Productivity is a harsh mistress



  • (This post is inspired by the Trains thread, that is, from the parts about productivity while traveling.)

    I find I lately spend lots of money on coffee in a bar just between my office and my home, because I work on my side projects there. What's amazing, it's not quite a quiet place. It's got loud music. It's got its own rush hours. I've got a Thinkpad T420 with the shittiest screen Lenovo could give it (it could be worse: mine is the 1600×900 version), the wifi is miserable (sometimes I need to tether my phone's connection) and the seats and tables there are nowhere near ergonomic.

    But it's here that I can get into flow relatively fast and just hack away. I don't know why. Maybe there's a WTF lurking somewhere. Maybe it's because it's a noisy place which keeps me from totally relaxing. Maybe it's the buzz of this crowd of people around, none of whom gives a shit about me. Anyway, I have discovered this property of noisy crowded places several years ago, and it never failed me since.

    At home, I have a nice desk and a 27" display. At home, I can adjust lighting and music. And I just can't concentrate. I usually resort to washing dishes, perpetually making coffee, reading TDWTF, or cuddling one of my cats.

    I'm telling about this because I feel I am the :wtf: because I can't set me up a home office I can easily get into the working mood in (and because my grammar sometimes is a :wtf:).

    What are your observations? Where/when do you get into the flow most easily? What are your suggestions on how to reduce the distractions?


  • mod

    I set up a home office as well... I'm looking into taking my tablet to a coffee shop to get writing done on my novel. It just won't come at home, too many distractions from knowing that I could do something "real quick".



  • @wft said:

    I've got a Thinkpad T420 with the shittiest screen Lenovo could give it (it could be worse:

    What's worse than "shittiest"?



  • An AUO panel with 1366×768 resolution. It's even shittier.

    There are projects of different rate of success of retrofitting better panels onto a T420, because the machine otherwise is good. I'm just pondering the options which won't require me to replace much of the BIOS and/or sacrifice the DisplayPort port.



  • @Yamikuronue said:

    It just won't come at home, too many distractions from knowing that I could do something "real quick".

    At home, there's also the problem (OK, maybe this is a poor choice of words) of significant other and/or kids stealing attention (rightfully).

    Linus Torvalds manages by having a large house with a dedicated room for just that: work. I can't imagine having a large office in my lifetime, but I'm no Linus either.



  • @wft said:

    An AUO panel with 1366×768 resolution. It's even shittier.

    What @blakeyrat means is that if something is the shittiest, that's as shitty as it can be, and thus something cannot be worse (shittier).
    However he also knows full well what hyperbole is.

    INB4: Shoulder aliens, telepathy.



  • @wft said:

    Linus Torvalds manages by having a large house with a dedicated room for just that: work

    Wouldn't work for me, because it's at home. I work better in the office, and so keep working from home (during the working day) to a minimum.


  • mod

    @wft said:

    a dedicated room for just that: work.

    I have a room dedicated half to crafts and half to working/writing. It's got computer stuff and craft stuff, though the craft stuff overtakes the computer stuff because it's bulkier. I can make a pot of tea, grab some cookies, and shut the door....

    and think about all the things going on outside that door while I'm trapped in here.



  • This quote is about „shittier than the shittiest”:

    „Just when we were thinking we had got to the very bottom, we heard knocking from below.”



  • Cthulhu! Did you get out of your cage, again?



  • I think it all boils down to the person. I'm pretty good at tuning out the outside world when I sit down and focus (much to my wife's frequent chagrin).

    I remember something Isaac Asimov wrote about his childhood, where his parents ran a candy store (and they lived upstairs or something). He used to do his homework in the store, which was fully of noise and distractions (I think they were also near train tracks or something) and this taught him to be able to concentrate in such an environment to the point where he preferred it to a quiet, comfortable setting.



  • @loopback0 said:

    What @blakeyrat means is that if something is the shittiest, that's as shitty as it can be, and thus something cannot be worse (shittier).

    Except he didn't say the shittiest of ALL, he said the shittiest of what Lenovo could give... so there is still some shitty non-lenovo screen wiggle room to be worse.

    yes I am going to be pedantic about how shitty it can get.



  • Oh I know that.

    I thought it was clear from the second sentence of my post I wasn't agreeing with Mr Rat.



  • I just made the mistake of reading the whole topic and then replying to the last relevant part of that conversation rather than just replying immediately to blakeyrat's post without reading farther.


  • sockdevs

    @darkmatter said:

    reading faurther

    FTFY





  • @darkmatter said:

    further

    No, farther, as in a physical distance down the page, farther. If i had meant reading further into it or something like that... that would be different.

    Maybe it could be argued that reading a physical distance farther down the page isn't physical-distance-y enough?

    edit - appears we're both right according to this: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/further-versus-farther

    Sometimes the quick and dirty tip doesn't work because it's hard to decide whether you're talking about physical distance. For example, Lisa asked about the sentence “I'm further along in my book than you are in yours.” You could think of it as a physical distance through the pages and use “farther,” or as a figurative distance through the story and use “further.”

  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    Not to bring this topic back on track but let's try to bring this topic back on track.

    For studying I also need to leave the house. I believe the main problem with productivity is background noise or a nice chair, it is:

    @wft said:

    I usually resort to washing dishes, perpetually making coffee, reading TDWTF, or cuddling one of my cats.

    you having things you could do. Things that are not work. Things you would not do otherwise (besides cuddling the cats since you should do that 24/7) get pushed to the foreground.

    If you feel at home at work, you can have the same thing happen. Talk to Carol, make some coffee, check out the hot woman / man over at sales. There is so much stuff you COULD do.
    At the bar you don't really have anything to do in your close vincinity. So your mind is not occupied with trying to focus on one thing because there is one thing only.

    I am still looking for the best place to study in this town, btw. I had a really good spot where I lived before but I kinda lost it.

    TL;DR <!-- because you couldn't focus on this wall of text -->:
    Places where you have nothing to do are usually good for productivity. Thats why a lot of places where you COULD work from home have you come to work (as far as I can grasp it).

    Filed Under: Once again, I think my rambling stopped making sense halfway through



  • Probably. I remember some of my productive days were spent riding a bus (strange as it seems, trains don't quite work that way), or even a car in passenger seat (of course). I did not have much else to do.



  • @boomzilla said:

    (much to my wife's frequent chagrin)

    Yeah, I feel you. Mine still has to learn never to talk to me while I have a screen to my face, be it a TV, a computer, a phone or a Tamagotchi.

    JFR



  • @Kuro said:

    (besides cuddling the cats since you should do that 24/7)

    Objection sir, there's also a timeslot for cuddling my girlfriend.



  • Except—as you pointed out—further already has a different meaning in that context, that farther cannot mean. So if you're going to be prescriptive, that should be the prescription: if you say reading further, you are talking figuratively, about the nature of the reading, and if you say reading farther, you are talking literally, about the amount of reading.



  • @wft said:

    I usually resort to ... cuddling one of my cats.

    *Bites wft's ankles out of envy*

    My cat is the family pet so when I left home she stayed with my parents and I hardly ever see her.



  • My productivity inevitably seems to go in cycles. Normal, high, low, absolute zero for a while, then normal again, etc. And right now I'm at the "zero" phase. I have an exam tomorrow, a really easy one. Yet I have probably gotten about 10 minutes of real work done in the last 3 days :expressionless:.



  • My productivity at home is very very very low. I find myself fidgeting whenever I have to sit down and do stuff. Moving from place to place, getting up and grabbing a cup of coffe, putting on music, changing background music because I don't like it, casually opening up a Youtube tab with the latest subscription videos and clicking on one of them, back to looking at work, getting up again because I just finished the cup of coffe and need to clean it out for another one, yada yada...

    At work I am fully able to concentrate with just headphones. It's almost magical. I find it hard to focus when there's background noise on, but loud background music does WONDERS for my focus. I can go on for several hours until I realize how much time it's passed.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @Eldelshell said:

    JFR

    Jeffed for Reasons?



  • Just For Reference



  • @wft said:

    What are your observations? Where/when do you get into the flow most easily? What are your suggestions on how to reduce the distractions?

    For me, first and foremost I have to be well-rested and alert. If I'm tired I have no focus at all.

    Then, old-school thrash metal also helps: Metallica, Megadeth, Testament, Pantera, Sepultura, Laaz Rockit, Exodus, Overkill, Kreator, etc. Anything loud and fast. My theory is the high beats per minute has the same effect as those binaural beats tracks which supposedly help with memory and concentration and stuff.


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