Flow, In the Zone

Blessed with a long drive, I caught up on some of my favorite podcasts.  I specifically listened to “Getting into the Zone with Mark Seeman” and it helped me light a bulb.  (53 minutes long, there should be a transcript in a few more weeks)

Lately, I’ve been struggling with “Do I want to stay technical, or should I start looking at changing focus.”  I know I would, and do, make a very good team technical lead.  I am very good at interpreting Client needs and designing architectures.    And I’m not as eager, sometimes, to dive into new stuff like some of my co-workers.    I wrote a long blog post about it, did not publish it, solicited feedback, and I’ve been sitting on it for a bit.

Then I started working on my current project, and I’ve been having a blast.  Why?  because I’m learning (SSIS and Dapper in this case).  And what I’m finding is, as I accomplish bits of code with these new things, I’m doing it “in the zone”.  Or in “Flow”.

How can I set myself up for more occurrences of Flow in my daily work? 

In addition to making the list of things that I could do during the day, I’m trying to state what I find rewarding in the task as well.   The rewards need to be swift – something that I could do in a Pomodoro.   Here’s a sample list:

What it is Negative Look Reward
Write Documentation Boring? Regenerate the TOC! (commit)
Write coupling code to copy web service data Plumbing. Commit!  Every! Table!  And Run It! Every! Table!
Write complicated logic thingy Bound to be buggy Extract it to a component, make it testable, and write Lots! of! Tests!
Status Report Yet again. Generate Awesome Graph!
5 Sections!  Each gets an Exclamation!
Write SSRS Report (I don’t know SSRS yet) Fear, I’ll get it wrong, etc Time Myself! How Fast Can I watch Pluralsight video? 2x? 1.5x?  Reassess after watching video.

Then, as I write down priorities, I actually write the priorities next to the rewards, so that when I’m choosing the next task, I’m not choosing the task.. I’m choosing the reward I’m trying to work towards.

Going to give it a shot. 

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