So you are just starting your day, and you seem to be buried under a pile of work.
Not so fast, it doesn’t have to be that way. Does this sound like your day?
You have an open request to build a site. You also have an open request to make minor adjustments to a different site (or two or three different sites). Those requests seem to come through a multitude of ways. You check your email. There are not any new requests. That’s the first good sign. You check your project list which you probably got the email for a couple of days ago. You begin to work. Suddenly, you are coding away, and you find you now have five new email requests that came in over the first hour. Your project list has also grown. There’s someone standing at your desk asking you to make a change that should be really quick.
1. Don’t worry about a stopping point.
You know what I’m talking about right? You have that project open and you don’t think it’s a good place to stop? Well, don’t worry, any place is just as a good as any. If you are in the middle of something and you are able to, just “comment out” where you left off. If needed you can even create a comment for what is to come next if you think you might forget. If you aren’t able to comment out your stopping point, make a text file, and keep a running list of your personal to dos. Put your latest stopping point here, organized by project.
2. Yep, you could have guessed this one right? Organize by project.
I say to organize by project because you might actually find you end up with 3 or 4 projects going at the same time. You need a way to differentiate them when you do get back to them. Do not find yourself wondering what your notes were for.
3. Now that you have more to dos than you know what to do with, just relax.
Yep. That’s right. I said relax. Those tickets aren’t going anywhere, and they certainly aren’t going to be completed any faster by stressing over them. You just created your stopping point, and you found a way to notate what you did and where you left off right? Good. Now as you are taking a deep breath, read through your tickets. Start with priority, and then from there organize them in the manner of which you like to work.
It doesn’t matter which way you organize them. I’m sure I could not tell you how you work best, so I won’t try. I am sure you do know the answer to how you work best though. You will find by organizing you’re to dos in the manner you work best, you will do just that; your best work.
4. Complete to dos.
I know this would seem self-explanatory, but completing the work was not exactly what I meant. Check if off as completed as you go. This will help alert you to any new requests that might have come in. Checking off your list of work completed, or replying to your requests gives you a chance to view your list briefly without having to stop what you are doing.
5. Now that you have finished your to dos and you are ready to go back to your project; don’t. Not just yet.
Have you ever found yourself about to close your email at the end of the day only to see that you’ve had a priority request sitting in your inbox for the past two hours? You didn’t realize it was there. I soon realized after having to work later than usual to hurry and get something done, it would have been much easier to have set a reminder for myself to check my email or ticketing system on a regular basis. So here it is. Set yourself a reminder!
Checking these lists does not mean you need to immediately stop what you are doing. The lists will give you an idea of the work you will need to complete and how to schedule the requests in with the other work you are completing.
My next article will focus on building a project work flow as a developer. Until then, I hope this article helps you to make a few less mistakes than I did when I first started out.
See you next time 😉