CNN.com has a feature here on a TED talk by artist Cesar Kuriyama on his project, "1 Second Everyday". It's the sort of thing that my friend Neil Harris at Modern Uberdox would love.
As Kuriyama explains it:
The one-second everyday project [in which he recorded 1 second of video of his life every day, for a year, and concatenated the videos] was something that originally started
out as a way for me to chronicle my year off from work but really
quickly after I started I realized that it was helping me in many more
ways. It was allowing me to realize that I could remember everyday that
I've lived; it was allowing me to quickly reflect back on the things
that I had to done, to be able to zoom out from the past month and
realize, "Oh wow, I sat around a lot this month." I instantly decided to
do it for the rest of my life and realized the benefits were far
greater than the amount of work I needed to put into it, which was just a
quick second to remind me of that day.
I contrast this with the approach of Rabbeinu Yonah, in Yesod haTeshuvah:
This is the path he shall walk and the deed he shall perform to habituate himself to guard himself from sin. Each morning, when he rises from his sleep, he should set his mind to repent and he should examine his deeds... At the time for eating, before he eats, he should admit all of his sins, and if he corrupted anything then he should admit what he corrupted, and this very admission will distance him from all iniquity and sin...and so he should eat his morning meal, and then before eating in the evening he should admit all, as we have said, and then from the time of eating in the evening he should do the same until he lies down.
I see here two different approaches to the concept of cheshbon hanefesh, "personal accounting":
Kuriyama keeps a record, which he can turn back to over time to review where he has been. [Of course, Kuriyama isn't necessarily using this for self-examination leading to self-improvement, but I see this is a natural byproduct.]
Rabbeinu Yonah looks back at each one-second clip immediately afterward, in small increments, to catch problems immediately and steel himself against repeating them.
I do both; I keep a daily log of my activities, to which I can refer at year's end, and I also try to check in with myself pretty regularly.
which do you think works better?