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Author Topic: Forum Angst  (Read 4328 times)

tinjaw

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Forum Angst
« on: November 27, 2007, 01:58:05 PM »
Since my shrink has the day off, I think I will vent here.  :P

My mind is at odds with itself yet again. About a year ago I weened myself from almost all feeds/forums. Why? I spent so much time reading forums & feeds that I never got anything done. But, here I am once again and I can't move because I am covered with cruft from my list of forums & feeds. It all starts off with adding "just one more" to my list because they have one good article/post/story and I think that adding it to my list will teach me something new and useful - and most of them do. The problem arises when I hit, what I call the "Cliché Level", when various sayings start to mock me, like, spending so much time sharpening my saw that I never chop any wood, and , those who can do, while those who can't talk about it in forums. It is to the point where I think this could be considered a limiting personality disorder.  :P

How do you folks deal with finding that fine balance between learning and doing? The problem with "too much doing" is that you don't learn about newer, or just plain better, ways of doing things. The other extreme (and extremes are never a good idea) is to just isolate myself in a virtual read only mode where I just do and while doing I read when I get stuck or want to try something new, but the source of this new knowledge is just focused articles and books instead of forums & feeds.

Ugh! What am I to do?

tinjaw

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Re: Forum Angst
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2007, 01:59:34 PM »
What no answer yet?

tinjaw

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Re: Forum Angst
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2007, 01:59:54 PM »
Where is everybody? Are you all out doing instead of foruming?

tinjaw

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Re: Forum Angst
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2007, 02:00:03 PM »
I'm trapped.

mouser

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Re: Forum Angst
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2007, 02:01:51 PM »
Everyone loves 80/20 rules and it feels about right to me when you get to the stage where you are programming as a profession:
  • 80% of your time should be spent doing (coding)
  • 20% of your time should be spent learning new things

mouser

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Re: Forum Angst
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2007, 02:03:10 PM »
You kind of mixed two questions in your posts -- one was about time spent learning vs. coding -- i answered that one, the easy one.

The second question was how to stop spending so much time on the web.  That's a problem that has haunted men since the stone ages..

app103

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Re: Forum Angst
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2007, 02:04:14 PM »
You have to set up some limits for yourself, not in terms of the number of forums & feeds, but the amount of time you will spend on them, and schedule it if you have to.

Then from your list, start at the top one day, at the bottom the next, maybe making a second list you will only touch on weekends.

You can have it all...but not in a single day.

nudone

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Re: Forum Angst
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2007, 02:13:44 PM »
this method sometimes helps me...

don't read things immediately on finding them - whether they be links, feeds, posts - save them, hoard them, collect them until they fill your hard drive maybe.

come back to them in a month or two and see if the desire is still there to read them. if you can't remember why it was saved just delete it or mark as read. no point spending time on something that only seemed interesting at the time you saw it, i.e. it looked interesting because it you were trying to avoid doing something else.

mouser

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Re: Forum Angst
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2007, 02:16:25 PM »
Maybe you need to come up with a time/work management "system" that you can stick with?
http://www.donationc...ndex.php?board=230.0

ps.
nudone that seems like is a good strategy to me.

app103

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Re: Forum Angst
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2007, 02:22:01 PM »
Most people organize their feeds by category: News, Technology, Humor, Cooking, etc.

If you have so many feeds, maybe it would help if you changed the method to grouping them by day of week: Monday, Tuesday, etc.

Place no more than 2 times the number of feeds you can handle in your allotted feed reading time in each folder.

Why 2 times?

On the first & third Monday of the month, you start at the top of the Monday feed list and work your way down, on the second & fourth Monday, start at the bttom and work your way up.

You will see everything from every feed you have at least once every 2 weeks.

If you go more than a month or 2 without anything interesting happening in a particular feed, delete it and don't look back with regret.

tinjaw

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Re: Forum Angst
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2007, 02:49:50 PM »
nudone's sort of more on target. This is more of an internal debate about where I do spend my time and where I should spend my time and where I want to spend my time. It really isn't about how to read the most feeds in the least amount of time or how to prioritize what I read. Like I only half jokingly said, this is more a question for the psychologist and philosophers here than how to choose and fine tune feed & forum tools. I am torn between being part of a community, helping n00bz with condescending replies and arguing discussing the finer points of dynamic vs. static typing with the guruz, and turning off IRC/IM/Email/Bloglines and actually cranking out widgets.

The psychological part of it is that I am an egotistical narcissistic Leo with a superiority complex and I like to do things that get me immediate positive feedback. I always go for the immediate gratification of finding and commenting on a new toy tool or answering somebodies question instead of building a coding snack or shareware game and getting the more meaningful and fulfilling gratification of a longer term project. Beyond that, it is the difference between being a mile wide in my knowledge, but only a foot deep and never getting the enjoyment and satisfaction of working on a skill to a level beyond somewhere between beginner and intermediate.

Oops, looks like my time on the couch is over for today. Back to reading RSS fe...err, cranking widgets.

Deozaan

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Re: Forum Angst
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2007, 02:51:24 PM »
How do you folks deal with finding that fine balance between learning and doing?

Balance? What's that?

MUST CONSUME MORE INFORMATION! *hits refresh*

« Last Edit: November 27, 2007, 02:53:03 PM by Deozaan »

tomos

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Re: Forum Angst
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2007, 04:32:27 PM »
+1 for nudone's approach :)

I do go through phases of saving stuff in Surfulater "for later"
but it hasnt quite resolved the problem for me [yet] - even just here there's so much stuff -
was that you tinjaw that was telling people to post less?!
Tom

Ralf Maximus

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Re: Forum Angst
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2007, 06:14:08 PM »
I go thru phases of activity, almost like a sine wave.  Like biorhythms.

For weeks on-end I get less and less productive and soon everything I touch turns to shit.  That's when it's time, I know, to research and play with ideas.  Read more, do less.  Soak up new knowledge, dig through my accumulated list of "neato stuff I found on the internet but don't have time for now".

After awhile I start feeling productive and cautiously try coding again.  When it feels "right" I ramp up productivity and catch up on all the crap that's stuck in the queue, stuff people are waiting for.  Hopefully it's not TOO late; deadlines can be a bitch.  Eventually I'm coding way more than goofing off and that lasts (usually) for a couple of weeks.  Then the hideous cycle of doom repeats itself.

Depending on what stage of the wave you catch me, I'm either going to stare at you blankly or take your project and hand it back to you completed before you finish telling me about it.  And all the derivatives in between.

Anyway, that's how I cope.  It's not a strategy per se, but just seems to take care of itself if I am patient.  I gave up trying to control my procrastination a long time ago; I am now mostly serene that it's a passing phase and eventually my Evil Twin Skippy will come along and empty the In Box, demonic gleam in one eye, psychotic twitch in the other.

So, to my horror I guess I really am saying: Embrace The Dark Side, You Know You Want To. 

housetier

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Re: Forum Angst
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2007, 06:43:31 PM »
I don't try to keep a "fine balance" anymore. When there is work, I work. When there is free time I do something else: irc and other chats, emails, forums, reading a book :o, housework & home improvement, or playing hackysack.

In my google reader I tagged a few feeds as "unread", so I can quickly decrease the number of unread messages; it's the illusion of massive consumption of information ;) Since DC is the only forum I use, I am not yet overwhelmed with forums.

I view all this as pleasurable past time, so I don't have strong emotional ties and can easily not "do it". I think it's a matter of priorities... you are not a bad person when you decide to drop a feed or sign off from a forum. Sometimes I take a break from IRC (housetier away from IRC, imagine that!) when I feel it has become too demanding. *I* am in control of my time, and not "some" website, even if it's DC with its lovely community.


f0dder

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Re: Forum Angst
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2007, 06:54:48 AM »
I only use a limited amount of forums (donationcoder, win32asm, flatassembler) because I know I'd get totally lost... I have a bunch of feeds that I read, but not as many as I expect some of you guys do.

Anyway, keeping a balance? Nah. Throwing out the gf so I can have more time to spend on computer zombieing? Yeah, +1.

- carpe noctem