Like many of you, I work in a fast-paced environment, with a small team, that demands your attention each and every hour of the workday (And sometimes outside of the workday as well).
Over my career, I noticed that I am most productive at 2 times of day – before 8AM, and after 9PM. Hint: One of these is helpful to a social life and your health, the other is not. I wondered why I wasn’t being more productive, until I read Time Management for System Administrators (Affiliate link) by Thomas Limoncelli.
So I tried that. Simply by coming in as early as I could, after three weeks I have come to the conclusion that this is one of the simplest things one can do to improve the amount of work that they can do, interruption free.
I also recommend turning your phone off, or sending all but your boss to voicemail. While some members of your organization might be upset that you are not answering, most will be understanding, because you are actually doing your job. As long as you continue to provide high-quality work and service to your colleagues and clients, most will be perfectly fine with you ignoring them for the first hour or two of the day.
Just ensure that after you’ve accomplished your work, you get back to them promptly – an ignored customer (or colleague) is a very unhappy one, and can ruin the entire flow of work. Try it! Be as productive as you can be, without any of the drag. Your brain and your workload will thank you.
Now, I mentioned small teams specifically in the first paragraph. With larger organizations, it can sometimes be easier to deflect things that can wait – have them open a helpdesk ticket, have them talk to another developer, etc. For smaller teams (particularly teams of one!), this can be difficult. However, do not lose all hope! The solution is to train your users. I’ll be covering that topic more over the next few weeks, including some tactics that have worked, as well as the ones that haven’t.
Until next time,
Featured Image is by Kalyan Chakravarthy, available on Flickr under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license.