Keeping a developer diary

Published on 2009-05-23

A few weeks ago, I bought a notebook to help keep myself organized. It's been the best purchase I've made in a long time. I use it as a software developer's diary.

Every morning, I write a list of things I want to accomplish that day. Usually the list is somewhat optimistic, and I don't get to everything, but it gets me thinking about what I need to accomplish in the near future.

As I work through each item on the list, I make notes about what I've tried, why I've tried it, and what results I got. If I have any new ideas, I write them down before I forget them so I can come back and try them later. When I talk about what I've been working on at one of our SCRUM meetings, I use my notebook to help me keep my status reports short and concise but complete. I also write down any suggestions people give me.

At the end of the day, I write down, in bullet point form, each thing I worked on, the progress I made, and my thoughts about how to move forward. I use this to try and maintain perspective about a large project when I've been focusing on lower-level details all day.

Keeping a diary like this helps me keep my head clear and lets me work faster. I would recommend it to any developer.