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I work as a programmer, and at the day before I plan what I want to get done, and schedule it during the day according to some criteria. What finally happens is that I end doing some other stuff, and sometimes I do what I planned to do.

I would like to find a good software/workaround, so at the end of the day, I plan the next day and I write the schedule of the things I want to do. Then at the end of the enxt day, I write what I really could do, and compare and then I can start to understand the things in which I could improve, etc.

Do you know some kind of similar software or system?

Thanks

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Mar 10 '10 at 19:03

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No specifically "Programming Related". I suggest you try on SuperUser.com instead. –  mjv Mar 10 '10 at 18:10
    
it helps to program the day, and improve programming performance, right? –  flow Mar 10 '10 at 18:19
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The general rule is if you can replace "programmer" with any other profession and the question still makes sense, it's not programming related. This holds especially true here. –  snicker Mar 10 '10 at 18:24
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8 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I use Google calendar for this. I plan out my day each morning. Anything I work on during the day that didn't get planned gets put on the calendar. Anything I didn't get done gets moved to the next day. I work in help desk, so I get interrupted frequently and this has helped me be way more productive than I used to be.

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great, but how can you manage 100 tasks every day? do you need to constantly move them? could you show a screenshot? :-) thankjs –  flow Mar 11 '10 at 10:28
    
Yeah, you can find a screen shot of a typical week for me here: imgur.com/B7Jbw –  steve.lippert Mar 11 '10 at 22:42
    
very useful, thanks a lot –  flow Mar 15 '10 at 10:55
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I use an old-fashioned pad & pen for my task list - write down at the end of each day what I plan to do the next day, in a rough order if possible, bullet points and so on. That's good for me to work from the following day, and I'd personally feel that software that replaces that would get in the way for me. YMMV though obviously - something like Basecamp may be suitable

In terms of tracking what I actually did, at work we use Harvest for timesheets etc, which is great for adding down to minutes where your time was assigned eg 15mins for daily scrum, 2 hours 30mins for this project, that project. I believe there are desktop apps for this but I just use their web interface. It helps to look back at the week and see just where all that time went :-)

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Fog Creek makes a web-based project management application called FogBugz, which has really great scheduling feature. It's designed mainly for specific software development phases (new features, bugs, ideas, etc), but the basic idea is that you make a list of all the things you need to do, assign a time to each one, and then tell it what you're currently working on. It will keep track of how long you've worked on each item, and then give you an accurate estimate of when you'll be done, based on your past performance. So if you chronically take longer than you estimate, it will take that into account and give you a more realistic projection.

In general it's a pretty sweet issue tracker. Check it out at: http://www.fogcreek.com/FogBugz/

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Can't beat pen and paper. It gives the satisfaction of being able to actually cross things off. I find that physical act of crossing stuff off a great motivator...

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One thing that helps me is to actually schedule on my appointment calendar what it is I plan on doing each day, and when I plan on doing it (for example "Task foo from 12-2"). It doesn't result in hard metrics, but after a while your able to get a feel for when your moving your schedule around too much. You also then have a record of how long it actually takes you to do stuff.

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and which kind of calendar do you use? do you usually get things done in the time you tohght it owuld take it? –  flow Mar 10 '10 at 18:19
    
Currently I use iCal, although I don't like it - I don't think it really matters, what ever calendar system you already use works fine. At this point, I have gotten pretty good about predicting how long it'll take to get programming tasks done. –  James Kingsbery Mar 10 '10 at 18:40
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Outlook is great for this sort of day to day planning and tracking with it's calendar, tasks, and to-do-list.

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I've been having some fun with OrgMode for Emacs recently. It's working well enough for me so far.

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One of my coworkers uses Rescue Time.

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