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 šŸ˜¦ 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.

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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 wasteĀ likeĀ 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 šŸ™‚
  • 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 periodĀ 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 šŸ˜‰ ) – worst part is that last 4 days haven’t crossed 90 minutesĀ 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 tinkerĀ the data just to make it look more palatable/politically correct (if you will) get better of me šŸ™‚

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

More on this in the coming days.

Sports | Life

A Lesson from a Great Rival

Australia India cricket rivalry has been at its best during the last dacade and has to an extent rendered the hype behind Pakistan-India bashes far behind. Of late the encounters between Republic Day sharing nation’s cricket teams have been so engrossing that the respective prime ministers have taken active interest in the goings-on, both on and off the field. Recent statements by Australian PM Ms. Gillard about Tendulkar’s 100th international century is a case in point.

Australian media also leaves no stone unturned in helping home team to score a few psychological points over the Indians, which earlier (read 15 years ago) was a reserve of Poms and the Springboks (err. Proteas).

100 100 and the Bloody Binary Dilemma (will be / won’t be this time)

By being on the centre-stage for so long and carrying a billion hopes alone, Sachin Tendulkar has already attained greatness. The 100th century hype is all but denying him the pleasure of playing the purest form of the game which by right is his.

After giving so many years to the sport, I’d say it’s his right not to be judged by what he has, or is going to, achieve. In India, we treat greats unfairly and thereby making them vulnerable. I remember my father saying it so may times that “There can not be another Vishwanath or Viv”, sure there can not be another Vishwanath, certainly not another Sir Viv. … However, it’s no guarantee that we’ll not get players similar to them or, I daresay, better than them.

For so long our definitions of “test cricket opening bat” was charted by the likes of Boycott and Gavaskar, now it’s redefined by Langer, Sehwag and Hayden, do we need to compare them? Not at all, they bring pleasure in different packages and that’s how it should be. History keeps evolving and who knows, another 400+ score may be just round the corner.

Lessons Aplenty

Coming back to Australia-India tour 2011-12, it has been deja vu all along. How many times we have faltered in the first encounter due to lack of practice matches? How many times do we see ourselves picking up and licking our wounds from a terrible defeat in the starter? Still, instead of addressing the real issues, the BCCI chooses to look other way and find answers the questions to which aren’t there at all.

Watching the matches so far these are the leadership lessons I drew from the Australian team’s execution of plans:

  • There are many plans, A, B, C etc. for each player AND every stakeholder knows them
  • Team loses a session AND comes back even harder (taking bigger risks) to make up for the recent loss
  • Leader chooses his words and timings very carefully AND takes a dig at the opposition stalwart in the moment of his utter vulnerability
  • Team creates doubts in the opposition’s mind by taking huge risks AND makes it look fashionable, so much so that the opposition tries it out and dies of it
  • Team rallies behind the beleaguered warhorse AND lets him take the freedom to choose the way he wants to play
  • No one, including the captain digresses from the per-discussed plan
  • Team functions like clockwork, irrespective of whether they are getting beaten left, right and centre
  • Rookies are given freedom to express themselves, not get bogged down by opposition’s reputation AND be verbose (towards the battered opposition i.e.) at times too
  • Killer instinct isn’t something that comes out of muttering a few mantras, it comes AFTER a few successful moments against quality opposition as a result of sustained quest for excellence
  • One team rests on the laurels of a few, the other however, forgets these things quickly AND nurtures the wounds to take inspiration
  • There’s no use of being a Tiger and go hungry for days in adversity, be a pack of wild dogs instead and collectively take down any ‘prey’, adapt if you can, AND quickly
  • Show respect by bringing in the best in you to beat the hell out of the opposition AND then tell everyone that it was required to overcome such a quality side
  • Never let an under-pressure Ace have the breathing space, they are best for us when dormant
  • Easy centuries and landmarks should never be conceded, it undermines the quality of the contest, sport suffers as a whole

Michael Clarke has suddenly scaled a notch on the captaincy table, sadly enough, likewise can not be said for Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Ponting’s poor run with bat has perhaps given Clarke the much needed space to expand and be himself while the old warrior was struggling to gain a foothold back. Blessing in disguise? I’d like to believe so, and I don’t see Australia complaining at all šŸ™‚

As I write this piece, Australia are most probably making India pay every Paisa of the Indian Rupee that they might have thought they were worth. The final point, grind the opposition to dust once you have the opportunity, do it now AND don’t let the opposition forget about it ever.

Where’s Cricket Headed to?

Team India’s decline as such is good for cricket overall, and I hope India take a lesson out of these defeats rather than feel deflated and find solace in axing a few old heads. Being a true # 1 side requires much more than sheer talent, talent per se is now a luxury more-than-less of us can afford due to the exposure and early training. True perseverance is hard to achieve (especially in the face of unfavourable results and easier alternatives) and should be pursued.

Season’s greetings, and a very happy new year to you all.

May this year NOT be the last for our beleaguered planet as many would like to believe (pun intended) L.O.L