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February 03, 2007


Chris Busse

I've found that, like counting calories, when I do this (and I do it like you do, when I find I start don't knowing where my day went), that having to write down "aimlessly wandered internet" for that chunk makes me think twice about aimlessly wandering the internet, and my days get more productive.


I started profiling my work days a little while ago, mostly to track what overtime I was doing and try and ensure I only work 40 hour weeks.
It seems that just keeping track of what I'm doing causes me to try and do more things in a day. I haven't even considered optimizing that yet, but the idea seems interesting. I'd imagine it's difficult to optimize a lot of tasks, depending on what you're recording notes for. For instance, if I know I worked on three features, one feature took exactly the amount of time estimated, one took three times longer, and the last took 15% longer; well what the heck does that mean as far as optimization goes?

Well, I look forward to the next post! I'm glad to hear you're getting enough sleep!

Brett Douville

I once used this sort of "what did I do today" profiling purely defensively. I felt that the project I was on was going dangerously astray, and I wanted to have a good understanding of how that was impacting my own work. I wanted to be able to say, when someone asked me, "Why isn't the such-and-such system done?" that I'd have a good answer -- "Well, I spent 45 minutes tracking down a bug in the blah-de-blah code that was hampering all the designers, and then another 15 coming up with a process solution to email you, which you then shot down." (It was a frustrating project.)

Anyway, the other time I used something like this I was asking people to account for what they were doing during the day -- not so much to keep tabs on them, but to communicate to the rest of the programming team what was going on by emailing them out to everyone every day (we used some Outlook buttons and forms and stuff to make it easy to generate rules etc, to minimize impact). On more than one occasion, we were able to more quickly track down a bug because we knew who had been in what code. We did this in the last six months of the project, when any barrier to shipping was extremely problematic.

So, point is -- there's data here that's worthwhile for more than only optimizing, but as you point out, it's only data you should track when you think things might be going off the rails, or when you want to keep them from going off the rails.

Simon Cooke

One reason why most people don't have enough time in their lives?

It's quite simply this:

If you're feeling depressed, down, generally sick, or have any kind of malaise, you won't actually pursue activities with the right kind of zeal.

If you're feeling happy, upbeat, well, and full of energy, you'll get a lot more done.

I know that when I'm feeling down, I don't have time to exercise, do the things I enjoy, or hang out. I just sit at home and watch TV, or surf the net, or any number of other things instead of doing what I want to do.

If I'm feeling good (like right now), I don't have a problem finding the time - I just get that stuff done. And it all becomes much easier.

Weird, but true. It's like there's this odd perspective shift that automatically happens based on how good you feel.

Jamie Fristrom

That's a really good point. Or you sit at your computer and could be working but you're actually staring off into space ruminating about wrongs that have been done unto you.

Which raises the question: can you make yourself happy? Prozac, I guess.

Parveen Kaler

Part of this can be attributed to what David Allen calls "open loops". If thing are swirling around in your head, life can feel overwhelming. It wears on you.

Capture this open loop and put it into your trusted system.

At home, I'll quickly write it on a sticky note and post it on the wall behind me. At work, I write it in on a sticky and post it on the inside cover of my notebook.

At the end of the day, I go through all of the stickies and figure out what to do about all of the items.


Here's a nice tool I found which helps with profiling - it captures a screenshot of your screen at a preset interval. E.g. one picture every 5 seconds makes for a about 3 minute long 20 fps movie to watch at the end of the day to get yourself truly ashamed...


Kevin Sparks

freetimesheet.com is free... but it seemed a bit too confusing. I've tried the demo at http://www.mindsalt.com. Loved it, but the project that required the time tracking/billing fell through... so we stopped looking around for a timesheet system.

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Jamie's Bragging Rights

  • Spider-Man 2
    The best superhero games of all time Game Informer
    Top five games of all time Yahtzee Croshaw
    Top five superhero games of all time MSNBC
    Top 100 PS2 games of all time Official Playstation 2 Magazine
    1001 Games You Must Play Before You Die Nomination for Excellence in Gameplay Engineering Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
  • Schizoid
    Penny Arcade PAX 10 Award
    Nominated for XBLA Best Original Game
    Nominated for XBLA Best Co-Op Game