I am a huge task switcher. This isn’t a character flaw of not being able to focus, but more of a mental time-out so I CAN focus. As a matter of fact, sometimes I get so immersed in programming, were it not for Nia the Dog, who needs to be walked every few hours, I would sit in the same spot until I realised it was dark outside. This is no bueno.
Each day when I wake up I have a routine of meditation and then writing for 15 minutes in my Idea Machine. Meditation serves the obvious purposes, and meditation can be anything you want it to be. For me, it’s listening to 30 minutes of hypnosis from the awesome Be Your Potential author, Joseph Clough. The Idea Machine is important because it trains your brain to write, as simple as that is, just write. Sometimes my Idea Machine has million dollar ideas, and other times it is more of a to-do list of things that didn’t get into my calendar but that I want to do. Attending Bloc came out of one of those Idea Machine sessions.
When my life coach told me that I needed to take breaks, I assured her that I take plenty of breaks.
Why am I blogging about task switching and routines? Well, when you are as obsessed with coding as I am, it is super important to recognise that fine line between something you love doing and taking breaks to give equal attention to the other things you love doing. It’s super important to switch the day up when you are doing something as cool as Bloc so that you can reset your brain and get back to the projects with a clear head.
What I Learned This Week @Bloc
Immersion Is The Best Way To Learn A New Language
Pluralization & Capitalization- When Generating Models & Controllers Is Super Specific- PAY ATTENTION
A new thing that is SuperDuper fun for my mentor and I to do [*SARCASM font*] is to rename, un-pluralize, and pluralize folders in my file tree that I screwed up when performing my rails generators. I don’t know if there is a rule of thumb on pluralizations and capitalizations, because as I was told, “it depends”, but what I learned was, it is a pain in the a$$ to fix things after you have performed a ‘rails g’. SO, before you hit enter, just double check spelling, the arguments you are passing, and attributes. It really will make all the difference in the end and you won’t end up with something called “sponsored_post_controller_controller.rb”
RoR Won’t Run SH^$&#T If One Piece Of Code Is Broken, And That Is A Good Thing.
This is a huge statement I know, but this is why we programmers LOVE RoR, because it won’t allow you to go on to the next step if something is broken, and trust me, RoR is doing you a HUGE favour. It’s like it’s very own system of checks and balances. Let me be clear about what I mean here: for example, if my tests aren’t passing, I AM able to move on to working on Views (in development) because as I said last week, users don’t give an S$%#T about my Rspec, but they DO want to see a working App or feature in the View. So, rather than spending hours getting my red tests to turn green on the same error, so I can refactor and move on, it is OK to work on other parts of your App in development (NOT PRODUCTION CODE), and then get back to tests. I actually think this is how it’s done IRL. Please correct me if I am wrong in comments.
Don’t Forget-You Are A “Programmer Generalist” Not A Unicorn
Super Special Unicorn Powers in 3…2…1….- the new buzz word I am seeing in job descriptions is the “generalist”. I am smart enough to know that this may just be PeopleOps way of re-working their job descriptions that clearly state “you must be Superwoman”, but calling out the word “generalist”, and it reminded me of some things, I have skills and they’re multiplying. I also have capabilities that are in high demand that have nothing to do with coding. Here are just a few~
1.) My Love of Google Analytics
2.) My Grasp of SEO
3.) My Freaky Attachment to User Behaviour
4.) My WordPress and CMS Knowledge
5.) My Adoration for Networking
When I remember these generalist skills I possess, I don’t get as annoyed at the “Superwoman/Superman” job descriptions that I come across daily. I was at a Bloc career Webmeeting yesterday and the question of why job descriptions are looking for the elusive SuperPerson, came up and I was so glad it did. When It was answered thoughtfully with [paraphrasing] “Just apply to the job, often the people writing these descriptions are using a template, do not code, and have no idea what they are asking for, so if you have many of the qualifications, just go for it, the job description is just a wish list”, I was in agreement and relieved.
I want to share with you something I was able to do this week with my generalist/task switching mashup skills. It started with a problem: My friend and I were unable to find our pal’s website and we Googled the Shiznizzle out of it, we ended up having to text him and ask for the url, this isn’t a good sign already.
So, after thinking about it, I came up with a 2 Step SEO for the Newbie to send to my pal who was having obvious search engine issues. It took 10 minutes, because I DO have generalist skills and because I can task switch like a mo-fo. So, I took a quick break from Rspec route.rb errors that were making me mad, and put together the 2 step process.
Step One: A 5 slide- Slideshare of setting up a Custom Dashboard in Google Analytics
Step Two: Sent the best article on SEO I have ever seen by the formidable SEO gurus- The Moz.
I got an email from my pal later that day that simply said “You’re Awesome”. I AM??? Yay!
Although this may very well be true, what I really am is a person with many other capabilities than just coding, and that makes me happy.
Stay Tuned for More of This Week In Bloc Dev Bootcamp!