Some senior+ developer roles have a lot going on. In my work I had many inputs happening concurrently: meetings, Slack messages, email, and my current Jira ticket work. Sometimes a meeting might spawn 4 different next actions that I would need to handle.
I developed a finely tuned sense of urgency: Is this new task important enough that I have to do it right now?. If builds are broken across the project that’s one thing, but if I could delay the task to later I really tried to, protecting my current attention (the thing I should be working on), by putting this new task into one of three inboxes.
These three inbox options are:
- Outlook’s Inbox (if it’s from an email)
- Slack Reminders functionality (if it’s from a Slack message)
- Weekly Bullet journal page (most other things)
(I have since added “Reminders.app” to this list, especially for dated reminders)
Wait, what is that weekly bullet journal page?
Something I quickly found critical in this work was keeping a paper notebook and clipboard.
Why paper? Because there is no interface with paper: I want to grab it and write, not flip apps on my computer (potentially disrupting me presenting!); or if I keep an iPad/Remarkable around I still have to deal with that interface.
So every week I would print off the following template
(Meant to be printed two sided, thus the upside down text on the right)
The bullet journal people would call this a weekly spread. Bullet Journals might also contain Daily Spreads - one page per day - but I find the layout of those too often turn into a bad copy of my Outlook agenda. Especially as I keep daily work logs in Markdown files on my computer,.
Built into my weekly spread template is todos; space for reflection of what you did during the week (very useful for yearly reviews!); what code reviews/pull requests you might need to close the loop on; weekly/monthly/yearly goals, and a space for notes.
The workflow this supports
During the day
During the day, as requests come in, I handled them through a workflow summarized like so (for non critical or interactive conversations).
If I create a pull request, for my teammates to review some code, the PR goes in the PR section of the BUJO, so I don’t forget about it!
Likewise, if I see the day is getting away from me - I’m getting swamped with emails and one I need to take action on is getting further and further down the list - the bujo can act as a meta-inbox: “Remember John’s email about Client Foobar sent 12/13/2021”.
When I sit down to my computer to start the day I:
- Check email
- Check Slack
- Check Slack Reminders I set for myself (using the “remind me about this tomorrow” option)
- Look at Weekly BUJO - anything that needs to be done today?
When I sit down on Monday morning I do a deeper review:
- take care of still pending TODO items on my bujo. I’ve followed up about a lot of stuff mid Monday mornings :)
- Review open PRs, closing them if needed
- Summarize important daily notes in my weekly bujo
Yes, this feels like a GTD weekly review just done Monday morning not Friday afternoon!
When I’m done with the week
I three hole punch it and put it in a binder!
If you like this I hope it helps!
Download the Omnigraffle original if you want!