dataset: Blog

protocol: Productivity


I use a dedicated pen and notebook for work. Each morning I write down: the date, when I have meetings, and one priority task.

Only one priority is allowed.

Next, I go through my inboxes: email, assigned bugs/tasks, and code reviews. Most corporate email is "work spam" so email is usually a quick task of skimming subjects and deleting things.

I check if any new bugs have been assigned or if I have been @mentioned on any existing bugs.

The last inbox to check is code review. I review any code changes my coworkers are preparing to submit. If I have code that is being reviewed I will respond to feedback and make any suggested changes. If code review becomes a slog I pause and defer until the afternoon.

Once I've cleared my inbox, I revisit my daily priority. Almost always the priority won't change, but occasionally inboxing reveals urgent issues. Learning good prioritization is an art but here's a taste: What are we trying to do? How can I help the team achieve that?

I now work on my top priority for the rest of the morning. I work in blocks of at least twenty minutes. Anything shorter and I won't have enough time to build up sufficient "context momentum". If the work sucks I probably won't have much more than twenty minutes in me before I need a short break. If the work is interesting I limit myself to no more than sixty minutes before going on a break.

I dedicate the morning to inboxing and working on the top priority (as meetings allow). Afternoons I give myself the leeway to address lower priority issues if I want to.

That's the protocol. If I make just a small amount of progress every day, I have won. It adds up.