Antirez recently posted about “Log driven programming is a real productivity booster” on his blog. He mused on using notes to keep focus on the what your doing at the moment. Personally I’ve always preferred notebooks or the back of envelopes if that is the only thing to hand.
His point still stands though. It is easy to get sidetracked when coming across an idea and then chasing it, or thinking of a function which needs writing. Evernote, which he mentions, is one option but I like the option of slowing down whilst writing the note.
I like the natural filtering which comes with writing things down and then re-reading them to flesh them out. I find that some ideas recur in the pages and become fleshed out, or reveal different properties about themselves. Occassionally what appear to be good ideas at the time show themselves as not to be that great.
Yet it is also a great way to keep focussed on the task at hand. By not thinking of the new function and what has to be done to make it work but keeping a note of it, I find myself keeping track of what needs to be done at that moment. However I have not lost the idea or function and the driver to write it.