Jason Fried's and David Heinemeier Hansson's new book "REWORK" is great - a must read for web developers and entrepreneurs. Their basic message is to stay focused on what you really need to get done and eliminate as many distractions as possible. As a result of reading this book I have changed a few non-optimal habits:
- I made a big push to finish my current book so that I could concentrate on my current development project.
- For my current project of version two of my cookingspce.com web portal, I reverted to Ruby 1.8.7 to avoid a few small ongoing Ruby 1.9.1 problems, updated to a newer version of Rails to get some bug fixes, using Heroku and not deploying it myself, removing almost as many old features as the number of new features I am adding, adding mobile phone support for easy recipe access and a shopping list manager, and more "AI" in presenting data and auto-organizing shopping lists (scratching my own itch: working on the features that I want myself)
- Turning down more consulting offers that do not closely match my areas of specialization
- Spending less time learning new technologies (trying to cut back from about 10 hours a week to about 5 hours a week - time enough to stay on top of new stuff, but more time for meeting short term development and writing goals)
- Deployments: as much as possible I am going to stick with Heroku and AppEngine for my own business projects, even though almost all of my customers have me deploy their stuff to Amazon. If customers want to pay me for custom deployments I enjoy that, but for my own business projects I don't want to spend the time.
- Turning off my cellphone and email client while I am writing and working. I need to get up and walk around every 30 or 40 minutes to avoid sitting for too long. I use this frequent 5 minutes of walking outside time to turn on my Android phone, check for voice mails and email, and respond immediately if I have to. It takes me about 5 minutes to get in the flow when working, so this gives me many (roughly) 30 minute highly productive sprints each day.