Bring out of your element breeds productivity?
As I look at my blog calendar (currently up and to your left) I see that I have blogged less this month and previous. To say I have been heads down lately would be an understatement. And let me tell you, when it rains it pours.
Apparently I am such a complete wimp that even something as challenging as the stairs in my home have the power to crush me. Yes, my back is out, and it happened on the 11th step. Was I lifting something? Something heavy? A computer monitor? Some new myterious hardware? No. Lifting my wife? Sweeping her off her feet and into the Master Bedroom. Sadly, no. I was holding nothing heavier than a bottle of Formula 409 to clean the can. Long story short, this is the first day I've been able to walk without pain like you can't believe. The prognosis? Good. The cause? My sedentary lifestyle. I am the fattest thin man you'll ever meet. I'm like 65% fat, seriously, it's just thin and stringy. Anyway, what doesn't kill you, makes you write more code, right?
So we've been working on this fabulous ASP.NET site for a bank that is using our glorous eFinance XML Application Server, Voyager. We've been hitting milestones left and right, and tonight was a big one. Over the last few months, I've been "Chief-Architecting" less, and "Programming my ass off" more. Gotta exercise those carpal-tunnel crippled hands, right?
Anyway, I've come to this conclusion. Working in your office is ONE kind of productive. But, when you're in a bullpen, or more generally, when you're working ELSEWHERE, that's a different kind of productive.
If you've travelled you know this. If you're on a plane, you can catch up on an INSANE amount of email that you'd NEVER answer in the office. From New York to Portland can find me with 30+ emails in the outbox, tying up loose ends I'd never have otherwise.
I work with some talented engineers at Corillian, and while there have been some great late-night coding sessions alone, there's something to be said for being shacked up in SOMEONE ELSE'S cube. No phone, no interruptions, just pure dual-brain programming. We got some great stuff done tonight. I was so far out of my element that I was in the zone.
I've decided that being off-kilter a smidge, being elsewhere, can bring on a level of creative thought that is stiffled by the home office, or the work cube. I've gone and coded in the lobby, or in the elevator, up and down, just for a change of venue. The results - for me - speak for themselves.
Where do you do your best work? Home office? Starbucks? Always changing? What about that/those location(s) makes your little gray cells turn better?
I've decided to stay frosty by moving around. It makes the work fly by.