Don’t sleep with your love. Enjoy your enemy while sleeping!
Last few weeks I was facing really big pressure, because we lost one of our contractors he broked his hand. We tried to fill the gap, but nobody experienced enough was immediately available. We decided to continue development without wasting time looking for a substitute, because there was a small chance to find someone suitable right before the summer and vacations.
Every single minute you should be prepared for extreme situations which can alter your project to a time-bomb!!! And you should be prepared for that time-bomb too!!!
Run faster than you planned. It saves your (personal) life
Always be at least one step before the actual plan(keep it as your secret, because some smart managers can change planning). This one step means some unit of work or time(it depends on the project size). It is really important to avoid to fall too much behind the project plan when something went horribly wrong as my last experience is.
We had a lot of problems to solve on the project and I got an email about non functional app from other customer. In there was “We can’t work, because we can’t access detail page. We need to solve it immediately!”. I was calm, cause it is small app and there is nothing too complicated, but I was wrong. In the moment I figured out the problem is not as small as I was thinking and my development plan reserves were gone. It taked almost whole day to run the application again. Because I lost this one day I have to create positive gap again in the project plan staying at work till evening.
Not only your current project can go wrong. All other projects can run into problems. Keep it in mind and count with it. You wont be suprised if it happens.
Always it can be worse, trust me
That day I went home lately, opening the door and feeling some strange smell. Hooray, clogged pipe was filling my bath with dirty water and don’t wanna stop(take a look at the video). So, I was trying to find somebody who will fix it, but every repairman told me on the phone he is available only at the morning, not at night. I understood that. So, I grabed the bucket and carried the water from the bath to the toilet until it was nearly empty. Morning the repairman came and tries to clean up the pipe, but he gets stucked after 30 centimeters and can’t move forward(till now I don’t know why). After 4 hours he was gladly finished.
These two situations move me backward in my plans more then I was prepared for and in my head The Doors played song The End(Do you know that song?) in the while(negative thinking) loop.
Don’t tell to yourself you got enough time even if you do. Rather move quickly forward than procrastinate. Keep your current positive plan for yourself, but tell when it went wrong and you are behind the project plans.
We love the work, so we work till its done
All of these continous occasions led me to a biggest mistake I have ever made. I started to work a lot at home after I come back from work. I spent lot of time in the kitchen and in my bed with my notebook working. This step simply removes the line between work and my personal life.
It was fine for first few days. When I was tired I just close my notebook and fall asleep really quickly. But after some time I was thinking more and more in my bed and can’t fal asleep, cause of my thoughts flying from one side to another in my mind. My most intimate place tranforms to a place for work in the subconscious and that was bad for me and for the project. Morning waking up very tired and my whole days was like very very long slowmotion movie. No, I was like guy from slowmotion movie. I was unable to think and pursue work. It takes about a week before I figured out it slows me down a lot. I was just tired, ineffective and demotivated also.
Don’t mix work with your personal life. Keep it separated as much as you can. When you need to work at home build small office room/corner for that purpose.
Problems are everywhere and can rise up at anytime. It is hard to see all of them at the beginning and sometimes during the project. It will suprise you in times you wont expect it and you have to be prepared for all of these.
Everybody can make a mistake and you have to rely on yourself. Even if you are “only” developer you may talk to managers and tell them when you find some mistake in the project plans. I have seen lot of project plans that don’t correspond to a reality. When you accept these mistakes in the plans, you expose yourself to pressure before the project starts. And thats your fault. Anytime in the future you won’t have arguments and everybody will ask you “Why you didn’t tell us?”. Pressure is fine, but when you can’t finish the project as it is planned you will only ruin yourself and makes customer angry, because of delay. Once again. Talk to the managers when you feel the project can’t be done in presumed time. If you think you can do your project in time or you feel there is an extra time never count on that. Always move forward as quickly as you can. You never know what happens in the future.
You and fellow workers
Keep in mind you and fellow workers are only people. People can be sick, can have problems with their family, flat, car or whatever. There is always possibility some of you can’t work on the project for some time. Always try to have somebody who can help you with developing while you or your colleague will be out. Again, you have to talk to the managers to take it into count. Talk to your fellow workers how they handle the pressure and if everything goes fine. Some people can’t handle long time pressure or can get stucked on some problem and are shy to tell.
Your mental side
Even if you need to work harder take time to rest. When time is your enemy, you have to sleep as long as it is possible to be prepared for another dose of hard work. Don’t forget to enjoy what you’d like to do. Go for shopping, watch movies, play games, cook, go for a trip, watch hockey or something else you like. It helps you to absorb psychological pressure and this is what you need.
If you can work in employer’s office only, do it. Keep the gap between your work and personal life as wide as you can. When you have to work at home never ever work at places that are designated for other things. If you don’t have room where you can setup your home office, try to find some small place which is not used for anything. Don’t work from your bed. Bed is used for sleeping. Don’t use dining table. Dining table is used for eating.
Conclusion of the conclusion
- Inform managers something (may) went wrong.
- Ask for or offer help if needed.
- Talk to the fellow workers.
- Don’t sleep with your work. Enjoy your time while sleeping! Don’t forget work is still only work and even you love it you have to take a rest.