Head down, buried deep into a problem, until, finally – yes! I figured it out. Only to find, once I step back and look at the whole thing, I’ve gone and created three more problems with my clever solution.
Does this happen to everyone or is it just me? It’s being so focused on chopping the vegetables just right that you let the rice boil over. It’s letting go of the vacuum cleaner to straighten the pillows and have three feet of curtain sucked up the hose. It’s reaching for the potatoes and knocking over your glass of milk. “Slow down, pay attention.” Only, I was paying attention, too much attention, to something else.
These mistakes are the most annoying mistakes. They’re the ones you can see coming miles away. They could happen to anyone, at anytime, but they’re so easily preventable. It’s very important with programming to stop, and look, and test after every change. It’s so important, they have a name for it: regression testing. If I don’t test the whole thing each time, it means I’m bound to spend another hour going slowly backwards, change by change, to see if I can find the moment where everything fell apart.
So, what to do about it? I think I need interruptions, like someone snapping their fingers in my face saying, “Wake up!” To that end, I’ve downloaded an app to my phone that chimes every 15 minutes. A gentle reminder to pick up my head – look around a bit – see what’s going on around me. Because a quick test now will save me an hour of undo’s later.