Stop helping me

So I'm taking this project off you to lighten your workload.

The project you put on hold three months ago?

Yeh, I'm giving that to someone else.

Oh cool. It'll be good to see that project get started again.

No, we're going to keep it on hold.

But you're taking it off me to lighten my workload?


The project that's on hold?


The one I'm not currently working on, so it's not adding to my workload. And you're giving it to someone else, and it's remaining on hold. To lighten my workload.

Ah.. yes. Unless you don't want me to.

It's not a matter of me not wanting you to. What's the point of moving it from me to him if you're not going to activate the project.

To lighten your workload.

Then why don't we give him this active project? That would really help.

Because I want him to have the inactive project.

That will remain on hold? 


But that seems pointless.

So you want to keep the project?

Not that I want to keep it or not keep it. You can give it to him but if the point of the exercise is to lighten my work load, why are you moving something that has no impact on my workload?

So you do want to keep the project?

That's not what I'm asking. Why don't we move an active project then it would lighten my workload. Achieve the objective of the exercise.

So you do want me to give him the inactive project?

Argggg. Do what you like. Just. Do. What. You. Like.

I'm going to have to officially reprimand you for insubordination. 

Sunday update - the fragmented edition

**Important congratulations to Fox on the birth of her beautiful baby**

Daylight savings ended overnight and to celebrate I’ve done almost nothing all day to make the most of the extra hour :)

I started reading Wild Pork and Watercress by Barry Crump last night. I hadn't read any of his stories before. For those of you who might not know, Barry Crump is a celebrated author here in New Zealand; a bushman; a hunter; a good keen man. After three chapters I can tell you, he’s a damned fine writer.

The film adaption of this book has opened in cinemas this week to rave reviews for the cast and director Taika Waititi, so I’ll be able to see that soon and let you know how it turned out.

Projects update

Prep work (carpet removal, floor cleaning, wall sizing/under-sealing) before wallpapering guest bedroom.

Prep work (carpet removal, floor cleaning, wall sizing/under-sealing) before wallpapering guest bedroom.

Progress is progressing - so that’s good. 

Stain retardant undercoat on sanded hutch base.

Stain retardant undercoat on sanded hutch base.

My work-days are so full at the moment. While my secondment is going well, I have legacy tasks from my previous job which are more than a small distraction. It’s been a month since I left my responsibilities at my old position and finally I’ve been replaced with someone to “hold the fort” while I’m on the project. 

Phew - I was feeling quite stretched without enough time or energy to dedicate to completing project work because of the left-overs from the old one. While the coming days and weeks will be full-on and I’ll need every working minute, at least my concentration can be focused on the project at hand and not half on another job at the same time.

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Start your tomatoes!

A million years ago, give or take an epoch, before I'd ever heard of Agile development I used to sprint.

Well that's what I'd call my short, sharp, focused bursts of energy to get dreary work done.

It started when my children were little. I'd get them into bed at night and every fibre of my being would want to sit on the couch and watch television, but there was always so much more still do to: dirty dishes from dinner, folding from the day's laundry, picking up toys and books - all that endless, thankless work. 

So I started tackling these chores while the adverts played during the tv show I was watching. Each advert break is approximately five minutes long and I'd go as fast as I could concentrating on one task until I heard the programme resume and I'd stop and go back to watch my show. It's amazing how painless washing and drying dishes, and tidying up is if you know you only have to do it for five minutes and you get the next part of a tv show as a reward.

This works at work too - except without the television. 

I'm a clock watcher. I don't mean I watch it all the time, but I'm forever measuring how long things take - how long to process one CMS application; how much time to be spent composing an email or compiling a report; how many seconds to publish a webpage (is that slow? is the software performance poor?) 

So when I look at the clock and it's 2:53pm and I want a cup of tea, I'll make myself 'sprint' to 3pm with seven minutes of focus on a task. Or 12 minutes. Or 25 minutes. This works really well for me particularly if I find that I've fallen (or falling) into procrastination - which is usually triggered by something I either don't want to do, or a process where I'm unsure of the next step. 

These sprints get me over the hump of whatever's in my way.


I was reminded a couple of weeks ago of the Pomodoro Technique. Fox first told me about this and it was so delightful but I've never actually employed it until recently - probably because now there's an app and I don't actually have to have a tick-tick-ticking pomodoro timer on my desk.

The pomodoro timer is a tomato- or pepper-shaped plastic timer most often found in a kitchen. It's bright red cherry shape looks pretty much at home on any modern desk these days though your work mates might not enjoy the loud ticking as much as it spurs you on. So the app works quietly and suits an open office a little better.

The pomodoro is set to 25 minutes** and you work until it buzzes to signal time is up. 

Then you can reward yourself with a stretch; or a walk to the water cooler; or a cup of tea; or whatever works for you.

Do you have any tricks or hints to get you over procrastination bumps or through tedious tasks?

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**or any number of minutes that suits you; just all the cool kids set for 25.