Leave it better than you found it

The Boy Scouts and many outdoorsmen/women have a code of leaving the campsite better than you found it. That means picking up trash even if you didn’t leave it. When you finish your stay the campsite should be pristine.

That guideline can easily be translated to software development. I highly doubt you’ve opened up a class file and, besides the big yo went in to fix, you thought there was nothing you could do to improve it.

Does the formatting conform to your team’s standards?

Do all of the variable and method names make sense?

Could any part of the code be made less ambiguous?

Next time you hop into some code for a “quick-fix”, take a look around and see what you can do to leave the file better than you found it.

Make hay

There’s an old saying, “Make hay while the sun shines”. It means you should get your work done while the conditions are favorable. No distractions. Don’t even think of dilly-dallying!

You never know when the power will go out. Or you’ll get the flu. Or your kid will get sick. Or all of the above.

So make your hay, develop that app, write your comment or so your work while the sun is still shining.

Not for long

So many of us (developers) suffer from an extreme form of hubris.

My programming language of choice is the ‘right’ one.
My chosen framework is infinitely better than the one you use.
My build process runs circles around yours.
My IDE makes yours look like a child’s toy.

How many times have you looked at a project of yours from a year ago and thought, “Hey! I was a genius back then!”? More than likely you think your code was crap and you made some really terrible decisions. Those decisions, though, were the ‘right’ ones at the time. They got the job done and you shipped something.

In web development being ‘right’, if even attainable, is only a temporary state.

Cooking is Creating

In support of my 2017 tech trends I’ve done my best to look away from screens and create more with my hands. Cooking is one of the ultimate creative outlets. It’s conjuring something (hopefully) amazing from basic ingredients and feeding your family in the process. Better yet, you know what you’re putting into your body. Not that I worry about eating organic or not enjoy the occasional patty melt from Whataburger. 

You can play the home version! Get a hunk of beef, throw some herbs and spices on it, cut up an onion, cover and put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 3 hours. Don’t look at it. Trust the oven. That’s called a pot roast. And it doesn’t get much easier than that. 

Still want easier? Fine. Get a cold pan on the stove. Lay out thick-cut bacon. Turn the stove on low. Flip the bacon every couple of minutes turning up the stove a bit each time. 15 minutes later you have perfectly cooked bacon. 

Now get in the kitchen!

(Resisting) Rest

It’s difficult.

Being a parent. A team lead. A homeowner. A husband. It’s difficult to know when to rest. There’s always something you could be doing.

And then you get that tickle at the back of your throat. Your energy dissipates. You wake up in the morning feeling as if someone inflated a jello-filled balloon in your head.

But there’s no fever and you’re keeping your food down. There’s a job to do.

So you go about your business getting everything done. A week goes by and you aren’t any better so you give in and see the doctor. He diagnoses you with walking pneumonia, tells you to rest and sends you home with some prescriptions.

But at home there’s a kid to care for. Software to develop. Yard work. A wife to support.

It’s so easy to resist rest.