I feel I'm diving in everyday routine and can't often organise my self-education process, work on open source project and other tasks effectively. I checked there are many techniques, approaches and tools such as GTD, Pomodoro, etc. Can you, please, share if you personally adopt and use any of them, which ones in your opinion are effective and worth trying? Thanks.
closed as off topic by sunpech, Jim G., Steven A. Lowe, Walter, ChrisF♦ Aug 5 '11 at 12:21
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This is an interesting discussion, and one that I would love to see grow. Great question, first off.
As software developers (and really any IT-related field) we have many priorities. Obviously our first is our job (I'm excluding relationship priorities just to simplify this). It's what pays the bills and, hopefully, what we enjoy 9-5.
Then we have our furthering education if it applies. Certifications, advanced degrees, and all those long-term achievements.
Then we have our "keeping up with the tech" learning. Let's face it, technology/languages/frameworks/platforms are advancing at a blinding pace. It's no secret to any successful IT professional that you must keep up or be left in the dust.
Then we have the famed personal projects....ahhh, yes the personal projects that get our minds ticking when we're laying in bed.
This is all very much to juggle, and with only 24 hours in the day to accomplish this then it is very stressful.
I for one have been thinking about giving polyphasic sleeping a shot. If I could squeeze an extra 3 hours out of the day it would be quite a conquest. That would give me almost an extra waking day every week (3 x 7 = 21 hours a week I wouldn't normally be awake).
I think this is one of those personal things, though. You need to find what works for you. Waking up at 5am to get that extra couple hours in on what you want/need to get done might work for you, but maybe not the next guy. A lot of people like to burn the proverbial midnight oil, but some people just have a hard time recovering with that.
Find parts in your day where you can maximize. Maybe on your lunch break, instead of just staring off into space, crack open a book, or Google that new .NET framework version (or whatever tickles your fancy). Learn something new. After dinner, instead of plopping down on the couch in front of the TV, grab your laptop to continue coding that personal project you've been working hard to finish.
Look up GTD and pomodoro, these 2 have helped me and might be useful for you too. Also, realize there's only a limited amount you can achieve without burning out. Look up ZTD (Zen to done) after you have a good idea of what GTD entails, it will help getting things a bit in perspective.
Frankly, I think its more important to remeber to take things easy from time to time and cherish life. And ofcourse get cranking on that side project in the evenings/early mornings if you can and don't forget to get some exercise in.