Show and Tell: Bill: Coder Productivity

Today, Bill talks about using an “exoself” to be a better writer or coder, including a simple laundry list of tools you need – whether in software or on paper – to be more effective and productive.

Know thy (exo)self: tools and techniques to help knowledge workers be more productive with less stress.

As always, please leave your questions and comments below. Also, here’s a slight webliography of sites that might help:

  • Life is 90% of my use-cases for org-mode: My personal journey to productivity as a technical author, which has helped me ghostwrite dozens of technical and business books, and which keeps me sane as I navigate the world of FOSS documentation.
  • Cal Newport’s Deep Life site: It all started with a book called “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” and grew into a movement. As a (white-hat) cyberpunk, I don’t subscribe to everything he shares (“digital minimalism”), but he has a lot of really good points about focused work.
  • The Org-Mode site: Just in case you’re an emacs user, like me, you may find org-mode helps you keep your life on track.
  • The Bullet Journal: Speaking of digital minimalism, you can do exactly what I’m doing, with the same productivity gains, with pencil and paper; having a specially-designed journal like this helps a lot. I used to use these before there was org-mode.
  • Timeboxing (HBR): This is one of the better sites on timeboxing. What I didn’t show in my list is that certain things are on the calendar at a specific time (like lunch), even though they almost never get done at that time – it’s about reserving the time, so you don’t lose the task in the fog.
  • Motion: A lot of my colleagues have recommended this tool, and after looking at it, I probably would use it if I weren’t already so heavily invested in emacs. This tool seems to have the same mad skills as a DOS tool I once used (during the Jurassic period) that automatically shifts your schedule around based on estimates versus actuals versus unplanned tasks. Worth a look.