I used to do it with Excel. I made a big list of things I could do. Then I would pull out a short list of things I need to do “this week.” For each thing (going vertically) and each day (going horizontally), I tallied when the thing got accomplished that day. I felt pretty good with at least 28 tallies for the week. A tally usually represented about 90 minutes. So, four per day represented about 6 hours of productivity.
I dropped that during a fruitless 6-month project. I think I just got too discouraged.
Then I went to mind map software for my list of things to do for the day, for a project, etc. Those worked pretty well as reminders but do not really measure productivity. I just put things in order and go down the list (more or less).
But this week, I started something totally different that I really like. The software is called The Momentum Generator. It works kind of like my Excel approach, but each activity has an allotted time and a timer. And it kicks out a simple report showing productivity. I don’t need the report because the timers work so well. I start a timer and work on that item. When its done, I take a little break and start the next timer.
For example, I have 10 timers for today. Seven are done. One is half done. The other two may get a little attention, or they may not. It doesn’t really matter because I’m happy getting those first ones checked off. Then tomorrow’s a new day.