Victus Spiritus


Move at a Pace You Can Sustain

25 Oct 2009

Why Hurry?

This is a classic trap I find myself falling into with my own work: overloading my schedule with tasks, or over complicating solutions. I don't think I got it quite right with Procrastinate Until You're Ready, or Run As Fast as You Can, Push Yourself. One wonderful feature of blogging is being able to iterate on a concept.

If you are working for someone else on an hourly basis, they will instinctively push you to get more done faster. I don't know about you, but I feel rebellious to this type of whip cracking behavior.

If we are working on a project of our passion, solo or in collaboration, we feel compelled to put every ounce of our free time into it. We believe by spending more time on the project we'll see great improvement in results.

I believe in both of the above cases, we fall prey to a fallacy. The error is in believing the results of our work is a predictable function, or even a directly linear function (pay per hour). The painful truth is that sometimes our labor will result in needless complexity that will cost us many hours to repair downstream. Other times we'll see no benefit from working more on a specific task in a preset way (reached a local optima). Finally, there are glorious moments when everything clicks, and we have breakthrough value creation days (I don't have the silver key to unlocking these days, but I'm trying).

The geatest quality of our work is crafted while moving at a pace that matches our own rhythm. Learning to listen to ourselves carefully, feeling and finding that rhythm can take many years of practice.

Related Links:

The Agile Manifesto: a great way to focus our energy on designing a framework for software creation (as opposed to design itself).

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

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