Focus

I’ve been loosely recording my various work habits. My original intent
was to see what I’m doing versus what I think I do over a month or
two. It turns out I spend most of my time communicating (smtp and xmpp)
and writing latex documents. Third on the list is administrative stuff
like contracts, budgets, and related tasks. This is an answer to ‘what
are you doing?’

I didn’t expect the answer to ‘how are you doing it?’ I tend to work
3-4 hours straight in the morning, die down and then eat lunch. After
an hour or two, I end up working another solid 3-4 hours until I head
home. I then a few hours off to do dinner, family stuff, etc. I end up
doing another batch of 2-3 hours of work around 10 PM fairly consistently.

Meetings completely screw up my schedule. It seems morning meetings are
more tolerable than afternoon. A morning meeting results in a concentrated
work period of 1-2 hours, rather than the normal 3-4. An afternoon
meeting completely breaks up my work schedule, either making that
afternoon useless, or pushing work until the next day.

I’m not sure what this tri-modal distribution means. I work roughly 9-12
hours a day split into 2-3 concentrated periods. I find however, that
it’s consistent for when I’m in the office. When I’m traveling, I never
get into a period of concentration. I seem to focus mostly on
communications and ignore just about everything else. Sometimes, late
at night, I’ll focus for 2-3 hours. Otherwise, traveling seems to really
disrupt me the most.

Of course, the goal isn’t to sit in an office and do lots of inward
focused work. Half my job is organizing everyone and make sure we’re
following a plan. The other half is going out and finding others to make
the plan successful.

None of this covers the ‘efficiency’ or ‘productivity’ measures. I’m not
sure that an increase in work per unit of time (emails per hour, docs per
hour, etc) is a good measure. There’s busy work and goal oriented
work. More thought is needed here. The high level goals of people funded,
annual funding targets met, and projects delivered are long-term goals
that don’t break down into atomic units so easily.

originally published at wiki.lewman.is

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