WHAT I LEARNT THIS WEEK (#43 – 2016, The Unpleasant Tasks Edition)

This week has been about how to face workpieces that, for its own reasons, are very undesirable, boring or just too mechanical.

Lately I have had to keep on working on adapting a system in order to make it close to what the client wanted. This has implied a lot of reverse engineering, and has not been the most pleasant of the works. I have this advice for you if you fall into similar tasks.

Plan alternate activities

It is important to be able to break when your brain feels full. It can be coffee or anything else, just something that takes you away from the task.

Try automation

If you have a boring, repetitive task, think about how to automate it in the best possible way. This will ease the pain of having you to do it manually and also will keep you solving the problem instead of manually doing the task.

Look for other’s code

Sometimes we spend a lot of time doing something very boring or repetitive just because we don’t spend enough time trying to find if others have done it before.

Try alternative solutions

Sometimes we get stuck with the first solution that we can imagine for a problem. We are stuck going around the same ideas all the time, when the problem is in the idea itself. Try different approaches, sometimes the frustration comes from the lack of different possibilities we have tried.

Write and draw before code

I usually feel that diagrams and schemes help me approaching the tasks in the most effective way. Getting paper and drawing helps me reduce frustration and approaching the work better.

Ask colleagues

Sometimes, if you get stuck it is good to ask more experienced colleagues on what can be the best approach. Sometimes it feels that you are wasting other people’s times, but good professionals and colleagues are always willing to help.

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