Without fail, on the first work day of every month I send out a one-sentence email to my colleagues: so, what did you do last month? The Monthly Report, in which we report to our two higher ups, is due.
My colleagues and I have experimented with different ways of keeping track of our workload, including typing everything into an Excel spreadsheet (too sterile for me), making notes on yellow stickies and pasting them to each other in long flowing lines, and jotting down assignments in a planner (how grown up).
Eventually, I settled on the latter as the easiest and quickest way for me to keep track of my work. It suits my personality â€” I like writing things and I like to feel the pen on the paper. Keeping notes has a tactile quality I miss most of the day, as I research and write using my computer. So I like to remember that one of the greatest inventions was the fountain pen, my preferred instrument these days. Would that I could write the Monthly Report instead of cutting and pasting it into a Word document from everyone’s emails!
Lately, carrying my Equology Textagenda in my bag, I’ve started making notes on things that don’t really seem like work but are how I spent my time that day. Such as the half-day reviewing a new database to add to our subscription services; working with people from another division who were having trouble doing some research and needed to learn how to set up a search; teaching a few people how to use the encrypted flash drives we just bought, and pointers on where to secretly write down the password. All the things I do in a day that I don’t remember and so go into the Monthly Report as â€œMiscellaneous requests for quick research/help.â€ Suddenly I see where my day has gone in a way I never noticed before, when I would look at the clock and wonder how I had managed to waste so much time doing nothing. The extra notes have made me realize I’m a better employee, and a better person (so much time spent helping others, wow!) than I’d ever really noticed before.