Posts in Time Savers
No time for ping pong
Back-and-forward conversations, especially in a written form, can go forever. They involve participants and observers; become an unpleasant show, where the initial question is successfully forgotten. You may get involved into this time-waster, or even ignite it, before you realize. I confess too, at times I find hard dealing with a ping pong problem.

But here are a few early warning signs I use to recognize the beginning of a ping pong.

2 or more subjects

Either you get too many questions or ask them. Or it's the deviation from the initial subject. Unnecessary opinions and guessing. Giving too much details.

Ignored subject

Arguing, blaming, defence. In all these conversations people simply ignore each other's point. In email, ping pong arguing can go days involving whole teams and departments.

Per my opinion, there is no universal approach to handle this problem. However, asymmetric actions usually help.

If it's not important do not reply. Maybe a person on the other side just wants to have a last word.
If it's official, urgent and important - escalate.
If it's in writing, then come and talk in person, or make a call, schedule a meeting.
If it's in person, ask to enlist all points of disagreement.
Re-think and re-frame.
Either way, taking a pause helps.
Using Firebug in Internet Explorer
This tip comes from Ben Kelly. We all need to test on Internet Explorer, but we've been spoiled with tools like Firebug in other browsers. Ben has a tip to get Firebug to work in Internet Explorer:
In IE, go to your Favorites bar and copy-paste the following chunk of code and call it "Firebug". (Jonathan: In IE 7, I created a bookmark, then right-clicked on the properties, and then pasted the following code into the URL field.)


Then on any website, open that bookmark and it will give you a Firebug console.

Apparently, it seems to work pretty well for CSS and DOM stuff, but has some limitations when it comes to script debugging.

Rspec and Generators
A fantastic tip posted by Catherine Powell on Rspec and Generators a couple days ago:
When working in Rails, I use the generators as easy ways to create models with migrations, and whatnot. I got used to running my generators with "--rspec" since that's the test framework I'm using currently.

I can save myself some time by adding this to my application.rb:

[sourcecode language="rails"]
config.generators do |g|
g.test_framework :rspec
Bookmark Current Tab Set
I've been using the Bookmark Current Tab Set Firefox add-on the last few days to help me organize different projects/clients.  For each project, I have:

  • a Google doc for my personal time tracking

  • a web tool for client-facing time tracking

  • a tab for JIRA, Redmine, or some other project/defect management tool

  • a tab for whatever product(s) I'm working on (if applicable)

I've also created one for all my blogs, Google Reader, and my Twitter account. That's handy as well for when I feel the need to do some socializing.

When I need to switch gears, all I need to do is close the current browser, open a new one and click on the bookmark set. Then I'm ready to go!
Get yourself out of Inbox
Today's tip comes from Ali Hale.
In her article "Why You're Hooked on Email – And Five Ways to Stop" she states 5 most common reasons keeping people in Email, as well as proposes new habits to develop - to get out of it.
When you finish one task, you might find yourself opening up your inbox to see what's waiting. You're checking email because you're not sure what to do next – and emails provide a convenient excuse not to think.
How to Stop: Keep a to-do list, and batch smallish tasks together – that way, you can move smoothly from one to the next.

Read the entire list and let us know what habit you'd want to pick up for yourself.