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What's your work efficiency?

I guess this question is open for programmers and non-programmers alike, but I'm especially interested in programmer's responses because of the nature of the work.

So how many hours on an average day do you actually spend working (coding, thinking about problems, designing, etc ) and how much time is spent doing more constructive things like reading joelonsoftware.com and espn.com?

Crimson
Wednesday, August 21, 2002

for me,

efficiency = enjoyment.

If its droll, then I'm surfing.

Tony
Wednesday, August 21, 2002

What Tony said.

Kinda links in with "How do you stick with a job you hate?"

http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=13840&ixReplies=10

Jack lives over there ->
Wednesday, August 21, 2002

I tried monitoring it pretty strictly for a while.  I found that most days I would max out at around 6 hours (in a 9 hour day, 8 hrs + 1 hr lunch).

On low days, it was between 3-4.  In my time estimate I was counting only time I was actually working on the task at hand.  I didn't count: stopping to talk to others (even work-related), fixed something small for someone else, helping someone with something, etc. 

I did find it very interesting to track, especially to find that I had a very hard time ever beating 6 hours a day.  Even with extending to an 11 hour work day during more 'crunch' times, I found that productivity would not increase much more than an extra hour, despite an extra 2 hours at work.  After several days of doing this, I found that I could not sustain even the 6, even with longer hours (supporting the theory that longer hours just means lower productivity).

dan
Thursday, August 22, 2002

For me  it all seems to relate to the task at hand.

If I'm doing something fun and challenging, then things like lunch get neglected - I guess it's that 'Zone' thing. I don't  feel guilty getting paid if I'm working like that.

Otherwise, I have trouble pushing past a 20 minute wall, where absolutely anything will be more interesting.  I wonder if there are any new posts on Joel's Forum...

What did you abandon to read this thread?

Gordon Taylor
Thursday, August 22, 2002

Working for the government, even if I only did an hour of hardcore work a day, I'd still be trouncing 90% of my co-workers in the productivity department.

I like to consider my considerable amounts web-surfing time as "on the job training" (although it's occasionally a bit of stretch with the newspaper and game programming sites).

Maybe I compromised myself by taking this job, but after 8-1/2 months of unemployment...well, even a ship of fools looks pretty good to a drowning man.

Dunno Wair
Thursday, August 22, 2002

Dan,

I've noticed similiar things and I wondered if anyone else had experienced it.  I usually hit about a 4-6 wall of what I call "real productivity" (ie, not just staring blankly at the screen, but actually thinking).  Increasing hours doesn't really help my productivity substantially either.

Also, I often hit that 20 minute (sometimes 10, sometimes 15 ) wall thing where it's hard to maintain full productivity, even on projects I'm interested in. 

Crimson
Thursday, August 22, 2002

Dunno,

Been there, done that. Easy to look good when there is crappy competition, eh? :)

Crimson
Thursday, August 22, 2002

Gordon,

I abandoned some mind-numbingly boring data QA stuff to do this.  Every project has this stage and it's always this stage of work that just bores the bejeezus outta me.  Risk of the trade I guess.

Crimson
Thursday, August 22, 2002

Crimson,

Yep - risk of the trade, For me it's wading through a huge pile of about 1000 "Future Enhancements" in our bug tracker. (Funny how things that were "Absolutely Critical" a year ago are now just plain stupid...)

After you've read about 30 bug reports your brain just turns to moosh.

Gordon Taylor
Thursday, August 22, 2002

>I found that most days I would max out at around 6 hours

Say you're a manager, and you understand and accept this.  (don't worry, i'm not a manager...)  do you work this into your motivational strategy?  ("come on guys, six hours!")  would employees start working less productive days?

basically, how should a manager accept/deal with this?

chloraphil
Monday, August 26, 2002

The Personal Software Process (www.awl.com/cseng/authors/humphrey/intropsp)
is an exercise I had to do recently on time tracking.

Im a student so dont have fixed hours, but thought I studied close to a work week.. it was actually about half that! (first 3 weeks of semester I averaged 18 hrs per week)

Study = mix of reading, notetaking and programming

and yes I stopped studying to read Joel.. :)

Kat
Monday, August 26, 2002

chloraphil,

I don't think you'd ever tell a manager that.  And if he knew, he'd just accept it, but I don't think he'd use that as a motivational tool.  Or at least, I don't think he'd plaster posters asking for "6 hours of work!" around the office...

Crimson
Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Gordon,

Exactly.  It's this tedious kind of stuff that, while important (well, sometimes it can be), is just mind numbing and your desire and creativity gets a little stiffled.  How do you overcome this?

Crimson
Wednesday, August 28, 2002

You're asking this question of a group of people that probably don't work that efficiently on average.  Why else would we be reading and posting here? :)

who me?
Thursday, August 29, 2002

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