Using Flexi-Time Like a Boss

I’m pretty lucky (from what I hear) in that our company operates a flexi-time system. I used to work strict 9:00-5:30 years ago but it never real fit well with software development. It’s not often that you’ll get to the end of a task bang on finishing time so you find yourself either working late (not good for you), leaving stuff half done (also not good for your ability to “detach”) or getting to a point about 5 where you think “well, no point starting anything now” and reading BBC News for half an hour (not good for the company).

So, flexi-time allows you to fit your working hours around tasks.

Thunderbird 5

We also have the option to remote work when we need/want to which is also great. The office environment is good for general banter, bouncing ideas off people and getting a vibe for what’s going on. What it isn’t good for is getting peace to get on with something.

Coding takes a wee while to settle into. The zone you could call it. You settle down and start to work your way through a problem and…

“Kev, have you got a minute?”
”You okay to come to this meeting?”
”Want a cake or a hot chocolate from the shop?”

All of these take you out of that zone and the first two not in a good way. The third one also breaks concentration but who wouldn’t want to be offered a cake? Sadly, it’s the first two that are more common.

Working from home is a good way to avoid these. Close Outlook. Close your IM. In our office, we use Skype for IM. It has a “do not disturb” setting for when, y’know, you don’t want to be disturbed. From experience that just prompts people to start conversations with “I know you’re busy but…”. Sigh.

Today I think I finally nailed the process.

Kev’s Productive Daily Planner

Bear in mind that I start my day late since I’ve ended up working late nights with the team in Canada so many times that I don’t even bother trying to get up early since chances are I’ll get stung.

08:30 – 09:00Wake up and attempt to feel human. Make toast.
09:00 – 09:30Check email and answer anything that can be dealt with quickly.
09:30 – 10:30Get drawn together and head to work.
10:30 – 12:30Morning shift. Try and deal with anything that involves people. Good time for meetings.
12:30 – 13:30Lunch break. Food. PES.
13:30 – 16:30Afternoon shift. Try and avoid meetings since they’re always grim post-food.
16:30 – 18:30Head home. Have dinner. Watch Mythbusters or some other awesome TV.
18:30 – 21:00Coding quiet time.
21:00 – sleepChill

Okay, not the greatest work/life split but the breaks during the day really help me get more accomplished.

In that evening chunk of coding tonight I got more done than I have in the past couple of weeks simply because I could crack on with it knowing nobody was going to interrupt. Delightful. Give it a go. Or, if you work somewhere that doesn’t let you work in a way that suits you, quit and go work somewhere that does.