Whether I'm working on a 30 Day Improvement Sprint, or working through a complex problem, I find journaling is key. By journal, I simply mean a personal log in some form that I can easily add to and review. Journaling is key because I get to see at a glance, what I've accomplished. I write down my little achievements each day. When I don't, I tend to focus on everything I didn't do, instead of appreciating what I learned. Those little, incremental distinctions add up fast.
When I write down what I learn as I go, I have a log that I can scan for patterns. For example, do my breakthroughs happen later versus earlier? Do I usually get over a hump by bouncing an idea off somebody? Do I have a pattern for learning that I can optimize?
When I'm doing a 30 day improvement sprint, journaling is a must. Otherwise, I forget when I started. If I forget when I started, I don't know when I finish. If I don't know when I finish, then I'm no longer sprinting towards the finish line.
One of my favorite examples of extreme journaling is John Wooden. Aapparently he kept an indvidual journal for every one of the players he coached. He used journaling to tailor drills and customize training for each member of the team. Whenever I don't feel like *bothering* to journal for myself, I think of the example John Wooden set, and I get back on the saddle again!