I’m still continuing development on the screen where you’ll be able to create a new number. There’s not much to talk about yet on this screen, so let’s talk about project management for a moment.

For the past 18 years, I’ve spent 60 to 90 minutes each morning writing code before I officially start my day. This includes the work week, weekends, and vacations. The only time I can remember skipping is when I was sick and when my son was born. I really enjoy programming, and I would continue to do this even if my job wasn’t some type of software engineer.

The problem has always been how to best manage my time during the 60 to 90 minute window to maximize my output. At first, I found myself spending days writing boilerplate code just for a data access layer; however, as my experience grew I learned new tools and tricks to trim down the time I spent writing code that wasn’t a differentiator. Being productive from a coding standpoint isn’t the issue anymore. The issue now, is how to reduce the amount of time thinking about what to build next.

I’ve worked in Agile (or similar) IT shops for some time now, and I’m very familiar with breaking work up into stories, sprints, and releases. But, how can I afford to take the time to plan iterations when I only have 90 minutes in the morning to actually write code?

Right now, I’m using Trello to help me manage my backlog of work items. The tool is fantastic! I could see many uses for such open-ended task list tool. Having a mobile app makes it super easy to continue managing a project while on the go too. But, it’s starting to turn into nothing more than an unorganized to-do list of items that I jot down right before I end my coding session in the morning.

I’m curious on how others maximize their output for short time windows. Maybe the folks who are freelancers with many clients have good techniques to use for this situation. Maybe I should buckle down and adopt a strict schedule to allow time for planning.

Please leave comments below if you have any thoughts or techniques to help. I’d love to hear from you!

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