Monday, September 6, 2010

Tips on improving productivity. Lets Do Lunch.

The one thing I really like about Agile Development is that it promotes the forty hour work week, with the tenet being tired programmers make mistakes. Read Jack Ganssle's Memo to my boss, to truly understand why the forty hour work week is a good thing.

As to why we are here today, it is because of this article on CNN Money: Overworked? Take back your lunch hour by Anne Fisher.

Anne Fisher, AKA 'Ask Annie' points us to several resources to improve our daily productivity. Seems the best way to improve productivity and creativity is to stop doing both, that is take a break and rest. One of the resources is the The Energy Audit from the Energy Project. My audit score was a mediocre nine out of twenty (9 to 12:=" Significant energy deficit"). Guess that is what happens when you work twelve hour days for years on end? What was your score?

I did not like how the questions were biased to the negative, as most started with "I don't". Questions and statements geared to self-improvement should always be framed in the positive. Makes me wonder if the scores would be much lower (lower being better in this quiz) if they were worded in a positive tone? The cynic in me wonders if that is deliberate to drive business to the project?

On the question about be distracted by incoming email, I've found a good solution that works for me. I check email when I arrive in the morning, at 10 AM, and Noon, 2 PM, and 4 PM. No pop-ups to derail my train of thought like I see on most of my colleagues systems. Been doing this for years, and so far no one has complained about a slow response to an email. After taking this quiz, I think I'll check email after lunch instead of before. Do your really want to be conditioned like Pavlov's Dog, to respond to ringing bells and ringing pop-ups?

"Nothing is gained—and much is lost—by constantly pushing people to achieve more and more in less time and with fewer resources; rejuvenation and rest are necessary for creative breakthroughs and broader perspectives."
-- Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project.

Ironically if you are to busy to read the book, you can listen to it while building stress setting in traffic on CD: