Friday I got stuck on getting a build migrated from CruiseControl to Hudson. It ended up taking about two and a half hours to track down and fix, some of which got done over lunch. (Turned out to be an issue with an empty directory not being checked out from CVS and Clover not being picked up in a CLASSPATH) I remember as I was working on it I really felt like I was in the flow state. I didn’t look at my email, calendar, or phone and I really never got up from my desk to look at anything, expect to walk upstairs and pull my lunch out of the fridge. I knew the problem had to be reasonable since the ant build worked fine in CruiseControl. I kept making progress and getting more useful feedback. When I finally cleaned up the issues and picked my head up again two and a half hours had passed.
I find it fairly easy to get into flow doing development, especially nowadays when development at work is an extra treat. I can’t remember the last time I was in the same flow state doing some management work, from working on training plans to strategizing on how to collaborate with our sales force more effectively.
I don’t find myself in the zone as often with management, so I have to really work at it. My best strategy so far has been to concentrate on getting one significant task moved forward each day. Maybe Monday morning I’ll feel the flow as I concentrate on writing up all the training requests and justifications for my team this year.