That Wasn’t on the Schedule

On Tuesday I was back in the office and itching to get back to work on my current project.

That morning I got two emails about an incompatibility in Carrington Build‘s Rich Text module and WordPress 3.9. Sure enough, the change in WordPress core to upgrade to TinyMCE 4.0 coupled with changes in how TinyMCE is invoked within WordPress over the last few releases had caused the Rich Text module to stop working with WordPress 3.9. I believe that upgrading WordPress is important and I really didn’t want one of our products to be preventing our customers from upgrading.

I checked with a couple of team members, but no one else was available to make the patch for a week or so. I hadn’t ever worked on this particular module (or TinyMCE 4.0) but I dug in, figured out most of what was going on, and started making the necessary changes – learning as I went.

Then late Tuesday afternoon I got an email from a customer who let me know that he wasn’t able to access the downloads he should be able to. I confirmed the issue, replied that night, and started on a fix Wednesday morning. Once I had the website fix ready, I tagged and packaged Carrington Build, upgraded the FaveBusiness theme (a sample theme to demo Carrington Build) and packaged that as well, uploaded the files, wrote up a quick blog post and sent out the release announcement to our customer mailing lists.

I was able to do this all Tuesday and Wednesday between appointments and meetings and get it all up live this afternoon. Which is great, but I haven’t touched the project I was supposed to be working on. I’m down to 50% of the dev time I’d hoped for this week. And it seems to happen every week.

It’s constantly surprising to me how previous work/choices create obligations that throw schedules off track. The longer you’re at it, the more things associated with your historical body of work (client work and product work) have an opportunity to build up. Even having handed off a ton of my previous responsibilities, having sold our hosting business, consolidated and streamlined our product offerings, and gotten sign-off to focus on this one project, I’m still unexpectedly getting pulled in different directions. I say this with an acknowledging nod to the old urgent vs. important matrix.

I’m going to be making a concerted effort to be more strict with my time-management along with making sure I’m getting some coding time each day and I’ll see if I can get things headed in the right direction.

I’m writing this mainly to reinforce it for myself. Have a magic bullet for this that I’m missing? Please enlighten me in the comments.