Haven't done anything remotely technical recently so I'll rip off another blogger's post today to keep the content flowing. In this case, JP Boodhoo's Tips on becoming a more effective developer.
It's a great list considering he probably just described what he does every day anyway. If he's reading, JP, consider making that post more permanent so that it can be revised as time passes. One item I think he left off though was: Be wicked smart.
Anyway, it seems to be sound advice and I found myself muttering, "yeah, yeah, I know I should" as I went through the list feeling guilty.
On a side note, it didn't help that I was up playing Lego Star Wars 2 until the 3:30 the night before reading this. And let me tell you, a hillbilly gets surly when he rolls out of bed at 10:00 and reads that he should have been up five hours earlier. @*%$ keener!
I jest of course. I am generally an early riser myself. (Or at least I thought I was. Five AM?!? I don't even *buy* alarm clocks that go off before six. And yes, it's possible to train them not to do so. The trick is to make an example of the first one and let him spread the word to the other alarm clocks through their secret network.)
But I've also fallen off the bandwagon of late with that. I work from home and it is waaaaaay too easy to roll out of bed whenever you wake up (usually 8:00), especially when you work in a time zone two hours ahead of the rest of your team.
As a segue, I'm going to modify JP's list slightly for people that work from home. Firstly, I like the idea of shutting down e-mail during the day (or as one commenter suggested, learning to respond only to urgent requests).
Turning off IM, though, is not an option. For the most part, it's my only means of communication with the office. But as I mentioned in an earlier post, if would be friggen fanTAStic if Messenger offered a Block This Group option. My family is getting far too bold with their technical support requests.
And specifically for home-workers: prepare each morning as if you're going to work in the office. To a point, at least. That means taking a shower and getting dressed in something other than pajamas. Doesn't have to be the full suit and tie but at least dress as if you're going out to do errands. For me, it's mostly a psychological thing. Makes me feel more like I've left the home and more importantly, helps with the disconnect between work and home. Once in a while, you can work in your underwear if you like, just to say you did, but I find I'm much more productive in pants.
And my final tip: buy my version of a PDA. Namely, a PAD. Stands for pen-assisted-data if you're wondering. I've tried Palms, I've tried iPaqs, I even tried my wife's Blackberry. The PAD is far superior. Stories data in any format and is infinitely more disposable in the event you leave it in the airport. Downside is that synchronization is more manual but I love those little things.