As a software engineer, staying organized and on top of your projects can be a challenge. Not only are there many projects going on at times, but how your work is managed can be split between tools. We use Jira, Confluence, and Github at work, I use Todoist to deal with personal tasks and projects, and then Notion sits in between all of those helping to bring the information needed to the front. In this blog post, I will walk through how I use Notion as a software engineer to keep my work running smoothly and streamline how I capture interesting or important information.
The Work Log
Keeping a Daily/Weekly Work Log is a great way to document what you worked on during the day and any questions you want to bring up at Standup the next morning. This can be done in any note-taking tool, but I find that Notion is particularly useful for this purpose. I have a daily template set up that I use to log my work and any questions I may have. This template includes sections for:
- Tasks completed
- Problems encountered
- Questions for the team
- Things to follow up on
This has been incredibly helpful in keeping my update concise and to the point while not forgetting something I need help with. The work log has also served as a great utility when trying to track down something I worked on that is not easily found in Jira or Github. I highly recommend every engineer at least try keeping a log for a couple months and see if they get a benefit from it.
One of the most powerful features of Notion is its ability to create custom templates. These templates can be used for everything from meeting notes to planning sprints, and they can be easily shared with other members of your team. These allow you to spend less time setting things up and more time capturing the important information needed during meetings. For example, I have a template set up for meeting notes that includes sections for:
- Action items
This has been extremely helpful in keeping track of what was discussed during meetings and what the next steps are. I also have a template for capturing my achievements and work during the year. This way when it comes time for reviews I have a breakdown of all of the things I was proud of throughout the year. This can be very helpful at companies of all sizes and makes your manager’s life easier when understanding your impact. There are endless ways templates can be used, but I think this is a major reason to use Notion or a similar tool over something like Apple Notes.
The Notion Web Clipper has fully replaced Instapaper or Chrome/Safari Reading Lists for me. It allows me to capture helpful articles, links, even things like README’s from Github. It works on pretty much any browser and mobile and is an easy way to quickly capture web pages that you want to reference later. It also tries to pull the text into a page so you can search over the content of all of your saved links. The Web Clipper is an extremely helpful tool when you are starting a new project as well since you can gather a massive amount of information and references very quickly without having to keep a million tabs open.
Teamspaces and Notion AI
Notion’s recent release of team spaces and Notion AI has made it an even more versatile tool for software engineers. Team spaces allows for easy collaboration and sharing of templates, databases and pages within a team, making it a great tool for managing projects and tasks together. Notion AI, on the other hand, offers a range of features to help you with your workflow such as automated reminders, scheduling, and natural language processing to quickly find information. These features have the potential to greatly improve productivity and collaboration within teams. Additionally, with a growing community and tons of resources online to maximize Notion’s potential, it is an extremely versatile tool that can help software engineers stay organized and get work done faster.
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