I am a very methodical person, some might say borderline OCD. I like to follow a fixed set of rules in a simple, logical manner. Whether this is due to my choice of career or simply a reason why programming is my career, I’ll never know.
If the rules are well defined then I can crank out work at a pretty good rate. The fuzzier the logic then the slower I can become. If the rules are unknown or very unrestrictive then I can flounder over the simplest of tasks. A simple thing like picking a name for a variable can sometimes waste 5 minutes or so if there are no pre-defined coding rules…
If you find yourself resisting something then it is likely that you have some piece of information missing. Without that missing piece the job seems too hard to tackle and so your subconscious tries to find ways to avoid it.
Noticing these points of resistance early on can be a great boon for productivity!
I haven’t created a photo post for quite a while now so I said to myself that I was going to do one this week. I left it right until the last minute and then forced myself in front of the Mac to get started editing some photos from the recent family holiday to Lanzarote…
Photos used to be a passion of mine so why couldn’t I find time to catch up?
I just assumed that it was to do with a genuine lack of free time. It wasn’t until I opened Aperture that I realised I hadn’t really worked out a new workflow. Once I had opened the program I didn’t really know where to begin.
I know I have got a bit behind editing photos but I didn’t realise I was actually avoiding it…
Don’t get me wrong Aperture is a great program, and very easy to use. The problem is that there are just too many options for how to store your images with groups, folders, albums and even stacks.
Instead of deciding on a method for how to store all of photos, every time I opened Aperture I was rearranging and renaming projects as the previous setup didn’t feel right. Looking back I think I was resisting editing the photos because I wasn’t sure how to proceed. Creating a new workflow can’t be that big of a problem I just didn’t realise that it was something I needed to do…
This is the problem, if you have something you are subconsciously resisting it is easy to avoid the problem, without realising you are doing it, until it becomes important or even urgent. In turn that can pile up even more resistance.
Every now and then take a look at all of the projects you are working on. Are any of them stalled? If so take a closer look and try and work out where the sticking point is. Is there some missing piece that is holding you back?
Tackling The Issue
Once you have found the cause of resistance it is usually something that is surprisingly easy to fix. Whether it is a missing piece of information or simply an unanswered question. The trick is to find what’s missing as quickly as possible. Then spend a bit of time working out whats keeping you from tackling the problem and try to fill in the blanks.
Some projects may just require a quick bit of research, using Google for example, or getting in contact with a friend or colleague to get some more information, then things will start running smoothly again. Other projects may need to be defined in a bit more detail to allow you to stay more focused on the task in hand rather than questioning yourself at every turn.
For me that tends to be simply deciding on a set of basic rules to cover the sticking point. The problem is that in the past I haven’t written these rules down. When I come up against the same, or similar, problem 6 months later I have forgotten the rules I set myself and the resistance starts again…
This can be annoying, especially if the rules took a while to pin down in the first place. So to stop that from happening I also need to keep track of all these rules. This should stop me from wasting too much time on the same thing, over and over again.
Going back to my original problem I need to spend a small amount of time working out a workflow for Aperture before I waste any more time with it. I just need a simple set of rules to follow and then I can start cranking out the photos again. The workflow can always be improved upon as I get more experience.
Image: Pete O’Shea