"Work account" productivity tips



  • I just took an hour to do what I've been meaning to do for ages - I've created a separate "work" user account on my home PC. The idea is, here I won't have any of my games, private projects and other distracting crap. Just a minimal clean environment that I can use when working from home.

    It's pain in the ass to set up, of course. You know all those installers that ask you whether you want to install "for everyone" or just for yourself (default) and you just click through? You'll regret every single one of them. And that's for the programs that even give you the option. Some just install however they want with funky usage permissions (looking at you, sublime text).

    Luckily, most of my work is done in a VM, which is unaffected by all this.

    Anyway, now that I have the basics set up, I've started looking at my internet habits. I'd like to somehow limit my ability to impulsively visit time-wasting sites like reddit, twitter and, well, this one.

    My first thought was to add them to firewall, but it seems Windows firewall can't block by domain. There's the hosts file, but that will screw up my other account. Some kind of nanny software, maybe?

    If someone has some tips, about this or any other aspects of locking down the work environment, please share them here (yes, yes, tip no 1, don't start forum threads you'll have to follow, baby steps people).



  • @cartman82 said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    My first thought was to add them to firewall, but it seems Windows firewall can't block by domain. There's the hosts file, but that will screw up my other account. Some kind of nanny software, maybe?

    This used to be built in Opera itself but it was, of course, removed with the enfuckening. Maybe another browser has it, or a plugin?



  • @coldandtired said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    This used to be built in Opera itself but it was, of course, removed with the enfuckening. Maybe another browser has it, or a plugin?

    Yeah, there is a site blocker for Chrome, which the browser I use.
    But if I am going that route, maybe I should instead find something that limits my time dicking around instead of outright blocking me?

    Dunno, researching.



  • Problem with email profiles in Postbox / Thunderbird solved.

    I ended up moving the profile directory into All Users, and reference it from profiles.ini. Changed IsRelative to 0. Seems to be working for now.

    [General]
    StartWithLastProfile=1
    
    [Profile0]
    Name=default
    IsRelative=0
    Path=C:\Users\All Users\Postbox\Profiles\mcn33e1s.default
    Default=1
    


  • It's a problem I have except I generally just disconnect the Internet altogether. Not super practical if you need SO or online API docs, though.



  • Another interesting thing. Administrator protection / UAC is utterly useless. From my second account I can access everything on my primary, including a bunch of bank passwords and stuff I have in txt files on disk.

    If you want security, you need to go deeper than unprivileged account.



  • @coldandtired said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    It's a problem I have except I generally just disconnect the Internet altogether. Not super practical if you need SO or online API docs, though.

    I am doing all my web work through internet (set up a domain name, access everything through there). Not gonna work for me.


  • BINNED

    @cartman82 said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    From my second account I can access everything on my primary, including a bunch of bank passwords and stuff I have in txt files on disk.

    Default permissions should be to not allow other users access to C:\users\otherUser. Are you sure you haven't fucked around with permissions?



  • @jaloopa said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    Default permissions should be to not allow other users access to C:\users\otherUser. Are you sure you haven't fucked around with permissions?

    Hmm, you're right. It's just the stuff that's outside my other user's home folder that is fucked.



  • @cartman82 said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    nanny software

    Speaking for myself here; if that was restricted to a single browser I would just fire up a different browser where I couldn't install the nanny and continue wtf:ing.

    I presume a laptop from work is out of the question?

    Have you checked whether your IDE has a "distraction-free mode" (I believe Sublime does, but I can't remember what your opinions have been of your mettlee's use of Sublime)?



  • @cartman82 said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    I just took an hour to do what I've been meaning to do for ages - I've created a separate "work" user account on my home PC. The idea is, here I won't have any of my games, private projects and other distracting crap. Just a minimal clean environment that I can use when working from home.

    I've been thinking about doing the same for a long time now, for similar reasons.
    Does your company have an internal VPN? If not, it could be a good idea to create one, and just connect to your work PC instead of duplicating it all to your local PC. That way further access controls, such as IP-based restrictions in .htaccess files, automatically let you through, without having to whitelist your home IP (and remembering to change it everywhere later). It also means there's only one software installation/license being used, with one consistent set of extensions, configuration, and key mappings...

    @cartman82 said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    Anyway, now that I have the basics set up, I've started looking at my internet habits. I'd like to somehow limit my ability to impulsively visit time-wasting sites like reddit, twitter and, well, this one.
    My first thought was to add them to firewall, but it seems Windows firewall can't block by domain. There's the hosts file, but that will screw up my other account. Some kind of nanny software, maybe?

    As a side-effect of the VPN, you can ask your network admin to install this nanny software on the network, and solve this problem for all your coworkers. :trollface:

    @cartman82 said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    Another interesting thing. Administrator protection / UAC is utterly useless. From my second account I can access everything on my primary, including a bunch of bank passwords and stuff I have in txt files on disk.

    If you want security, you need to go deeper than unprivileged account.

    Yeah, you need ACLs to handle that better.


  • BINNED

    @cartman82 said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    There's the hosts file, but that will screw up my other account

    Login script that runs as admin and swaps the hosts file out for one of two files you have stored somewhere else



  • @mikael_svahnberg said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    I presume a laptop from work is out of the question?

    Second user account has already largely fixed the issue with desktop apps and games, which is what work laptop would help with.

    The problem now is how do I stop myself dicking online instead of working.

    Have you checked whether your IDE has a "distraction-free mode" (I believe Sublime does, but I can't remember what your opinions have been of your mettlee's use of Sublime)?

    I don't think that would work for me. I need my google, intellisense and other stuff.



  • @dcoder said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    I've been thinking about doing the same for a long time now, for similar reasons.
    Does your company have an internal VPN? If not, it could be a good idea to create one, and just connect to your work PC instead of duplicating it all to your local PC. That way further access controls, such as IP-based restrictions in .htaccess files, automatically let you through, without having to whitelist your home IP (and remembering to change it everywhere later). It also means there's only one software installation/license being used, with one consistent set of extensions, configuration, and key mappings...

    I can do that with teamviewer now, but won't it be annoying to work with that 100+ ms delay for everything you do? I can do simple stuff while remoting, but I couldn't work whole day like that.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @cartman82 said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    The problem now is how do I stop myself dicking online instead of working.

    Discipline. I find that if I open my IDE and think “I am now working” then I can get on with stuff fairly well. And without discipline, you'll be spending your time thinking about how to work around the blocks you put in place, which is just ridiculous.

    The hard part is avoiding the siren call of the really good coffee I've got in the kitchen… ;)



  • @jaloopa said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    Login script that runs as admin and swaps the hosts file out for one of two files you have stored somewhere else

    And once I have those convenient scripts set up, it'd be so easy to quickly trigger them to check something on twitter while waiting for my build server to restart... :)



  • @dkf said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    Discipline. I find that if I open my IDE and think “I am now working” then I can get on with stuff fairly well. And without discipline, you'll be spending your time thinking about how to work around the blocks you put in place, which is just ridiculous.

    The idea is that checking the news or social feeds is so much more fun and easier than dealing with buggy code, the brain will naturally want to do the former more than the latter.

    But if you put annoying little obstacles in place, the fun stuff becomes less fun and immediate. As the gap between these two activities is lowered, the brain is less tempted to procrastinate and it's easier to remain focused on the task at hand.

    That's the theory at least.


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    @cartman82 Try Pomodoro? Sometimes having the little box of "I can check facebook, but only for 5m, and then back to work" can help. A lot of the time denying urges in the brain leads to them coming back stronger, though obviously this is less true for things like "check facebook" than things like "eat food".



  • @yamikuronue said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    @cartman82 Try Pomodoro? Sometimes having the little box of "I can check facebook, but only for 5m, and then back to work" can help. A lot of the time denying urges in the brain leads to them coming back stronger, though obviously this is less true for things like "check facebook" than things like "eat food".

    I actually did try it a few weeks ago.

    It helps a bit when I am feeling unproductive. However, it's doubly annoying when I DO get into work and am deep in thought, and that stupid timer keeps interrupting me.

    I actually got a physical egg timer, so I might give it another try with that.



  • To the extent possible....move all of the "distracting stuff" into its own VM....then keep that VM in an off state. You then have to put up with the overhead rather than a quick peek....


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    @cartman82 Yeah, I had that problem too. I ended up deciding if I was in flow, I could ignore the timer instead of resetting it, and keep going. But then I stopped using it altogether. So... YMMV



  • 0_1504865096577_21e4fed9-50a8-43c8-b2b8-0f7b503c0545-image.png

    Trying this thing called WasteNoTime.

    Sorry, WTDWTF :)



  • With apologies to W.C. Fields

    I spent half my time on Reddit, WTDWTF and Facebook. The other half I wasted.



  • @cartman82 said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    including a bunch of bank passwords and stuff I have in txt files on disk.

    :crazy:

    Ever heard of KeepAss?



  • @cartman82 said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    Hmm, you're right. It's just the stuff that's outside my other user's home folder that is fucked.

    Files that belong to you go in your user's folder.

    People who tell you to do work in like c:\shitty_open_source_program_made_by_idiots\ are giving you shitty wrong and bad advice. You see this sometimes from open source-y morons, but also from elderly people who are still used to working in DOS.



  • @cartman82 said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    The problem now is how do I stop myself dicking online instead of working.

    I'm not even sure why you seem to think technology can help you with this problem.

    "If only I had a treadmill with more features, I could really exercise and get in shape..."



  • @blakeyrat said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    @cartman82 said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    The problem now is how do I stop myself dicking online instead of working.

    I'm not even sure why you seem to think technology can help you with this problem.

    "If only I had a treadmill with more features, I could really exercise and get in shape..."

    Yeah, I agree with this. Distractions happen to me all the time, but the one thing that motivates me is the threat of unemployment if I let it get out of hand. You can install all kinds of stuff that forces you to work, except if you need that level of force to do it, it's a bandaid on a bigger problem.

    When it comes to those tricky bugs and tasks that require a lot of thought, I typically do it in waves. Go into a debugging juggernaut trying to get to the bottom of it. If at the end, you haven't found anything, take a break. Let your brain cells regroup. You know how sometimes your best ideas happen on the can or in the shower? Same thing has occurred to me as I watch cat videos. After a few minutes of dicking around get back and see if you can look at the issue at hand with a fresher perspective.

    I love it when I'm on a roll and in the zone making great productive progress on a new feature or whatever, but I empathize with the feeling you get when there's a crappy bug that's no fun to track down. The worst is when it's a relatively low priority issue, but you're working on it because that's all that's left, when you started you thought it was going to be a half-hour task but discovered too late it's a bear, and you want to get it done before the day's over so you can move onto better things tomorrow. Your mind is going to wander, whether you have access to distractions or not. Peter Gibbons says it best: "I kinda space out." These kinds of problems can totally wear you out, so just take it in chunks and don't let them result in burnout.



  • @blakeyrat said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    who are still used to working in DOS.

    Or just constrained by applications with the 255 char path length :(



  • It's 5 o clock, so my restriction is up!

    @zecc said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    Ever heard of KeepAss?

    Just inertia I guess, I'll give it a try.



  • @blakeyrat said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    Files that belong to you go in your user's folder.
    People who tell you to do work in like c:\shitty_open_source_program_made_by_idiots\ are giving you shitty wrong and bad advice. You see this sometimes from open source-y morons, but also from elderly people who are still used to working in DOS.

    If only microsoft didn't pick the most awkward layout possible for people who want to mess with their files through console or file managers...

    Also, I have like 7 HDD-s with different stuff, they ain't all going into my user folder.


  • And then the murders began.

    @blakeyrat said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    Files that belong to you go in your user's folder.
    People who tell you to do work in like c:\shitty_open_source_program_made_by_idiots\ are giving you shitty wrong and bad advice. You see this sometimes from open source-y morons, but also from elderly people who are still used to working in DOS.

    Or from people who have Folder Redirection turned on. Visual Studio's default project location (under My Documents) is sane in most instances, but when Folder Redirection is turned on, meaning that My Documents really lives out on the network, it becomes pretty unbearable to use.



  • @blakeyrat said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    I'm not even sure why you seem to think technology can help you with this problem.
    "If only I had a treadmill with more features, I could really exercise and get in shape..."

    You're saying the treadmill that looks into a brick wall will be used just as often as a treadmill that has a TV with your favorite show playing in front of it?

    I don't think so.

    My system is already paying dividends. That chrome extension totally blocked me from checking twitter all the time. I wanted to play some video game during the post-lunch lull, but there were no games available. So I just went back to work.

    As a consequence, I did a decent amount of work today and I don't feel like I have to work into the night to build up my 8 hours of work time.



  • @cartman82 said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    The problem now is how do I stop myself dicking online instead of working.

    I think what you are looking for is called "self-control" :man_shrugging_tone1:

    Also, this Chrome extension properly named: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/self-control/ncaaipdfhdijmfdfmeoagmogddhkfdec?hl=en



  • @cartman82 said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    for people who want to mess with their files through console

    Shift-right-click any folder, pick "open command window here". They could not make it easier.

    @cartman82 said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    or file managers...

    If a "file manager" doesn't work with a user folder, then it's pretty shitty at managing files isn't it?

    @cartman82 said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    Also, I have like 7 HDD-s with different stuff, they ain't all going into my user folder.

    That's a legit concern.

    @cartman82 said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    You're saying the treadmill that looks into a brick wall will be used just as often as a treadmill that has a TV with your favorite show playing in front of it?
    I don't think so.

    I'm saying the treadmill isn't going to help you at all unless you already want to pursue the goal, in which case you may buy the treadmill. But if you buy the treadmill without the commitment, you're just throwing money in the trash.

    If you're going to exercise, you're going to exercise whether or not the treadmill has a TV on it. If you're going to write that novel, you're going to write it whether or not your text editor has a "distraction-free" mode. Etc.

    @timebandit said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    Also, this Chrome extension properly named: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/self-control/ncaaipdfhdijmfdfmeoagmogddhkfdec?hl=en

    Yes I love the ncaaipdfhdijmfdfmeoagmogddhkfdec extension.



  • @blakeyrat said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    @timebandit said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    Also, this Chrome extension properly named: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/self-control/ncaaipdfhdijmfdfmeoagmogddhkfdec?hl=en

    Yes I love the ncaaipdfhdijmfdfmeoagmogddhkfdec extension.

    Can't you read English you fuckin idiot ??? it says right there in the link "self-control" </blakeyrant>



  • @cartman82 said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    the treadmill that looks into a brick wall will be used just as often as a treadmill that has a...

    ...3d hologram of a naked person subjectively great looking and of the appropriate gender appearing just out of reach....



  • @cartman82 said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    My first thought was to add them to firewall, but it seems Windows firewall can't block by domain. There's the hosts file, but that will screw up my other account. Some kind of nanny software, maybe?

    It can't block by domain but it can block by user and destination IP address.



  • @blakeyrat said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    I'm saying the treadmill isn't going to help you at all unless you already want to pursue the goal, in which case you may buy the treadmill. But if you buy the treadmill without the commitment, you're just throwing money in the trash.
    If you're going to exercise, you're going to exercise whether or not the treadmill has a TV on it. If you're going to write that novel, you're going to write it whether or not your text editor has a "distraction-free" mode. Etc.

    And I am saying, if you're going on a diet, it helps if you don't have a fridge full of food near you.



  • @cartman82 said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    Also, I have like 7 HDD-s with different stuff, they ain't all going into my user folder.

    I recently configured Windows to map my additional drives to a folder instead of a drive letter, unix-style, that way it applies the permissions from the container folder as expected.
    But that container folder is not part of my user folder, so I guess I'm still :doing_it_wrong:, in a more roundabout way.



  • Includes

    0_1505155400086_e10e6e67-1ed7-4761-9e57-ab81452a3d67-image.png



  • @cartman82 said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    My first thought was to add them to firewall, but it seems Windows firewall can't block by domain. There's the hosts file, but that will screw up my other account. Some kind of nanny software, maybe?

    Something like this would probably work.

    function FindProxyForURL(url, host) {
        // thedailywtf.com is a :barrier: to productivity...
        if (shExpMatch(host, "*.thedailywtf.com"))
        {
            return "PROXY 127.0.0.1";
        }
    
        return "DIRECT";
    }
    

    edit: okay, this will definitely not work using the file:/// URI scheme to load the PAC file; unless you already have an HTTP server that you can use to host the PAC file, you'd need to install one and it's probably not worth it just to host that file. I have no idea why there's such a stupid limitation, and I saw at least one SO post that said "sure, file:/// URIs will work", and I was pretty sure that it had worked when I had tried it before, so...

    edit edit: it might work if you use file:// instead.



  • @anotherusername said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    function FindProxyForURL(url, host) {
        // thedailywtf.com is a :barrier: to productivity...
        if (shExpMatch(host, "*.thedailywtf.com"))
        {
            return "PROXY 127.0.0.1";
        }
    
        return "DIRECT";
    }
    

    You would need to run an HTTP server to do that though and then switch out the config whenever you switch users... you'd have to hook up a scheduled task to user login and then... maybe use WebDAV and a cURL PUT request to... oh, lord, who am I kidding. A lot of our regulars would do that just for the hell of it.



  • @heterodox no, the whole point of setting it to proxy 127.0.0.1 is that it won't work. Everything else is set DIRECT and works normally.



  • @anotherusername said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    @heterodox no, the whole point of setting it to proxy 127.0.0.1 is that it won't work. Everything else is set DIRECT and works normally.

    Pray tell, how does the browser find the configuration file with the JavaScript you posted above? Do you know what you're talking about?



  • @heterodox in the network configuration. The configuration script doesn't have to be on a web server -- it can be an ordinary file; the file:/// URI scheme should work just fine.

    0_1505156869617_f2d2aa8e-70d0-4ca9-be22-820389042c4d-image.png

    And sure, you could turn it off easily enough, but the whole point is that it'd be inconvenient enough to keep you honest.



  • @dkf said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    The hard part is avoiding the siren call of the really good coffee I've got in the kitchen…

    That's easy. Just finish the pot and don't brew another one...



  • @thecpuwizard said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    Or just constrained by applications with the 255 char path length

    windef.h:
    #define MAX_PATH 260



  • @anotherusername said in "Work account" productivity tips:

    @heterodox in the network configuration. The configuration script doesn't have to be on a web server -- it can be an ordinary file; the file:/// URI scheme should work just fine.

    That won't work. Have you tried it?



  • I like Maddox's take on this. Sorry but it's a FB post.

    https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1691756700834512&id=275967759080087



  • @mikehurley Here's a screenshot:
    0_1505158533572_93119ca7-58b3-4862-a3ac-dd59c1dee216-image.png


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