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Adron Hall
Adron Hall

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The Daily Question Answer Review Routine

I’ve started trying out a “punch list” to go through on a daily basis. It’s one of the first things I do in the day as a way to get into topics of discussion and also the workflow for the day. There’s also a “checklist” that I go through on a weekly basis, thanks to head honcho Jeff Carpenter @jscarp, that he has brought into our team’s weekly SITREP.

I use the term “punch list” because sometimes it gives me that “I wanna punch something” level of frustration. The “check list” on the contrary is more a list of intended accomplishments and ongoing accomplishments. First of the two, here’s the punch list.

Daily Punch List

Each of these sections I try to time box in 5 to 20 minutes at the most. If there’s more I can answer, or help out with I might go a little longer, but otherwise I try to keep it concise and to the point for each list item.

The first site I check out these days is the DataStax Community site. I go through, answer questions, or just give a good look at anything new or conversations that are going on.

Next up to bat is Stackoverflow. The first 4 topics I’m aiming to cover everyday include these, but I’ll admit so far I’ve trampled off into the weeds on the topics.

I routinely then click through on the “unanswered” too just to see if I can help out and provide some answers. I don’t always visit every single day, but try to every other day or so. I take a look at the main page and then look at any new comments, questions on my own blog entries, or whatever else that might have come up. Then I also give a look at any blog posts or other entries others have written that seem interesting and are a quick read. Finally, if I’ve got any ready, I post a blog entry or two myself. The other sites that I generally tend to do the same process for I’ve included below too.

Some of the other sites I dive into on an almost daily basis, or am trying to on an almost daily basis, include the following.

The last two sites I check into and read, comment, or otherwise on an almost daily basis include DZone and Medium. I try to make semi-frequent posts here too but that doesn’t happen to often these days. However the content tends to be pretty solid on the technical front.

These are the higher value daily punch list items, then there is the high value low value items of pure social media: LinkedIn and Twitter. These two sites can be vast and total wastes of time if not used right. They’re almost as bad as Facebook, which at this point I largely ignore.

  • LinkedIn – For LinkedIn the content needs specific call to actions, appropriate link and images, ideally a good URI to follow through, and of course good content. This way LinkedIn can actually be super useful for rallying coders to open source projects, finding out what others are working on, and any and all other curiosities that can – if used right – provide positive value.
  • Twitter – Twitter, number one priority these days is to avoid the political garbage fire and troll trash since it’s a complete and utter waste of time. However, Twitter can and does still provide an excellent way to follow key figures in the industry, keep up with trends and find out about events for example. Using it for such, and providing a valuable stream of such content makes Twitter a solid investment.

NOTE: When I say I ignore Facebook now because of low value, I’m talking about maybe 5-10 minutes of use PER MONTH! Facebook is an extremely low return site for software development and related technology industry efforts these days. Avoid it like one would avoid the plague!

You might have noticed I didn’t put Twitch on this list, that’s because it isn’t on the punch list but a fundamental element of my day to day coding efforts. For more on it check out my repo and corresponding blog entry from a few weeks back.

Weekly Checklist

The checklist for the week involves a few questions that when answered provide a solid basis for direction for the week and a short list of accomplishments to discuss:

  • What am I learning?
  • What development am I working on?
  • What’s coming out next?
  • What’s the next event?

What am I learning? – This should be answered with anything from high level “I’m learning physics” down to tactical things like “I’m figuring out how to run concurrent go routines to better handle messaging between node instances I’m running.”.

What development am I working on? – As a developer advocate I aim to make sure a significant bulk of my day to day activities is centered around doing actual software development work. That can be on actual internal repositories of code, open source project, or some other variant coding option. Whatever the case, whatever I’ve found to work on that can help add value in some way is what becomes the answer to this question.

What’s coming out next? – For this answer I tend to look at upcoming blog entries, conference talks, releases of software I’ve been working on, and almost anything else that is getting released by me, or that I’ve been involved in that will be released. This sometimes matches the next events too when I’m the one hosting and organizing the event.

What’s the next event? – This answer can be anything from “no event this week” to a “I’m attending/hosting/crashing a cool meetup on topic X” or “releasing X feature from Y project”. Something along these notions.

That’s that, so what’s your flow for getting started every day? What’s the routine for checking in with your world and network?

Until next time, happy thrashing code! \m/

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