This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at abulsme@abulsme.com are encouraged... or follow me on Twitter as @abulsme.

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Vacation Productivity Update

So, I took most of two weeks off. Well, sort of. I consider the two weeks to have been 23 Aug to 5 Sep. In a “normal” two weeks, for the sake of argument, I would have worked 80 hours. There was an actual national holiday during those two weeks, so lets call that 72. But I wasn’t really completely off. I went in a few times, I did some conference calls, I checked in on email a few times. Added up, those things end up being approximately 24 hours of work during that time. So really, I was sort of 2/3 on vacation. Out of 9 work days, I worked 3 and vacationed 6. They just were not actually divided up quite that cleanly.

So there were several purposes to the vacation. One was of course just relaxing. Did that. One was watching the conventions. I did a lot of that, but not as much as I wanted to or I should have. Also, I watched too much on news channels, and not enough on C-Span. Finally thought, I wanted to spend a lot of time on some of the personal projects I’ve let myself fall behind on over the last year. (I’ve allowed election stuff to occupy a large chunk of the time I would otherwise spend on such things.)

I had split those projects I wanted to spend time on into five categories: Quicken, Old Email, Genealogy, Reading, and “To Do”. To Do included a bunch of other projects of various sorts and sizes.

Over the course of my time off, whenever I was ready to sit down and work on stuff, I’d pick one of those five randomly (at first using random.org and later using MachDice on my iPhone). I did use the further restriction that I could not work on the same category twice in a row, so really each time I was choosing from four possibilities. Once the random item was selected I would set a timer and work on that item for one hour.

So, in the last two weeks, these are the totals:

  • Quicken: 5 hours
  • Old Email: 2 hours
  • Genealogy: 4 hours
  • Reading: 1 hour
  • To Do: 7 hours

That gives a total of 19 hours.

So I still did more work for work than on my home stuff, even on the vacation intended to work on home stuff. Sigh. Next time I try this, it will have to really be a contiguous bit of time with no work, rather than no work interspersed with bits of work. That didn’t work too well, because it takes me awhile to switch mindsets.

Of course, I did do the other stuff. I relaxed, I went to Bumbershoot, I was there to take Amy to her first day of school and pick her up again, I watched a lot of political coverage, etc.

And yes, I did do a lot more of those other tasks than I would have otherwise. So that is all good I guess.

And I think I will keep the five categories and the dice roll to pick between them for awhile. And maybe try to make sure I do at least two of them per evening or something, and more on weekends.

Of course, my average for the two weeks I was “on vacation” was just 1.36 hours per day. So maybe targeting two hours a day when I’m not on vacation is overly ambitious. Maybe I should start with seeing if I can reliably do 1 hour a day.