Patterns of Unproductivity

November 7, 2017

I had a terrible day at work. Cannot think of a day when I have been so unproductive. I devoted less than 10% of my brain cells on any meaningful work. There are some definite patterns here. Calling these patterns out might help me avoid them in the future.

First, I know the root cause of my unproductivity is my utter distaste for Drupal development stack. Working on a dev environment that totally demotivates and frustrates you is a surefire way to lose your productivity. Anyhow, my co-op at AE ends next month, so no point dwelling on it too much. Also, it’s good to know what doesn’t work for you.

Then there is Hackernews. I start the day by glancing at the news and also Hackernews. Most of the time, it’s harmless, but sometime there’s that one disturbing news that distracts and shoots my productivity for the day, or I go down the rabbit hole of Hackernews links which is an enormous time sink.

As the day progresses, I get up a lot for silly reasons (washrooms, coffee, etc.) and these small, frequent breaks make sure it’s impossible for me to get any significant stretches of focused time for any meaningful work to get done.

Then there are people chatting around you, which is a major cause of distraction. I work in an open office, which is also a co-working space. I am surrounded by not only my colleagues, but also people from other companies. A seemingly harmless discussion behind you on an irrelevant topic can totally thwart your attempts to get into the zone.

Why do companies keep falling for the myth that open offices foster creativity by meaningful interactions? That’s nonsense. What are you going to do with all this creativity if there’s no execution? Also, why do people like to chat around others when they are working? Would you do this in a library? Get a room, please!

Enough of the complaints, it’s time to fix these systemic issues, so I can get some actual work done at work. Here are some of the actions I can take.

  1. Block Times Colonist and Hackernews completely during the work day.
  2. Before sitting down at work, do everything and get everything you need.
  3. No random browsing rabbit holes on internet. Only surf or read blogs during break or during the lunch time.

I will test this for the rest of the week and see how it goes. I seriously need to improve my ability to focus and concentrate on a single task at a time.

This day shall not happen again in future.