16 March 2007

It's Coming ...

The Blood on the Lintels joblog, a new and regular ('cause it's automatic) feature of lintels.blogspot.com. Here's the skinny (thanks, John David): every work day I keep a terse log of my activities, both work and otherwise. Every nightEach TWThFS morning a handy-dandy little perl script runs and parses the log into something meaningful. And every Saturday Monday morning another handy-dandy little perl script runs and parses the cumulative results for the week.

The parser works because of a regular set of abbreviations I use to describe my activities. Those you will see in the raw data that gets posted. The abbreviations are:

ar: arrive at work (one per log)
ie: interruption via e-mail
ip: interruption via phone
iv: interruption via visit
hc: housecleaning (listening to messages, cleaning office)
re: research (tech news, mostly)
tk: a task I initiate or have scheduled
mt: a committee or other meeting
em: an e-mail I initiate
ph: a phone call I initiate
vi: a visit I initiate
ps: a personal activity
bk: break

A word about the various interruption categories: this category counts not only the time spent directly with the person interrupting, but also the time spent on any task, related to the interruption, performed on-the-spot (so if someone calls and reports a paper jam, the call and the clearing of the jam all count as part of the interruption). If instead the interruption results in scheduling a task (that is, if the interruption does not represent something "urgent" ("urgent" meaning something like "this is an emergency that must be dealt with now," or "this is not an emergency but it will only take a few minutes and may as well be dealt with now")), and the task is performed later, then it will likely get filed as a task. Visits (vi), phone calls (ph), and e-mail messages (em) should be understood as somewhat of a subset of tasks (tk).

I have been doing this for about a month now, and the results are fascinating helpful. In general, though I spend a lot of time at work, I spend surprisingly little time actually, um, working. Something on the order of 9 - 9.5 hours there; 7.25 - 8 hours working. Which is likely not that different from most others at the seminary, I'm guessing, in terms of actual work performed in a day.


John David said...

new abbreviation:
tsliiow: "Time spent logging interruptions instead of working"

Quote: "Ah! Yeah. It's just we're putting new coversheets on all the TPS reports before they go out now. So if you could go ahead and try to remember to do that from now on, that'd be great. All right!"

Could you use Twitter to update us in real-time?

Seriously, though, how can you be interrupted by email? Just don't open it. And you'd be surprised how seldom I am interrupted by phone since I got caller ID, although the ringing does sometimes disturb my napping.

On another note, can you run this by your spouse? I can never tell when Indians are being serious or not:

Indian Thriller

BMG said...

tsliiow: I actually figured this out. Say I spend 5 seconds on each entry (a high estimate ... I think it's closer to 2), and have on average 50 entries in a given day, that's six minutes 10 seconds of my time. Not nothing, but pretty minor. And if most entries take about two seconds, then it's down to one minute, 40 seconds ... I'm using a modified quicklogger (thanks, Lifehacker), so simply pressing Ctrl-Alt-L on the keyboard calls up a snazzy window into which I type something like "bkrr" or "tkprinter jam." The rest is done by the perl parser.

And I could use Twitter. Do you really want that?

BMG said...

Oh, and as for the "interrupted by e-mail," that's actually my preferred means of communication as I find it less jarring than the ringing of a phone. So I pay attention to it. That may change, though. And I'm adding a couple of abbreviations I forgot in the original post: ar (arrive ... only one of those in a log), mt (meeting), hc (housecleaning). hc is a subset of tk and is used when I return from a break and check phone messages and e-mail, or when I decide the clutter in my office is no longer bearable.

J. Blessinger said...

Homer: Well, give me a Y, give me a…Hey! All I have to type is Y. (to Marge) Hey, Miss Doesn't-find-me-attractive-sexually-anymore: I just tripled my productivity!
Marge: Good. Good for you.

BMG said...

JDT: The Indian Thriller thing = serious, according to the spouse.

Anonymous said...

hc? Office cleaning? Yea right. It's been a while since I have been by to clean your office.