Monday, July 7, 2008

What Does a Good Work Day Feel Like?

I'm getting into the swing of the new job -- I've got a project that will be doing a soft launch in a couple of weeks, and some other things started, I'm getting to know people. All in all, it's not bad for a little over two months work. I'm getting into a good flow, and I have identified some factors that make a day feel like I've really been useful from afar.

1. Regular standing meetings with key team members: As a telecommuter, I can be pretty far off the radar screen for my colleagues, so having routine meetings set up well in advance gives me a chance to appear in front of people. Not everyone needs to hear from me all the time, but weekly meetings with some, bi-weekly meetings with others are an excellent way to keep momentum going. Also, as scheduled up as people are at this place, getting on the calendar a few months at a time is often the only way to get timely time with people.

2. Clear projects: For a while as I was getting started, a too-large portion of every day was spent horsing around with the trappings of telecommuting. From getting assorted VoIP solutions running, to messing with headsets, to figuring out travel and other arrangements, it seemed like a lot of the work I did at first wasn't really work, but metawork. Now that projects are well defined and rolling, it's easy to assign big chunks of the day to working on those projects that might could help the bottom line. I still spend time dealing with administrivia, but I don't feel as bad about it because I'm doing other stuff too.

3. A mix of interruptions and focus: Because I'm building rapport with my colleagues and also slogging through some tight deadlines, I feel the best kind of day is where I spend some of it chatting/IMing/meeting, and some of it heads-down-on-task.

So a day with at least one meeting, a fair amount of time spent on project work, and a little down time in the middle to go to the gym or move laundry from machine to machine -- that's a nice balance. I don't like days that are too much one thing or another, it turns out. Luckily, it's pretty easy to construct the kind of days I like. Yay telecommuting!

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