This editorial was originally published on 1 Oct 2015. It is being re-run as Steve is traveling to SQL in the City.
I'm used to working at a chaotic pace. I have lots of diverse projects and deliverables that constantly force me to change my focus. I have short term and long term projects. I work with diverse technologies. My workload is a mix of development and administrative tasks. It's a hectic schedule that gets worse when I travel since SQLServerCentral must continue to run.
Years ago I was struggling with daily deliverables, the bimonthly SQL Server Standard magazine, and a couple book projects a year. It was maddening, especially when my business partners also wanted me to experiment with ways to grow our business. I wondered, how would I ever find time to dream up new ideas or implement a proof of concept.
Andy Warren helped me slow down by scheduling "thinking time." He told me it was important, and he had to make some at his job. Carve out an hour once a week or so and just spend time thinking about a project. Don't do; just think.
I have kept that advice in mind over the years, and I try to take some time to just think about the tasks I need to accomplish. I don't worry about actually getting anything done, but instead try to just think about the best way to move forward. I don't always succeed, but I continue to try to make time and just think.
Whether you run a business or just write code for one, I think the art of stopping and thinking is a bit lost. So few of us actually stop to spend some time planning. Instead we're very quick to start writing code or trying out a configuration change. While I am a proponent of experimenting, I still think it's worth taking a few minutes and just consider different ways to experiment. Often we can choose better experiments if we have a plan.
Try it this week. Take ten or fifteen minutes and think about the next task rather than diving right in. You might find it to be a more valuable tool than just experimenting.