Monthly Archives: December 2015

2015 in review – Productivity and TV addiction

So I left my day job by the end of 2014 to bootstrap my own business, and learn some new stuff..

Lot’s of people share that Facebook’s Year in Review photo album as a way to look back at their year. I think that is lazy, you have to look back at your year and feel proud of your accomplishments; and feel stupid for the stuff you did wrong.

I believe in numbers, so instead of sharing long stories, I will share stats of 2015 versus 2014 and also .. long stories.

Here are the areas I will cover:

  1. Productivity. (this post)
  2. Social life and Networking. (coming Soon)
  3. Side Projects & Learning. (coming Soon)
  4. Business Ideas and Startups. (coming Soon)

Productivity

I work remotely from home, both at my old job and as a freelancer.

2014
2014

You can see I had no problem with social media, it consumed less than 9% of my time, but I do have a huge problem with TV.

In 2014 I wasted 20% of my year watching TV. That was a huge red flag for me back then because it was double the time I spend in 2013 and I thought it was because of boredom, that I did not challenge my self enough. As a friend commented back then, I became stale. That was one of the reasons I had quit my job.

Now In 2015, it actually got worse, almost doubled to a 35%, that is a third! .

2015
2015

 

How it really affects me

Did I mention that when you watch TV, you also tend to eat? It is almost worse than smoking or drug addiction, atleast you lose weight consuming that crap.

But the numbers still show that even though I am not living up to my potential, I did get alot done. There so much coding that you can do before it starts to become counter-productive and full of bugs. Note that I coded for 500 hours in 2015, slightly more than 2014.

And I think I am learning and working on projects that I am more passionate about in 2015 than 2014. The pace is slow, and I can do better isA.

Family and Friends

I think it affects my social life more, this should be family and friends time. I am not the best husband and father there is and I do need alot of work to fix that.

Edit: I just realized that I am the only one who’s wife now has the numbers to prove that he is a lousy husband!. There are plenty of husbands who spend their nights in bars or at coffee-shops, but none of them was stupid enough to share stats about it!

You could blame working from home

No, and I have the numbers to prove it. I was waaay more productive in 2013 even though I worked from home. I don’t have number dating before that, but I am sure that the TV problem was under control compared to today.

2013
2013

Working from home definitely feeds this addiction, but this does not explain what changed between 2013 and 2015, something else broke.

You could blame will power

I don’t believe in will power as an answer to everything. Will power, as any other resource, gets depleted the more you use it, and living in Egypt can deplete anything, so I won’t burden my self with that too.

Instead I believe in Systems, follow a routine. Need to lose weight? get a job that you can walk to. Need to quit smoking? befriend an asthmatic person. Need to stop watching Youtube? Sell your laptop.

The real reason, I think, is lack of Communication!

Upon close inspection you can see that after I quit my job, I stopped chatting and making calls with my team, almost 20% of my time , because I worked alone most of 2015, so it stopped, and TV time expanded to fill in the void.

Not to mention that I did lots of pair-programming at my old job. And I did learn alot back then. Maybe I should pay it forward to someone younger.

But I think I found a short term solution..

Co-Working Spaces

by week

Also in 2015 you can see a productivity spike near December, that is when I started going to a co-working space regularly. I hate that I can’t have my Dual-Screen setup, but it did get things moving and got me releasing some stuff, even if I did not go everyday.

Checkout this crowd-sourced list of Co-Working Spaces in Cairo. and please suggest any missing ones by editing the document directly.

A Note on time tracking:

Image result for rescuetime logo

I love RescueTime, but remember that monitoring your time does not magically make you more productive! You still have to look back and reflect. But tracking helps you identify the problem and maybe to close down to the culprit too.

If you do track your own time, would love to compare notes :D, leave a comment here or on @_fouad.

Lessons:

  • I need to Chat way more! (so unintutive if you ask me)
  • Enroll in some studies or courses (I tried MOOCs and Pluralsight they were great but, TV always won!)
  • Go to a co-working space regularly, I recommend MyCoOffice. You can’t sleep or watch TV there.
  • Use social media more? (what advice is this).

Summary:

If you are working from home, either have a very engaging, challenging team, or find a co-workspace.