I was thinking about my last post – as well as the “stuff on my plate”, and thought it may be interesting to share some examples (and simultaneously share a bit about what I’m working on).
To quickly recap, I discussed how I try to get rid of as many possible distractions when 'I’m working on tasks where I need a lot of focus (“in the zone”), and don’t want to be interrupted. I also mentioned that I have plenty of work that doesn’t suffer (too much at least) from interruption, and that I try to do that work if I expect to be interrupted.
For example, I have to get the following things done in the next week or so where I’ll need some non-interrupted time – work where extended focus will have a big impact on my ability to accomplish the work. These items all have deadlines in the next 10 days.
- I’m giving a presentation to a MS testing group next Friday that I need to prepare, edit, refine, practice, etc.
- I need to write my paper for PNSQC (this one scares me a bit because I haven’t started it yet)
- I need to write up some stats for myself on my team’s performance (annual reviews coming up)
Given the proper context, the above is only 6-10 hours of focused work. The challenge for me sometimes is carving out that much time in a week. I have a plan to get it done, and I don’t anticipate any problems.
On the other side of the fence is “stuff I have to do, but I can do it while the kids are screaming if I need to” stuff. Some examples include:
- Writing blog posts :)
- Updating the web site for sasqag
- Various work requests (e.g. doc reviews or feedback)
- Sending agendas for some of the recurring meetings I own
- Updates for internal aliases I own
- Monitoring MSDN test forum
I usually have 12-15 hours of meeting a month (3 hrs for 1:1s with my team, another hour with my boss, meeting(s) with mentees, an hour or two of team meetings and a handful of one off and recurring meetings). I do a lot of the interruptable work when, for example, I have 30-45 minutes between meetings. To me, that’s not quite enough time for focused work, but I can use those chunks to knock off a lot of the littler stuff. I usually have a couple of 3-4 hour uncommitted blocks a week where I can crank out the other stuff.
And that’s what I do (most of it) and how I do it (sort of). Thanks for indulging me.