Back into the shell … focusing

14 Jun

As is the case, business can be cyclic. This includes our schedule release around the company.

Over the next 14 days we have two major release, and one major relaunch. Which means my time is soaked up running around getting all them ducks in a row.

But to make up for this being a wasted post – lets talk about focus

As someone who has worn the programmer, writer, and manager hat many a times, each one requires a different state of mind.

And while environment is very important, so is your state of mind. I have found myself to work better in the mornings (ie I start working at 7 am). When I was in university, my day started around 2pm and usually ended at 7 am (class was a complete after-thought). It took me a while to realize that when it comes to using my brain in a powerful way – I like waking up when everything around me is waking up. Our dogs wake up. The birds are outside chirping. It feels right to me.

But of course – you are your own person.

Other factors come in too. While people talk about not interrupting programmers, it is even worse when you are trying to strategize/outline (ie manage). When it came to programming, my biggest qualm was time. I needed at least two hours of solid ‘programming-time’. In between I could get interrupted, and not lose my flow. Often times I message someone for help. I have found programming so exhausting that a little break here and there is good. But when it comes to managing something and outlining how you want it to work – interruption is deadly. The operations of a website don’t just come to you – they have to be carefully planned, looking over every detail. And a single interruption can break that flow of details in your head.

Still – you are your own person.

Phones – I hate them. More than anything else it is because I don’t have a log to look over (when I forget a detail). We setup our own jabber client so that we could talk to each other at all times without having to worry about interruptions from friends or family. I do type fast – I actually took a typing class in higschool where they taught us to type on typewriters. I type fast. Even for someone tech-oriented. I blow a keyboard roughly once a year – by the time I am done the letters are worn off, the keyboard’s little stands on the back are broken, and a few keys might not even respond properly. I’ve used my current keyboard (Microsoft ergonomic) for roughly 6 months, and the letters E R I K L M N V B C S D G ENTER HOME END are all gone. As are the four arrow keys. But text can be incredibly frustrating when trying to convey meaning. Tonality is such a key element of conversation that I end up using emoticons to make sure the meaning comes across right. And phone calls can be great for focusing on one topic.

As always – you are your own person.

So – while people always have great tips on how to be more productive, on how to focus, etc – try various things yourself. Try out different things – you may learn things about yourself you never knew (if you told me five-years ago that I am a morning person, I woulda scoffed).

3 Responses to Back into the shell … focusing



June 15th, 2007 at 12:12 pm

Hey Ahmed, great post! I completely agree that being focused and productive is a different process for each and every person. Some people talk about how nice it is to work from home, but for me it’s really tough considering that I have severe ADD (self diagnosed) and can only be productive when everyone’s asleep.

And coincidently, I too took a typing class in HS and it’s one of the few electives from HS that actually has made an impact ever since. Although I’ve never blown out a keyboard — worn out the letters on the keys yes — but never rendered one inoperable. Then again, I can only imagine how much work you churn out, so it makes sense. :)



June 15th, 2007 at 12:22 pm

Well I am also quite vicious to my keyboards – I think that typing class taught me to pound the keyboard and I never stopped doing it.



June 17th, 2007 at 10:35 pm

Morning is the best time to work at no matter what your job is, considering ofcourse you have gotten proper sleep, you are fresh and ready to go, you work faster, think faster, complete faster, and guess what you’re not tired. Best way to ignore messages and interuptions? Work without sound, really theres no point unless you are in the sound business, no need for the occasional IM and bleep and what not, its just annoying, silence works best but eliminating even the most simple blip will help. OH how i hate ICQ’s sound when im working.