On notes

Volume 4, Issue 1; 01 Jan 2020

Better meetings achieved. Maybe. Better recorded meetings, definitely.

I’m not a regular purveyor of New Year’s resolutions. Last year, however, I did resolve to take more notes: in particular, minutes at every meeting I attended. I am pleased to say that I was very successful. Discounting daily standups and “all hands” meetings, which I didn’t bother to try to scribe, I think I only missed a couple.

What’s more, I was more habitual about writing things down. I even made an attempt at a short “daily journal”. I should review that, but I have to finish this post fairly quickly if I want it dated 1 January!

In total, I have 219 notes for calendar year 2019 (291 if you include the daily journal ones and miscellaneous others.)

The other resolution I made was to use Org-mode to keep track of all of my “todo” items. I think I was largely successful here as well. There are 1,430 items marked “done” in my collection, 954 marked “todo”, 238 marked “canceled”, 25 marked “waiting”, 8 marked “someday” and probably a few one-offs here and there.

I should be clear, these are the “to do” things that aren’t recorded elsewhere. I’m not making an entry for every JIRA item I work on, every GitHub issue, etc. Perhaps I should, it would certainly be interesting.

What I haven’t developed yet from this exercise is a good set of habits. Ideally, as I understand this kind of thing, everything should go through that list and I should be actively curating that list. In reality, on Christmas I decided to refactor my entire Emacs initIt’s a literate Org file now, baby! file.

That wasn’t on the list. There are probably lots of occasions where I’ve decided to pursue something “off list”.

On the whole, though, I’m pleased with where I got to, and I will continue to try to improve the systems.


Yo Norm,

(I don't have "canceled" as an org mode status; that's a nice idea.)

"good set of habits"--I'm not a religious nut about the book "Getting Things Done," but the habits it describes fit well around org mode's capabilities. To some degree the book has achieved the magic goal of convincing me that following its advice will, in the long run, save me time, so that's something.

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