My new working-day schedule

So i've been super busy for the past few months. You might have noticed since i didn't blog. So i've been doing a lot of Netty 4 related work. One project amongst those is the Liftweb Netty Integration where David Whittaker and me are filling the gaps from Netty to Servlet Containers. But there is a whole Story including Podcast upcoming on September 2nd, once i held my talk The Liftweb Netty Session at SkillsMatter London.

The Problem

As we all know, when we're programming we need every bit of concentration. Every disturbance is possibly detrimental to your flow of thought. If you are like me and exclusively work from Home and live in an urban/city area, you might have children in your neighborhood screaming, you might encounter people drilling holes in their walls 3 houses down and you still hear the vibrations through the walls. There are shops outside, you might have a doctor above your appartment who gets visits every 15 minutes or a Waxing Studio. Apart from those "bad" disturbances you might have "good" ones as well like your girlfriend coming home or DHL bringing a package. Good varies from person to person, but you have to make due with those distractions.

My solution

Since working during the day is somewhat impossible for me (i live in the inner city of Nuremberg, Germany), i had to find a way to get more productive at night while still getting all my chores and tiny todos done. It took me a while to realize that in order to be as good as a coder as i want to be, i had to deal with those distractions rather than force a solution onto me.

Time Management

It does not matter if you're a DevOp or if you're just a Dev or an Op, you will always have small and big tasks. My advice after a lot of years, split your work into those 2 groups.

Solution 1

I am currently looking for a better appartment for me and my girlfriend, something with a yard and less noisy so i can work distraction-free during the day. But since we've been looking for a few months and did not find anything affordable/worthy of its price, i had to adjust.

Solution 2

Customers mail me frequently for a variety of reasons during the day (as most of them are from Germany), only a few mail me at night which is rather a thank you response than a real job to do. After analysing this, i started doing e-Mails and small ToDos which boggle my mind during the day, were i rarely have more than 15 minutes without a disturbance. I don't mind being disturbed doing a 5-minute task, i do mind getting disturbed while mapping software in my mind. I also started doing all long and heavy coding/admin-tasks at nights, so i can spend 4-6 hours a night with a few clear goals i want to achieve.

Pros

Since i don't like keeping a list of lots of small todos, do them right away during the day or if they come at night, leave the email unread in your inbox. If it's a bigger thing, put it in your ToDo List and set a due-date.

Cons

Solution 2 is only a backup-plan since Solution 1 is not available right now. It is also only feasable if you don't work in a straight company environment requiring you to be reachable at hours x-y, since you'll be spending 4am-11am sleeping.

Conclusion

I've been able to reach goals a lot better, since i didn't have to look at a long and demotivating todo but only a list of 6-7 items i need to do over the next weeks until my vacation. This list might grow, some might be finished early, but it's still better than staring down a list of 30-60 things.

Don't forget

to sign up to one of David Pollak's Fast Track to Lift Courses i teach at SkillsMatter, London.

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