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What my work day looks like

I’ve been using RescueTime recently to track my computer usage during the work day. I’m not really trying to curb bad behavior or specifically stop wasting time on particular tasks, I just kind of like to see how I work. For those that don’t know about RescueTime, it’s a little time tracking app that runs on your computer and logs what applications and websites you visit and how much time you spend. Then you can see some cool reports to visualize where your time goes.

This chart shows the time I spent on the computer yesterday:
screenshot046

So you can see I woke up a bit past 8 and had a bit of a slow start to the day. Between making coffee and dilly-dallying I managed to waste most of the 9am hour. But then I got into the swing of things. I think the 10am hour is one of my most productive all day. My brain’s well rested but awake (thank god for that coffee) and I have very few interruptions. We do a daily scrum call at 11, so I usually have until then before I get sidetracked with phone conversations and other things that start cropping up. Then I took a 45 minute lunch a bit before 1 and then was back at work until 6.

Here’s the chart that shows the % of each hour that was taken up by Flex tasks, which I’ve basically defined as Flex Builder or debugging in Safari.
screenshot047

So that shows that for the majority of the day I’m either using Flex Builder or using Safari specifically to debug Flex apps. One thing that I found interesting, however, is to compare the time spent on my top 10 activities:
screenshot048

So clearly you can see Flex Builder and Safari rising to the top of the list. Note that RescueTime logs my local testing as file:// since it thinks it’s a web page, but it doesn’t know how to deal with local pages I guess, so that file:// means I was running a Flex app in Safari. One thing that struck me was the total time spent in any particular app didn’t seem that high. Out of an 8 hour day I spent 3 and a half hours in Flex Builder itself. I spent another hour or so testing/debugging in the browser. So about 56% of my total time during the day is actually spent writing code/debugging. The rest is management tools (FogBugz is issue tracking, we use Google sites for project documentation, gmail for email, Adium for IM) and news reading (MXNA, some random article on Washington Post that took me 5 minutes to read). The other thing that made it into my top ten yesterday was watching a demo video of cyn.in, which I was checking out since it seemed like we might be able to use it for project management at work. And to round out the list, pgadmin is a database tool for Postgres databases.

The hour I spent on email should probably get cut down. Since I work remotely, there is a lot of communication over email, but I certainly need to do a better job managing my email time instead of popping back over to gmail every few minutes (although if Flex compile times were sped up I bet my email time would get cut in half). The time on IM (Adium) is essential since the way I communicate with my team is through IM all day long, so that can’t really get cut down at all.

It’s also interesting to see how the little things factor in. If you add up my top ten list there, you end up with about 7 and a half hours. That’s almost my complete work day, which means that all the other crap I might have done, reading blog posts, watching dumb videos, etc only took up a very small amount of aggregate time. That makes me feel good about my overall productivity. There are about 90 total entries in the RescueTime log for yesterday, but most of them take up only seconds of time (scanning blogs, quick Google searches, etc).

So that’s what my day yesterday looked like. I know this isn’t directly related to Flex, but I thought it was kind of interesting and I need to get back into blogging one way or another, so bear with me while I get back on the blogging bandwagon. If I made New Year’s resolutions then getting back to blogging like I used to would be at the top of my list.

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3 thoughts on “What my work day looks like

  1. Erik says:

    Yes, one of the things that often manages to side-track me into email or unnecessary web browsing/RSS-checking is the compile or unit test execution wait on a decent-sized Flex project. (The same is true of Java projects, though those are much rarer these days.) I don’t often have the chance, but I enjoy programming in one of the dynamic languages because testing is so immediate (especially if you are doing your testing in an interactive interpreter or a REPL).

  2. @Denis – ha! quite the detective… over the past year if you took a snapshot of my tasks you would’ve also seen MySQL admin, MS SQL Server Management, and some other DB tools. Let’s just say we like to keep our options open.

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