Notes On Weekly Notes

It’s been a full three months, and my might be coming to an end–of sorts.

They actually began as a way to get my mind off the and various work-related matters1, and they’ve turned out to be extremely useful in many regards, but with Easter Break coming up, they are likely to go on hiatus.

What are weekly notes, really?

Weekly notes are exactly what they sound like: short pieces of writing that summarize what you learned, did, or thought about during the week. In my case, I decided to focus on the stuff I do outside work.

The idea was not to write a polished article or a normal blog post, but rather to keep track of what I was doing in a casual way.

What Went Well

Besides capturing the run-of-the mill stuff that I hack at (which sometimes takes months to come to fruition), weekly notes also served as a record of what I learned, accomplished or had some fun with.

Making them public (even if somewhat in the rough) was also useful in that it has brought a few interesting snippets of feedback. And, of course, it makes it very easy to correlate the masses of other notes I already have on the site.

They were also a way to try to focus on the positive and remind myself that there is more to life than work–even if most of what I end up doing in my free time tends to be a variation of it, or, rather, the essential bits of it I wish I was free to pursue…

So yes, writing weekly notes (they are actually daily notes, but more on that later) has been a great way to capture stuff that otherwise would just have fallen by the wayside–or that would never have made it into a blog post on its own, and thus be impossible to refer back to later.

The Feels

I’m a little conflicted about how they made me feel, though. For starters, I started doing them because of work, and, again, the .

Having up a third of your extended team vanish is, well, a trifle unsettling. I suspect the effects on morale and culture will play out over months (if not years, considering the number of companies that jumped on the bandwagon2).

I needed something to make me feel productive and creative again, and focusing on stuff I could control has been cathartic and a great way to rekindle a sense of purpose, but, most importantly, of progress towards an outcome.

Or, in my case, perhaps too many outcomes–even as I review them, it’s clear I’m clearly trying to juggle too many things on my free time.

So definitely mixed feelings here.

The Process

There’s nothing much to it, really. You’ll likely find a bazillion philosophical thought pieces on weekly notes at the click of a button, but what I do is relatively simple:

  • I have a Markdown file in a folder.
  • Every time I take a break to fix something, I document it.
  • Every other evening I will go back and fill in the missing bits.
  • You may have noticed I like bulleted lists, but sometimes I also update other Wiki pages I link to from my notes.

The notion of doing this weekly, say Friday, just doesn’t work for me, because my breaks are highly random (even for lunch or winding down at the end of the day, since my workday can start at 08:00 or 11:00 and finish anywhere from 18:00 to 23:00).

The one thing I’ve noticed is that they tend to feel like a weekly chore to clean up (even though I try to do it piecemeal throughout the week).

The Outcome

I now have an entirely new post category and format, and definitely too many of them on the home page right now–so the first order of business is to tweak things a bit so that (like with long form posts) only the last set of notes is taking up prime real estate.

Also, I’ve already started paring down on the number of side projects–I tend to do too many and space them out over extended periods of time because I often lack parts, inspiration or specific bits of knowledge I need to back track and research, but getting some of them done sooner seems like a more rewarding approach.

As to whether I’ll keep doing the notes themselves, I honestly don’t know. I’ll see how it goes.

  1. And yes, I started writing them the . Make of that ↩︎

  2. I , yes, and I suspect we’re not done yet, especially if the economy keeps tanking (regardless of whatever management mistakes tech companies might have made in recent years). ↩︎

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