Thursday, August 4, 2016

"You Can't Build a Reputation on What You're Going to Do" - Henry Ford

My previous post annoys me now, because in two places I mention plans. 

The first one - bullet point Weinberg's Perfect Software and Other Illusions About Testing, I'm not going to do.  Why?  Because anyone who is interested in the subject matter should just read it. What I actually did was take an excerpt outlining reasons to involve testers in technical meetings and shared it on an internal Confluence page at work.  This was the most useful passage to me as we move toward more agility in our development process, and it was nice to have an external authority to back up what I could only express before as intuition.

The second one - prepping a talk to submit for next year's Tulsa Tech Fest or wherever else it might be useful - it's on my perpetual to-do list now. 

Perpetual to-do list? It's my variation of structured procrastination.

  • I have a list of tasks in Google tasks, all with deadlines.  
  • Some are one-time tasks, like "Call somebody to remove the ugly, buggy, weed-like tree in front yard"
  • Some are weekly or monthly or every six months, like giving the dogs their pills or paying auto insurance bills
  • Some are just big ongoing tasks, like "Clean the garage".  These have "deadlines" but if I don't accomplish anything by the deadline, I just move the deadline back. 
So as an example, I'm looking at my unfinished list from yesterday.  The first one is "write a blog" -- It looked to be the most interesting thing near the top of my list, far above "Cleaning floor in hall bathroom", so here we are.  I pushed that task to next week.  If cleaning the floor were more urgent, like if my mom were visiting this weekend, I'd feel more inclined to do it now instead of pushing it back.

So back to my talk -- It's there on my list now.  It's not that I'll sit down and prep a talk in one session.  I'll just make some kind of measurable progress when the mood strikes.  Which will likely be when I've just read some interesting material I want to add, and my other choices are "Clean the garage" and "change the unreachable light bulb"

It does require discipline to actually *work* on the to-do list. It's not going to solve the "I can't get anything done because I'm binge-watching Netflix" problems.  But I've found that actually having a system instead of being overwhelmed at the million things I haven't done is helpful to getting a thousand meaningful things done instead of zero.

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