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Paulo Elias

What's this Worklog thing?

At the beginning of 2019 I started keeping a Worklog at the day job. During my last review period I spent way too much time trying to remember my wins, flag things I/we need to improve on, and track all of the smaller, but important, projects and outcomes that helped the team reach its goals. Being the lazy programmer that I am I wanted an easier way to track and surface my work so I set out to build a prototype.

To get started I created a folder, wrote a small bash script that I could run to create a new markdown file using my template, and generated my fist entry. I wanted to track more than just my work, I needed to track:

  • Things I worked on
  • Products, features, bug fixes, etc I/we delivered
  • Folks I spoke to or met with along with short notes about what we discussed
  • Problems I solved
  • List of projects that my team is working on
  • What I needed to focus on tomorrow
  • Long tail view of projects on the horizon

Looking back I have an entry for every workday since Februay 4th, 2019. I am at the point where filling out my log throughout the day has become second nature to me and so far it has become an invaluable tool. The worklog is helping track what I am doing, who I am doing it with, and how my work aligns with our group's goals.

What's Next?

Having a list of markdown files is great and all but, do you really want to go back and open each one to remember what you've done?

The beauty of markdown is it allows you to add frontmatter to each document. This frontmatter can be used to seach, categorize, tag, date, and add any metadata that you would like to it. Using my markdown files with frontmatter, and coupled with Gatsby, I am able to use GraphQL to quickly search entries, group them, see trends in my data, and slowly protoype a more useful reporting system.

Keeping a Personal Worklog

My goal for this site is to keep a worklog of public projects that I am working on or technology that I am tinkering with. Having a weekly or bi-weekly deadline of filling out the a worklog entry is a great way to help keep myself accountable. One of my biggest goals for next year (2020) is to share more about what I am learning and to teach more. A lot more. Getting into the same habbit that I have with my day job's worklog should help keep me on track.

Let's see how this goes!