Of all the things you choose in life, you don’t get to choose what your nightmares are. You don’t pick them; they pick you. John Irving
At work there is never enough time to complete all your tasks. To-do lists grow instead of shrinking. Problems become emergencies, and it can feel like we are one step away from disaster.
When you wake up in the night, bugs seem worse because you can’t do anything about them except think and worry. Like fear, problems expand in size as your brain helpfully thinks about the possibilities of things going wrong and the consequences.
Work cannot be beaten, it can’t be completed, and you don’t win it. When you finish the work you have, the reward is more work. Daily work is a like running on a hamster wheel, sometimes you need to step back and make sure it’s aimed in the right direction before you starting running.
Effort will bring limited rewards because you are limited to the number of work hour in a day. Significant progress comes from thinking, changing approach, improving processes and scaling.
Problems seem like emergencies, when people react emotionally it blocks rational thought. You need to step back and see the bigger picture and look at the situation with a long-term perspective. You will see this is a minor bump in the road.
The best way to solve a crisis is with a cool head, a sensible plan and then action, it’s amazing how many people try to this in reverse.
Code and bugs
Life goes on and the situation is never as bad as it seems, particularly when you wake up in a cold sweat. Production bugs seem bad, lots of focus, angry users, delays and a customer questioning the quality of your code and the capability of your developers.
When code is written, bugs appear
To get into system into production its tested by many people and in many different types of test. There is never one person to blame for anything, there are systems, processes and many people who have contributed.
The way to defuse the situation is to understand the problem and create a plan to fix it. You approach it the same way as you approach every bug.
Work should not be the focus of your life, it should compliment it. Don’t take work home with you, it gets in the way of family life. To become more productive you need to come to work rested, replenished and with enough energy to power you through the day. The more you enjoy life, the more enjoyable work will be.
So the next time you wake up in the night and start thinking about bugs, stop and go back to sleep, those bugs will still be there when you wake up.