Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Productivity and Note-taking

I told a friend of mine that I wasn't really happy with the amount of time that gets taken up by Slack and "communication and scheduling" in general, and that on one particularly "noisy" week it had taken up around 7 hours. He said that was "hardly anything" and that most of his work was done via Slack.  He has a support role, so I guess that makes sense. So it definitely can be a useful tool, but in the past few weeks I've managed to keep Slack usage down to about 3 hours per week.

On a related topic, I've tried a bunch of different task management techniques over the years and none of them ever stuck. I've always ended up with a fragmented collection of things to do, scattered between various Notes apps, email-based task lists, Trello boards, and hand-written notes.  The problem with a lot of the software-based task management options for me is that they're not always in front of me and they take a conscious effort to open and use.

A notebook on the other hand is always on the desk beside me, usually open to the last page of notes. There's no effort getting to it, and I can easily glance over without disrupting whatever I was doing on the computer.

There's a system called a bullet journal for keeping and managing lists.  The website explains the system and has an online store with their BuJo journals that are designed to work with the bullet journal system. There's also an app, so for people who really want to get into it, there are a variety of ways. You don't need a special BuJo journal to start using the technique, however.

I've switched my list of tasks from an online document to my pen-and-paper bullet journal now. I'm not fastidious about keeping the journal up to date on a daily or even weekly basis, but I find that its just a lot easier to take notes this way than it was to type things into a digital form.  The only downside I can see is that it's harder to share than digital notes which can be copy and pasted. But frankly most of the tasks on my list are too detailed and boring for anybody else to care about. They just want to know how a feature is coming along, etc.  So, check out the bullet journal.

1 comment:

Bheesham Persaud said...

Odd, I always seem to go back to using the computer to take my notes, though my notes are mostly always about code and not about higher level stuff.

I think this is partially because I keep a worklog, so if I'm going to keep track of what I'm doing and working on I may as well get into the nitty gritty in my notes. The best part of this, I find, is I can search through them easily.

I don't think I've given bullet journal a good enough try though. I'll try it out again and see if that changes anything -- though losing the ability to easily search might be an issue.

Productivity and Note-taking

I told a friend of mine that I wasn't really happy with the amount of time that gets taken up by Slack and "communication and sched...