(Photo credit: procsilas )
This morning, I was in a room full of people. Hundreds of people, most of them were strangers to each other.
But there was something different in the air.
These strangers, they were talking. They were talking to one another about where they came from, families, work, future plan...just about anything. They were engaged, laughing, and looked happy.
"How did that happen in first place?", I asked myself. Then I remembered that we weren't allow to have any sort of electronic devices in the room.
It was a sight to behold, in a nostalgic kind of way. I remembered when I was a kid, people used to talk to each other everywhere: at the morning market, bus station, post office, even at the hospital, wait, especially at the hospital.
In the room, I was talking to a 70+ year old grandmother. I learned that she has eight children, many grandchildren, illiterate, and could not speak English.
And she will be in the US next month.
So Richerd and I were working on PairMixer (matches singles on Pair), our weekend project last week. We started by drafting the simplest flow of how things work and then spent the next few hours to churn out a prototype. The prototype was workable, but far from perfect. And then, we found ourselves having these conversations:
"Should the user be able to share their profile?"
"Can the user be on someone's waiting list if he/she is taken?"
"Should we add gender preferences like other dating websites?"
"Hmmmm...how do we supposed to get more female users?"
(and many more)
We spent a couple of hours debated among ourselves from these questions when:
- The app was buggy
- The UI was horrendous.
- We haven't tried deployment yet.
Once we realized how little time we've gotten left, we finally had the conscience to say, "Let's just fix what's broken first".
As it turned out, we spent the remaining weekend fixing what's broken.
We shipped in time.
Fixing what's broken first. This sounded like a common sense piece of advice, but it surprises me how many people doesn't actually apply this. It certainly surprised me when I found myself not doing it. §
(read the full story of how we built and shipped here)
I like how this article addressed issues of "Sitting and Standing at Work" and the suggested solutions:
Sit to do computer work. Sit using a height-adjustable, downward titling keyboard tray for the best work posture, then every 20 minutes stand for 2 minutes AND MOVE. The absolute time isn’t critical but about every 20-30 minutes take a posture break and move for a couple of minutes. Simply standing is insufficient. Movement is important to get blood circulation through the muscles. Research shows that you don’t need to do vigorous exercise to get the benefits, just walking around is sufficient. So build in a pattern of creating greater movement variety in the workplace.
Except it's not so applicable in the real world. If your field of work depends on getting into flow (like coding/designing), the forced-interruption every 20-30 mins can be frustrating.
I've been working while standing for the past one and a half year. Here's how I did it instead:
Instead of taking 2 minutes break every 20-30 minutes, I take 10-30 minutes break every 2-3 hours. This gives me reasonably amount of time to get into the flow and allows me to better relax myself and get ready for the next burst. Note: Take real break and make sure you get away from the computer.
I sit/stand based on the type of work I'm doing. For example, I sit while I'm coding, and stand when doing design work. It also depends the mood. I could stand all day long on some day; while other day, I just want to sit all day. The key is to listen to your body.
Standing posture is very important. Open your leg shoulder width apart, soft knees, spread your toes, back straight, neck neutral and arms in 90 degrees. Also, the first few weeks of using standing desk can be hard for your feet. I stood on a gym mat during that period of time.
Dance. Seriously. Nobody says you should stand still while working on a standing desk. Just open up Earbits or MixCloud (I recommend DrumCode), and start moving your feet while working. Who knows? Dancing while working might be the next big trend. Be sure to try it out and let me know how that works out for you. §
I've been working from home for the past couple of years. Home office mixes up my life with my work. I wake up. I work. I go back to sleep. There is also no sense of urgency. I feel like I have all the time in the world. It's a great place to learn and obtain new skills -- as learning takes time and patience, which the comfort of home provides.
When I got bored at home, I work at Starbucks. Starbucks is lively, noisy and full of people. It's rejuvenating. It makes me feel connected to the rest of the world. And because of that, I often think of new ideas while working at Starbucks. Hacker Monthly is one of them.
More than a month ago, I moved out from my home in Penang to join a co-working space -- Fluent Space in the Klang valley. Fluent Space is spacious, well-designed and quiet. And I'm surrounded by all these awesome, like-minded people. I feel like I could take on any anything. At Fluent Space, I've been able to work on hard problems which I've been avoiding. Well, the unlimited supply of coffee certainly helps.
I've also visited BootHK, a co-working space in Hong Kong few months ago. It certainly had a different atmosphere compare to Fluent Space. Everybody just sat around this big table, in a not-so-big room, with an intense look on their face, hustling. It felt like startups. I'd love to work there for a couple of month and see what happens. §