Are you a lone developer or business person? Or maybe you work for a company but are independent not having project tasks dictated to you. The bottom line is you are responsible for your project and how it gets done. When you first start the project you know what you need to do and how you need to do it. But then comes the interruption, maybe something as small as going home at the end of the day or something as large as and emergency fix on another project that takes several weeks or months. Then when you do come back to your fledgling project you feel lost. All the progress you made seems foreign and you find yourself mentally covering the same ground you covered before.
You Can't Keep it in Mind
What you and I must realize and combat is though we have a fantastic brain and great critical thinking skills combined with above average problem solving skills is, our memory is limited. We simply can't keep everything in mind, all the details, the way we were thinking or maybe even the over-arching plan. When we lose focus on a project our minds lose details and shuffle off the thinking patterns we were using to make room for the new details at hand and new patterns of thinking to deal with the current problem or project. Anyone who has been interrupted in mid-flow of writing, coding, or just thinking knows this to be true. You are in mid thought and bam all those thoughts are shattered by the interruption, taking minutes to hours to recover that precious mental state if it ever can be recovered.
I propose a two-fold solution, one that I loath but appears to be necessary and the best solution. I am going to try this solution experimentally at first and seek to adjust and refine it to lower its burden and help to actually do it.
The solution is (drumroll) document, document what you are doing and what you need to do. If there is anything I loath more than writing what seems to be pointless because it is already in my mind then I have not really found it (well maybe besides broccoli). This is one of the reasons I have done such a terrible job at writing here on this blog, its in my head why should I write it down....
The simple answer is my memory is finite.
So the two-part solution is first for projects: use markdown documents in projects to document requirements and another as a running thoughts and actions change-log to help restore to mind what I was thinking and doing. Combined this with git commit messages to document what I have done.
The second part is: use some sort of document (I am thinking another markdown doc or an evernote note) to document daily activity, much like the project log but on a more global life scale. This is less about feelings centered journaling and more about tracking and motivating progress.
As this experiment begins I hope to give updates here on how it is going and how I tweak it to make it easier and profitable. Or I may epically fail....