I’ve worked as an engineer at a few companies, all of which followed the agile software development methodology. Agile, in short, allows iterative and incremental development of software through collaboration. A step in agile development is identifying blockers, things standing in the way of accomplishing what needs to get done, and obliterating them as much as possible.
As a senior studying Computer Science, I have loads of work to get done between 12 Computer Science core credits, research, side projects, hackathons, pretending I can have a social life, etc., I will do everything I can to optimize my time. So, I began identifying and destroying blockers in my college life. They’re sad, but true:
1. I am hungry- I have found that I could literally spend up to 20 minutes too distracted by hunger to do decent work, but too lazy or intimidated (I am not kitchen material) to make food.
Solution: I will tell myself “this is a blocker” and if I can convince myself to cook something I will, otherwise I have a monthly Amazon order of Kind bars to grab.
2. I love you, and you are texting me- It is really easy to lose track of time due to an interesting conversation with a loved one. Only once I installed MightyText, a web client that allows you to text with your Android from the web, did I realize I was sending a few thousand text messages a week because it tells you how many texts are each of your threads.
Solution: I uninstalled MightyText and don’t work near my phone. If I need to use it (it’s half tablet and can be useful to work with), I turn off all push notifications.
3. I have to go to the bathroom, but do not feel like getting out of my chair.
Solution: I tell myself the following: "THIS IS A REALLY STUPID BLOCKER. GO TO THE BATHROOM!“
Identifying blockers in my college workflow has been a huge time saver and has given me back time to waste on actual fun things, like watching "Mad Men.” If anyone else has done anything similar, I’d love to hear about it.