Tasks and Discipline

Not all advertisements are created equal. Ben Sherman, an international clothing company with British roots, has created a stunning set of videos, about how to dress smartly. One of their videos is very striking and I’d invite you to watch.

You might wonder: have they lost it? Are they turning into an advertisement company? A clothing company maybe? No, we’re not. We love software, and we’ll always produce software. However, it doesn’t hurt to get inspired to become a true craftsman by inspecting what other professions involve themselves into. In this case, it’s called The Ritual.

IF YOU MAKE your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task, followed by another until, by the end of the day, that one completed task will have turned into many. It reinforces the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.

And some of you might see a striking resemblance to developing software. Practices like clean code, pair programming, TDD, continuous refactoring, all can be small tasks. However, it’s doesn’t have to start there. Making your bed is not simply a metaphor; it can really start by making your bed. Get out of bed. Make your bed. Have breakfast. Do some exercises. Read. Water the plants. Go to work, and start working on your project. What was the thing you were so reluctant to do? Start with it! Refactor some method, some class, some tests. And before you know it, you’ll have a sense of accomplishment, a bigger sense of meaning. And it’s a great feeling which can energise you for the rest of the day.

But don’t take my word for it. I invite you to try it out. Get up early. Make your bed. Do small things, and the medium and bigger sized things will come naturally. Try it for a week, and let us know the results. I’m pretty sure you’ll see the results immediately!