Everyone knows me as the workaholic. I'm snobbish and aloof, not because I am socially unpolite, but because I am consumed in thinking about my work, and everything work related. At daytime, I work on full time as the Technical Team Head, and at night, I sneak out a portion of my time to write and/or work on some freelance job.
Machines need Resting
Lately, things have not been the same. I've just completed one big project about a month ago, and I haven't really gotten paid from that endless year's toil. I hate it when that happens. I'm starting to take a steady step towards valuing my time and health. Its true that when you stop to take a rest when the rest of the ToDos are piling up is just as painful as procrastinating, but its also resting.
As most PC addicts may have noticed, the PC bogs down under stress too. I've encountered a lot of hardware hiccups from my own fast and suave workstation myself… and these hiccups happen only when we were both under stress. One of my hard disks bogged down, and the memory chip feels like its wearing away each time. It felt like each time the PC was giving up on me, it wanted to tell me we were both tired and needed some rest. So, get a hint. Machines get tired, all the more we humans do.
Programming is like Chemistry
I am a huge fan of Basecamp and Campfire and even Rails. I love Rails because it provides programmers with the ability to produce more output over a small amount of time. I also like technologies that give me the edge of pinpointing my tasks and letting me know the "hows", "whens" and "whats" for my work. I am a big control freak when it comes to my work performance. I always want to meet what I expect of myself and the job. With this, I NEVER procrastinate, I only learn how to gracefully cut my work into modules.
A programmer doesn't want to be interrupted, overcomed, or overrated. You only want to do what is expected from you and nothing more. This is exactly why we have specs–so that no one would assume more or less from you, and will allow you to deliver only the best of what was required. When we are given tasks, it can either be atomic or molecular. Atomic, meaning it is a task that cannot be broken down further. Molecular, meaning, it can still be subdivided into smaller tasks. If your task is molecular, you can divide it further and assign flow and priority before attacking it.
Given these ideas, personally, I always want to complete one atomic task before taking a break, or before the introduction of another idea to work on. Sometimes, this cuts off my leisure time, resting time, and even meal time. Its a nuisance, really, this thing of obsessive compulsiveness, but it helps a lot to moderate how I work. With things broken down into smaller parts, its easier to see how I can deal with them.
Procrastination is a Gift
I close my working day 30-45 minutes from the last task. This enables me to cleanup my desktop and move out files to the respective folders so that I'll know where I left off.. put pending files in my tmp folder. My ultimate goal is to empty that folder. As long as there are files in there, then, there's work to do. I run my backup script for the projects that we work on, I tick off all items in Basecamp and in my BasketNote (local Ubuntu software), then I export all my notes to a static HTML file. I copy the latest backuped codes in my stick in cases of emergency along with the static HTML notes that I keep.
Before I hurry home from work, I take the pleasure of skipping work thoughts the minute I step out of the office. This doesn't only give my brows less curves, but makes me feel more relaxed. On top of this, I've got some good loving to brew with my honey. Next to having to go to dinner with him, being sweet and cuddly makes me feel good and happy. This way, I can give myself a break, and ready for the next round of work.
When I enter my room at home, I get the urge to boot up my PC and hit to work again. I have in my head a floating list of items I want to accomplish. At best, I don't think of it as work during the weekends, but a way to alleviate my duties during weekday and lessen my stress. I feel that keeping myself immersed at work will leave no faults unnoticed and make all works fool proof. Everyday, I can improve on old tasks and old codes which will be replaced by a more sophisticated discovery or implementation.
But then, I know, my honey would call in soon. I'd better fix my bed, fix myself and prepare for tomorrow. I would postpone booting up the PC and just talk to him before we sleep. I found this hard for me, for it was like procrastination. I had an awfully difficult time of breaking from the habit of sleeping only 3-4 hours everyday… but that was only in the beginning. The more I procrastinate at home, the more I value that is procrastination is also resting.
Now, I'm weaning off from sleeping less to give my brain some slack time and time to think better during stressful times. I'm finding better reasons to call it time management than procrastination. That is why it can sometimes be a gift.
PS: This is an article inspired by a friend who is losing time for his kid, and for himself.. RV.