I like to be organised.

Hobbies, and my career are easier if i’m organised. Certain trends in technology like automation, and repeatability rely on a degree of this.

I’m currently updating xcode on my work Mac, as I realised that RVM (Ruby Version Manager) was not working correctly. I don’t use Ruby that much, but I do believe in being prepared.

There is nothing worse than relying on a work network (proxy) to install xcode dependencies. Life is too short :(

On the subject of Hobbies, “Hector is a 1966 Split Screen Camper Van”.


On a lovely sunny day there is nothing better than pootling along chilling out in ones bus :) People will wave and smile. The world is a happy place. I bought my first bus eighteen years ago, and things were not always happy.

I had very little experience of classic car maintenance, and breaking down on a roundabout, whilst everyone sat (in their cars), and stared, did not give me confidence…. in the human race, or my maintenance expertise.

The RAC, or AA are not always “available”.

Back to today.

I now get my hands dirty, including taking the engine out on my own. Sometimes you don’t have the right tools.

You have to be able to improvise. But not in a bodge-it-and-scarper way.


Yes that is a pyrex bowl being used for an oil change. This was when I started to strip an engine down, before putting it in Hector.


If you need to balance an engine on two large plastic tubs, so be it. But it’s important to improve, and organisation is key to this.

As software developers are taking on more infrustructure (platform, for want of a better phrase) work. It helps to understand how systems are glued together.

An engine, or an AWS VPC may look different (hope so :O) ), but the ability to understand how things work, not as an expert sys admin, or classic car mechanic…

but instead a good understanding of how things are configured, monitored, automated, where the weak (pinch) points are - will give you a robust understanding of how “the system works.”

You don’t need the most expensive snap-on tools to work on Hector, but you need the essentials, confidence, with abit of bravery as well :O)

Hector Engine in, and working :)

Software and Platform engineering is no different :O)

How I organise

Never underestimate your environment, and the context. It’s as important as being aware of your audience, or your customers.

The environment your are working is important, but don’t take things too seriously. It’s important to care, but not to the detriment of yourself.

If you are stressed, the first thing which will suffer is your ability to adapt to your environment.

Have confidence in yourself :O)

  • I like to write things down, and draw. A notebook is essential in allowing me to plan, note, and think in a tactile way.

  • Mind maps


Great for structuring, and linking, ideas and information.

  • The pomodoro technique - great for organising individual todo list and tasks.

Learning in an organised, structured way

These are the steps I try and follow:

Carry out once:

  • Get the Big Picture - what is the landscape of the topic?
  • Determine Scope.
  • Define Success Criteria - concrete measurable criteria - so you know you have finished.
    • Very clearly define a Realistic goal: * I will have learned to “Criteria” * When I have “accomplished success criteria”**
  • Find Resources
  • Create a learning plan
    • Break down into learning modules
      • Look at Index / Blog / Videos
        • Look for commonality (sub-topic) to learn the topic, and copy
          • Look inside Amazon
        • Consistent pattern to arrive at success criteria.**
  • Filter Resources - don’t go overboard with this step. Ensure you get a core set of consistent material.

For each module in the learning plan - repeat:


Learn Play Learn Teach - use curiosity to learn something new:

  • Learn enough to get started (don’t spend too much time).
  • Play around - get your mind to ask questions
  • Learn enough to do something - have enough knowledge to take the next step.

  • Teach - can be a chat, coffe, or learning lunch
    • Forces your mind to organise the information - very important
      • Leads to deep understanding
      • Fills in gaps in knowledge

I don’t have a silver bullet for organisation, but these are some of the things which work for me. Always ways to improve.