Being More Productive

  • Ah yes, the dual monitors. My team each got a 2nd monitor about 4 months ago. It works so well comparing databases (to have old and new on different monitors) without using ALT+TAB. My only wish is that the focus would follow my eyes.

  • I'm going to be more general than Wi-Fi. I have to say, straight up, the best tool that has helped me is the Internet.

    These are the biggest problems that have been solved.

    PROBLEM - Get answers on why two servers can't connect to each other.

    BEFORE - Drive to a book store or contact both vendors. Usually, I still couldn't do this as it would 2 AM and I needed an answer before work started at 8 AM.

    NOW - Google it on the net. Find more information than you can review.

    PROBLEM - Start that DB conversion project at 5 PM and be sure it's done by 8 AM.

    BEFORE - Drive into the office every two hours, or stay at the office and find other things to do between checkups.

    NOW - Stay home and keep tabs on progress. You can even have the application send you an email to your cell phone when a problem is found.

    PROBLEM - Keeping up with the fast-paced changes in Technology

    BEFORE - Books, magazine subscriptions, and far off conferences (none in Hawaii).

    NOW -, Books, magazine subscriptions, and far off conferences (hopefully Hawaii).

    -Steven Estep

  • I too think that dual monitors and computers that can run multiple programs has made me more productive. In the same vein, remote desktop and other similar (vnc) programs that let me leverage multiple machines. Now when I start a process that essentially sucks all the cycles off of one machine, I can start other work on another.

  • I would also say that Google has helped me become more productive. I constantly use it to find answers to questions/problems quickly with a very high success rate.

    I don't own a laptop, PDA, or fancy phone, nor do I have remote access to work :w00t:. I actually feel the absence of these has made me more productive, because it forces me to make sure I get things done during regular work hours.

  • Nice reply by Steven. Technology that has improved efficiency:

    Google - for finding scripts, help files, and SQLServerCentral.

    SQLServerCentral - now my first stop before I hit Google.

    Caller ID - Oh! The work I can get done now by ignoring sales calls!

    Wireless - I'm on call so being able to pull out the laptop and free up a citrix session or print job is invaluable to me for my personal time and to the company, as I would be paid 2x-3x more if I drove in.

    Captivate by Macromedia - How many times can a user ask me how to set up a printer? :w00t: I turn on Captivate, record the session, and post it on our internal site, for future 'emergency' calls. Now I can get back to work. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • X1 desktop search. I don't need paper documents any more. Everything is on the computer if I can find it. I started using the Magellan product for DOS almost 20 years ago and still use it even today. Magellan's inventor, Bill Gross, developed X1 for Windows, which does a full search of files and email based on metadata and content. I use the free version, but they have paid versions that expand to other parts of the enterprise. I can be a little lazy and not organize my files/folders and email perfectly, and I can always find exactly the document I want in seconds. I also echo the enthusiasm for Google in a prior post.

  • I guess what's improved my efficiency is remote access technology: the internet,VPNs ,VPDNs, remote desktop. VOIP. Without some of these I would have real problems with systems on three continents (soon to be four).

    the very same technology also improves my work-life balance: it allows me to spend a lot of time away from the office, so I don't have to commute (which, on the UK's transport systems, is very slow and very stressful, particularly because my UK home is nowhere near the office) or stay somewhere near the office to avoid the long commute (which is what I mostly do when working in the office) - and during the winter I can spend about half my time working from my non-UK home (which isn't even in Europe, so commuting to London would be impossible).


  • Headphones for my desk phone are a big help.

    I put them on and people automatically assume Iโ€™m on a โ€œreally import conference callโ€ and leave me alone or run away in fear of getting sucked into a serious problem.

  • E-mail, cell phone and VPN are the top ones I think of first.

    E-mail alerts from servers are definitely part of what keeps me efficient.

    Property of The Thread

    "Nobody knows the age of the human race, but everyone agrees it's old enough to know better." - Anon

  • My biggest productivity improver is VPN.

    I don't use it often, but being able to schedule production roll outs and patches at 10:30 pm on Friday night without driving in to the office is great.


  • I think the technology had a great impact on our productivity, no doubt about this. It was a great leap thanks to Google, Internet, WiFi, Remote Access, USB memory, etc.

    But I think there is something that could be even more important then the technology to provide the next level of productivity leap.

    And it is all HR related.

    Telecommuting, sleep lounges (so you can take a nap when tired), flexible work hours, gym and showers on permises, etc. All the things that are supplemental to the actual work to be done but essential in my opinion to keep us sharp, responsive and entusiastic about what we do. Our main tool is our brain - we have to keep it fresh and happy to be productive.

    The place I work for now allowed us to work from home 2 days a week. For whatever reason some (expletive) decided it is not a good policy.

    Since then I think my productivity went down to 20% - 40% of what it used to be.

    And please note - I am on the development end of the SQL Server so my work load is fairly predictable. For all you poor souls who have to keep the servers up and running and your work hours frequently violate the 9-5 time frame the ability to have highly flexible hours is even more important.

    [font="Verdana"]Nothing is impossible.
    It is just a matter of time and money.[/font]

  • Personally, I have found that none of it makes me more productive and in fact all of it makes me less productive then ever. With every new technology comes a whole new paradigm shift with all new methodologies and higher expectations. At one time I felt there was nothing about personal computing that I did not know or could not do. Now, the learning curve for every new advance is so daunting that just maintaining a modicum of my former proficiency takes up all my time allowing me to get less and less done.

    Ron K.

    "Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand." -- Martin Fowler

  • I personally agree with the thought that "working away from the office" is the greatest improvement. This includes Portable PCs, Remote Access, Wireless and Cells. Guess you can give each a quarter point.

    Nowadays, DBA's have a much richer family life than in the past. Jobs almost cost me my marriage a few times in the past as I was never home. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

  • Oddly enough, vitamins! For some reason, I get distracted easily, by the internet & emails(SSC). I forget which of the 10 to 15 things I was working on last. I also can't seem to focus on work. So, one day I was distressed about it and thought about why my brain was not like it used to be. Then, I started thinking about what could I do to help my brain work better. I thought about what foods are helpful for the brain, fish & vitamins. So I took an extra Vitamin B superComplex and some Ginko-Biloba. It seems to help. Maybe, I am just getting older. I am 39 and will be 40 in August. When do I get my mid life crisis? I am thinking about something fast in red! Are you thinking what I am thinking? Yeah, a new laptop! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I'd have to say the iPhone. The ability to get quick updates from anywhere is amazing. The App store and the various apps that are in there have helped me stay connected to the office and customers. Obviously, this is only useful with technology like Wi-fi, network service, easily accessed email, etc. Basically, this new age of always on communication has made me productive.

    Twitter: @jeremyswright

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