You can’t manage what you can’t measure, is one of those business idioms that you’ll hear quoted a million times in your career, if you work in a corporation.
My tool of choice for tracking my progress is Duotrope’s Digest, a genre market tracking website. At first I just used the site to get feedback on short story market response times. The difference between Duotrope and similar sites is that they give users the ability to see their submissions up along side the market trends.
Before Duotrope, I used spreadsheets and slagged together information from a variety of websites and put it in a spreadsheet. I had slightly more flexibility in creating my own reports in that format, but I’m not looking to be a market research for a living. Do I need the information. sure. Did I need to play Sherlock Holmes? Not so much.
Another tool that I used with similar results to the spreadsheet was Spacejock Software’s Sonar, which is a fine tool with a much better interface than Excel, and a number of useful built-in reports.
There are those who would rather not have their submission information online. It’s a valid point, but as there is not a lot of risk of the information that they story being detrimental. That’s just my opinion.
The point to this whole thing? There are many different solutions out there to track your submissions and if you’re looking to make a living at it, you should get organized.