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Article: 'Fire and Motion' (on productivity)

by lachoy (Parson)
on Jan 07, 2002 at 20:59 UTC ( #136854=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

The ever-thoughtful Joel Spolsky has published a new article called Fire and Motion. I point it out here because the topic comes up often here and the comments on the article are well put-together and thought out. Plus I think it's useful to have discussions around writings by folks who haven't (yet) drank the Perl Kool-aid :-)

M-x auto-bs-mode

Update: Gnat has some words on this article in his use.perl journal

  • Comment on Article: 'Fire and Motion' (on productivity)

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Re: Article: 'Fire and Motion' (on productivity)
by kal (Hermit) on Jan 07, 2002 at 21:22 UTC

    Joel points out that the hardest thing for him is the actual 'getting started', and comments on the constant moving forward of 'fire and motion' - I think there are two separate problems here, which are faces of the same coin.

    Productivity is all about motivation. If you're not motivated, you can't be productive. Motivation is what makes you open the editor. Working on new code is cool, it's motivating. You can code for hours on new code. Perpetual re-invention and re-factoring, to make old code new again, gives you that motivation to continue working on it.

    However, it's not solving the problem of motivation per se, since there are a number of ways to become 'motivated'. Eventually, code might become stale, and if the only way you can be motivated is to work on new code, I don't see what is going to motivate you to open the editor to refactor the code to make it new again. While moving forward is a good tool to motivate yourself, you need other tools in your box too....

    The way I see it, you sometimes need to force yourself to open that editor. Even though you don't want to, you have to open it and attempt to concentrate on the task at hand. This will be entirely unproductive for the first hour, maybe the first few. However, it gets you back in the groove. It becomes easier again - but you just need to get over the initial hurdle. Teaching yourself to do that is hard at first, but possible and definitely helpful.

      Productivity is all about motivation.

      Oh no. Productivity is also about knowledge, especially the sharing of it, about knowing what to do and what not to do, about learning and not making mistakes over and over again, about tools and creating your own tools, about not reinventing the wheel, and about minimizing uncertainty, fear and other factors hindering cooperation.

      Of course motivation is essential to do any work. But motivation alone will not save you at the end of the day.

      Christian Lemburg
      Brainbench MVP for Perl

        Especially if you are motivated to go home! :P


        (the triplet paradiddle)

        I agree, clemburg, but I wasn't talking in the general sense. Yes, it's true that to be truly productive you need to basically be good at your job.

        But, personal productivity (i.e., getting the most done that _you_ possibly can) pretty much begins and ends with motivation. Motivation is the engine that gets you places.

(tye)Re: Article: 'Fire and Motion' (on productivity)
by tye (Sage) on Jan 08, 2002 at 01:28 UTC

    I find many times when I'm having an especially hard time getting started, that, after I finally do get started, I can look back and realize that I didn't have a decent solution in mind and my subconscious was busy working on it. (Though, that isn't always the case.)

    Sometimes I'll push myself to just "move" on the problem and I'll end up moving in the wrong direction and feeling like stopping the whole time. And then inspiration will finally hit and I start over and quickly produce a much better solution in less time than I spent fighting myself and producing parts of a bad solution.

    But I still agree with the general point of the article. I need to keep "opening the editor" at regular intervals to make sure my subconscious gets enough information about the problem often enough in order to be making progress on the solution. I just don't feel too bad (any more) if I repeatedly can't get very far despite really putting some effort into. I've learned that there is usually a good reason for that, and (even if there isn't) pushing even harder won't do any good (for me).

            - tye (but my friends call me "Tye")
Re: Article: 'Fire and Motion' (on productivity)
by petemar1 (Pilgrim) on Jan 08, 2002 at 15:27 UTC

    "Learn it until you forget it."

    Keep forcing yourself to open the editor and produce until it becomes effortless (effortless to "force yourself" to do things as well as effortless to produce at your own command).

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