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28

Multi-tasking is deemed bad; so indeed, stay coding... Figure out how to make your code compile faster, a very interesting thing to look into. Figure out how to need less edit/complie cycles; defensive programming can help you avoid bugs. Use Test Driven Development, so that you need to compile the tests rather than the whole product. Think about the next ...


26

The core explanation can be found back in the physics of our brain. The brain's neural networks are made up of nerve cells that exchange pulses via synaptic connections. Unlike atoms in a crystal, which are arranged on a regular, cubic lattice, nerve cells grow synaptic connections in a highly specific but irregular fashion. The team of researchers -- ...


19

I'm not a software developer so hopefully this question isn't totally ignorant, but if you're doing tens of edit/compile cycles a day and each compile cycle takes 10 minutes, then it seems like a good use of that time would be using it to work on shortening the compile cycle. You're talking about an hour of unproductive work a day--an hour I can see you ...


18

TL;DR: Multitasking is not what you are after, you should instead look for a system like GTD. I am finding it difficult to concentrate on different things. Do you really need to concentrate on different things at the exact same time? Whenever I do something I just get concentrated on that and all other things fall apart. This is something that ...


15

If I were cycling, I certainly wouldn't try to do very much other than stay on the bike and enjoy the view and the exercise. But podcasts are good; other thoughts come to mind as well -- language tapes and audiobooks, for example (I did some marathons a few years ago and burned through several audiobooks that way). Sometimes thinking about things you are ...


14

Multitasking is hard. Let me change it. "Useful Multitasking is hard". It takes times. And one of the most important parts is your brain in this process. Human brain doesn’t multi-task like an expert magician; it switches frantically between tasks. In there, real problem occurs when we try to concentrate on the two tasks we are dealing with, because this ...


14

How do I shut up my inner voice and speed up my thinking? What makes you think you have to shut up your inner voice? Couldn't you try to tune your intuition so that you make perceptive leaps of logic to get where you want to be? After all, the point here is to time your response so that it may appear like you aren't missing a beat but the reality is ...


14

Fight with swords while riding on chairs. Compiling 'Are you stealing those LCDs?' 'Yeah, but I'm doing it while my code compiles.'


14

The human brain is a very, very slow computer. It does the same thing computers do to speed things up - caching. Most of our thoughts and opinions are (at least partly) cached. We don't go trough the whole reasoning process of why it is correct every time we give our opinion on something. That is why some people can answer so quickly - they already thought ...


11

Multitasking may feel more efficient, but research has shown that it will actually reduce your efficiency. This is because multi-tasking is more like rapid switching between single tasks and your brain needs time to focus at each task switch. More on the multi-tasking myth from a computer science point of view can be found here So it's best to do as much ...


10

The problem you're struggling with is one of the core issues addressed by David Allen's Getting Things Done. Consider the to do list items go to bank and work on thesis. Assuming your banking task is fairly straightforward, this is a simple action. The second is a several-year endeavor. When most people look at a list like this their mind is drawn to the ...


10

TL;DR Pick 5 books. Shelf the rest. Pick 2 Projects Shelf the rest. Pick one knowledge area until you are skilled enough to be able to answer the majority of questions on SE. Shelf the rest until that moment comes. Steve Jobs famously said (likely paraphrased from elsewhere0 that the most effective people know which projects to set aside. I am ...


9

Email tends to be a time sink, in order to tame it, aim to keep an empty inbox, and only handle each message once. http://www.43folders.com/izero - deal with it at the time you read it, delete what you can, archive what you must. Anything you defer, put on your task list and get it out of your inbox (obviously, if you follow the GTD system, take a minute to ...


9

There are people who respond immediately to a question. It seems they don't think about it at all and it still give a great answer. The point is there, they know. They have a lot of experience on this subject. They work on this subject and they made samples. This is a very normal. Other way, some people born like this. They always ready to respond ...


8

You can't. Both of those things require your attention. Which means either one will tune one out or do a poor job at both. There are other things that you can listen to a webcast during though without losing focus - cleaning, reading comics, driving etc. (Granted you still lose some focus, but it's not as drastic.) Programming requires a lot of ...


8

Decompress while it's compiling. Your right brain will continue to work on coding. Don't do something else productive. Watch some semi-lame movie that's barely enough to keep your interest. Read your rss feeder desultorily. Capture ideas and todo items that pop into your head during this time. A 10 minute break is nothing. Work out a little, stretch, walk ...


7

Very good question! I would like to add a suggestion that can easily be combined with all other sugegstion already given: optimize your computer! When I look at my computer while compiling, most of the time the CPU is not working as hard as you'd expect. Most of the time it's just waiting on the harddrive. Optimizing the hard drive can be done by creating ...


6

That would depend on the flexibility you have to do non-work related tasks. By keeping all your outstanding tasks recorded in an non-intrusive, immediately accessible system, within seconds you can find something to do. Personally I run a GTD style system and tag 'fill-in' type tasks with labels identifying how long they should take, like '0-5 minutes', ...


6

Practice is the key. Where do you go to practice? If you want to get fast at being able to counter jokes I recommend a improv comedy workshop.


6

Let me tell you what I have achieved while walking and cycling with my iPod. I learnt a new language using language audio books. I usually review that language (Norwegian) often again while I walk. I have listened to many books which I am not able to read due to lack of time. Audible.com became my good friend. The Teaching Company also have Great ...


6

The whole idea of GTD context lists is to have a list of like-sized tasks that are actionable in your current context, so a well-implemented GTD system should enable you to fill these moments with productive work. Let's break that first sentence down to yield some more practical advice: like-sized tasks There's no right answer for how long these tasks ...


6

Don't. Just don't. Multi-tasking is not the answer. Better time management is. The only time you can multi-task effectively is reading while sitting on the toilet.


6

The first step is obviously to ensure you've identified the next actions for each project you're working on and put these next actions in to the correct context lists. After that, I think any attempt to establish--a priori--a method for selecting in which order you'll perform these actions is not only futile but likely counterproductive as well. Because a ...


6

Stephen Covey has a nice model for this, called the four quadrants. The quadrants are: Urgent and important tasks Not urgent, but important Urgent and not important Nor urgent and not important His books cover how to focus more time in quadrant 2. The more you focus on Q2, the less tasks end up in Q1. As a first step, devide your tasks according to ...


6

You'll be a better programmer if you have experience of multiple programming paradigms and different techniques (server-side, web etc.). That said, some programmers who know just one thing (like Cobol programming) will thrive because of great demand for such specific skills. To say that other development experience doesn't count for an iOS position is ...


6

I think your first step should be to prioritize those goals. That's a lot to have in your head at one point. The more you are doing at the same time, the more "state" has to stay in your head. Which makes it harder to get moving on it. For example, you are in the middle of at least 20 books. Pick a couple and FINISH them. Then move on to the next book. I am ...


5

I use GTD, so I have a "Someday / Maybe" list Take a look at your projects list, so put all your coding projects, cashflow ideas, and personal improvement goals on one list. Now as you look at that list, decide what you want to put on hold, and move them to your Someday/Maybe list. The rest stay on your Projects list. These will be your focus. A ...


5

Personally, I like using standing-height work surfaces for short intervals. I work for a little and then walk to get a drink and come back. It gives me the benefit of walking while being able to write. I haven't fully converted to the standing desk movement, but I'm considering it. Standing for long periods definitely takes getting used to. That being said, ...


4

So my view is that your major problem appears to be not being able to estimate the amount of time each job will take... is that roughly right? If so I think it's something that we all struggle with - although if anything, I have the reverse problem, the thing I've been avoiding all week and feeling guilty about often turns out to be only four minutes ...


4

I find that doing simple, easily interruptible, and absolutely non-work-related things, usually online (skimming the news, looking for interesting stackoverflow questions but not actually reading them in detail, social sites), makes returning to the original task much easier than if I try to work on another project or even a different part of the same ...



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