I was giving a class on logic (my wife still is astounded by that one!) and had a friend come in to discuss his work as a chemist. He had two or three large notebooks in which he kept a journal of the compounds he used in each experiment. He told the class that this was how he kept from duplicating the experiments and helped to keep his thinking straight. He said that by writing the material down by hand, it actually made the experiment more concrete and provided him time to get the compound correct prior to trying another experiment.
This class had a positive effect on me. Later, after being appointed project manager for a new software application, I took a large notebook and started to write at least two to three sentences a day in it. I felt a little like an explorer, making notes on the different lands that we explored, but in reality, it was whether the boss was happy with the day’s activities or whether the programmers needed assistance.
I started taking printed emails and weekly reports and taping them inside the notebook. I placed contact names and numbers along with any other information that seemed important. I made it my mission every day to place something in that journal. Finally, the yearlong project ended and I shut the notebook for the last time.
I found that this form of journaling was fantastic for me. First, it gave me time during the submission of each entry to remember what happened that day. If I forgot something, I would add it the next day, noting that it happened the day before, but I ALWAYS made it a point to add something about the project for that specific day. I carried the notebook around with me at all times while I was on the project and separated each day by a line so that I could put two or three days on a page. It helped save paper and kept it clear that this was the most important documentation that I could have on the project.