The Usual Tech Ramblings

Productivity and blah...

Blah… that’s kinda how I feel at the moment. Not sure why. I’m unmotivated at work, and I get this feeling my productivity is slipping. I’m finding myself snipping a little more at people I work with because of stupid mistakes they make. Usually I’d joke about it, but this is different. What’s weird is that it’s not like I’m not getting stuff done.

Today was a little different, I really didn’t feel up to a huge amount of work, so took care of some niggling projects that I took upon myself to do. For example, there has been an open development request for auditing of user changes on our production services. This is, and always has been, something that should be there. But it’s not new functionality, and it’s not fixing a bug. This is more of an internal thing, and as most people know, internal projects always take the back burner over customer requests. So basically summarized, the open request is to add tracking of who changed what, on what user, and when. Fairly simply security auditing stuff. The current setup records who changed the record, and when, not what, just when. It also doesn’t keep a history, so a minor flaw there. Now this is where things get stupid. Our helpdesk staff cannot see who last modifed the user record. This in itself is retarded, I’m sure it’d take a developer all of 2 minutes to modify the current user management screen to add a “last modifed by:” field, and load the data, but nope.

Anyway, I digress slightly. So for them to find out who modified a record, they have to come see me and ask. This generally isn’t too bad, it’s a 2 second query. The problem is, it takes 30 seconds to connect to the SQL server, another 10 seconds loading the query window, and the few seconds to execute the query. Totally about a minute to find out 1 item. I do it on an almost daily basis, and in performing the operating, I get distracted from whatever project I was working on (see comment about snipping a little higher up), and I generally get quite frustrated. I know it’s not the helpdesk tech’s fault that they don’t have access to the information, it just gets under my skin that our developers aren’t fixing the issue for us.

I took about an hour of my day today, I dedicated it to resolving the above issue. Very simply web interface. So simply, all you need to do is type in the user id of the user, and hit go. This then talks to the SQL server, finds the user information, and displays it. I even went so far as to allow multiple options by using a , seperated list of values. Now the helpdesk don’t need to me try and figure out who modifed what, and when. So you see, it has been productive today, or at least in that regard.

So I decided to spent the better part of the afternoon looking at todo management. I honestly say, I suck at it. At any one time, I probably have a list longer than both my arms. So I should probably start better management of them. Especially as I’ve noticed my memory seems to slip from time to time. Better management of my time is what I need. A better outlook on what I have on my plate of things to do. So I start looking around, and somehow manage to stumble across David Seah’s blog (he’s done some work with EA, and other games over the years). He has a series called “The Printable CEO (tm) Series”.

David’s series covers a handful of novel ideas on time management, project tracking, and the likes. He also has a little section on productivity. This is the section that caught my eye. Mostly because of his artical on Adult-Onset Productivity Responsibility Syndrome. Now he comments later on in the article (well in the comments) that his self-diagnosis is in jest, however some of the stuff he goes over seems to settle quiet well with myself as well. He covers little things like feeling inadequete, feeling left out, feeling behind. It’s well worth a read, along with his other stuff on productivity.

After reading his entry, I came to realize some things:

  • I seem to procrastinate quite a bit. For example, I’ve had a personal project sitting on the back burner for ages. Purely because I can do the tasks the application was/is meant to do manually, it’s just time consuming.
  • I work much better under pressure. If I have a deadline, and a lot of work, I get stuff done.
  • I have a terrible memory. Don’t stop me in the hallway, and ask me about a project, chances are, I was going somewhere, and I’m likely to have just forgotten what I was doing, and now my whole task has been blown.
  • I have a terrible memory… Yes I said it twice. Email me the task. I usually ask you to anyway, that way it’ll get done, otherwise I will most likely forget.
  • I’m terrible at time management. Give me a deadline for something, I will get it done by then. If you want to review it, make sure you tell me, otherwise I will work on the deadline.

So this rambling bundle of blithering actually started off with a plan in my head, and about the 3rd line in, it went to rambling. This also goes well with other things I’ve noticed. I’m a terrible writer… I usually have some kind of plan, but about 3 lines in, the plan is gone, and I start to ramble… so on that note, I’m closing this one up, and trying again at some other point in time.