Had to resort to coffee today

Two cups, 8oz., half-decaf. Feel like utter crap now. As usual. You’d think I’d learn.

Except I actually got some stuff done today, dealing with “customer” issues and hairier-than-usual test scenarios. So there’s that. But my skin’s crawling and my head’s fuzzy and I have a [[Kwartzlab]] board meeting tonight.

Me and caffeine have been on the outs for a few years now. Used to be it wouldn’t phase me at all. Now I can’t even have a nice black tea without having to curl up in a ball an hour or so later. I mean, it’s probably for the best, but sometimes it’s useful to self-medicate. Like today.

Why are my pants wet?: A lesson in cultural sensitivity

I have this weird habit where I check myself out in the washroom mirror while washing my hands. I don’t know what I’m looking for–probably just making sure my hair’s okay and I don’t have a giant booger on my face or something. I’ll lean forward towards the mirror and gaze deeply into the eyes of my mirror self.

Over the last month or so, I’ve been finding that when I do this at work, I’ll get back to my desk to discover that my pants are soaked through in socially compromising areas. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t… leaking. I’m not quite old enough to have to resort to diapers. So I went back to the bathroom and checked the sink. Sure enough, the entire sink counter was flooded with water, held there with the magic of surface tension.

At first, I was angry. I hate having to use communal washrooms to begin with, but this was adding insult to injury. I was tempted to put up a post-it with one of those passive-aggressive sorts of notes you see in offices telling the slobs to clean up after their damn, lazy selves. I mean, how hard is it to wash your hands without making a mess? Seriously!

Rather than resorting to futile anger, however, I kept my wits about me and observed.

I noticed that people were doing something at the bathroom sinks that I hadn’t expected: they were washing their face. Face-washing can conceivably be more messy than hand-washing. But isn’t that level of facial cleanliness a little obsessive? I’m usually good with a shower in the morning. It’s not like we’re working in a coal mine.

I know I shouldn’t make snap judgements, so I continued to observe. The people washing faces seemed to be the same dudes who I’d noticed trying to scope out quiet places to pray at work. And they happened to say something I didn’t catch before they started. And I also noticed that it was (at the time) coming to the end of Ramadan.

[Wudu](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wudu) is the act of ritual washing in preparation for prayer. It is a religious duty in Islam.

So I’m kinda glad I didn’t kick up a fuss or anything. That would’ve been really embarrassing. I’ll just have to be more careful about my pants.

At-Work Productivity: IM

I’ve been reading [Lifehacker](http://www.lifehacker/) for a while now, and, up till now, have been bombarded with productivity tips and tricks that have been more or less useless since I haven’t been working on anything I’ve been the slightest bit interested in.

That’s changed, though. I’m now working on stuff I’ve been itching to work on for about two years. So all the stuff I’ve been digesting about how to be an awesome software developer starts to have relevance. But it also means I have an awful lot of bad habits to break.

The first bad habit is probably instant messenger. [Lifehacker has some IM tips](http://lifehacker.com/software/interruption-management/im-survival-tips–productivity-and-instant-messenger-255402.php) that I’m going to try to follow.

I hope people don’t take it personally if I ignore them on IM. I’m going to start making use of status messages and invisibility. My default mode is still going to be online, but if I’m working on stuff, my status will say that. I turn notifications off and I’m going to ignore whatever comes in until the next break time.

I like IM a lot. We use it as a communication tool in the office. You can get quick feedback from people without having to compose emails, but it’s still relatively asynchronous–you don’t have to connect and stay connected with people like on the phone.

IM is good. I don’t want to get rid of it. But it can be a real distraction. Not that I can’t use a distraction sometimes, but I do kinda need to get work done. So I’ve got to be a bit smarter about how I use it.