StarEast Recap: Testing in the Age of Distraction: Flow, Focus, and Defocus in Testing

Sandy Sidhu's picture

We live in interesting times.

Knowledge is available at our fingertips, no matter where we are. Social networks enable communication around the world.

With so many things competing for our attention—and so little time to focus on real work—it’s a wonder anything gets done at all!

A common belief is that only focused concentration leads to productive work—and conversely, that distraction causes procrastination and stifles creativity. While it is important that testers find flow and maintain focus, Zeger Van Hese believes that a state of defocus—guilt-free play—can also be helpful in testing. 

In his keynote at StarEast, Zeger shares tips, tricks, and tools that have helped him focus and defocus while testing. He explains not only how to benefit from distraction but also how to return to flow and focus when needed.

Every day you have 86400 seconds to use--how are you spending it?



Key Takeaways:


Multitasking is serial partial attention @testsidestory #stareast — Johanna Rothman (@johannarothman) 

  • Schedule in all the things you want to do on your calendar (including fun-time!)
  • Use techniques like Pomodoro to work in short time-intervals


Follow your energy @TestSideStory #getacoffee #stareast — StickyMinds (@StickyMinds) 

Ideas don't typically occur when we are focused on something @TestSideStory #creativeburst

  • Most people work well in short bursts. Follow your energy (get a coffee!)
  • Creative tasks need more time and are hard to timebox 
  • Create a spark file for when inspiration strikes example: Evernote
  • Fresh eyes find failure @TestSideStory #GetACoffee #stareast

Social Media

  • Use apps like SelfControlApp to block distracting sites
  • Pro-tip: don't tweet and quit >> meaning finish the conversation otherwise you will be distracted!
  • Need ambient noise but can't make it to a coffee shop? Try coffitivity.