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the evenings out here - Thoughts, rants and musings about absolutely everything except photography. Or cats.

Recursive Attention Deficit

in General , Thursday, June 30, 2005

Sitting at my desk in the office, I am doing at least 3 or 4 different things at the same time. I'm writing a requirements specification document, in my typical "burst mode" (see later). I'm reading a book on web application design (Making the web work, by Bob Baxley - rather good, despite some poor editing). I'm writing this and trying to fish the word "recursive" from my brain. I'm listen to a very old Supertramp album on my iPod and making various associations. And I'm fighting with a really godawful, utterly braindead SAP application clearly created by a total moron with zero pride in his/her work to log my hours against projects (a work of complete fiction in any case). I'm thinking about web application design, a specific complex project problem, an ancient rockband, and, believe it or not, switching process in polar ice stream flow. And yet I am totally active and alert to each of these tasks, which are all feeding into each other. Of course, strictly speaking, several of them are certainly not what I'm paid to do. But this is how I function...take it or leave it. Not really attention deficit as such, more serial multitasking. But I wonder if this is really a bit extreme. I'm sure there are times when a bit of focus would have helped me considerably. Whilst I think I have the ability to grasp a new concept faster than most people, on the other hand there are many times where I've settled for too superficial an understanding. Burst Mode: This is my natural way of working. It has driven various managers crazy over the years. It goes like this: I write a paragraph very quickly, usually with at least one new idea in it - I then switch to something else, come back in 15 minutes, and so forth. It can look like I'm doing nothing at one moment, then being ultra productive the next. I am pretty certain that integrated over whatever period, I am just as effective, or maybe more so, than people blessed with the ability to work linearly. But I'm also concerned that it has some drawbacks...