Automation book review

Book Review: Lifehacker 88 Tech Tricks to Turbocharge Your Day

With all the books on agile methodologies and planning and managing time I thought I would look at trying to improve some of the regular aspects of my day-to-day activities to try and find “more time”. There are still 24 hours in a day, but it is helpful to realize how and where you are spending time on things, and how to improve your use of that time. I enjoy the website and finished up reading Lifehacker 88 Tech Tricks to Turbocharge Your Day by Gina Trapani. Overall, the tips are quite interesting and range from the simple (like focusing your attention and emailing yourself things to do) to the more complex (such as setting up a personal wiki server).

I am a big fan of automating things, and love a really slick and complete pipeline. But sometimes the trick isn’t to know how to automate something, it is what to automate. It would be easy to try and say “everything”, but you really need to start somewhere.

The Lifehacker book really got me thinking about examining my day and thinking what can be improved, and what could be automated. This almost requires an outsider perspective to really examine the details of how tasks are accomplished and where time is spent in a given day. It can be from the complex (like how to push the game & server to another environment), to the trivial (every time you start your computer, do you always open the same three programs). While the Lifehacker book and website provide details on good tips (like carrying around a flash drive of your applications, “firewall” your attention to prevent distractions through a few sets of tasks, or tips for tuning your computer or search habits) the real benefit to this kind of book is taking some time to reflect on your own habits and think about improvements.

I will be keeping track of where I spend my time “in the life of a game programmer/technical artist/team lead and will look into where my time goes in a follow up blog post and try to examine how my time can be improved to increase overall productivity (and possibly sanity :P).

Until then,
Michael Hubbard

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