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FortKnox (169099) writes | more than 9 years ago

User Journal 15

I think my biggest problem has always been motivation. If I start getting something done, it usually gets done. I'm really good at working hard once I start something.I think my biggest problem has always been motivation. If I start getting something done, it usually gets done. I'm really good at working hard once I start something.

The problem is... how to get motivated enough to start. My attitude reminds me of a Simpsons episode when Bart is trying to write a history paper and sees a math book and says "Hey... I'll just work out some math while I get some inspiration!" How do you motivate yourself? Just force yourself or do you do anything specific. I'm really looking for any suggestions on motivation....

Yeah, writing journal entries is no form of motivation, but I thought I'd ask. And for the record I didn't work last night... I played a quick 30 min game of desert combat (final release!) and went to bed. I'm much more refreshed today.
And thanks for all the birfday wishes :-)


Throw away the props (1)

dmorin (25609) | more than 9 years ago | (#10575603)

Just read a piece of advice I love from the guy that does gapingvoid.com: lose the props. In order to write something you don't need your favorite chair at your favorite desk in your favorite spot with your favorite pen. In order to write code you don't need the latest patch of the latest plugin to the latest IDE. In order to write fiction, you don't need 57 different fonts and a table of contents just to write the opening sentence. Ok, that last one is for me. :)

Seriously, I've found this to be true. Some of the best code I've written has been in straight Emacs, on the plane, with no net connection to distract me. I think it's because I feel more attached to the code that way, and thus have more invested in seeing that it turns into a quality product.

Programmers may beat the heck out of me for the IDE comments, but really, if you're admitting that you can't get motivated, then you've got nothing to lose by chucking the tools out the window. AFTER you've written a critical mass of code for your latest project and now you're really motivated, you can start bringing the tools back in. But starting by saying "Well, I know the project is gonna be 50,000 lines of code, therefore I have to get myself the perfect UML code modeller..." is not actually getting any lines of code written.

That's my two cents. Hopefully I will take my own advice as I struggle to complete the short story I'm writing for my daughter, and my Shakespeare book, and .... :)

Re:Throw away the props (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576217)

"Throw away the props" he says...then he suggests Emacs.

I've never tried Emacs; vim has worked well enough.

Still, if you feel "more attached to the code" using Emacs, you're obviously not distracted by its feature set. Which I think is your point.

As for diagrams and graphics, I still find that a pencil and paper is the easiest way to record my ideas. The bitch of it is that there's no effective way to import on-paper drawings into a computer and have it still be reasonably editable.

That's why I bought a Graphire 2. It's a wonderful little device that works perfectly on the XP box. I couldn't however, get it completely working on my Linux box, where I wanted it in the first place. Sure, the pen works. But I couldn't get XInput configured to treat the pen tip, eraser and mouse as three different drawing tools, nor could I get the variable-pressure portion working. So its usefulness in the Gimp was limited.

Re:Throw away the props (1)

dmorin (25609) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576716)

Emacs as prop...you're right, it could easily be a distraction unto itself. And when I did go down the path of trying to install things like JDE (java dev environment) I would inevitably get stuck in that loop where my work computer is not config'd the same as my laptop, and damnit I can't even *start* unless the configurations match!

True story: I first got introduced to Unix my first year of college. They gave us a couple of pages describing how to create and edit a file, compile it, and so on. One set of instructions for vi, one for emacs. The emacs one included the statement that you press ^Z to get out of the editor in order to compile your program. Which is technically correct....except all us freshies would then invoke emacs again when we wanted to make changes. The sysadmin had a fit when he saw an entire classroom worth of accounts running like 12 instances of emacs each.

I, too, never found my ideal prop for scribbles. Closest I've come is pen on yellow ruled legal pad, for some reason. Even going to graph paper, which many people like, was too distracting for me. The yellow pad felt like something I could carry around normally.

a bit of code (1)

bofh31337 (521771) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576665)

while not self.decided:
opt = self.get_possible_option()
likely_result = self.future_pace(opt)
if likely_result == MAKE_PROGRESS:
self.decided = true

Man I am the exact opposite (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 9 years ago | (#10576812)

I start boatloads of projects and can never seem to finish them up. For me starting is easy, it is the finishing up part that I can't seem to do. I am too busy going off on my next "whoohoo cool shiny thing" to bother finishing something. Actually I had a bunch of great ideas I was gonna post for you but I am too lazy to type them all in....

Hey where were you? (1)

On Lawn (1073) | more than 9 years ago | (#10577694)

We have a gang of four on my Teamspeak server now that play pretty regularly. Or maybe you were there when I wasn't.

DCF is a whole heck of a lot of fun, I have to say. The sounds are *much* better. The RPG and Stinger are much better. And the trucks (not just any vehicled, the *trucks*) are reason alone to switch over.

Anyway, hope you finish soon.

Re:Hey where were you? (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#10578194)

I was gonna jump in, but figured since I was playing for only 30 mins, it really wouldn't be worth it... when I play this weekend, though, I'll jump into teamspeak.

Re:Hey where were you? (1)

On Lawn (1073) | more than 9 years ago | (#10579002)


And by all means, you don't have to be playing to jump in and say "hi".

A fine book suggests.... (1)

Degrees (220395) | more than 9 years ago | (#10593691)

Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance [amazon.com] called the problem 'working up enough gumption'.

One way to tackle such things is to not try to tackle the whole thing. Find a small part that looks easy to do, and just do it. You will tend to find that the rest of it comes easily once you have the momentum going....

Re:A fine book suggests.... (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#10593920)

I'm an engineer... its not about not being able to break down the problem, its about taking step one and just starting on it. I find distractions too.... distracting ;-)

Re:A fine book suggests.... (1)

Degrees (220395) | more than 9 years ago | (#10594249)

Sorry - I did not mean to imply that you didn't know how to break projects down. I apologise if that was the impression I left.

For me, distractions are only distracting when I want them to be.... ;-)

The book addresses procrastination as a symptom of a lack of gumption (not as a lack of knowledge). And rather than working up a bunch of gumption to tackle something big, all you really need is just enough gumption to tackle something pretty small.

It's the action of working on the small thing that leads to the rest of the task getting done.

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