Introduction To Focus and concentration
We all agree that concentration and effective work is critical for programmers, and, in general to knowledge workers. Today’s working environment is not as it was before, concentration, effective work is a critical component of knowledge workers especially programmers.
The good news is that we can all be both efficient, we just need to learn back how to do that. The benefit of being efficient and concentrated is that not only you will gain immediate results but it would train and transform your brain to become even more efficient and more concentrated, so you have a positive feedback.
Just think of mark zukerberg in his dormant room, working out the early release of facebook, this is what we should aspire to, concentrated bulks of time were we are productive.
Introduction To Interruptions
The problem with today’s working environment is that you are surrounded by interruptions, just think of it, email, whatsup, hackernews, daily standups, facebook, twitter, bug tracking tools, task tracking tools, slack, snapchat, sms, and other scrum ceremonies. Negate these interruptions, get back to a balanced concentrated work hours and you are getting back into your concentrated focused mode. Programming requires concentration, and you should get used to having that.
While there are many tricks to do that we are not going to merely cover a 10 items to get back your focus, we just want to focus your thought and convince you that you need to get back the focus to yourself and your work.
The focus opportunity
There is actually a huge opportunity in getting back your focus. Just look around you see many unfocused developers all around you, running after their emails, running after the notification tools poping up in their desktop, if you manage to overcome this not only you do a favour to yourself, you are going to hit upon something big, and that something big is an advantage over your peers.
The key is different to success
The key today to success is not hard working, it’s focused working, because today the brain is a huge factor for a programmer success, not only the brain but you need to get all the details sorted out, you need to think of corner cases, you need to make sure it works, and to make that work you need to get a bulks of concentrated workings.
This is indeed a unique era in time, think back, think of a working class sales person, or a tool repairer, think how they worked in the past, it usually was a monotonous work, it’s different today, today you need to be able to learn and reinvent yourself, technology changes fast. The absurdity of it is that, today’s interruptions are the root cause for the need to reinvent yourself, and to reinvent yourself you need to get out of these interruptions.
3 X 5 Work week
So what we are going to aim for is 3 hours of huge concentration daily, do you think you can do that? just think of it, with 3 hours of concentration per day 5 days a week, that only makes 15 hours workweek, with that you can get huge amount of work done, now multiply that by years.
Gain back the ability to do nothing
And with that I should stress out when at home, do not, I repeat, do not, look at your mobile phone, do not open your computer, do not open TV, take a break. Open the radio that is allowed, your target should be to do nothing. Yes doing nothing is our final target and you should be comfortable with doing nothing, getting bored, nothing to do. This does not imply you should have no side projects, this just means you take small pieces of concentrated hours to work on the mentally overdrawing stuff and leaving out the other time for leisure and relaxing.
We live at a fast paced knowledge and technology era. The ones who are able to concentrate and think better and faster will win. For you to win you need to get back the ability to concentrate. To do that you need to remove distractions. To remove distractions turn off all electronics, internet that you can while still doing your job. The final stage is to do nothing, this can be a pure enlightenment.