ThatSoftware<Dude>

Musings of a .NET Developer, CTO, Tech Enthusiasts

The 5 Minute Rule To Get Things Done

Every individual has their own method of getting stuff done. Whether it's through some online to do list application or through their own handwritten set of notes scribbled on a yellow pad on their desk. Once we get used to our method, it sort of becomes our de facto standard for how we run our day. It may work, it may not work. We won't be able to tell easily. My normal routine consisted of opening notepad and jotting down a list of the first 10-20 things that came to mind to accomplish for the day. Does it work? To some extent. 40-50% of the items on that list get completed, in no particular order. But is there a better method?

Depends on who you ask. A popular method of getting stuff done, practiced by both Elon Musk and Bill Gates, two of the busiest people on the planet I'd safely assume, and I'm sure many others as well, is to break down your day to day activities with the following question in mind.

what can I do in the next 5 minutes?

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If You Don't Know How, Then Do It Quickly

I have a stuffed doll that talks when you put pressure on his chest. He says a number of things in a sequential order. And as I cleaned up my work environment the other day, he went off and wisdom spewed from its tiny microprocessor sound chip mouth. And it got me thinking. It stated the following:

if you don't know how to do something...then do it quickly

And that's some of the best advice that I've heard in some time from anyone, or anything. So let's talk about that today, because learning to fail is incredibly important for a fulfilling life of growth and knowledge. Particularly if you're just starting out in the tech world.

If you're a programmer you might be familiar with the following scenario. You hear about some new trending topic, such as Machine Learning or AI, and you find it interesting enough to Google it for an hour or two. Then you . . .

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How To Finish A Project

One of the toughest things to battle once you reach a certain level of programming knowledge is the influx of ideas that will flow into you constantly, and unexpectedly. You'll be walking around carelessly one minute, just to be bombarded by possible app/website ideas the next. And they all sound amazing to you. And some of them very well could be, but you have about a dozen amazing ideas sitting on your desktop at home at this moment waiting to be completed.

How To Finish A Project

every idea is amazing...at first

If your idea worked 100% as you defined it, and if a million users jumped on and used it, then yes, you're idea is incredible. And that is indeed possible, just not how you're currently imagining it. Sleep on every single idea and see if it still brings that sense of wonder the next day. Or the next week even. Give it time to settle in and pi . . .

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Using A Standing Desk For 6 Months

Like many office workers, I had a long history of being a paper weight for office chairs. And I've tried all the chairs in life, believe me. Regular office chairs, extra large "I feel like I'm 5 again" office chairs and the pricier chairs that are supposed to miraculously cure my back. And after 10 years, my back just got worse and worse, and my posture got more abstract and artistic, much like a 19th century art piece.

Driving for an extended 2 hours per day did not help this situation and I was on a fast road to becoming an oval of some kind. Which is why 6 months ago, I decided to jump on the standing desk band-wagon once again and to go all out with it. I've tried standing desks before, and it only lasted a few months before I gave in and once again nestled into that sweet sweet concave device.

So the following is my experience with standing for the past 6 months, what it did to my body, my mind, my health and my current status. And a few tips along the way . . .

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Stop Asking People What They Think

What do you think of this?

You do it, I do it, alot and lately I started to wonder why I bother. You know the moment. You just designed a webpage, or finished a report, or created a rocket company or took a photo and you turn to your friend, usually just 1, and ask them what they think. You're proud of your work, and you need it validated. So you fight that instinct, and you go for it. And normally, it doesn't end well. And here's why.

Normally, the reason that you show something off, or "ask an opinion" if you will, is because you yourself think it's amazing work. And you may be right. So the question is, if it's already amazing work, then why does it need to be validated? Answer me that, if you will. The best that you can hope for is a "Oh man, that's a great idea". Which, you already knew going into this scenario. The worst you can hope for is pretty much anything else.

More than likely you're setting yourself up to be disappointed, for a few reasons . . .

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Why We Should All Be Failing More

Remember that time you took a super hard exam in elementary school, and you skipped question #1 because you were going to circle back to it soon. Then 5 minutes later you had circled your way to zero answers and time was up? I remember that time. It was awkward and the world looked at me differently that day. That was one of my first tastes of failure. And obviously, I didn't enjoy it. And for the most part it wasn't suppose to be enjoyed. Teachers looked down upon me, parent's became upset and I was no longer the smart kid in school. At least for that week. So I bunkered down, cracked open a book, studied and worked my way up to a solid B student.

So today I'll be talking about Failure. What it is, why it's important, and why the more you do it the closer you are to success. It goes against what most people are taught, but maybe that's why success is so hard to achieve nowadays. Because we're not being taught that failure, is a crucial ste . . .

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How Fast Can You Read?

Greetings there. Before you continue with the post, please hit the start button down below, read the passage and then hit the stop button when you are done. Or you could just hit "start", then "stop" and ignore this, whichever you want.

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Are Deadlines Destroying The Quality of Your Work

We've all been at the barrel end of that dreaded word we call a deadline. Many of us first encountered it during our school days. "This assignment is due Wednesday". "Your exam is tomorrow". etc. And we hated it. All of us. You rushed to get those last sentences in and try to reach the 3 page goal or it wouldn't be accepted. As an adult, the entire schooling process seems ridiculous to me now. So many arbitrary dates were put in place making it difficult to learn efficiently. You're goal was just to finish, that's it. Maybe it was a solid 'B' paper or maybe you barely skimmed through it with a 'C', it didn't matter as long as it got done.

Jump forward a decades later and the exact same process still goes on day in and day out. We get to work early and slash those final t's and dot those pesky i's and shoot the outcome down through the shoots and hope for a 'B' but settle for a 'C'. Deadlines aren't by nature a positive thing. It's even got the word "dead" in it, I mean come on. Sometimes they're a necessary evil, but they won't lead to a better product in the end.

If that system is broken and leads to the lowest standards of work, then why do we continue to apply those same rules to our everyday adult work life? Here's the thing. In school, I can see why deadlines were put in place at the expense of the students education. A teacher only has so much time to cover materials, because the semester is only a few months long and because they have to analyze the work of 30 plus people within a few days time. I get it. But in a work environment we don't have those barriers. If you're making a contact page for a website, "tomorrow by 3pm" makes no sense. Also, that's a pretty long time for a contact page. My point is there is no right and wrong time for a contact page. I've worked at several companies in my years, and the ones that implemented what were normally tight deadlines, had high turn over rates and high error rates. Why? Because every project was finished under duress and was normally done sloppily to reach the due date. Developers weren't given the chance to plan and execute which is how I personally work. It was just non-stop typing until the web page matched a PNG file.

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