At the heart of most organizations is a disconnect.

Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer have shown that making progress on meaningful work is the single most motivating aspect of any job. But . . . many people don’t know what kind of progress they’re making – because their main source of workplace feedback comes only once a year in that hideously awkward and bizarrely formulaic ritual known as the annual review.

Fortunately, several companies and entrepreneurs are now riding to the rescue, armed with techniques and software to irrigate the modern workplace’s feedback desert. But last month, I discovered a tool for individuals that – bang for the buck – is one of the most useful yet.

It’s called IDoneThis — and here’s how it works:

You register for free on the site. Then each afternoon or evening, at a time that you designate, the IDoneThis folks send you an email asking what you’ve accomplished that day. You reply to the email — and IDoneThis compiles the responses. You can then visit your own private online calendar to remember what you achieved — or didn’t — yesterday, last Tuesday, or three weeks ago.

I’ve been using IDoneThis for about a month now – and I’ve found it helpful, revealing, and occasionally disappointing because of what it reveals. It’s not a magic elixir for anybody’s productivity woes. But for me at least, spending 60 seconds each night responding to that IDoneThis email gives me a hint about whether I’ve really moving forward on stuff that matters.

16 Responses to “A cool new (free!) productivity tool”

  1. Jim Seybert says:

    Dan, this may very well be the best piece of advice someone has shared with me since a lunch meeting about 7 years ago when a buddy told me to read “Whole New Mind.”

    If this little thing works it could be THE missing piece for me. I’m a talented solo-professional who tends to have much better memory for my shortcomings than for my successes.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  2. Patrick says:

    on that note:

    http://www.ohlife.com

    it’s really pretty!

  3. Jeff says:

    Dan,

    Thanks for letting us know about this. I like the fact that it extremely easy to sign-up and set-up. It took about 10 seconds and now I can say “I Done This.”

    I did not see an IDoneThis app, but hopefully that will be coming soon. I would love to also have access on my phone too.

    Thanks again,

    Jeff

  4. Zoran says:

    This is a great tool, productivity tracking = awesome!

  5. Jen says:

    I’ve been doing something similar with a friend via email – we tell each other what we accomplished that day. We praise each other for being so productive and forgive each other when the day wasn’t as fruitful as we’d hoped.

    I don’t need software to show me what I’ve done, I need to show myself and someone who will care.

  6. Another great, free productivity tool that I use is todoist.com

  7. Levente Dudas says:

    Many thanks for this tool, Dan! Greetings from Hungary!

  8. Randy says:

    Dan,

    I currently do this weekly with my reports. We use an excel spreadsheet with the task, the target date and comments section.

    If completed on time the cell is marked green, if not yellow or red and the when it is completely closed of the row is hidden

    Then for the review, we open the whole sheet up and look at what was accomplished on time and what was not.

  9. Teamly says:

    Teamly offers similar functionality, but as well as letting you record achievements, let’s you set your goals (or priorities) as well, AND it works for teams, as well as individuals.

    Scott Allison, founder

  10. Hi Dan and contributors,

    Many organisations are suffering from that disconnect, inefficient and distressing annual review, lack of focus and feedback loops is Rypple, led by Daniel Debow http://bit.ly/social-goals (on Twitter @ddebow)
    Check it out, once adopted by your teams you won’t recognise your workplace!

    (disclosure: I don’t work for Rypple, simply a big fan of theirs!)

    Anthony

  11. Jill says:

    These types of programs also dovetail nicely with the currently popular “happiness” research. You can reflect on positive things you did/experienced during the day, not just things you checked off yr to do list.

    Recently discovered your book – really enjoyed it!

  12. Red Denal says:

    This is really cool, Dan. I’ll try this and will see what’s the benefit.

  13. Dan,
    Thank you for sharing this tool. I’ve signed up. It seems like a great progress tracking tool. I’m going to have a few of my clients try IDoneThis too and see how it effects their productivity and “action satisfaction.”
    Rachel

  14. James Lytle says:

    I like that this forces you to record what you’re doing in the form of a question that calls for a response. I wonder if there could be other channels though since email gets flooded so easily. Here is an app I’ve worked on for a client in the same realm. http://www.irunurun.com. mobile app soon to be released!

  15. Katelin says:

    I love this. I am an executive assistant at launchleads.com and I have a thousand tasks to keep up on, since with a startup company you tend to wear a lot of hats. By the end of the day, I’m never quite sure what I actually got accomplished, so I am hoping this is useful for me. If it works, I will definitely encourage my whole company to utilize it.

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