Creating an Activity Log with SharePoint

I was reminded of an old Notepad trick on LifeHacker yesterday.

Basically if you create a new text file, add .LOG as your first line and then save the file, every time you open it after that the date and time is automatically added for you.


LifeHacker then suggest you can use this as an activity log to help keep you focused on productivity. At the end of the day you can take a look and see what you’ve done with your time!

It also suggested that you added a shortcut to your taskbar so you can get to the log really quickly.

I’m all for improving productivity but decided I could improve on this a little so created something similar in SharePoint.

On our companyweb site I also have my own site that I use for testing things out and keeping track of information specific to myself (http://companyweb/andy) so this seemed the perfect place for it.

First thing was to create a new custom list called “Daily Activity Log”


Adding it to the quick launch bar means I can get at it quickly while on my site.

One new list!

Next I created a new standard view


From here I made my new view the default view, displayed only the "Created” and “Title” fields (in that order) and set the sort order to “Created" and Descending (newest on top)


Scrolling down the page I set the filter options to only show the entries for today.


After that I clicked the NEW button to display a form so I could fill out an activity entry.

You could also rename the “Title” field to something more useful but I haven’t here as this post will be long enough!




I now have a complete list of entries from today and the “created” field gives us the same timestamp effect we had in notepad.

To mirror the LifeHacker suggestion I then created a new shortcut on my desktop.


The target is:

"C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe" http://companyweb/andy/Lists/Daily%20Activity%20Log/NewForm.aspx

(This path will be different if using the 32-bit version of Internet Explorer on a 64-bit operating system)

You can get the URL by clicking the NEW button and copying the URL from the address bar.

I also changed the icon to make sure it looked different to the main

I only created this today so only have one groups worth of information.

All done!

This means I’ve got a tracking system for my daily activities where I can easily add entries, view what I’ve achieved today as well as go back and look at previous days.

There are plenty of ways to improve on this further. Some examples that spring to mind.

  • You could add a category field if you wanted to track types of activity. You could then create views and filters around these. (You may want to see how many times you made a phone call during a day for example)
  • You could add a “minutes spent” field and have SharePoint total up this field. This would let you know how many minutes of productivity you’re getting out of your day.
  • You could share the list with a team of people and use the “created by” field to group and filter on usernames so you can see what each person is getting up to
  • If you had personal site like I do you could drop the list onto the web part page so the current list is always displayed – dashboard style!

Just a couple there. The whole idea is that it’s quick and easy to use so you wouldn’t want to customise it too much.

Possibly a little overkill when compared to the simplicity of the notepad based solution but once this is setup it’s done and your old data is very nicely tidied away but you still get easy access to it.

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Andy Parkes is Technical Director at Coventry based IT support company IBIT Solutions. Formerly, coordinator of AMITPRO and Microsoft Partner Area Lead for 2012-2013. He also isn't a fan of describing himself in the third person.

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