I Used Jira & Confluence to Manage My Life for 3 Months. Here’s My Review

Back in early December 2020, I wrote an article on how I was testing out Jira & Confluence as my management tool. And it’s about time for me to write down what I have learned.

What was the plan?

For all the reasons and context of why I do this, you can read it from the last article. The gist is that:

  • Use Confluence to document the thing I want to remember in the long run
  • Use Google Calendar to manage time by filling it up with rough time blocks

So what works?

Writing on Confluence is great 👍

One of the key problem that I was trying to solve is to avoid having more and more unstructured documentation, and so far I am very impressed with what Confluence. I can actually use it to get into a flow, and start writing down things, and most importantly, this actually helps/forces me to clear my brain, and see all the random thoughts I have as a bigger picture.

Epics forces me to pick and choose 🎯

One of the takeaways I have from this experience is that I always “tries” to do too many things at one. Learn 3 different programming language all at once? Sure why not!? Should I spend time to learn how to cook better, how to write better, or how to get fit? Why not all!?

Google Calendar mostly works 📅

So far the best part of this experiment is definitely the use time blocks on Google Calendar. It’s not the best because it works perfectly. It’s the best because I learn the most from it. Here’s what happens

Scheduling tasks like this does not work for me at all

And what doesn’t work?

Jira is not for managing small tasks 😡

It all broke down the first time I try to use Jira to manage my grocery list. It is just not design for simple “check-and-forget” type of task management. And to be fair that’s not they are trying to be anyway, so that is perfectly fine. All I have to do it to replace it with something much simpler, and for now I am using the build-in Reminder app on my iPhone. It is good enough to keep track of grocery list, as the integration with Siri is kinda useful.

Next-gen project is master of none

So in the original article, I cite the existence of the next-gen project as one of the main reason I want to give it a shot. And after 3 months, I have come to the conclusion that it is not good (yet). In Cantonese there is a idiom “兩頭唔到岸”, which literally translates to “both sides not touching the shore”, figuratively translates to “you try 2 different options but neither of them work (probably because you try both at the same time)”. And to me that feels like the state the next-gen project is in right not.

  • Confluence: 🤔 Looking for replacement
  • Google Calendar: ✅ Keep using it

❌ Jira

When I look back, it’s very obvious that Jira is not actually helping me to actually get things done. However, it is very good at making me feel productive when I am playing with it, which IMO is exactly the worst part of Jira. Even with next-gen project, Jira is still a very complex product, and that’s why we ended up spending so much time and effort just to use it. For me, task management is just a means to an end. I don’t need to feel productive using Jira, I need to feel productive working on things I listed on Jira.

🤔 Confluence

On one hand, the experience of using Confluence is good enough that I am actually using it to clear my head. On the other hand, without Jira, it loses the biggest reason why I picked it in the first place: easy of connection with Jira.

✅ Google Calendar

Given it’s one of the high-light of this experiment, of course I am going to keep it. As I mentioned above, this is a lot less about the tools itself, but more about having a workflow that works for me. So I will just keep an eye to make sure I adhere to my time block schedule 👍

So what’s the plan?

Apart from those 3, there are also other things that I am trying out to improve my productivity.

  • Note taking and reading with reMarkable 2
  • How to use Pomodoro in moderation to keep free-flow focus time running smoothly
  • How does the physical environment (i.e. my apartment) affects my motivation
  • How does the equipment (e.g. my computer) affects my focus and efficiency

if someone can give me a lesson of how to adult that’d be great thank you