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Write it down

People do not like to write. They like to act. Do stuff. Fix things. Especially engineers. Is there an issue? Start working on solution. Is it fixed? Start working on the next issue.

This is good and well in an emergency (but even then it can cause more harm than good if there isn’t any system in place, such as triage). It is however definitely not the most efficient approach. You will most probably not fix stuff the right way, or even fix the right stuff. And the knowledge acquired while solving stuff will be lost. So what should we do instead?

Is there an issue? Write it down. Describe it. Create a ticket in your work system or a personal to-do list, or just write it on a paper. Or even try to describe it to a colleague or say it out loud. Often, while trying to describe the problem properly, we solve most of it or identify the most important part to focus on and the next step. Instead of aimlessly trying to address an issue, we now have a well-defined and thought of problem statement.

Is it fixed? Write down how you have fixed it. This will firstly help anyone else or yourself later on if the same issue occurs again. But it also has another important function. While writing down the solution, you will mentally check if the problem is really solved.

So what are you waiting for. Write it down.

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