Have a Think

  • akljfhnlaflkj

    SSC Guru

    Points: 76202

    It sounds good, and may be good. It certainly must be for you. But I have a set amount of work that needs to get done. How do I justify pulling time away for whatever reason and getting less done? Maybe I do this and just haven't realized it. When I have a complex problem to solve I may sit and just think about how to approach it, what appears to others as just sitting and doing nothing. Then I will jot down on a piece of paper a really high level plan of action before my fingers hit the keyboard. I guess I just hadn't really thought it through before. Hmmm, I've come full circle, from not thinking it could work for me to realizing I already do it.

  • qbrt

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2483

    Heh. See, I'm just the other way around. I sit and think all day long and do nothing. Perhaps I will do tasks for an hour this week just to start. See how that works out. Eh? :-P:w00t::hehe:

  • RonKyle

    SSC-Dedicated

    Points: 31482

    How do I justify pulling time away for whatever reason and getting less done?

    Some things have to happen on your own time. For those with young families that may not always be possible, but most of us can do this.

  • David.Poole

    SSC Guru

    Points: 75350

    I know of senior managers who book an explicit spot in their diary which is sacrosanct.

    When I became a manager I found that I was pulled from pillar to post and couldn't see the wood for the trees. One of those senior managers explained that their sacrosanct time was explicitly for time when they could focus on developing their strategy for their underlings. Without that time they felt that they risked getting sucked down into micro-management and firefighting.

    You should be able to have a conversation with your line manager about arranging regular time slots to be able to use this technique. It just needs to be a regular session that you develop as a habit. It could be as short as 15 minutes.

    I expect my staff to tell me what they need in order to be effective. They are adults and have demonstrated that they can be trusted not to abuse the privilege. If they use this in work time then they have the opportunity to buddy up with me or a colleague when they need a sounding board.

  • Eric M Russell

    SSC Guru

    Points: 125088

    The Scrum development methodology, with it's small iterations, test driven development, daily stand-up meetings, and post-iteration retrospectives; why it works for so many projects is that forces team members to not only reflect on what they're personally doing day-to-day but also to think about what the team as a whole is doing as a whole. It's the opposite of the situation where each team member is off in their own corner robotically hacking out lines of code or ruminating for weeks or months at time. I'm sure we've all been there and understand the value of a process encourages transparency, introspection, and retrospection rather than counting hours and lines of code.

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • Andrew..Peterson

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 6719

    RonKyle (10/1/2015)


    I have found that walking While thinking allows me to gain insight into issues

    Me, too.

    I have always tried to take a walk at least once a day. Sometimes after lunch, or early afternoon. Great exercise, allows you to de-stress a bit, and to think about projects in a big way.

    The more you are prepared, the less you need it.

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 719130

    Tepluken (10/1/2015)


    Terrific advice. I always take a walk at the end of the day. Usually I will listen to a podcast as I walk to pass the time; however once a week I will simply ditch the headphones,. I have found that walking While thinking allows me to gain insight into issues which have been baffling me

    I do this as well. Sometimes I lose the music because I'm thinking about an issue or idea.

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 719130

    Brad Allison (10/1/2015)


    This is great advice that I will share with my small team of SQL Server developers I work with. I usually give them some daily technical inspiration and this is the topic I will share with them. I have always advised slowing down and don't over think a simple solution to a task (which I, myself, am very guilty of - latest was working on an issue with an SSAS cube and dimensions). Great article and inspiration for the morning

    We used to throw a football out back or do some other mindless activity that let us discuss an issue, but not completely focused. It seemed frisbee, a walk/jog, or tossing a ball worked as it wasn't too intensive.

    Ping pong, air hockey, some other items require too much focus to allow you to think.

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 719130

    Iwas Bornready (10/1/2015)


    It sounds good, and may be good. It certainly must be for you. But I have a set amount of work that needs to get done. How do I justify pulling time away for whatever reason and getting less done? Maybe I do this and just haven't realized it. When I have a complex problem to solve I may sit and just think about how to approach it, what appears to others as just sitting and doing nothing. Then I will jot down on a piece of paper a really high level plan of action before my fingers hit the keyboard. I guess I just hadn't really thought it through before. Hmmm, I've come full circle, from not thinking it could work for me to realizing I already do it.

    I think (no pun intended) that you have to make time for this. It isn't for every issue or small problem, but it's often a way to review larger potential issues, like architecture or overall approach, not solving something small.

    It does seem wasteful, I'll admit that. However so is rework, and making poor choices initially, or delaying items too long. Stopping periodically, weekly or monthly, for a short time, often < 1 hour, can help you gain perspective and look at things from a different perspective.

  • jianmin.c

    Grasshopper

    Points: 24

    Work on mental toughness; therefore, you practice rituals, what you can control, what you cannot control; do not waste time to think what you can not control, stay on the ground, live at the moment;

  • Wayne West

    SSC-Insane

    Points: 22586

    I attended Kevin Boles' Tune Like A Guru session at the El Paso SQL Saturday recently and he said the most important thing to do when you have a serious database or server issue come up is to get up and get a cup of coffee. Get away from the computer, get some distance from the problem -- albeit briefly -- to give yourself a moment to think. Excellent idea. Diving right in and trying to fix the problem without pausing to reflect is an excellent path towards making the problem worse.

    Most computer people are allotted two 15 minute breaks a day, I know most of us who aren't smokers will frequently work through them as we don't want to lose the flow of what we're working on. But those windows could be an excellent opportunity to give your brain a break and let it wander and do some associating that might elude you by trying to power through the problem.

    -----
    [font="Arial"]Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves or we know where we can find information upon it. --Samuel Johnson[/font]

  • kate.fletcher 80760

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 141

    if you don't bill for it, they won't respect it, and soon, neither will you....

  • call.copse

    SSCoach

    Points: 17157

    John Corkett (10/1/2015)


    Hi

    Thinking time is essential. We need to take time to sit back and think about the way forward or the big picture.

    My thinking time is usually on my commute - either when I'm cycling to work at 5:30 on a morning when the roads are quiet or when I'm crawling along in traffic. These times would otherwise seem to be wasted but they are very productive for me. I find I could have been working on a problem all day and then illumination comes on the way home. In particular (may be due to the amount of blood pumping through my brain!), I find some of my best ideas have come when I'm cycling.

    +1 for ideas coming when cycling on the commute. Best time ever for thought, you are focused like 20% on the road and concentrating somewhat on that but always seem to have capacity to mull things through.

  • Gary Varga

    SSC Guru

    Points: 82166

    Some places just appreciate the end result others like to "see you working" otherwise they don't feel that they are getting their moneys worth. Ironically the former get productivity by not micro-managing to ensure that you are typing every chargeable second.

    Gaz

    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

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