Most productive time to work

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Golden Hour.”

There are a lot of theories, that are trying to increase your productivity and get better results at work. Some are plain silly, and some are really working. People are different and everyone can find something, that works for them.

Some say that the first two hours after waking up are the most productive. And instead of long breakfast, twitter-facebook-instagram checking and an hour long commute to work, you should prepare your to-do list for the next day in advance. This gives you the chance to tackle the most important tasks of the day just in time when you are the most productive.

Another theory based on research and the use of an app called DeskTime suggests that you should take 17-minute breaks for every 52 minutes of work. This can boost your creativity and focus, that are so much needed for work, that requires a lot of concentration. There is a catch – these 17 minutes should be spent away from a computer, not just watching cute cat pictures or youtube.

I use a combination of both to increase my productivity. When I come upon a task, which I do not understand, or which requires precision and concentration, I try to schedule the task in the first three hours of my workday. And for the frequent brakes I use my water-glass as a measurement. Every time when I drink it empty, there is a valid reason to get up from my desk, to walk to the kitchen, to talk to colleagues a bit, to get a new drink and to come back. Some minutes away from a computer can be quite refreshing.

Which theory of most productive time to work do you support?


All It’s Cracked Up to Be

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “All It’s Cracked Up to Be.”

Currently I am working as a systems analyst and one of the things I have to do is presenting new features of the system to the clients. Showing the system may take two forms:

  1. Demo – when one person shows the system for others who are just watching;
  2. User training – when one person demonstrates what to do and others have computers and they repeat the demonstrated scenarios.

With new system features the second kind of showing may become stressful, because there are a lot of unknown parameters:

  • The system may work slower than usual, when numerous people simultaneously push the “Save” button in the test environment;
  • There may be more people in the training than there were in the invitation, so the demonstrators have to give them rights in the system;
  • The system may be slow, if no one has clicked through scenario in that day (SharePoint);
  • The system integrates with other systems, and all these are test versions, so some integrations may stop working;
  • Trainees usually want to test their favorite scenarios, not the suggested ones;
  • etc.

No one can control all this, and no one guarantees, that the training will succeed. However, I have received two pieces of advice from colleagues, that have helped me to  turn the trainings out exactly as I’d hoped.

The first is to click through the scenario before the demonstration, pretending to be like a simple user – with test user, with fewer rights, with some more steps than will be actually shown. This can make the system a bit faster, and gives confidence.

And the other advice is meant to calm me – it doesn’t matter whether I stress about the demonstration or not, because the performance of the system if not affected by my mood. System will do what it was programmed to do. So I can be calm, because stressing out doesn’t make anything better.

Since I have received and used these advice, the demonstrations of the system have gone as well, as was expected.