Jay Shirley

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The Daily Practice

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Back in the saddle.

Published: 09 Aug 2012

As I wrote at the beginning of the week, my productivity was dealt a blow. Not major, but a lot of minor annoyances have been heaped up.

I’m on crutches still for another 3 weeks and in a rigid brace. It’s very difficult to work and get around in life with a straight leg. Maybe difficult isn’t the best word. Annoying and frustrating are better descriptors.

I was really struggling to stay productive and was dealing with negative thoughts. I drafted up a list of ideas to try and I’m revisiting them now.

Writing in the morning.

I didn’t do this at all, really. The day after I started to, but instead I just looked at the list of tickets I keep open for things I want to do. I abandoned writing and focused on the tickets. I just forced myself to find 2 or 3 tickets to close. It meant I sought out easier things to do, which are great since those tend to get neglected but they still matter.

However, after those first early morning tickets my motivation faltered. I moved on to my next idea.

Spend more time reading.

This one went very well, actually. If I an measuring enjoyment; productivity didn’t increase and I was still steadfastedly in my rut. I spent some time reading about various technologies and ideas. I read some great articles. I was really surprised this didn’t motivate me. I thought for sure that I would be very excited and focused after reading a few articles. One article started to get me feeling the flow of productivity. I opened up my text editor and promptly sat, frozen failing to write any code.

I gave this up after that first day. I spent a lot of time reading and enjoying myself but it wasn’t productive.

Doodle more!

This one was a resounding success. I took a sheet of paper and started sketching. I started with an amorphous blob and created a very nice looking bird. I will adopt this as my mascot, as I crafted that doodle and enjoyed it.

Amusingly, I was the most productive after looking at my bird with satisfaction. I felt good and it was easier to stay focused and be productive. I was not expecting this. Now I’m distracted by wanting to digitize and really craft my little bird. It’s ok, it’s enjoyable and breaks the block.

Talk to people.

I didn’t do so well here. Outside of my normal Internet social contacts I didn’t branch out. I didn’t think I would do this one, either. I’d like to go to some local tech events, but I can’t drive and certainly am not going to burden my wife with taking me there.

Do something new.

This happened immediately after my delightful bird. I had a great idea for TDP while I was whining, er, writing the previous article. I didn’t think I would really do it, though.

After my bird came into existence my thoughts changed. Now it seemed the right thing to do. Coding was immediately exciting again and I started up. Then I hit a roadblock that required something larger. Something that I really wanted to have done but desperately did not want to do. Now I’ve tackled it, in significantly less time than anticipated.

I finished it up today and will have it done and out the door tomorrow or Saturday. Wow.

Then my secret new feature will be completed next week. I’m really happy how this one has turned out.

Just writing about my trials and difficulties were enough to overcome them, because it forced me to put deliberate thought into what I was doing.

Doodling and thinking of a new unplanned feature seems to be my secret, at least this time. Next time? I really hope it’s not talking to new people.