Trickle Theory

Very nice post at RandsInRepose. He talks about how, when one is faced with an ‘impossible’ task, we should just start doing it. Planning too much increases your worry. He talks about the ‘critic’ inside each person, and how usually it is one’s friend. But in this case, the critic is the one, which scares you more.

My advice is: START.

“But Rands… I’ve got three hundred tests to run and one day to…”

Stop. Go run one test. Now.

“Wait, wait, wait. Rands. Listen. They need this spec tomorrow @ 9am….”

Shush. Quiet. Go write. Just a paragraph. Now.

Welcome to Trickle Theory.

Read the post here.

On a related note, read the post on Roomba productivity here.

Adobe Installer Pains

Wow. Derek Miller, in his blog just rants his heart out, at how bad his UI experience was, when, all he tried to do was to install Adobe Acrobat Reader. Wow. My slackened jaw has still not recovered.

Why, if I want to install Adobe Reader (which I don’t, but I need to do it because on occasion Mac OS X Preview has trouble with a PDF file), should I download a program that runs an installer to install some software to download an updater than downloads more files to run an installer that installs software that is way too big and slow to start…

Read the full rant here (not too big a post)

The laptop and the cell phone

Boon and Bane ? The question remains unanswered. Well, it is in your hands. How you deal with these two productivity instruments, which can potentially turn you into a 27 hour working machine.

I discovered three beautiful posts on lifedev. The posts are titled Technology and expectations. The posts talk about how the laptop has increased mobility in computing, and how they naturally increase the expectation from you. You can ‘now’ potentially work from home, check email from home, and do many more things at home, which you could earlier do only when you ‘get to work the next morning’ Similarly the cellphone, you are now reachable wherever you go. My father-in-law was speaking the other day, about a time, when you used to go on vacation, and no one could reach you. Now, that is no longer possible.

Check out the two posts:

Technology and expectations : the laptop

Technology and expectations : the cellphone

While you are there, also check out the post on email. I dont necessarily subscribe to all the ideas in that post (I am a self-certified email phreak (um I mean geek)). But do check that one too.

Technology and expectations : email

Blast those bugs away

Lidor Wyssocky’s blog “The Mindset” has a great article (pretty small post though) titled ‘Give those bugs a chance’. The crux of this article is that, low priority bugs tend to slip off he radar on a regular basis – and this is exactly the beginning of problems.

The easiest thing you can do with those “we-can-live-with-that-for-now” bugs is to postpone fixing them until the next version. This is a legitimate decision. After all, this is what we have priorities for. And priorities are the key to successful project management. But when that next version is about to be implemented, many of us are tempted to postpone these problem one more time. Fixing those “ancient bugs” always seems less important than implementing a new feature. And thus, almost all postponed bugs will stay unresolved for eternity.

But it gets even worse. The longer you live with the bugs, the harder they become to fix. If by any chance you find yourself forced to fix these problems by a furious customer, there is a good chance no one will remember what it was that caused that strange behavior. By then, you will have piles of new code dependent on your flawed code. Fixing an ancient bug at this stage might be much more dangerous.

The solution he suggests is

Prioritizing bugs, and postponing some of them, is a necessity in every project. What you should do, however, is give your bugs a fair chance to be resolved. Your postponed bugs should be treated just like any other task

Read the whole post here.

Abstinence from the Computer

Turn your computer OFF !
Yes. I mean it. LifeDev has a beautiful post on how he did a 5 day PM Computer Fast. Read Fast as in abstinence (not as in Fast and Furious).
For 5 days, he turned off his computer in the evening 6PM for the evening. He switched it on only the next day morning. I think this is good advise.
He talks about the benefits of this in this nice post of his, the crux of it being:

Essentially, your mind will focus more if it knows that it only can work on something for X hours. When it knows that it doesn’t have the luxury of slacking off, it kicks it into the next gear and amazing results follow.

The same is true with my study. When I knew that the computer was going to be turned off at the same time every day, my productivity soared to new heights. Now that I only had a static, limited amount of time, I had to squeeze the most out of it. I had to plan, and only work on the most important things that had to be done that day.

This brought a smile to my face, because yesterday I did the same thing, and found it awesome, and was telling my wife about it. Infact, I was telling her that I think I should be doing this more often. I came home, and did not even take the laptop out (not even to check email). Usually I pop out the laptop to check email, and then I figure, I will post something in my blog, then I will meander to lifehacker, and then maybe feel guilty and code a little bit. This is what happens.

Check the full post here.

Daily Lit

Ok. You are the types, who does not get enough time to read books, but you are forever on email. (Well, I have to admit that I am of that type too). Rejoice people.

Daily Lit has a beautiful collection of books, which they have nicely split up into small chunks (or parts as they call it). You give your email address and a frequency of time, and they will email you a book part by part, so that you can read a Dickens classic in about 2 years.

Well, not really, if you have some time (or if you are in one of those suspense chapters of a book), you can request the next part to be emailed immediately.

Check out Daily lit now.