Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Personal Development Process - End of Day

For the past couple of months I have been working from my home office. It has been a great experience - particularly in comparison with a workday that involves 2-3 hours of commuting, and is something that I would strongly recommend to anybody who is lucky enough to get the opportunity.

On the other hand, working from home definitely presents it's own challenges. Communication with coworkers (now clients) is much, much harder, and requires deliberate effort to get right. Discipline and record-keeping is also much more important. It is something that I was never particularly good at before, (I am a get-lost-in-the-work kind of guy) but have been really making a conscious effort to improve since the transition.

One thing that I have been trying to establish (without too much success so far, admittedly), is to incorporate a review & planning session at the end of each evening. To encourage me to stick at it, I thought that I would try to increase the value of the session by incorporating some post-mortem techniques along the lines of those suggested a couple of months ago by a (very astute and experienced) colleague:

End of day review activities:

Identify one thing that went wrong, and one thing that went right that day.
For both, do a "Five Whys" root-cause analysis.
This should give 10 "causes" at various levels, from proximal to distal.
Pick two "causes" to address with tasks to be performed on the next day, one task to improve and consolidate something that went right, and one task to address something that went wrong.
Over the week, try to spread the tasks over the entire proximal-to-distal spectrum, so that work is balanced between immediate (proximal) concerns and long-term (distal) improvements.
In this way, a better balance is maintained between the urgent and the important.