The Best Daily Work Journal

by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 02/06/2012

Okay, in for a penny, in for a pound. Since I’m switching over to blogging as my daily work journal, I will try to make it the best daily work journal online. Everything I do is writing, in one sense or another. I am a knowledge worker in probably the truest sense set out by Peter Drucker.

Today, I am in search engine optimization (SEO) because that’s where a certain ineffable ability to make sense of ambiguous information serves me best today, but as social takes off and modifies SEO, that’s where I’ll be. I’ll be wherever the most interesting and valuable-to-people-at-large action is at. I am not saying SEO is dead, but that statement has more credibility than over the past 15 years during Google’s ascendance to search dominance.

The pendulum always swings in the other direction, and backlash always ensues. A disruptive competitor is always in the wings, and the new almost always replaces the old. There are always exceptions, and the old sometimes acquires the ability to continually reinvent itself and never fully becomes replaced. It’s just that the dominant position might be lost. On the one hand, there’s MySpace, where the old player just got so many of the fundamentals wrong and lacks the ability to reinvent itself. On the other hand, there’s IBM, which went from typewriters to mainframes to PCs to services, and continues to reinvent itself. It’s just no longer Apple vs. IBM. In fact, it’s no longer Apple vs. Microsoft. Now, it’s Apple vs. Google. Talk about reinvention!

Anyway,  my daily journal is an avalanche of free-form stream-of-consciousness thought. It is a necessary evil in my field of simply knowing things better than most other people, in both an intuitive and holistic fashion, and in the ability to rapidly zoom down into the details. I need to continually survey the landscape, both in terms of the hubbub of the forums and SEO publications, but also in experiments that I am personally conducting with monitoring tools I myself have written. I need to think out loud about my observations, and ponder and pontificate out loud—at least to myself—to know how I feel about certain situations.

This thinking out loud is just one way I use my journal, because I strongly believe that forcing yourself to verbalize deeply enables thinking well. Things just sort of abstractly wash over you in daily experience, and dreams force you to process certain bits while you sleep. But it doesn’t process everything you need. Bits that escape sometimes need to be forcibly churned and processed in your head in writing. And my daily journal is as much for this process as it is for documenting what I’ve done. It is very meta and self-modifying, in that what I write helps me determine what to do next.