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The importance of not working

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Mike Bossy


I think I have come up with the all important side project/hobby paradox. It is:

To be your most productive you need to know when to not work.

We all have days where we're tired our just not feeling up to working on things. In the past I've sucked it up and powered through these feelings and tried to work anyway. The end results are usually a non-productive work session that hurt my morale. Getting sucked into the low morale cycle is the worst thing possible for side projects. To keep going you need energy and a positive outlook.

So my new thing is that if I sit down to work and am not excited to work, and have a targetted task to work on I just don't do it. I've found this helps me come back the next day when I am more excited and keeps my morale up.

Today is definitely one of those days. Lack of sleep is not a good thing for software engineers.
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This is a profound truth, and its importance cannot be understated. Unfortunately, it's also a very difficult truth to convey to Managers, who equate "not typing squiggly symbols into that Visual Seep Lush Harp thing" as being "lazy."

Since I started working from home I've had to really come to grips with that fact. Nobody's here to get on my case if I'm not writing code all the time, so I'm (finally) free to actually not work when I'm in a state where working just wouldn't be profitable. The trick is knowing when you really need to not-work, and when you need to kick yourself into gear and work even though you want to think that it's a bad idea.

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Heh, the 'best' is when you come back to the code on like a Sunday afternoon (after a couple days of heavy drinking) and you discover you had taken initiative to 'sort out' the problems in your custom allocator or something.

Granted, that could just be something I do. Sometimes I find really funny comments in my code :]

// lol tish copits sutff
memcpy( dest, src, 194 );

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