29 Oct 2011

The art of stepping away

Someone once told me that when all hell breaks loose, the best thing to do is to just step away from the mess you find yourself in. To just walk away from all of it. To take a break, and then come back to tackle it later. This advice has been very helpful to me in a number of situations. Whether it’s something as trivial as losing hair over an elusive bug, or something as nasty as DROP * FROM TABLE_NAME;.

Stepping away when you are engrossed in the middle of something is not easy. It’s very easy to keep thinking that the solution is just around the corner, and toiling towards it to no avail. Every time I find myself stuck and unable to progress, forcing myself to just drop everything and stepping away has made a world of difference. That’s because even a seemingly impossible problem often becomes simple when seen from another context. Getting too involved in something can quickly make you lose sight of the macro level view.

Even when I am not particularly stuck at something, spending some time away from the screen to think over the problem in my head has proven to be helpful in implementing it quickly. While, I once used to to fret dropping something midway and moving onto something else, these days, I just park it and come back to it later. It’s not quitting, it’s just not worth going around in circles.

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