At What Price Progress?

Today (or I guess, yesterday) was the first day in a long while I’ve made real tangible progress with my work, instead of just doing research or clerical and maintenance work. So instead of downloading and installing and re-installing and reading documentation and uninstalling and re-re-installing, I actually wrote a good bit of code.

About 12 hours’ worth of code, by my calculations.

Now, while I’m pleased that I actually have something to show for my work, it would’ve been nice to see some daylight today other than the bits and flashes I got while out smoking. This was pretty much my M.O. at my previous jobs, too — long periods of brainwork (which looked to the casual and ignorant observer like inactivity) followed by a consolidated way-too-long chunk of work time that actually gets results.

Do normal people grow out of their college work schedule, or am I doomed to cram sessions for the rest of my life?

(Incidentally, my friend and once-again-coworker Chris reminded me the other day about my last project at LucasArts, which was a total failure of a scripting language that was supposed to be a combination of lua and C++. Turns out that JavaScript is exactly what I was trying to make, but I didn’t know that at the time. My version was still a failure, but it’s nice to see that I was on kind of the right track at least.)

One of the sites I’ve been reading a lot lately (other than the java online documentation) is Lifehacker. It’s a blog that’s filled with tips and recommendations that will supposedly make your life more organized. For me, though, it always ends up taking up more of my time. They’ll recommend some huge time-saving new application, like Path Finder or Quicksilver or Yojimbo. I’ll download it and install it. I’ll try it out, add my stuff to it, get a feel for how it works.

I’ll invariably fail, and go back to doing things “the old way.” But not just the old way, I’ll go back all the while knowing I could be doing things more efficiently. So every one is like an added weight.

I think what I really need is a true personal organizer — not some PDA or desktop widget or does-everything organizer app, but a real organizer. Somebody who’s really on top of things and can make sense of the 48 hours worth of stuff I want to do in the 12 or so hours I’m actually awake each day. Somebody who’ll pay my bills, get caught up on my e-mails and personal obligations, point me to the internet stuff I’m actually interested in and filter out the rest, who’ll teach me how to play the banjo and speak Japanese and draw, all while I’m playing World of Warcraft or getting caught up with my Netflix queue.

ASIMO, I’m waiting for you, buddy.