Each weekend I spend around 2 hours writing about what I did in the ~38 hours I spent at work that week. People call these weeknotes. Why on earth would anyone do that? Good question. Here’s a few reasons why spending more time than is necessary writing about work is a good thing.
It helps me think
Writing is a reflective practice. By going over what you did and writing about it, considering the objectives you were trying to meet and whether you got there, you actively think through and reflect on your work. You spot areas for improvement or things you forgot to do. Whereas otherwise you might canter through working life unsure of what worked or what didn’t, weeknoting makes you mindful of what you’re doing and why.
It makes professional development easier
Each month I chat with my line manager about what I’ve been doing at work and how I’m progressing against my professional objectives. Because those conversations are based around what I’ve been doing – and we do a lot – having it written down is super helpful.
It builds networks
Some times I’ve written about a problem we’ve been having, and other people have got in touch to say they have that problem too. Then we chat about it and think of a way forward, or they tell me how they’ve solved it before. This kind of networking, which happens outside your immediate work bubble, is spontaneous but just as useful as established, near networks at work.
It builds social mobility
I come from a working class background and was the first person in my family to go to university. That means I didn’t learn about office culture, its politics and how to get ahead as a white-collar worker until I started working in an office. My dad is a builder, not a CEO or politician, so tales at the dinner table didn’t prepare me for where I work.
But I’ve found that by reading through other people’s weeknotes I can get a sense for how things are done. By writing my own notes and putting them out in the open, I have to actively walk the walk as much as talk the talk. By building credibility and showing my working in a sector renowned for cronyism, I’m hopefully proving my worth to prospective employers.
It’s a tiny, tiny public service
In a way, the taxpayer is funding everything I do at work, so they probably have a right to know what I’m doing. And one day someone might fill my place and want to know what I got up to. Weeknotes are searchable records of (almost) everything I did at work, providing a history for those who come after me. Blogging and working in the open as a public servant helps to open up government, form a dialogue with our audience, and share what we’ve learnt.
On the scale of public services they’re not that important, obviously. They’re not universal healthcare. But if one other person saves time solving a problem using my notes, that’s a good thing.
- Weeknotes: personal, public logs in the tradition of early blogging
- A pre-history of weeknotes, plus why I write them and perhaps why you should too
- The why of weeknotes by Jukesie
- The why of weeknotes by Sam Villis
- Tips for writing good weeknotes
- Why these Welsh weeknotes are so good
- Why I write weeknotes by Neil Williams
Got comments? Contact me, let’s talk.
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Around 12 months ago I stopped writing weeknotes, which was weird because I’d been almost zealous about the practice. Here’s why I stopped, what I missed, and why I’m excited to get started again.