Work-Life Week 2 & 3 Log

And here it goes again, it’s Deepawali day (India’s biggest festival, also called festival of lights), and I finally managed to carve out time to log the last stage of my experiment.

I’d be brief about the observation part as the sound pollution is getting on my nerves rather fast. The last two weeks were hectic, from every front, and the results were almost-wonderful, I worked like crazy, had fun crazier, and my family life wasn’t better… like ever.

I managed to take 3 days easy, for my personal use, out of 11 – which is not bad. Managed to finish off major code piece, and was able to travel too (official though ;-)) without letting the day-job’s responsibilities suffer.

The distribution was as follows:

Hit:
– Productivity up by 4% W/W
– Productivity up by 3% overall
– Physical activity up by 8% by dint of taking the walk route to the office
– Spent 20% time with family (unfair, as a lot of it was due to festivals during last 2 weeks)
– I was able to skip more un-useful meetings, and it didn’t hurt

Miss:
– (massive) had to drop out of the coursera courses
– missed hackerrank 101 totally, as I was traveling (couldn’t do much)
– Productivity, though increased, didn’t translate in quality code as much as I’d have liked it to
– Didn’t write enough (this blog is just another proof)
– Daily walk to the office, was used sometimes as an excuse to skip a round or two of work-out

Same-old:
– Yoga practice resumed, however, urge to discontinue is cropping up again 😦 I hope I’d be able to overcome it
– LoC produced remained roughly the same over the weeks, it also means that priorities were a bit off
– Jogging, still on the shelf due to fear of stray dogs in the morning hours of Indian streets (esp. during Monsoons ;-))

General inference would be that when I was busy like a dog, I used to manage time better, however, it did take a toll on my body-clock. This’ll mean that what I gained in a particular week, lost on some other front during the next. It’s a precarious balance to keep… This same thing can be extended to life, weeks turn into months or years, or even decades, the choice is ours to make – what we wish to gain, and are ready to trade in i.e.

What I loved the most during these four weeks? Well, when I solved a tricky problem, when I read something that I really wanted to, when I was with the one I love etc. the list has one commonality – you can call it work, life or whatever, it ultimately ends up with you. Work becomes life when you aren’t careful, vice versa for life. Less said, the better, but what we need to know is that experiences need to be transformed into life lessons almost instantaneously in this digital age, otherwise, everything flies.

To life! Happy Deepawali!

PS:

Shameful attack on Canadian parliament condemned in the strongest possible words.

Sarita Devi’s ban from IBA condemned, it’s unfortunate, ill-timed, and awfully highhanded to say the least.

Congress party, left/left-of-centre media’s critiques and other anti-BJP parties’ routinely puerile attacks on anything that the Indian PM does, are losing their headline value, they need to reinvent on the ground to be of any relevance, words aren’t making them look any better than the election results have shown during last 6 months.

Work-Life Week 1 Log

Things are getting increasingly difficult, especially the part where I have to jot down time spent on each of the categories and then feed it into the erratic database schema, which by the way looks like having a lot of scope for redesign. There were many pluses and minuses, and same-old kind of stuff during last 7-8 days. Let’s take a glimpse on hits and misses:

Hit:

  • Productivity up by 17% day over day
  • Physical activity up 6%
  • 172 LoC up for 5-day WoW comparison
  • Finished one book, 200+ pages, non fiction
  • Spent 9% of time purely with family, up 1% from week 0
  • Less time spent on ideation, down to 12% of total workbench time, doesn’t include meetings

Miss:

  • Couldn’t submit coursera homework in time despite wanting to do so
  • Preparation for hackerrank 101 hack September ’14 is almost nil, indicating that there’s still much scope on planning the hits
  • Sleep time reduced to 5 h 18 m, down 42 minutes from week 0 (again indicating that much can be improved)
  • Looking at the above, there can be clear rift between productivity and efficiency, what I think is gained in productivity, can be stealing time from other activities, let’s look ahead towards week 2

Same old:

  • Necessary waste like office meetings were not less than week 0, in fact they increased both in numbers, odd hours of occurrence, and duration
  • 13 No.s, 1 full day event, 5 late night tele/video conferences of 1+ hour duration, here the hits look more glorious, and misses less glaring 🙂
  • Sluggish pace of paper trail, as ever, may be due to programmer’s block (just 3 papers this week, down 1 from week 0)
  • Couldn’t restart Yoga practice that was halted due to an injury [red flag]

U2’s latest album was distributed free of charge via iTunes, many didn’t like it, I definitely did, those who are calling it a marketing disaster, are wrong, don’t ask me why.

India’s MangalYaan (Mars-Craft) successfully entered Martian orbit, making India the first country to have achieved this feat in first attempt, as much as it’s a proud moment for every Indian, it’s the moment of introspection for the skeptics and critics of India’s space ambitions alike. The world would do better to treat Indian science’s prowess with that bit more of respect. If they think the time is not yet arrived, well, just you wait!

Work-Life Week 0 Log

Parameters & methods defined, expectations set and experiment started.

We’re going to record activities under categories namely ‘core’ work (I program, but to keep it generic, we’ll call it ‘core’), ‘ancillary’ work (anything that can be clubbed as necessary part of job that helps in keeping things tidy), ‘life’ (family related activities, quality time), ‘fitness’ (should be a part of life itself, however, in our world, it’s a big achievement to carve out time for physical well being, so we’ll treat it special), waste-n (‘n’ for necessary), waste-v (‘v’ for voluntary).

Methodology to log time is a mix of old world with high tech. – simple pocket diary with the help of apps like time-keeper on machine (mac/pc) or stop-watch on cellular phone at the end of each hour. At the end of each day, all the time logged under respective heads is simply populated to the database for trending in the long run.

Later we’ll try to have some form of aggregation built up from hour to day to week, and possibly to the month for a particle period of day for comparative analysis.

First few days have been eye openers to say the least, in a way, they’ve broken lot of notions regarding our time utilisation patterns. At times I’ve been pleasantly surprised too regarding my focus towards core, sometimes I found what and how bad a programmer’s block can be (numbers would take some time to come, as I don’t know yet which category the effort towards it would go to 😉 ) – worst part is that last 4 days haven’t crossed 90 minutes of fitness in total, ouch! – now the question is, would it not be recalibration of activities if I try to rectify the normal schedule by this feedback mechanism.

Interesting thing building up I’d say.

To life!

Work-Life

After struggling with this question (rather an alien one to me personally) of work vs. life, I’ve decided to fathom how long typical “work” life lasts every day, thinking about “life” would make that much sense afterwards. So far there’s not been many quantifiable metrics published that fits my case – so I thought this’ll be one interesting thing to measure.

I’ll be measuring the total time I spend each day on core “work”, “life”, chores, necessary waste, survival, junk and many more such categories for the next 30 days.

The major challenge would be to not get swayed by the public nature of this study as well as not let the temptation to tinker the data just to make it look more palatable/politically correct (if you will) get better of me 🙂

But that’s where my training as a researcher would hold me good I reckon!

More on this in the coming days.

Our XYZ is Equivalent to Principal in Other Companies…

How many of us have heard this, and fumed over… In one breath, people generalise the myth that Indians are after designations more than any other geography, in the next, no one wants to play out of the box and start talking about pure talent (and designation + pay being just the aftereffects thereof.)

Another problem. Many in India do receive calls from one of those recruiting agencies for openings with their ex-employer(s), reckon that happens more due to bad master data management than to their eagerness to land the candidate in correct spot.

Another very interesting trend these days, India is also seeing companies trying to scale down/hardball the candidates’ prospective fitment to the ‘roles’ (again, a misnomer) etc., there have been instances of companies (won’t name them here) creating phoney/placeholder positions, just to ensure that they don’t have to pay the incumbent the next grade. HR job (that follows, like appraisals etc.) becomes that less painful I guess.

Above, with a mix of misplaced (at times) aspirations & priorities of candidates and employers respectively, are creating slippery situation in job market where staying with an employer for more than a couple of years is seen as disadvantage, and getting the next grade while switching jobs has become the paramount challenge – not proving the might. Merit (in its real sense) has taken a back seat. It all depends now on how alert you are, and how well you can negotiate.

Wonder if the days of minimum/standard wages for formal sectors have yet arrived in India.

Funniest part is when a recruiter (who has cold called a passive candidate in the first place, and persuaded them to at least take up an ‘exploratory’ discussion,) asks before hanging up “BTW, why do you want to make this switch?”

Disclaimer: Above has been collated after talking to many acquaintances about the topic and is merely a micro report on may be one aspect of hiring practices in India, not an authoritative account on the scene per se. Author’s views are personal and their employer has nothing to do with the content therein.