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Getting things done. Or, "how to solve problems".

It's very easy for me to set myself tasks. Build that website. Write a blog post. Clean the house. Learn about that library or a new technology. Get a degree. Get the outside of the house ready for winter. Find a job. So easy. There, done.


One of the problems with this way of (not) planning is that it sets tasks or identifies problems, without a map to to a solution.

Breaking tasks down

One of the things I've learned to do deliberately since I've been coding is to break tasks down into their component elements. I've found myself doing this away from the keyboard, and it's been very, very helpful, particularly when getting motivated to tackle tasks I'm unlikely to complete in one session. Like the mountain of laundry that existed yesterday:

  • find place for baby clothes
  • sort into piles
  • think about ironing (then decide to put this off/not)
  • put away parents clothes
  • put away kids clothes
  • figure out organisation in spot for baby clothes
  • put away baby clothes
  • iron clothes (or not)

Recently for me this involved making and posting my first blog entry last week, and breaking down "make incomplete site presentable and deploy":

  • point site blog link at this blog
  • clean up CSS
  • remove "content coming soon" from home/landing and projects pages
  • bare bones projects content with links, minimal explanation from GitHub descriptions.
  • fix/insert titles on subpages
  • deploy at

This skill is really important to a lot of things, from isolating bugs by breaking down the possible causes, to writing simple and maintainable code by following the adage to keep functions/classes to one purpose. Of course, it's also helpful when attacking large projects. :)

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