Monday Blog of Accountability

  • On May 6, 2024 ·
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Screenshot of a production board in KanbanFlow

This post is going to go a bit different. Whereas others focus on things I’m doing, today I’ll be concentrating on how I’m doing. I try to journal and do a check-in with myself regularly, usually at the start/end of a week or month. It helps whenever I feel I’m going off-track or need to find direction.


Screenshot of my journal entries for April, collapsed for privacy
Screenshot of my journal entries for April, collapsed for privacy

I believe my folks gave me my first journal in an effort to practice my handwriting. Or I simply saw a book with a lock on it and thought it was neat. Either way, writing things down privately was extremely useful growing up. There are two distinct halves I want to highlight:

  • Getting stuff out of your head
  • Processing what comes out

Everybody carries around a decent amount in their minds through out the day.

Some of it is straight memories. “First this happened, then this happened, now this is happening.”

Some of it is plans for the future. “I need to remember to do this, then I can do the other thing.”

Some of it is observations mixed with emotions. “I have to talk to so-and-so today. Ugh. They never shut up about themselves.”

If you’re actively carrying around these thoughts and feelings all day it can weigh you down. I like to dump them out so I can organize, realize what’s on my mind, and deal with them properly. There’s the concept of the internal monologue, or intrapersonal communication. Different people experience it in different ways. Some folks don’t have one. When I was younger I used to narrate my imagination to myself when I played. At some point I got concerned talking to myself would seem weird so I moved it internally. I remember this being a conscious decision and taking effort.

You may be nothing like me and my exact quirks but I still recommend journaling to everybody. (I do mine digitally now, though it’s a whole other conversation about which app/tool/system is the best) Writing encourages us to think about what we’re feeling and stewing over. Journaling specifically is nice because it’s for your own purposes so there’s less need to worry about formatting or making narrative sense for readers. Normally I’m taking steps to plot out my goals, what I have to get done for the household as well as personally and project-wise.

There are weeks where I haven’t had time to physically sit down and write. It’s very therapeutic when I finally do, letting out any frustration or getting to ramble about my latest obsession. It’s not often I realize something I haven’t considered before but I attribute that to writing often. If a lot happens between entries the more I mentally need to wade through to make sense of it all.


Page of my log book from February, 2018
Page of my log book from February 2018

When I started renting office space outside of my home, I decided to keep a book of dates and times I checked in and out of my desk. Before that, I’d been using an AT-A-GLANCE wall calendar to follow the Don’t Break the Chain method of good habit building. At the time I was working on growing my focus, concentrating on a project for an extended period. That carried fairly well until the pandemic, where time seemed to slow down and compress all at once. There were months where I was the only person in the office. Then suddenly other people started coming back in and the place got busy again.

The US-Canada border was closed so my girlfriend and I couldn’t visit each other. I also had to renew my passport while everything was shut down. The official website said they could be sent in but gave no guarantee of when they’d be returned. (To me, this translated to “lost”) So we waited. Once I knew when to expect my passport to be renewed it was off to secure a test for travel. I remember presenting my results on entry but still getting selected for further testing, requiring a follow-up call or email if results were positive. Then my mom announced when she was retiring and selling her house. Suddenly our timeline for planning my move became very real. The dentist told me I needed my first root canal, necessitating an appointment at another location and a rush order for the finished crown. My cat Hope needed to be cleared for crossing the border with proper paperwork. In between those two things I flew out to meet Solange and we drove our little U-Haul van to pack up my Ohio life before driving back with Hope.

I’ve tried using the log book once after I was moved in and settled. It made me incredibly anxious. I suspect because of the hectic memories associated with the last time I used it. Plus it’s designed to make me feel like I’m on the clock, which can be unnerving if I don’t have a healthy routine set up.


Screenshot of a production kanban board in KanbanFlow
A production board in KanbanFlow

The Kanban system is popular in lean manufacturing and software development. It’s good for tracking different phases of a project. I particularly like KanbanFlow as it lets you customize multiple boards and has a built in Pomodoro timer with time-tracking. It’s incredibly satisfying to see what you’re working on move towards completion since so often creative work is abstract.