Sunday, January 29, 2012

What did I learn today?

A lot of my shop philosophies are a mash-up of things I learned in Getting Things Done, and The Toyota Way, mixed with a little bit of Gantt charting and a few other things. One of the big issues is planning out the work that I have to do, so that I can do it, without completely spinning out about how to do whatever it is that I'm supposed to be doing. For a start, that's not too bad. And if I write down my plan, and a list of what's coming up, it helps me to be productive when I come in the next day.

Lately, various things have been conspiring to keep me away from the shop for a few days at a time, or wildly distracted when I'm there, and there have been a few days lately when I've wandered in, thinking "Ok, what was I working on?" So one of the things I've been focusing on is maintaining a shop log, as part of that plan. That way I have some idea what's going on if something weird happens, and I have to be out, again, for a few days.  A decent log will tell me what I was doing when I left, and I'll have a short list of "what to do today," waiting for me when I come back in. I can proceed with the project without having to re-invent the wheel that had been rolling right along just a few days before. I hate re-inventing the wheel. I hate it even more when I have to keep doing it.

So, I've also been logging a section titled 'What did I learn today.' Writing down one or two things, even if they were simple, works miracles. For starters, it helps me hold onto little lessons, and that's important. But it's also been a startlingly good way to  put myself back into whatever I was doing last time I was there, because it prompts me to remember the mental context of what I was working on when I learned whatever it was, and it really puts me right back into that train of thought, so I can keep going. As a mnemonic device, it's pretty cool.

1 comment:

robert said...

Writing down "What I did/learned today" is a great idea. So simple and obvious but stunningly insightful. That exercise (repeated reinforcement at intervals) is a great way to learn anything. Kind of like re-copying your notes after a lecture.