Three weeks ago I took a break from all the hard work at Toggl. For this time out I had a very precise plan. As a true engineer I believe in the words of the Big Bill that engineers work best when they have big goals and little time. With great power comes great responsibility, with great focus comes great productivity.
The plan was to go ahead with my Master’s Thesis and write it from start to finish in three weeks. The theme for my Thesis was developing multi-platform mobile applications from a single codebase. For proving the concept I had to create some kind of prototype application to describe what should be done when porting applications from one platform to another.
I had many ideas for the prototype but none of them seemed right. And then it hit me – like a twelve-ton truck – Toggl. Our masters and masteresses (is this even a word?!) of backend had just pulled the curtain from our super-fast public API that makes Airwolf look like an oldtimer taking a walk in a park. So I decided to create a simplified Toggl prototype that only communicates with the new public API. What better way to test-drive that bad boy than using it in a real application. As real as a prototype can be!
One thing is to sit down and start cracking but I had another issue. Since my thesis was about trying out mutliplatform development with two different frameworks it would be great to somehow measure the progress and time spent on each specific framework or part of development. If there only was such a tool…
That’s when our good friend Toggl stepped up and saved the day – again.
And so I started with assumption of “Hah, simplified Toggl, how hard can it be? Toggl is already so simple, simplifying it should be a piece of cake!” Talk about optimistic. With great focus and superb productivity it took… Three weeks and 146 hours.
The most hard-core day was thirteen and a half hours of straight hacking and documenting the progress. That meant that during the whole day there was only 30 minutes of awake time that didn’t have anything to do with the Master’s thesis. There were ups and downs, good days and bad days and sometimes I was getting too tired to think straight, but I promised myself the rest was due only after it was earned.
So in the end, was this a success? In my opinion, yes. At the end of the so called “vacation” I had written about 95% of my Thesis and shown myself a level of focus I never knew I was capable of. And tinkering away with several frameworks I have to conclude there is a great way of doing things – the Toggl Way.