How do you organize your work?

I have a little off-topic question for all the people here working from home. Not so off topic after all, as a good work organization is a powerful tool.

I work from home since a few weeks now, and I still find it difficult to realize as much work as I was doing when in an office. I find I lose time with accessory tasks I didn’t have to do before, like cooking and paper work. Plus the countless distractions around. I read some stuff about people cutting their internet connection or putting their office in the backyard to be in a quiet place.

How do you guys manage this? What works for you? I see Jules making sometimes several commits a day and I remember I used to do the same in the past. Do you have a rewarding system giving you a pint of beer for every push to the repo Jules? :slight_smile:

Does this help?

Well in terms of organizing my source code, I am actually in the middle of formalizing and revising how I do development across multiple platforms and IDEs. I’m publishing this my second open source MIT licensed project:

Keep in mind this is not quite ready yet. I’m still working out sharing of build settings in XCode 4 and QMake.

[quote=“Bruce Wheaton”]Does this help?[/quote]

Hahaha! Thanks for the update on British humor, I was stuck at John Cleese, now I see how the subject evolved :wink:

TheVinn, I was more talking about organizational techniques rather than operational ones. For instance, how do you cope with your deadlines and todo lists? Do you apply agile techniques, or just take the first item in the todo and do it? Do you time your work or simply work until the task is done or you’re too tired? How do you give a realistic deadline to your clients? Do you hire someone to take care of the administrative bullcrap, or do everything yourself, with the risk of getting distracted by emails and phone calls from a guy trying to sell you a super revolutionary stapler?

And of course, do you use the wanking reward system? Or spend your day stalking your Ex on facebook? :wink:

That video was really funny! As Homer Simpson said, “It’s funny because it’s true…”

I took a couple of years off from programming to work on an album, and I found that working at home didn’t really work for me. I rented a studio to work at and just going there made it easier for me to stay focused, productive and happy. If you look in the paper, there are possibilities to rent a room in an office. I don’t know what rent prices are like where you’re living, but in my case the benefits outweighed the cost…

I think your worst enemy when you work at home is distraction, and you should do everything you can to avoid confrontation with it. Here are some tips :

  1. Have some space where the only thing you can do is work. Choose a room for that for example, with a specific computer, a specific environment, without anything which can make you think you can do something instead of working. Tidy it up perfectly. Don’t ever try to do anything else inside.

  2. Avoid to work at any time in the day, choose instead regular hours (like in an office), and try to respect them. Then, you will be more efficient, because you will have a limited time to work, which will reduce your temptation to procrastinate, and because you will be able to stop/relax/reload your batteries during the other amount of time. This is maybe the best advice I can give you. More generally, to be able to work efficiently at home is dependent of your hability to create good habits of working, and good habits of switching off.

  3. Make the bad things to do more difficult to perform that the right ones. For example, going to the internet instead of working is bad. So, you may install Leechblock and block your prefered websites during day time, create a second OS partition on your computer and install on it only the software you need to work without any internet navigator, check your mails only at 6pm and let your clients know that etc. In the other side, if your to do list and, say Word or your developement IDE, appear automatically when your OS has been loaded, it will be easier for you to start than to do something else. This advice imply a lot of things you can do to improve your efficiency.

  4. If it’s sometimes difficult for you to know what to do next, you should use organisation tools like Things for Mac OS X, and read the famous book about GTD (getting things done), which gives you a few advices.

  5. I have read a book about entropy and “flow” recently, from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.