Agile clean coder: time management


Eight hours is a remarkably short period of time. It’s just 480 minutes or 28,800
Seconds. As a professional, you expect that you will use those few precious
Seconds as efficiently and effectively as possible. What strategy can you use to
Ensure that you don’t waste the little time you have? How can you effectively
Manage your time?
In 1986 I was living in Little Sandhurst, Surrey, England. I was managing
A 15-person software development department for Teradyne in Bracknell. My
Days were hectic with phone calls, impromptu meetings, field service issues,
And interruptions. So in order to get any work done I had to adopt some pretty
Drastic time-management disciplines.
– I awoke at 5 every morning and rode my bicycle to the office in Bracknell by
6 am. That gave me 2- _ 1
2 hours of quiet time before the chaos of the day
– Upon arrival I would write a schedule on my board. I divided time into
15-minute increments and filled in the activity I would work on during that
Block of time.
– I completely filled the first 3 hours of that schedule. Starting at 9 am I started
Leaving one 15-minute gap per hour; that way I could quickly push most
Interruptions into one of those open slots and continue working.
– I left the time after lunch unscheduled because I knew that by then all hell
Would have broken loose and I’d have to be in reactive mode for the rest of
The day. During those rare afternoon periods that the chaos did not intrude,
I simply worked on the most important thing until it did.
This scheme did not always succeed. Waking up at 5 am was not always feasible,
And sometimes the chaos broke through all my careful strategies and consumed
My day. But for the most part I was able to keep my head above water.

Meetings cost about

$200 per hour per attendee. This takes into account
Salaries, benefits, facilities costs, and so forth. The next time you are in a
Meeting, calculate the cost. You may be amazed.
There are two truths about meeting.
1. Meetings are necessary.
2. Meetings are huge time wasters.
Often these two truths equally describe the same meeting. Some in attendance
May find them invaluable; others may find them redundant or useless.

Professionals are aware of the high cost of meetings. They are also aware that
Their own time is precious; they have code to write and schedules to meet.
Therefore, they actively resist attending meetings that don’t have an immediate
And significant benefit.

You do not have to attend every meeting to which you are invited. Indeed, it is
Unprofessional to go to too many meetings. You need to use your time wisely. So
Be very careful about which meetings you attend and which you politely refuse.
The person inviting you to a meeting is not responsible for managing your
Time. Only you can do that. So when you receive a meeting invitation, don’t
Accept unless it is a meeting for which your participation is immediately and
Significantly necessary to the job you are doing now.
Sometimes the meeting will be about something that interests you, but is not
Immediately necessary. You will have to choose whether you can afford the time. Be
Careful – there may be more than enough of these meetings to consume your days.
Sometimes the meeting will be about something that you can contribute to but
Is not immediately significant to what you are currently doing. You will have to
Choose whether the loss to your project is worth the benefit to theirs. This may

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Agile clean coder: time management