At work, we started using Zendesk. It has been very effective. Also, due to COVID-19, we were briefly down to 2 people able to work.. recently, one of us got back to being better. Rather than a “fixed days working from home each week” (I used to get Wednesday WFH) we’re switching to a “3 person rotation of who is in the office”, since we need to have an onsite presence for our primary job function, which is to keep all the folks in the warehouse productive.
This is leading to “onsite” days, where pretty much deal with the flow of tickets .. and then deal with other little problem things that need to be fixed. These days entirely run by email and Zendesk. The person onsite triages the incoming stuff so that the offsite folks can focus on their project work. Going back through Pending tickets and updating statuses as we wait for other folks to respond and do their parts.
And then there’s two days of “offsite”. Blessed ability to focus in deep on tasks, because the interruption buzz is being handled by the onsite person. Spent about 2 hours working on a 8-part CTE (common table expression) with a colleague today. Got the web page that reports it partially done, another 4-6 hours tomorrow and it will be done.
Currently, we have an Open Projects spreadsheet (we were using Microsoft Teams Tasks, and prior to that ClickUp) which lists these projects. I’m thinking we’re going to transfer them into Zendesk but with a tag of “project” — and alter the other views to exclude them. That itself is a project.
After listening to https://www.relay.fm/cortex/44, I decided to do another round of time-tracking. I had done this twice before —
This time, I used a new tool, https://www.toggl.com/app/timer. More on that below.
- My time is evenly spent working, and sleeping, and “everything else”.
- Everything else – “entertainment” (youtube, twitter) took the most time.
- This is a direct reaction to the political climate right now – this was me staying glued to my versions of news sources, to get a feel for “what’s going on out there”. Not necessarily healthy.
- Then Family, and being around other people
- Then Admin, which is chores and self-care thing.
Not too bad. The “Entertainment” is too large, but otherwise, this feels solid.
The way that I tracked it this time, if I was driving to work, that was “work” time, but tagged with driving. So, I could narrow down to just the “driving” tag and see where all I was driving on the behalf of:
- As expected, most of the driving was to work. My 30 minute commute is represented accurately.
- Lots of driving for “social” reasons – to have breakfast or lunch with friends.
- Recovery and Teaching are next – also good.
- Nevertheless, 9.5 hours in a car during the week. Of those 9.5 hours, 3 hours were logged as “listening to a podcast”.
I don’t always want to listen to a podcast when I’m driving. Sometimes, I prefer silence.
I also spent 11 hours and 13 minutes engaged in “eating”:
- Thanks to notes, I can see what I was eating, and who I was eating with.
- I spent around 2 hours eating by myself (at my desk, or drive through).
- The rest of the time was split between friends, coworker-friends, and my family.
I did NOT like it. For the purposes of doing 24 hour coverage, it was NOT easier to use than Eternity (an iPhone App). However, it was definitely better at reporting.
Specific reasons of dislike:
- Starting a timer on the phone, then stopping it on a computer – timer kept going on the phone, throwing things off.
- Very hard to adjust things AFTER the fact. In Eternity, it has “locked” times so adjusting end of one thing adjusts the start of the other, etc. With a calendar display where i could just slide times around, rather than having to enter every digit. twice.
- Gap detection only possible using the website client. And then, when I detect a 6 hour gap from 4 days ago… it took way too many clicks to try to get time entered.
I would say Toggl is more directed at business-type things – not personal enthusiast things. And that’s fine.
Changes to consider for the Future
- I need to get my Youtube / Twitter / News intake, more under control.
- We might be doing another experiment – getting rid of internet at our house – and I might be downloading “what do I want to watch” to my iPad while at work, and further delaying what I watch.
- I think I overkilled with watching Colbert + Noah + the other guy. I think I’ll rank Trevor Noah at the top for me, I don’t need to see all 3 folks’ interpretations of what happened that day.
- I have to get exercise back in there somehow. I don’t yet know how. Probably less being social? Combine it with family? Here kid, let me strap you in to my chest and run on a treadmill.
- I didn’t do much (any) cooking this week. Previous weeks, I had 6 hours of cooking in there – at least. However, that’s also quality family time for me.
- I also need more personal, not-scheduled, do-whatever type time. Places where my creative side can come out. Like writing this blog post.
Good news – I have a week of vacation next week. Help me juggle and resize things and try to come up with a plan.
There’s a lot of change going on in my life… internal change. A quick summary would be: CPAP, sleep, goal setting, sticking to a schedule, kid moved out, gym.
Part of the goal setting thing was to not advertise them, so I won’t.. they have to stay personal, private, and accountable to important people. What I will say is that this is the calendar I’m trying to stick to, with blessings from my partner:
The idea at first was to work out after work, as the gym is on the way home. However, that ran into a few things:
- I had to take the right Gym clothes with me at the start of the day
- I had to transition from work to gym clothes and then back out to winter coldness
- If I was going to bring home take-home, it had to be near the gym
- I got home all sweaty
So, today, we reversed it. I brought home takeout first, and then hung out with my darling, and THEN, with her blessing (I’m a little co-dependent at times), I went back out to the gym.. already in my gym clothes.
It was awesomely wonderful! I ran PI miles (3.14) .. there were less people there, I could get on the treadmill when I wanted.. I was not on a schedule so I ran an extra 15 minutes or so because I was feeling good.. heck, I was dancing on the treadmill. Yeah, one of those guys. Not sorry.
And then I got home, did a few more messy things involving garbage, then took a shower.. transitioning to “self” time – which I’m spending typing up this blog post.
Life is Good.
Separate post about picking up running again. I forget what I’ve posted about already and what I haven’t.
I’m continuing to try the Altered Schedule talked about earlier. I don’t think its working.
I even went as far as trying to Reset my Sleep Cycle with a 16-Hour Fast. Twice. This is the second time. Result: While hungry, I don’t get much sleep; Sure enough I wake up at 6am no problem.. its now 11am and I am draaaaggging. If this is like the last time I did this (Tuesday morning), at about 1pm the sleepy is going to hit like a ton of bricks attached to my eyelids.
On the other hand, yesterday there wasn’t anything I could do before a 10am meeting at the client site, so I slept in. I had a wonderful day!
I am about ready to throw in the towel. My clock likes to fall asleep at about 1am or 2am, and get up around 8am. Next week, I’m going to try and respect that:
||Wake up, Shower, Journal, etc
||Get to work by 10
||Probably more like 9:30.
||Be work productive.
First meal probably at noon.
|Will get cut short whenever anything sneezes .. family sports, etc.
||Household productive. Dishes, sweeping, etc.
||Eating dinner with the wife would count as household productive.
||I can be pretty good at this part when I get my target figured out.
||Not so good at this.
||1am: Cat. 3am: Cat 5,6am: Cat
Hey, Deployment done. Back to work.
This is day 4 of an altered schedule. Now that I’m off caffeine, and .. either (a) I’m waking up more alert, or (b) I am equally sleepy all day .. After going on a vacation, and getting some feedback from very wise person, I am trying this:
- MAKE TIME for things that are fun.
However, at the same time, my wife and I are trying something else:
- Can we exist with one car?
The plan on the latter was, I would have the car on Tuesday and Thursday, and she would have the car on M,W,F. I drop her at work / she drops me at a work / that kind of thing.
So here is how it has panned out:
||Wake Up, jump in the shower, drink some water, etc.
||2/4 days yes. 3rd day: shower followed by nap. 4th day: sleep till 7.
||Get to work (or leave for work) by 8am!
||More like 8:30 arrival, or 9:00, but hey the cat has a vet appointment, so lets go for 10:00.
||Work till 5 or whenever I get my hours in by.
||Leave at 3:30 to get the wife from her job, go home and then work at home for a few hours
||Be “productive” till 8pm (house stuff, etc)
||This has worked pretty well. Dishes are done! Bills are paid! Cat is brushed!
||Do something fun / just for me from 8 to 10
||This has also worked pretty well. Video editing, watching pro cycling, etc
||Head upstairs, wind down, journal, dim the lights, get to bed
||Worked ok for 2 days. Then yesterday: THOU SHALT NOT SLEEP!
||7 hours of sleep!
||1am: Cat. 3am: Cat. 5am: Cat.
What we also figured out is, my wife uses her driving time as her solitude time.. she’s a closet introvert (I am a closet extrovert?!!) .. so as much as I loved having time with her all to myself in the car while transporting each other, she got increasingly grumpy at not having recharge time.
So, in summary:
a. Our schedules are too deviant to make it work with one car. We’re keeping both cars.
b. I’ll try The Plan again. This time with my own car.