5 productivity ideas: every smart hacker always has a next doable step

“We overestimate what we can do in a day, and underestimate what we can do in a year.”

1) MICROMANAGE THE YEAR

Since I found that phrase on the Web, it’s been in my toolbox and helping me organize my time. I used to make huge plans, start out big, than lose steam and feel disappointed. Too many expectations, too little planning. Planning is key. Planning and keeping track of what you actually do, since – surprisingly – our idea of where our hours have gone doesn’t really match the reality of what’s been going on. Learning to organize yourself can be scary, but not once you get used to it. You’ll have to find what works for you, and also find some existing techniques from books and websites (hard to find the really good ones, comes down to friends’ advice, luck and Serendipity). A year is a lot of time, but it’s even more time if you use it well. I give myself objectives for the season. Focus on something for the month and the week. And then I parcel out the days of the week into sections like before arriving at work (the commute and all), the work before lunch, the lunch break, the after-lunch time at work, the evening commute, the evening. Plus the weekends. Each of these 1, 2 or 4 hour time blocks has a meaning and a purpose. It’s not easy, as I mentioned previously, an easy game is a contradiction in terms (a quotation from the “Spaghetti hacker” book).

2) EVERY SMART HACKER ALWAYS HAS A NEXT DOABLE STEP (POP REFERENCE) NEXT DOABLE STEP MAKES DREAMS INTO REALITIES

3) SEPARATE PLANNING FROM DOING

4) WORK EXPANDS TO FILL THE TIME AVAILABLE FOR ITS COMPLETION

5) IF YOU HIT A WALL JUST REMEMBER, NO WALL LASTS FOREVER

Click “Continue reading” to get the details:)

2) EVERY SMART HACKER ALWAYS HAS A NEXT DOABLE STEP (POP REFERENCE) NEXT DOABLE STEP MAKES DREAMS INTO REALITIES

Seriously, no matter how elaborate your dream or plan is, it can only ever get going if you know what the next doable step is. Write down the most important areas of your life, think up a project for each, and think up a next doable step for each. A week later check on your progress. It also makes it easier for others to help you. The more clear and concrete your activities are, the easier it is to communicate them and get others involved. Never let yourself think about something you want or desire without making it real.

3) SEPARATE PLANNING FROM DOING

Sometimes I feel like I have a manager and a worker inside of me, and they don’t have the same interests. The worker wants to play, or wants to test for ages, or loses perspective, the manager exaggerates with trying to make everything fit into a big picture, forcing all the bits and pieces into place, or wastes time on planning forgetting the doing. Doing has to be pure, do or do not, there is no try, as they say in that movie. Less  doubt and clutter you have in your mind when doing, the more you’ll get done. BTW, you’ve heard it and read it elsewhere, and now you’ll get it from me too. Don’t multitask. It doesn’t work.

4) WORK EXPANDS TO FILL THE TIME AVAILABLE FOR ITS COMPLETION

That’s nasty. It’s hard to find that sweet spot where you neither have so much too do that you end up doing it hastily, nor you slack off because you have too much time for the task at hand. But it’s worth trying. This Parkinson’s Law is onto something. What about the life-work balance? Difficult, especially for an enthusiastic apprentice who also has to fit learning into the equation. I’ll let you know when I figure that out.

5) IF YOU HIT A WALL JUST REMEMBER, NO WALL LASTS FOREVER

There are all kinds of walls: emotional, motivational, work problems, bugs, organizational, logistical and communication issues, anything. And then they go away. You keep working, you breath in and out deeply (seriously) you smile (physically, actually smile), and wait for the rain to pass. Like when you go running, and it seams like you can’t go on, but you do, and then all of a sudden it gets so much easier and you feel like you could run for miles, forever? Remember that feeling. Remember that the wall will go away.

Any advice of your own? Leave a comment! Thank you very much for your attention, have a beautiful week.

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About apprenticecoder

My blog is about me learning to program, and trying to narrate it in interesting ways. I love to learn and to learn through creativity. For example I like computers, but even more I like to see what computers can do for people. That's why I find web programming and scripting especially exciting. I was born in Split, Croatia, went to college in Bologna, Italy and now live in Milan. I like reading, especially non-fiction (lately). I'd like to read more poetry. I find architecture inspiring. Museums as well. Some more then others. Interfaces. Lifestyle magazines with interesting points of view. Semantic web. Strolls in nature. The sea.
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