Around ten years ago, a friend of mine bet me that he could run a mile faster than I could. We each had a month or two to train, and then we met at the high school track near my old house. He ran first, and did the mile in seven and a half minutes. That was actually faster than I'd run a mile before.
What would my strategy be? Well, the oval track was a fourth of a mile long. I figured that I'd run my usual pace for the first three laps, and then for that last lap, I would just murder myself on the pavement. May as will give it everything I've got, since there's nothing after the finish line.
When I hit he finish line, I had to grab the bleachers to avoid falling down. My legs were shaking, my head was pounding, and I was gasping for breath. I had won, running a 6:59, my fastest mile ever.
A few nights ago it was eleven pm, and my non-negotiable computer-off time of midnight was drawing close. I'd had an amazingly productive day, and the thought crossed my mind that I'd already gotten enough done during the day, and could afford to take a break for the last hour.
For some reason my mind was drawn to that mile race, and I thought about my strategy there. Didn't it apply here as well? What if I worked twice as hard for the last hour, knowing that any stress or fatigue I picked up would dissolve as I dropped into bed to read and then sleep.
I picked a chunk of work that would normally take me more than an hour to do, I buckled down, and I focused. Every few minutes I would look down at the clock, reminding myself that I had to push it. At the buzzer, 11:59, I did my final test of my code. I pushed it to sett.com and shut down the computer.
You know what? I felt great--- a lot better than I would have felt if I had decided to take it easy. My work brought into contrast the tangible differences between the two approaches. Working was better. The last hour of the day shouldn't be seen as a time to coast, but rather a time to give it everything you've got.
Photo is from Inari, Japan
When you write software, you don't want to push to production unless you have several working hours ahead of you to put out any inadvertent fires, and the next few days to put out more fires that may show up. I wouldn't push stuff to sett and then go to sleep right after in the future.
It's called Don't Push on a Friday.
I was going to say the same thing! You can be equally satisfied by having it ready for review in the morning with a fresh mind that might catch errors written in the sleepy rushed work, and then you'll be around for when things inevitably go wrong after you publish. Of course a staging/test server helps mitigate some of that, too.
Tried this today...wanted to call it a day, but had one more task on my to-do list.
So I jumped in, got it finished, and now I feel AWESOME and exhausted. Wayy better than I usually feel at the end of the day: not that tired and slightly dissatisfied.
Sprinting to the finish is a kickass way to wrap up the day. I'm doing it from here on out.
When you say you pushed to sett.com, it sparked a question in my mind. Just curious, do you use GIT or any sort of Source Control Management to do your deployment / code tracking?
I haven't used this approach for work, but I know from athletics this approach can have some big positive long term benefits.
Growing up my dad always talked to us about finishing strong when we played sports. Particularly at the end of runs I was always told to sprint to the finish line no matter how tired I was. This habit of always pushing my body that extra little bit added up over time. At the end of race or game I knew that when push came to shove I could dig deeper and go further than my opponent. It also taught me that my body always had one more sprint left no matter how tired I felt.
I would guess that using this approach for work could really help build up your work endurance. Doing this everyday would show you how much you had left in your mental tank and let you know if you could have worked harder earlier in the day as well.
I will have to try this approach at work today. I think it is a great technique for athletics and don't see why it wouldn't have similar positive benefits for work.
I like to bet. For those of you who have read the story about how I was a professional gambler, this is obvious. What I don't like to do is exercise. At one point in my life, these two activities joined to provide an interesting story.
I have a friend named Hayden. He likes to bet me. For a while we had a running string of bets, and I was down overall because I failed to get 10x his score in a Tony Hawk competition. At one point I was one of the top 10 Tony Hawk players in the world. That lasted for about 5 minutes until someone from Japan beat my score.
Hayden and I sat across from my kitchen table.
Last week I set out to see how many hours of programming work I could do in one week on CodeCombat, our multiplayer programming game for learning how to code. I clocked in at 120.75 hours. Here's the epic time-lapse video I generated from Telepath (watch in 1440p if you can):
So what did I learn from this experiment?
Adjustable height desks are amazing.
I bought one from Ergo Depot a few days before. I must have switched between sitting and standing fifty times last week. I would never have survived otherwise.