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30 minutes are more than you think

Posted on 4/9/08 by Felix Geisendörfer

Hey folks,

So I'm now 15 days into the 30 day challenge I set for myself. So far I have covered quite a bit of ground and would like to use this post (#16) to share some of the experiences I had.

First of all lets look at the posts:

  1. requestAction considered harmful
  2. String substitution using UUIDs
  3. Hacking the Wires
  4. Private methods - Follow Up
  5. Two CakePHP tricks
  6. Simple Data Access Control
  7. I believe in Symmetry
  8. Passing controller variables to your JavaScript
  9. HDD surgery for my MacBook Pro
  10. Normalizing CakePHP model records
  11. Lookupable Behavior
  12. Cloud Behavior
  13. Akismet datasource
  14. Datasources, Models, Components, Behaviors
  15. TextExpander & Apple Mail recipient name auto insertion

As you can see some of the posts are not necessarily CakePHP / JS specific. However, 10 out of the 15 posts contain previously unreleased code which is a figure I'm quite happy with.

Much more interesting however is that I pretty much planned out none of these posts. I set my alarm to 7:30am in the morning but quite a few times I also allowed myself a little more sleep if I was up too late the night before. So when I got up, I used whatever time was left before 9am to come up with an idea for a post and write it.

In general I would guess that about 50% of the posts so far were written in 30 minutes or less. Some of the posts above were even written in 10 minutes.

This came as an incredibly suprise to me, because I would not have thought that it was possible to write a decent blog post in less than 1 hour. One could of course argue that the quality of my posts suffered, but I haven't seen too much evidence of that. No here is what I think:

If you are given nothing but 30 minutes to contribute to society - you act. You don't let yourself be stopped, distracted or second guess yourself. There simply is no time for it.

Never have I experienced such powerful evidence of Parkinson's law before. But the more I do, the more I start to believe that our biggest productivity bottleneck is having too much time!

I mean we have a whole life time for our accomplishments. But if you look at the achievements of the vast majority out there, you'll surely agree that most of it could be accomplished in less than a year.

Quite seriously, I think I would be excited if at any point of my life I was told I had 90 days left to live. Don't get me wrong, this is not a suicidal kind of fantasy after too much dealing with internet explorer. I obviously hope to live much longer. But I'm really happy to have come to the realization that no matter how much time we have at our hands, there are incredible things we can do with it.

So I am already exploring new ideas to enforce time constraints with other aspects of my work. I have a few side projects I'm quite excited about, but that seem to move at an incredibly slow pace. The main problem is that there are no consequences of not having them move rapidly and so they don't. I will update you as I start to implement new approaches for them.

Anyway, I want to thank everybody for helping me with this! A few people have email'd me about the money because they missed my post updating my reference time zone (EST now) or were a little too early when I posted an article 10 seconds before the deadline ended. Amazingly pretty much all of them wanted to donate the money to the cake software foundation which is great. However, I will still try to not loose my challenge : ).

So stay tuned for the new and exciting posts to come beginning tomorrow.

-- Felix Geisendörfer aka the_undefined


You can skip to the end and add a comment.

Lucian Lature  said on Sep 04, 2008:

Go, Felix, go, go, go!...the behaviors are simply great, thank you...

rafaelbandeira3 said on Sep 04, 2008:

Definetly agreed, too much time - eventhough we are always complaining that we lack of hours in our days, and days in our weeks, and weeks in our months and months in our years... - does a lot of damages in productivity - but helps a lot in quality, not always, but most of the time.

It's nice to see you are happy with your "performance" til now. I must admit you wrote nice and usefull things - not all of them, but anyway ;-P - and that your posts aiming cake always contribute a lot for all the people interested.

But enough bs... lol ... you are still oweing two follow-ups - and the one about breaking methods visibility is really wanted!


Kim Fransman said on Sep 04, 2008:

I have a technique where i take out a cigarette/coke/bun/pizzaslice or wathever i feel the urge for. Then i can't have it until i'm done with the task at hand. Works surprisingly well! And the treet tastes so much better when you feel that you really deserved it.

Silver Knight  said on Sep 05, 2008:

Firstly, a thank you to Felix for all the useful things he posts here about CakePHP (and other useful info), and especially thank you for THIS post. It's given me reason to re-think how I do certain things. Because of this I'm going to start scheduling specific time periods to work on things I want to get done and I'm going to work on those things during those times.

Secondly, a thanks to commenter Kim Fransman for yet another good idea. I'm going to implement this one as well. Scheduling a treat of some kind at the end of each "success" sounds like good motivation. Whether it be a tasty treat, an icy cold beverage, or just something as simple as popping a good movie in the DVD machine, it seems like a good way to encourage successes.

Thirdly, I'd just like to comment on the reason why I've subscribed to the RSS feed for this blog and why I continue to read it religiously. It's because of one simple thing really. People here try to come up with SOLUTIONS. They don't complain or whine about problems, they DO something about them, or at least THINK about ways to solve things. I appreciate that greatly. Reading the comment threads here can often be as informative and educational as reading the articles themselves. The discussion threads frequently result in moments of "Ooooooh! I understand now!".

So, while I thank Felix (and Tim and Nate and whoever else posts here) for all their posts on this blog, I'd also like to thank all of you who comment and discuss those posts in positive ways and add to the usefulness of this information with your viewpoints. It is a truly inspiring example of the power of "Open Source" in action. ;)

Jonah Turnquist said on Sep 08, 2008:

Hey man - love your blog btw. You should consider creating an article on the chrome browser by Google and how it might effect CakePHP and other web development. That is definitely something I would like to read.


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