“Maximizing Developer Value” was the unfortunate subtitle of Code Freeze 2009, held yesterday at the University of Minnesota. The most interesting theme was more approachable: brain hacking. Some highlights:

  • Your left brain is loud and obnoxious. It’s always chatting.
  • Your right brain has things to say, and considering it’s the creative lobe, it benefits you to find a way to listen.
  • Mindless sequential tasks (shower, toys/puzzles, lawn mowing) can distract your left brain, allowing your right brain to speak to you.
  • You may find success assigning yourself right brain tasks before entering the shower or falling asleep.
  • Right brain thoughts are fleeting – have a way to capture these thoughts as immediately as possible.
  • Music occupies your right brain, so prune your “creativity” playlist appropriately. Music may be a hurdle you never knew you were putting in front of your creativity. Often noise is the best solution to block out the aural distractions.
  • Verbalization, even to inanimate objects, often engages the brain in different and useful ways. Sufficient sleep and moderate exercise are easily the best ways to maximize your brain’s efficiency.

Kicking off a new year makes it easy for me to live in “try new things” territory. I took a shower without NPR playing on the shower radio and suddenly I came up with the perfect idea for my first RUM presentation. I may also make lawn mowing a podcast-free zone, assuming summer/global warming ever returns. Music will be an ambiance for email checking. And I may have to invest in a sock monkey to talk to since I’m 1200 miles from the nearest work conversation.

Suggested reading: Brain Rules, The Productive Programmer, Pragmatic Thinking & Learning.

(Panel: Luke Francl, Nate Schutta, and Neal Ford.)

Jan 16, 2009 · Subscribe · Archive · Projects · Twitter · GitHub · Flickr