Do the boring stuff

Go on, clean up that spreadsheet. It's time.

Do the boring stuff

Some of us are still in lock-down. It’s unfortunate, but it’s for the better. During these days lots of us have a lot of time in our hands. You can be productive or not, and that won’t speak ill of who you are. You can literally do what you want (as long as you are inside). As for me, I’ve been spending some of my extra-time on the boring stuff.

I’ll explain.

I’ve talked before about my love for music. I like to play instruments, produce stuff, play live. But right now, although I can do most of those things (except playing live, obviously), I’ve been digging into the boring stuff (but sometimes critical) of music. Before lock-down I had too many options regarding what to do with my time. Those included outdoor activities, or at least stuff outside my house. And that meant choosing very carefully what to do when I was actually home. I did play my guitar, but most of the time it was just playing for fun and that was it.

Now, with all this time, I saw myself with the guitar, and things started pretty much the same: playing some songs and just messing around. But eventually that grew old —pretty fast, as a matter of fact—, so I asked myself: well, what if I spend this time actually trying to be a better musician? So after many months (dare I say, years), I went back to running scales, checking out arpeggios and practicing my picking technique.

And I think that’s applicable to almost anything, including software development.

On the ‘normal’ circumstances, you are probably handling the crucial part of your project. Maybe you are having meetings with partners, or trying to come up with the next upgrade. But do you remember that survey you planned on doing months ago that never left your ‘drafts’ page? Or the plan you had to improve the loading speed of a certain page?

Look, I’m not judging. I just said I went through the same thing. It’s normal to leave some stuff behind to focus on others that need to be handled right away. But perhaps now you can check all those screen recordings of your website, or actually study the analytics and click routes of your project.

Perhaps, even, you can study some more and learn some new stuff to improve your app. You could, I don’t know, set the help bot on your landing page that you could never do because you had no time. Or learn the basics of graphic design to fix the tangents on the dashboard, which are driving you crazy, honestly.

I’m no stranger to procrastination. I’m not even its enemy. Heck, we hang more than I do with my family. But we’re spending so much time home, don’t you think? You are out of new tv shows to watch on Netflix, and have already seen Brooklyn Nine-Nine seven times. You can invest a couple of hours a day (or even minutes) to the boring part of the stuff you are passionate about. Send those surveys, watch those recordings, and for the love of god, organize that spreadsheet. It will ease the work around it, will give you a sense of accomplishment (we all need a win these days), and you’ll find new stuff to tweak and fix as you go, so it will keep you busy.

And your future you will be happy you did it.