Sunday, 1 March 2015

Don't grind down, build up...

I have a friend...

(hard to believe I know, but some people have low standards and don't find me too irritating...)

This friend is facing a 5 week development "death march" working nights and weekends to reach a very difficult deadline.

I sympathise I really do, my own back log has tripled in size in the last two working days.

But there is a difference in how we approach things, and it reflects in our outlook.

My friend "grinds down", I "build up".

By "grind down" I mean that my friend sees the work as a grind, lots of the same tasks repeated over and over again. At the end of a day they'll turn round and count how many lines of code they write and lament that they'll have to do the same tomorrow.

I'm different.

While far from being an optimist, I see each little task as "building up" towards my goal. Each step no matter how small is progress towards something. I let myself get a kick out of completing small tasks and I don't think about how many more I have to do.

When planning a project you need to be far-sighted to see the big picture and have sense of the history of what you're doing... thats a given.

However, when actually working on a project, short sighted is good, and it's emotionally much more helpful if you don't think about how much more work there is to do, but rather gratify yourself on much work you've just done.

I'm not "chipper" about it, and I don't sit there giggling to myself and smiling over a simple task completed, but I do allow myself a moment of self satisfaction before going onto the next task.

It's not about being proud of the small things. It's about giving yourself permission to feel good a few times during the day - especially when you have lots of work still to do.

It's like the difference between building a road or building a tower:
When you're building a road each day you turn and see empty ground going off to the horizon that you still have to pave, never feeling that you've made any progress. When you're building a tower you cant see all the tower you haven't built yet, you only see that the view is better every day...
It's not denial or self delusion, I know there is more work to do, I know how much more work there is to do,  just choose to enjoy the view from up here.

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