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How Productive Are You?

By Steve Jones,

A few weeks ago I was talking with some friends about their jobs and how they manage projects at work. One person was complaining about the way his schedule kept slipping, how unproductive people were and how often it seemed that he didn't get 8 hours worth of "work" from his direct reports. It's a complaint we have probably all heard, and perhaps even expressed, and it sounds good on the surface. It sounds like something that we should be annoyed with.

Or should we?

One of the things I learned early on, which was as soon as I had to depend on someone other than myself to get something done, was that I could not expect to get 8 full hours of work on a particular task completed every day. There are just too many distractions and other duties that are required of someone, not to mention that in many areas that require thought, we can't really predict the performance of any particular person on any given day. Perhaps with enough people you can guesstimate the amount of work that gets done by the average person each day, but it's probably not 8 hours.

So for an interesting Friday poll:

How many hours of work do you get done a day?

Or perhaps how many do you expect to devote to real work, meaning writing code, tuning something, installing software, configuring or monitoring servers or whatever you do. I'm looking to exclude meetings, email, hallway conversations and more. How many hours a day do you think you work directly at your job? And I guess I'd like to know what your job is. You can send me a note (sjones at sqlservercentral.com) and I'll post anonymously for you if you wish.

For me I'm an editor and writer. That means mostly thinking and my productivity varies widely. For work in creating these editorials I might get the equivalent of 3 or 4 done in one day (typically pieces of 6 or 7, maybe polishing off 1 or 2) or I might get less than one done. I have to go with the flow and write a lot when I can, do something else when I can't.

I rarely having meetings, and a lot of my email is site related, managing the issues that occur with a busy site like SQLServerCentral, so that counts as work. I like to think that I'm fairly efficient on those tasks, and could get 6-7 hours of work done a day if I could concentrate on just them. I can't, not even close to that length of time though perhaps I get 4 hours of editing and one of writing questions done. If I were move to working on editorials that same day, I could blow a half a day on just one because I wouldn't be able to concentrate. I'd have to find some other work to do. Or take a break.

In any case, I'm not sure I'm that efficient, but I have the flexibility to make up for slow times without anyone noticing. At least as long as I don't have too many slow times in a row. If I do, you just might find this space blank one day.

So let us know how efficient you are at work, or send me a note if you want an anonymous contribution.

Steve Jones


The Voice of the DBA Podcasts

Everyday Jones

The podcast feeds are now available at sqlservercentral.mevio.com to get better bandwidth and maybe a little more exposure :). Comments are definitely appreciated and wanted, and you can get feeds from there.

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Today's podcast features music by Everyday Jones. No relation, but I stumbled on to them and really like the music. Support this great duo at www.everydayjones.com.

I really appreciate and value feedback on the podcasts. Let us know what you like, don't like, or even send in ideas for the show. If you'd like to comment, post something here. The boss will be sure to read it.

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