Tracking Uncertainty of Work

Ryan Singer writes about project and time management issues that I’ve been experiencing lately. He describes two states of every project: uncertainty and certainty, or “figuring things out” and “making it happen.”

Ryan describes it like this:

Work is like a hill with two sides. There’s an uphill phase of figuring out what to do and how to approach the problem. That’s the climb. After you reach the top, there aren’t anybody [sic] ruinous unknowns. You can see down to the other side and finish executing. It’s straightforward to estimate and finish the work from that point.

As far as I see it, the hardest thing about the first half of every project is making sure that everyone on a team is communicating constantly as tiny design decisions can have enormous, cascading effects on an engineer. I think that’s something I’ve always struggled with since I just want to get to the “making it happen” part as soon as humanly possible. It also goes back to something Geoff wrote a little while back about setting good expectations before and during the project process.

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Productivity Tip: Time Tracking and Task Lists, Unite!

I’ve shared this little productivity tip with enough folks who have found it useful and figured I’d make a post out of it.

I love time tracking and I love task lists, but boy do I hate managing them both. So, I’ve been using my time tracker as my task list.

I use Harvest for time tracking. It allows you to create time entries in the future and I suspect many other time tracking apps do the same. That means today I can enter all the time entries I plan on doing tomorrow. Or, if I’m feeling super organized, I can create entries for the following week. All of my tasks are right there in front of me and ready to clock my time.

If I don’t get to a task that day? No worries. Harvest has a subtle feature that allows me to move a time entry from one day to another. Now, I’m good to go for the next day.

Again, other apps are probably capable of doing the same.

I know, it’s a super small thing but it delights me every day and helps me manage two important things in one.

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