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So Much Data

In my quest to become better organized, I've tallied a master list of all the data I generate and where I log it. Upon review, it seems to be very haphazard - some things are tracked in analog systems while others are recorded in digital format. When I decide to record a new type of data I often struggle in deciding which format to store it in and also which particular product to use in the format category.

I'm REALLY interested to know what kind of data you personally record, whether your habits in recording have changed over the years, and what formats and products you use for your recording. Drop me an email in reply, comment on this blog entry on the website (, or comment on the facebook syndication.

Data Item Recorded, Format (analog/digital), Products

medical records, digital, google docs (Excel Spreadsheet)
nutrition, digital,
exercise--cardio, digital,
exercise--strength, analog, Eat Clean Workout Journal
work journal, analog, Franklin Covey Daily Planner
travel, digital, SongsofGratitude blog and for longer entries
books to read, digital, pinterest
book reviews/notes, digital, SongsofGratitude blog
weekly menus, analog, Weekly Menu Planner
recipes to try, digital, pinterest
recipes tried and true, digital, Mastercook & publication to SongsofGratitude blog & pinterest
bible study/sermon/theology notes and musings, digital, SongsofGratitude blog
SAS projects and happenings @CSC, analog, SAS Projects notebook
meetings, analog, Cambridge Meeting Notebook
interesting system and SAS errors, digital, google docs (Excel Spreadsheet)
prayers offered and answered, analog, Prayer Journal
goals, digital, OneNote
certifications and educational achievement log, digital, OneNote
training/education study notes, analog AND digital, simple notebook for trainings done at work; OneNote for grad school classes


Anonymous said…
This definitely got me thinking about what I do/don’t organize. I’m sure I’m the last person you’d want feedback from, as I’m notoriously unorganized. However, for what it’s worth, I figured I’d pattern-match your list (which is embarrassing when I see how much I don’t keep track of in comparison):

• Med records: I don’t keep track of these, though I should. When I’ve needed past history for our family—either people or animal—I simply request a backlog of treatments from the dr./vet and eyeball trends from there. Probably not the most organized way to do things.
• Nutrition: I’m not sure why you’d keep track of this or even what you keep track of. Is this like how many glasses of water in a day or X pieces of toast?
• Exercise: Don’t keep track of this, and that’s probably why I’m not succeeding at keeping at it.
• Work: I use my Outlook calendar to keep track of events, meetings, deliverable deadlines. For meeting notes, I hand-write on a notepad.
• Travel: N/a
• Books to read: Don’t keep a list of this. If the book was important enough for me to want to read badly, I’ll remember it when I get through with the current one.
• Book reviews: n/a
• Weekly meals: we keep a monthly dry-erase board attached to the back of our pantry, so it’s easily viewable in the kitchen. Every weekend, we make up our meals for the week and the grocery list that goes with it. Then all we have to do is check the whiteboard to see what we planned for the day/meal, and can easily make changes when needed.
• Recipes to try: Because I check my email frequently, I email myself the recipe or link to the website I saw the recipe on. Later, when I want to cook it, I copy/paste the recipe into a Word doc. and keep it in a “Recipes” folder on my computer.
• Recipes Tried-and-True: While they’re also on my computer, I print out our “repeat offender” meals and keep a hard-copy of them in a recipe holder in the kitchen, next to the cookbooks.
• Bible study: n/a
• (in lieu of SAS projects) Story ideas/creative writing musings: I keep a small moleskine journal in my purse/bag to jot down. I use the inside of the front cover as a TOC that merely lists what the idea was, so I can look back at this journal later (among a stack of them, perhaps) and open the cover and be like, “Oh, this one had those vampire story notes. That’s what I was looking for.”
• Meetings: see Work above.
• Prayers: Don’t keep track of these. But I know a friend who uses Wunderlist on his iPad.
• Goals: Don’t keep formal track of these.
• Certs./Education: I update the Word doc. that has my resume.
• School: when I was in school, I’d keep hard-copy of my notes in spiral notebooks. While it runs through paper, it really helped me to go through the physical learning trick of writing things down as an additional way to ingrain it in my brain. Plus, I’m a kick-ass note taker so I could transcribe faster than I could type (b/c I kept wanting to format as I typed, which isn’t good when listening to a fast-speaking professor).
Jenni Stephens said…
I have a handy medical record spreadsheet i created on google docs you are free to adopt for your use. It has spaces to record personal info, immunization history, doctor visits, medications, test results, etc, and it is here:

Nutrition= calorie counting (also tracks things like fiber intake and vitamins/minerals against the rda) and sparkpeople is pretty darn awesome for this - and free. Micki is on it as is Anna and a lot of folks.

For the books to read, in addition to recommendations from friends and such I usually copy over the Barnes and Noble best books of the year, the "top 100 books of all time" type lists, etc.

Like the story idea book.

If you don't keep track of your goals, it's hard to measure your progress against them or manage the steps involved (creating achievable substeps, scheduling those steps onto your calendar for completion, etc). Tracking goals is what takes them from wishes to accomplishments.

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