For this journal entry, I'm not going to reorder my thoughts/notes like I normally do. These were basically copied off my journal and pasted here in the order that they were written down. I think it's as close as you can get to actually reading my journal. But the main reason I'm doing this, is to lessen the amount of time it takes for me to publish a journal entry. So here goes...
“We lost!”, my son said as he finished 10th place in a Mario Kart race. He said this happily by the way, in a way that only a child could ever do. This is what we lost when we grew up. We lost that childlike innocence. We lost the ability to see the world through the eyes of a child. We lost the ability to be happy in any given moment like a child could.
I noticed that I write down notes with the expectation that I'll be publishing them in the future. This causes me to write longer, fuller sentences in an unconscious attempt to make my notes ready to be published with minimal editing.
I think this bogs down my note taking process. Instead of writing down notes for the purpose of referencing them in the future, I write down notes with the purpose of stringing them all together into a future blog post. I think that if I stop writing “ready to be published” notes and instead go back to writing notes just for myself, that will make my digital garden a lot easier and less exhausting to maintain.
Mr. Rheingans is betting that we have this wrong. His experiment is premised on the idea that once you remove time-wasting distractions and constrain inefficient conversation about your work, five hours should be sufficient to accomplish most of the core activities that actually move the needle.
You know what, Mr. Rheingans might be on to something here. In my experience, when I've been working productively throughout the day, it is usually at the 5 hour mark that my brain starts slowing down. It is about that time when I would go to the break room, drink some water and think to myself, “my brain is fried.” Problem is, I still had 3 hours to go.
Work is not supposed to be fun. By work, I mean the kind where you are getting paid to provide a service to a company or employer or client. By that definition, it is almost guaranteed that sooner or later you will be asked to do something that is not fun.
I believe it is rare for someone to have a job that is also fun 100% of the time. An example are professional athletes. I'm sure they enjoy the sport they participate in, but even they have to put in the work to improve their game and their physical conditioning. That is just part of the job.
I'll use myself as another example. I love programming and I love solving problems by writing code to solve them. To me that's fun. However, working as a software developer is not “solving problems by writing code” 100% of the time. I still have to drive through traffic to get to and from the office. I still need to write documentation. I still need to work through ugly legacy code. I still need to do code reviews. I still need to train new developers. I still need to do compliance training. I still need to attend meetings. The list goes on and on and on. All of that comes as part of being employed as a software developer. None of those are necessarily fun, but they are to be expected of me, because that is part of the job. That is the work that needs to be done.
Why do I keep a work journal at the office?
I was looking up “journals” and found a blog post from a software developer who kept a work journal. I thought it was interesting and decided to give it a try. A few weeks after, I read Cal Newport's books and found out that he too kept a journal at work. So that was even more incentive to keep one.
What do I use as a work journal?
I have a medium sized, ruled, Moleskine 007 Limited Edition notebook. It has rounded corners, an elastic band to keep it closed and comes with a bookmark ribbon. I bought it at Barnes and Noble. Other stores carry Moleskine notebooks, but only Barnes and Noble seem to offer the limited edition ones.