re: How do you make time for your dev/tech projects? VIEW POST

FULL DISCUSSION
 

I'm not going to answer all that stuff as I think you're overcomplicating things :)

Just try and commit 30 minutes a day to do something

But most importantly turn off all distractions. For me I am such a hopeless procrastinator so i need to turn off slack, twitter etc (i also find music distracting so I turn that off too). Then just commit to the time of work and give yourself a "reward" at the end. If you have more time, repeat.

This basically: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Tec...

Other tips I would add would be

  • Try and have a "backlog" of stuff you want to work on do. Having a plan for your 30 minute "sprint" will help
  • Don't try and learn too many things at once. Dont try and learn a new programming language, learn a new editor and explore a new product idea at one time. It's too much.
  • Don't beat yourself up if real life gets in the way. It's healthy. Don't feel obliged to be always learning stuff in your free time (i hear a lot of guilt from you in this post). Try and coerce your job to let you do this instead.
  • I cant emphasise enough if you have 30 minutes just commit to it by removing all distractions.
 

Nice advice about the distractions, I always tend to multi-task a lot but I kind of suck at it (the fact that it took me half an hour to write this reply because I use Messenger on the side is a good example 😂 ).

As for the rest, well, I do know the Pomodoro Technique but I'm not really found of it because the whole "30min then take a small break" feels like I'm just breaking my momentum.

The last time I tried this technique I just ended up expanding the 30 minutes to 45 or 1 hour to finish what I was working on because I don't like being interrupted in the middle of something, thoughts on that ?

 

I'm not really found of it because the whole "30min then take a small break" feels like I'm just breaking my momentum.

It's hard to give concrete advice as context is everything but I'll try and give some examples

The idea of bashing out loads of code constantly over a number of hours is often romanticised in software development but in my view it's a bit overrated. You often feel productive but actually you can end up diving down massive rabbit holes.

Giving yourself time to reflect as you complete tasks is important.

Agile teaches us that working on smaller tasks are more likely to succeed. So does things like TDD. Practicing how to break down big tasks into small tasks that makes sense is an important skill in software development so it's nice to be able to practice it on your own work too.

So try and aim to finish something that you think you can do in half an hour instead. Have your break, think about what you've done and then move on to the next thing.

Yeah I guess breaking down my tasks is something I should do more and better... I'll try that.

 

I would add to 'Try and have a "backlog" of stuff you want to work on do': Ask yourself what will be beneficial for you in the future. It helped me a lot to clean up some bad habits (less procrastination!) and useless projects I added to my backlog.

 

I try to do that a lot, but even if I only keep "useful" stuff on my backlog, it still seems to be a lot. Maybe I just don't know how to correctly measure how "useful" something really is. How do you prioritize things ?

Oh my bad.

Hum, the problem is that I have a backlog really really light compared to what you sound to have, so not sure that's gonna help you but anyway:

For example in my list I have:

Learn Rust
Write an article about how a NAT gateway works
Write an article about true colors in tmux
Move my website to netlify

  • Learn Rust

Long task and not the easiest one, the language is quite tough to get your head around so not particularly fitting for a "pomodoro" during a late evening.

  • Article about NAT gateway

Short time ish task. It's related to my work so easy to work on that during my working hours,

  • Write an article about true colors in tmux

No one really cares about this so that can wait

  • Move my website to hugo and netlify instead of django

It's getting pretty urgent as I changed of employer and my old website is still on their servers...

So knowing the list, I'll do:

  1. Move my website to hugo and netlify instead of django
  2. Article about NAT gateway
  3. Learn Rust

Not the "Write an article about true colors in tmux" because I know that I had the issue because of my own terminal / tmux / vim configuration so the value of this article is kinda worthless.

The 3. is quite different as well. It's a learning task so I would do this in the morning before going to work and more regularly than 1 & 2 that will be done by the end of next week during the evenings.

I don't know, I am not sure that's gonna help you ahaha

 

this thread is becoming one of the distractions lol

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