I recently got my anonymous peer feedback at work. None of the negatives were surprising, though the positives were pretty uplifting. Shortly after I got that feedback, I read a blog post on things a person wished she knew earlier in her career.
“Reliable is better than brilliant… After observing many of these individuals in action, I’ve realized that the output of hard, reliable, focused work over time, while less glamorous, always outweighs the value of short, ego-centric storms of genius.”
That hits on a point that was made in a couple of my pieces of feedback. I am an extraordinarily inconsistent co-worker. Some weeks I am on and I close a bunch of bugs and get a bunch of patches in. Other weeks I am off and I close as few as 0 bugs. It is easy to go, “Well some bugs and projects are larger than others, that is why that happens.”
If I were to be honest, it is more about being distracted and/or burnt out. Leechblock has helped out a bit in that regard, but I still find other ways to be distracted, such as hanging out on IRC and compulsively checking all the messages that come in on my 30+ channel. Or maybe I tell myself I’ll just play a single level of a game, or read a single chapter of a book, but then I don’t have the self control to hold myself to that.
Now, I don’t have the answers as to how I am going to fix this, but I have started adding more tools to my repertoire. I wrote a script/webapp I have running locally that will tell me how many bugs I’ve closed per milestone. This way I can get a real feel for how inconsistent I am being, if I get a couple days in, and I am still lower than I’d like to be, I may shift gears and crank out a couple smaller bugs to get the brain juices flowing again.
My manager has provided me with some averages for the team, so I know where I should be myself. On top of that, he is very receptive to any ideas I have and wants to work with me to make stuff better. Part of dealing with flaws (especially ones that lead to anxiety like this one does for me) is admitting to it and then talking it through with people you trust.
If you have gone through this, or helped friends/co-workers in being more consistent, I am very interested in talking to you. xwraithanx on gmail, wraithan on irc.freenode.net and irc.mozilla.org, or any other way you happen to find for contacting me.