful Links

Daily updates is one of the management practices that Hedgefund legend Ray Dalio describes in his weird but fascinating book “Principles”, see Sources page.

Background about journaling can be found under the name used by psychologists: Writing therapy and it’s special application Journal therapy.

Fun fact

Basically what you are doing while coming up with a daily update is to give yourself a quest. Fun facts: The most immersive games use quests as a prime element in their arsenal to keep you engaged: Welcome to World of Business-Craft!