A note app is all I needed to be productive.
Jun 4, 2022
It was the year 2020, and I was searching ways to boost my work productivity. I subscribed to couple of news letters, following some authors in this domain. As a result, I read every story that appears in my feed. There were several dozens of them.
Being a developer is a mentally demanding job that necessitates many soft and hard skills as well as a specific set of personal traits in order to work productively and avoid burnout. That was my need a few years ago: to make the most of my day, avoid task overload, and eventually not work over weekends to compensate 🙅.
As a result, I read every article that appears in my newsfeed. I used to take notes on everything and then try to apply what I learned to my work. It wasn't working as expected, but I convinced myself that I was doing something wrong and that I should try harder the next time. This went on for quite some time.
Each article is outstanding and interesting in its own right. Those "[30/10/45/***] productivity tips at work" were, however, a little overwhelming and did not work for me. The reason for this is that I felt there were far too many tips, no clear benchmark to see if you are in right path, and there is always "Another study by [VERY famous institute] on how to work better" to break your flow and distract you.
While reading one of such articles, I came across a practice called "Work Logging". Work Logging is a simple notion that entails keeping note of everything that happens at your work every day.
You must ask, what is the need of a work logger. There are definite benefits and i might not know all but following are the pros from my end
- Helps you to give a detailed self review during appraisal cycle 💰
- You have a better answer to such questions like,
- Where did most of your time went last week ? 🤔
- I wish you would have done this faster, what caused the delay ? 🤨
- What are the blockers you had last week? 🤔
- Do you have any suggestions for the Design/Product teams ?
- Helps in self-evaluation 🎯
- And finally, it gives you a sense of ownership and loads of motivation ❤️
Hence It felt a lot easier for me to log work than it did to follow dozens of tips. So, I began with one app/tool (which I will list at the end), worked on it for a while, and then moved on to another if it was not a good fit. So, after two years of these iterations, I ended up with a simple note app 😌.
This template is ineffective itself unless combined with some, say,
- Day is divided into multiple slots, Every slot is a 50 mins pomodoro 🍅 and 10 mins break
- Make sure to have at-least 7 and at max 9 such SLOTS.
- I try to keep meetings around 50 minutes. 🗓
- Have four focus zones (🧘) in which no diversions are allowed.
- I take a one-hour lunch break, including a 20-minute power nap (before food). 🍱 + 😴
- By the end of today, I have a plan for tomorrow. 🌆
- Finally, I freely convey my day plan/availability to my colleagues. 📣
The tools I've used that I believe are way over the top for my use case are listed below-
- SpreadSheets - Flexible and free, however, I wasn't a fan of the cell-based UI and formatting to make it look like a logger.
- Trello - A simple task management tool, but I didn't feel like I had the flexibility of a working logger in it, and the other features were a distraction to me. Perhaps it was not intended to be used in this manner. But I'd been a fan of Trello for a long time and couldn't resist the urge to try it out.
- NotePlan is a fantastic app. It has everything I need, including tasks, a calendar, tags, and links to other notes in the app. I was content with it for a long time till I realised I was paying $10-11 per month on Setapp solely for this. As a result, I had no choice but to let it go.
- I finally settled with Apple Notes, which I've been using for quite some time. It isn't as feature-rich as NotePlan, but it is straightforward and simplistic, this is just what I needed.
There's also Notion, a fantastic application. I'm happy to stay with apple notes for a while longer. But, if you're just getting started, consider Notion.
Thanks for reading till here ❤️. I have made the same template in notion. Please get it here