Well, that escalated quickly
Last Friday, I'd just gotten out of a meeting and was thinking about how the meeting was going to affect my productivity for the morning when inspiration struck. Some messing around with google calendar, a screenshot, go to twitter, hit send. Here's the tweet that came out of it:
It was pretty popular through the day and around 9:30pm it had something like 250 retweets. Since most of my tweets get like two favorites and no retweets, I was feeling pretty good about myself. Then my phone really started to buzz a lot. Like, "your wife tells you to do something about all the stupid buzzing" level of buzzing. It seems several prominent developer voices had retweeted it to their many hundreds of thousands of followers (people like David Heinemeier Hansson
and Joel Spolsky
!), and that's when things really got out of hand. As of this writing, it's around 6k retweets and 11k favorites. I'm just glad people like something silly I came up with in between stuff at work. It's about something that bugs and obviously it struck a nerve. Also it feels great to be internet famous and I never want to go back.
I'm not going to talk much about the concept of developers and context switching, since it's hardly a concept I came up with by myself and it's one that's been covered pretty well by people much more eloquent than me. However, I did see some common themes in response to my tweet and I figured here would be a better place to address them than in batches of 140 characters. Here goes:
Everyone has this problem not just developers!
I'd agree this is a human problem, but in my experience it's worse when working on dev tasks, than say, management tasks. Everyone is different thought. Also saw lots of "designers/writers/creatives too!", which instinctually I'd agree but lack the experience to say for sure.
Meetings are important though!
Again, I'd agree. Meetings are important to team success. Everyone just needs to be mindful of the true cost of them, which I think my goofy image does a pretty good job of showing. Keeping this in mind might also prevent the dreaded drive by meeting or getting pulled into someone's office for a single question that could have been done over chat!
Own your own schedule!
I think most experienced developers do their best to guard their time. I saw some suggestions of blocking off development blocks on your calendar, which I love. However, since developers generally have more open time in their schedule (to, you know, work) they are subject to the time constraints of people who have more restricted schedules. E.g. your product manager needs to talk to you but they only have 15 minutes at 10:30 so that's what you get and tough luck computer crew. This is just what it is, but hopefully your product manager is kind when they can be.
There were a few negative responses floating around, but I don't feel they really need to be addressed, since they were from people taking things just a little too seriously. It's just a silly tweet, they're just dumb meetings, let's all try to be our happiest, ay?
Thanks for reading, hope you have a good day.