Six weeks ago I broke my fifth metacarpal while engaged in extracurricular activities that I won't bore you with. I offer the following as a pre-meditative resource for those of you considering similar endeavors.
Normal, everyday actions that become challenging whilst wearing a cast:
- Shaking hands
- Not answering the question "What happened to your hand?" 5 times every half-hour
- "Corrective hand gestures"
- Eating anything requiring more than one utensil
- See #3
- Not smashing significant other's face with plaster tube while in midst of sneezing fit.
- Scratching that spot above your wrist that you swear to god had never itched until that rotten bastard at the hospital encased your arm in a tomb with an internal climate identical to the Everglades in August, except with more insects.
- Petting the dog. (However, hitting the cat becomes much more effective and satisfying)
- Paying bills not associated indirectly with your orthopedist's mortgage
- Driving a standard transmission
- See #3
- Hitting walk-off home runs
The list goes on and on.
You can imagine my elation when the cast was removed (amid wild fanfare provided solely by yours truly) and what was once a slightly broken — yet serviceable — right hand was transformed into a device that, were it attached to a penguin, would make a negligible improvement to it's dexterity. As if my horror needed only the proper context, the doctor had the audacity to say it "looked good" and "Only requires a bit of stretching". Nate Robinson requires a bit of stretching; my hand requires amputation, thank you.
Dave was talking to Dan about reviewing the site Dan created as part of his developer training, and I caught this little nugget...
- Dave: Send me a link to the site you created.
- Dan: It's [Dan's URL]
- Dave: Send it to me in an email, because if you just tell me I'll forget since I am not going to look at it right now.
- Dan: [sarcasm]Can you send me a link to your email?[/sarcasm]
Jeff picked up the latest issue of Smart Money from the table in the developer room. I mentioned that there was a hilarious article about blogging. The following ensued...
- Jeff: What's the article called, How to Make Money With Your Blog?
- Fred: Does it talk about the Blogoshere?
- Will: Does it mention Bloginars?
- Dave: "Bloginar" -- Great term (total sarcasm) We should trademark that (total seriousness)
- Will: What would a Bloginar even be? Watching people type?
- Dave: A sick real-time ajax-based blog.
- Jeff: You mean a chat room?
I've been reading some interesting articles on interruptions and productivity. In December, Reuters did an article on worker interruptions and productivity. The subhead was "The chances of you finishing this article without getting interrupted or distracted are slim."
I couldn't help but wonder if this is a generational thing — I never read an article online in one sitting. Typically, I read a few paragraphs, then go read something else, or research something the article makes me think of, or just mentally mark it for reading later and minimize it to my Dock. I have absolutely no expectation of doing anything in one sitting.
And yet, this past Friday I ended up staying at work until shortly before 10pm, finishing writing a proposal that I had been unable to make significant headway on all afternoon. Perhaps there is something to this interruption/productivity problem, after all.
Today, a friend sent me an email with a link to the wonderfully titled Cortex Interruptus.
"For more and more people, every day feels like this - one long string of interruptions with only the gaps in between to get anything done. However bad you think it is, it's probably worse. When researchers at the University of California at Irvine set out to quantify the problem, they thought people were probably overreacting, that we probably got in a good quarter of an hour or so between disruptions. But after shadowing a dozen information workers for three days, they found that on average they got just three sustained minutes of work in before being diverted. "I was shocked," says Gloria Mark, who ran the study."
The article continues to describe several technological solution attempts at managing interruptions. Interesting stuff, and I'd love to try them out, if they ever become products I can buy.
43folders has an entire Interruptions category. Some are excellent non-techology approaches, such as David Cheong's recent practical ideas for staying focussed at work, and a handy tips for dealing with interuption and overload.
Particularly good is Stever Robin's tips for managing email overload has some great tips on authoring email messages so they are effective for the recipients. (Our own Nick Grant is already a master of this.) At least this way, when you interrupt someone with email, it won't take as much time or attention.
BarberShop is a database-driven forum application. We were discussing the database schema and SQL...
- Patrick: Did you know in an earlier version of BarberShop it supported multiple instances?
- Dave: Different tables in the same database. The current version still supports multiple instances, just in different databases....
- Patrick: Can we do that?
- Dave: Sure. CREATE DATABASE barbershop; CREATE DATABASE barbershop_2
- Fred: The sequel
- Patrick: Don't mention SQL, Dave hates that.
- Fred: I didn't.
- Will: BarberShop 2, Electric Boogaloo?
More often than not, we take a trip over to Soufflés each day around 3:00pm for a cup of coffee and some general conversation with the people that work there. (By the way, good coffee, friendly people, check it out sometime.)
Now and then, you'll hear something that just stands out above the rest of the chatter. This happened today about an hour ago. A set up for this conversation, I walked over to hear a random lady with a dog talking to Patrick about the cast on his hand.
- Random Lady w/ Dog: I've had problems too, you know. Things like carpel tunnel. What happened to your hand?
- Patrick: I hit a wall.
- Random Lady w/ Dog: (Talking to her dog as she pulled it closer to her and away from Patrick) Better stay away from him.
- Patrick: I really should just start making up excuses.