How do you manage focus in ramp-up?

by Jon Davis 21. October 2019 01:39

Just a brief question. How do you manage to maintain focus in ramp-up (technical self-training)? One of my great deficiencies over my career has occasionally been shown to be a failure to have deep understanding of some of the tech stack components I claim to support. And the root cause of this is that when the time came that I needed to learn up on my stuff, I got ADHD of some sort, and never followed through with deep diving and getting to the end.

22 years in the field, I've seen a lot of action and a lot of evolution of technology and watched a lot of technology trends come and go. Every new thing I learn makes me reminisce about something else I knew, or something else I heard about, or wonder what happened to that one guy who showed me how he dabbled in that such and such ...

I'll read a paragraph from a tutorial, and nitpick specific details, and ask questions about those details, and find myself spending thirty minutes researching those tangents. Eventually I'll realize I got off on a tangent--but not before taking a mental break and finding some other music to listen to, then researching what happened to that old musical artist I used to love years ago, or whatever--and then finally return to the same paragraph to finally implement the detail that the tutorial is telling me to do.

Rinse, repeat, for every. single. paragraph. As a result, twenty-minute tutorials take me two or three days to complete, or some ten or so hours. Similarly for video; I am constantly having to rewind because I think too hard on each point; a two hour video can take days (many hours) to wade through. I'm more or less enriched for all this, but it makes me a less competent professional when I put in equal time as my peers--I have to dedicate so much more time to the craft than they do, I think.

When I know my stuff I am pretty good at it, but I am floored by the depth and resolve and detail that my peers are able to demonstrate when they lay out their abilities and put them on full display. Yes, it makes me jealous. And frustrated.

I'm serious. Is there a particular kind of psychologist or other professional I should be talking to? Maybe there is some "focus pill" I can take.

Are there simple tactics or mind tricks you use to keep the ball rolling and on track?

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About the author

Jon Davis (aka "stimpy77") has been a programmer, developer, and consultant for web and Windows software solutions professionally since 1997, with experience ranging from OS and hardware support to DHTML programming to IIS/ASP web apps to Java network programming to Visual Basic applications to C# desktop apps.
 
Software in all forms is also his sole hobby, whether playing PC games or tinkering with programming them. "I was playing Defender on the Commodore 64," he reminisces, "when I decided at the age of 12 or so that I want to be a computer programmer when I grow up."

Jon was previously employed as a senior .NET developer at a very well-known Internet services company whom you're more likely than not to have directly done business with. However, this blog and all of jondavis.net have no affiliation with, and are not representative of, his former employer in any way.

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