Keep a Daily Business Journal as a Management Tool
I have found, as a consultant (and owner/manager) for over fifteen years, that the habitual practice of recording all my business tasks, my short/long term TODOs, and any other business related fact (e.g., city/client location, mileage markers, etc.) is an indispensible management tool.
Why keep a detailed business journal?
Whether you are an office work whose personality tends toward minute detail or you are a sole proprietor who multitasks clients and tasks, a centralized uncomplicated data store that remembers every daily activity can be a critical tool in your business life. Before there was a QuickBooks, a Project, and even the original VisiCalc spreadsheets, there was the simple handwritten business journal. The journal forces me in a constructive way to filter all my business activities through one central processor by maintaining a handwritten, daily record in a standardize format. Time/date stamped, terse, information-loaded entries, written in a linear order, bring both control and order to the multitasking in my business life.
Accurate time/date stamping of a task provides a historical context that often supports speedy resolution of even the thorniest customer support problems. Such data can be critical when running a small or home-based business. During follow-up days or weeks later, accurate reference information such as account numbers and contact names recorded in the actual historical context is oftentimes a more persuasive tool than just the facts themselves. This simple device however rests totally upon and derives its significance from its habitual use. The linear organization of short/long term tasks, objectives, goals can readily be transformed into an accurate record of corporate milestones useful in the keeping of corporate records. The power of the non-computerized daily journal is awesome for project planning, performance assessment and even disaster recovery once one commits to its habitual use.
How do I keep a journal?
Select a bound, ledger-style book with numbered pages to cover your business? calendar or fiscal year. Use only the right page to record daily entries. Avoid use of left page except for occasional notes. Do not remove pages from the bound book. Do not erase entries; draw a single strikeout line through discarded entries. Use the first 2-5 pages to record common references and facts such as personal phone numbers, account numbers, etc.
In summary – Recording your daily activities and TODOs, rain or shine, can be an indispensible management tool when running a home-based business. You not only build a centralize data store of critical information, but compile a management/accounting tool that clarifies business activities in an historical written document. If you take it with you wherever you go, critical information will never be more than an arms-length away.
About the Author
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