Things that work: Write down everything

Sometimes things I do actually work.So I thought of putting them in writing. Best case scenario, you, the reader, might get something out from them. Worst case – I made you laugh or just feel pity. It’s a win-win either way.

There is an overarching theme here: process analysis. These are things that I become aware of, analyzed and improved on. Sometimes, the improvement is to throw things away and do a 90-degrees left.

I’ll start with writing. This is something I’ve learned that works for me over the last year. When writing, either a blog post, technical content, presentations, or any other stream of thoughts, I find it useful to put everything that pops into mind at the time on paper/keyboard. Anything.

This may seem trivial, but it has improved my output tremendously. Before, I have reworded, reformatted, imagined –  all in my head, before putting it in words. I now write whatever I think of.

I realized I can’t hold in my head too much. That was hard to admit. Still is.

One benefit is that I usually don’t get stuck. Sometimes, I’d write a word, knowing it’s not perfect, good, or just plain rubbish. I write it anyway and continue. In the end I go back and refactor. It costs – knowingly using words I’ll never use (what a waste!).  (for example, this sentence started out as: “I need to actively and with control to write things that may not be even coherent”).

Only recently I’ve made the connection to a unit testing behavior (of course) I used to practice. I wrote down empty tests, place holders for things I knew I would need to test later. Even as I would concentrate on one test, and an idea for a test case came to mind, I’d add the place holder and continue.

Writing down stuff and moving on – it’s a controlled behavior. I expect since I’m a visual kind of guy, moving letters around works for me –  spreading everything on the page, and then refactoring, rearranging and getting the best from it.

Gil Zilberfeld

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