Bad habits

Busy bee

No one is perfect. Everyone has bad habits, which they know about but just can’t get rid of. The first step is to acknowledge and accept it. The next is to pay attention to the situations when it happens. The final step is to remind ourselves in those situations of the wrong way so that we can do it in the right way.

This is my first step…

  1. Clicking through wizards without reading the messages

I’ve recently installed the Productivity Power Tools for Visual Studio 2010. It’s a fantastic extension to improve my work. I still haven’t tried out all its features but I particularly like the Solution Navigator, highlighting the current line, automatic brace completion and Ctrl + Click to go to definition.

As I was installing it on a Monday morning, I was doing hundreds of other tasks too so I just clicked through the wizard, like I usually do. I didn’t read any of the messages, just clicked Next, Next, Next…and suddenly the window was gone. Oops! Did I install it now? Or was there an error message?

So, having no other choice, I started the installer again but this time I actually read the message and it wrote that this extension is already installed so it was all good.

Obviously I could’ve checked if it’s in the list of installed programs but that would take more time. I was sure that usually the installer prompts the user if he/she would like to remove, repair or do whatever else operation. Someone told me that there are installers which simply uninstall the program, if the installer is run again. Luckily this is Microsoft so it was safe. At least I hoped so. But it turned out OK.

Nevertheless I have an infinite number of such experiences. Many companies install additional garbage by only adding a pre-selected checkbox with some ambiguous text in really small letters on the bottom of the wizard window, which I never read. This is how I got stuck with as my preferred search engine, which I eventually changed but I still haven’t figured out how to uninstall it completely.

Note to myself: remember to always read the wizard messages!

  1. Deleting stuff without carefully reading them

It was Friday evening and I was finishing up my work before starting the weekend. I checked in all my work into TFS and I only wanted to check which meetings I have next week.

I opened the Calendar in Outlook and looked at November. I scrolled down to December where I noticed a meeting prefixed with Cancelled. Well, why is it then still in my Calendar?, I thought. Let’s open it up and see what’s it all about.

It was a recurring meeting and I was asked if I want to open only this one or the series. I have no clue what I was thinking, or better yet I was probably not thinking at all, because I chose the series. Since that particular meeting was cancelled because it was around New Year’s Eve, I clicked Remove from Calendar. But when I took a look in my Calendar, the complete series was gone! What have I done??? Did I just delete in Outlook a recurring meeting with our dear customers? It was an accident! But how am I going to explain this to the clients?

Luckily I still had the meeting in my deleted objects folder but I couldn’t figure out how to put it back in my calendar. So I asked a colleague and he said to just drag & drop it. Huh? So simple? Why didn’t I think of that?

So for everyone out there who accidentally deletes an important meeting with the customers, don’t panic! (like I did) You can restore it by dragging the meeting from the deleted objects folder and then dropping it simply in the Calendar. It’s that easy. Thank you, Microsoft employee who had this brilliant idea! You saved me from a very embarrassing moment.

Note to myself: remember to always double-check before deleting stuff!

I’m sure that I have other bad habits too but these two are happening over and over again. I’m doing it unconsciously, even though I know that I should be more careful. But everyone learns from their own mistakes and so will I eventually, right?

(I’ve also considered putting post-it notes on my monitor. “READ THE WIZARD MESSAGE!” and “DO YOU REALLY WANT TO DELETE THAT?”. It can’t hurt so I’ll probably give it a try.)