Monday, September 27, 2010

productivity

Lately, a lot of people have been asking me how I find the time to have a super-successful high-powered career as a lackey, and still find the time to write childish self-deprecating blog posts.1 I tell you, it's hard to squeeze in that extra hour of writing every week on top of that 40-hour-a-week job, with absolutely zero other commitments in the form of women, children, women willing to call me back, exercising, bathing, etc., but if you're dedicated and smart, and just a hair frightening to young children, you can always find ways to accomplish what you need to get done.

For those wondering how exactly I do it, let me give you a few tried-and-true tips from my own life on how to be a productive, efficient, world-class worker.

First off, when starting your day at work, be sure to start in the right light. That's right, flip on the fluorescent floodlights the minute you get into the office, so none of your co-workers can bask in the peaceful morning sun filtering through the unopenable windows. Cackle maniacally as the luciferian luminescence sucks out their peace-loving souls.2

Next, you never want to start working cold. Like a bloated couch potato who starts running without stretching, makes it five blocks before doubling over in pain from having pulled the lone muscle in his body, then limps back to the house crying with every step, if you start working without first stretching your mind, you could end up hobbling somewhere in Industrial Redwood City wearing short shorts and toe shoes and getting laughed at by recently-arrived Mexicans.3

No, you'll first want to stretch by getting through your Google Reader queue. Then Twitter. Then the BBC. Then the New York Times. Then Hacker News. Keep in mind, while perusing these sites, should any of your co-workers walk up behind you, you'll want to tab away from whatever page you're watching, because there's nothing like a quick shuffling of pages that doesn't arouse suspicion.

Now your mind is ready to go, which is good, because you need to think of a decent place to eat lunch. Absent your traditional meal of bread and jam, which is still a target of derision, never mind how many years you've eaten it, you could try hobbling over to CVS to pick up that lunchable you've been eyeing for the past few weeks, but have not purchased because your co-worker insists on calling you a sissy for even considering it. This is the same co-worker, mind you, who seems to think producing high-pitched yelps also qualifies you as a sissy, so let us ignore her for now.

Having returned from lunch, you can begin your work day in earnest. This could include the mere act of finding the code you're supposed to be working on, and have finished by the weekend so your co-worker who actually does work can come in on Saturday and pick up your slack, or, better, go check your work email and see that you've received ten emails already today, and haven't opened/seen/thought about a single one.

Since the mere sight of emails is hard on the eyes, you should return to Google Reader for relief to see if anybody has updated anything anywhere on the vast wasteland that is the Internet. Absent that, return to your code.

Now comes the hard part: reading your old code. Actually, this is the easy part, because you get to see how smart you are! Look through your old code, and every once in awhile, emit a helpful noise that will show your co-workers how good of a worker you are. Something like, "brilliant!", or "I am the smartest man alive!", or "baaaaaaaa".4

And it's true, you really are a good worker and the smartest man alive. Reward yourself by returning to Twitter and see what work your co-workers are doing, by examining the twelve Python libraries they open-sourced this morning while they ate Cheerios with their children, vacuumed their vast estate, and patented designs for sending monkeys into space on banana-powered rockets.

Realizing that you don't actually understand real code, children, or even bananas, return to yours. Code, that is. Or the banana if you haven't gotten to that yet. At this point, you probably need to use the restroom, or change playlists, or, noticing that he finally went to a meeting, steal some candy out of the drawer your co-worker Len guards. Don't let those tasks go undone, because you need to get everything out of the way so you can truly focus on your job.

Munching on those blessed Snickers, now that it's finally five o'clock, gchat with your buddy about how he read The 4-Hour Workweek, and hear how it changed his life. Ponder if you actually want to implement that in your life, and thereby double the amount you work.

1. The people, the question, and the implied competence at my job are all hypothetical. The childishness is real, however.
2. I realize, of course, that they do it as a public service, and some of them actually need light in order to perform their job; nevertheless, if reading my posts has taught you nothing, the world revolves around me and my needs.
3. This is not as hypothetical as I would like it to be.
4. One of my more unrefined co-workers felt the need to highlight the fact that I happened to unintentionally baa like a sheep this past week.

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