The Usual Tech Ramblings

Rise and Fall of procrastination

I’ve been stuck in a rut again, not sure why.

Actually I am fairly sure… I guess I have lots on my mind, lots of stuff going on at work, and home. I’ve not exercised the camera recently, I think the last shots were taken several weeks ago1. I don’t walk quite as far with the dog any more, which both makes him happy, and sad, at the same time2. Work has been dragging me down, they let one of my colleagues go, which means the team of 4 doing the work of 8, is now down to a team of 3 doing the work of 8. Hopefully we’re getting some new heads soon…

Somebody asked me the other day if I found I get too much on my plate that it ends up sending me into a spin, and I don’t get any of it done. That’s one of the few things that triggers my procrastination, until I can find a project to sink my teeth into, and that I might actually enjoy. I get stuck in a rut of too many items on my todo list, which then just gets longer and longer3. Then there are the other issues with critical problems cropping up that you just have to stop everything else for… We’ve had a lot of those recently, so I’ve spent more time working on those, than I’ve been able to spend on my ever growing TODO list.

Once I’ve found that one project I am going to enjoy, or the one critical problem that kick starts me, I find that I see the state of my TODO list as a challenge, and I take the time to wipe it out. The other day I managed to wipe 15 items off of my TODO list in an hour. Now, I’m sure if, at the time I marked them as TODOs, I had realized it’d take me no time to do them, I’d have done them then, instead of adding to my already daunting task list4. Maybe I was dealing with a critical issue, or something. But being able to knock 15 items off of the TODO list is a great feeling, and it has a knock on effect. The better I feel, the more I get done, until I’ve dwindled my long list down to a handful of big items.

The project I had the other day was a band aid. Not in the literal sense, but in the goal of the application. It’s simple task was to fill in the gap between the time the vendor requested the feature, and the time our development team could work on the problem, otherwise we run the risk of losing customers. It’s a script to process a text file containing a list of vehicles, and their images, from the vendor. We simply have to sync our images with their’s. Relatively simple, but it gave me some time to exercise my PHP brain, and knock out a 300 line PHP script to talk to a DB server, a FTP servers, and two web servers (one using SOAP, and the other just fetching images). That project inspired me to clear out 15 items on my todo list in an hour, as well as several others afterwards.

So it seems I work in cycles. I’m sure if my time management was a little better, I wouldn’t have these issues at all, or if I did, they wouldn’t come up quite so often, or wouldn’t be quite so big. So I’m back to where I started, the rise and fall of my procrastination, trying to kick start my motivation, at the same time as doing everything else, and getting a handle on my time management issues. Seems I’m not the only one this week.

  1. This is really frustrating to me, as I just got a new lense 

  2. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t entirely happy with the 2am walks, though never seemed to complain too much 

  3. Almost like trying to bail the water out of RMS Titanic, using a thimble 

  4. I think this is one of the hints in the Time Management for System Administrators book