Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Single Tasking

"Single Tasking" is an idea I produced for myself one morning last week.

When I get to work in the morning, I typically check the New York Post online for new Yankees articles. I also check a few webcomics. Sometimes those sites will link to other sites I want to check out. I'll fire up Visual Studio and Query Analyzer, bounce between them and Opera, then open Firefox for my FF-specific stuff. As a result, I do a lot of things, but I'm not terribly efficient at them. Even when I say "Enough!" and close FF and Opera, I still have multiple work things going on at once.

So I decided to say "Here's the feature/bug/whatever I'm working on, work on it til it's finished." I have to fight myself hard to not think about other things or check email or whatever, but I'll get it done. Then I have to repeat the process. It's totally against my nature to do this for some things (like writing an SQL controller class for my .NET app); I've always found decent productivity while having a TV on tuned to a movie that just came on that I've seen before (more on this later). However, that approach doesn't work when working on code.

After producing this idea, I realized that I'm totally not the first to discover it. ThatVoodooYouDo covered an idea I've been trying to incorporate into my single tasking. Steve Pavlina (that crazy dude) covers an idea called "Timeboxing" (sort of the inspiration for this blog) which sorta ties in with this.

Nevertheless, I've found my highest level of productivity on code during single tasking. How about you?
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