Have the Data: Log Your Work

Sometimes I have fantasies about working in an environment where I’m testing a single product and can really go heads-down into something, uninterrupted, for hours or days on end.

But that’s just my fantasy world and doesn’t reflect anywhere I’ve worked. A couple months ago I realized that I had a gut feeling about two things:

  • I was working on a lot of projects / tasks
  • Task-switching was killing my productivity

Being of the mindset that it’s wise to make decisions and changes based on data rather than gut feelings, I started logging my work.

Format Doesn’t Matter: Just Do It

Don’t get hung up about the “right” way to keep a log of your work. Pick something that’s going to work for you. Maybe that’s a notepad where you jot down your tasks/projects as the day progresses. Maybe it’s a text file in your favorite text editor. In my case, I setup a quick WordPress.com blog using the P2 theme which is pretty minimal and allows me to enter one-liners with each task that I’m working on. Those notes are timestamped and I can easily add tags for later sorting.

The Data is Fascinating

Turns out the problem wasn’t all in my head. On one particularly egregious Tuesday, I was interrupted and asked to task-switch to a different project 6 times before 9:15am.

Update: a couple hours after I published this, Crowd Favorite released Capsule which is worth a look.

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