Friday, September 21, 2012

Weekend Reading: The Work and Productivity Edition

As I've mentioned before, I'm in the midst of a crunch time at work. I've been dutifully tracking my time through it, and when I get a chance to sit down and analyze the results, I may have some interesting things to say about work and productivity. (Spoiler alert: even in this crunch time, my total hours of actual work per week has hovered at about 40.) But for right now, I will instead give you links to other people saying interesting things about work and productivity:

First, here's a nice article from Inc that agrees with what I argued in my post about a project manager's view on long hours: that long hours are counterproductive, and something a good manager should try to avoid, not demand from his or her team.

 Next, it turns out that my proclivity for wearing a "uniform" and eating the same breakfast and lunch most days is a good thing, at least from the standpoint of allowing me to make good decisions in other areas.

Having recently watched a couple of people spectacularly fail at The Second Test, I find Rands' post on the second test new members of a team face to be completely spot on.

I really like this idea from Cal Newport about the productivity benefit of working in a novel place. I wish I could try it out more often in my life! Sadly, my current job does not easily accommodate this approach, although we do have developers who do something similar, and it generally works well for them.

I found this article about the importance of feeling stupid via nicoleandmaggie's links post last week. I don't do research anymore, but there are analogous situations in the tech space I occupy now. Sometimes, feeling stupid is a necessary first step to understanding and solving a problem. It took me a while, but I finally realized that the panicky "I don't know how I'm going to get this project done" feeling doesn't mean I'm not qualified to do the project. It is the necessary first step to tackling a really novel problem.

And also via Nicoleandmaggie, I've been hearing a lot about Boice and his research into productivity, specifically writing productivity. I looked into buying the books they recommend, but they are either not available for Kindle (my preferred reading method these days) or are clearly priced for people buying on grant money (it was the first time I've seen a Kindle edition priced at $85). I did a little googling, and found this re-analysis of some of Boice's data, which I thought had some interesting ideas about writing and the generation of creative ideas.

Laura Vanderkam has a good post about the benefits of making slow and steady progress on large projects. I'm generally quite comfortable with this technique- I even advocate explicitly breaking big projects down into smaller tasks on your to do lists. But I have a project I need to apply this approach to right now. I want to do it, and it is stalled out because I keep telling myself the fiction that I need a big chunk of uninterrupted time to make any progress. That just isn't true. Unfortunately, I'm so swamped with other stuff that I haven't found even the small amounts of time it would take. Soon, soon.

I'll be taking most of the weekend off- I have a good friend in town and that trumps work. It even trumps blogging. Have a happy weekend everyone!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:10 AM

    Thanks for the link! also has a summary of the main tenets of Boicing.


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