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Latest insights and trends in Personal Analytics, Operational Intelligence, and Workplace Productivity.

May 17
30 hours a day?

I like to have things done.

It is often frustrating when in spite of my efforts, more or less intense, and passed time, I don't have the feeling that important things are finished or at least some things are finished.
On the other hand I always get excited when one after one cases are solved, they do not last forever, and time, often​ long and busy, has not been wasted. Even if the effect have come out not that amazing, it gives us the space to start another matters and plan for starting better things in the future. It doesn't matter if I got tired – the feeling of being busy and going on with matters gives the effort its meaning.

This do not come easy – everything takes time: actual actions take time, decisions take time, thinking, searching, learning, planning, coordinating – all that take time and when it all queues, one after another, sometime seems it will take forever. Maybe not forever but longer than expected. It always would be good to fit more of these elements in 8 hours of worktime. Or in 24 hours of daytime, when I think of my family, interests, contacting people and last but not least getting enough rest.

Knowing all that, I was quite surprised when I saw one day in my Omnicontext Analytics that I have been working almost 9.5 hours. Did I come earlier? No, that is rather impossible :). Did I stay longer on something important? No, I had shopping planned for the afternoon.
The easiest way to solve that mystery was to have a look at the details, so I checked 'How I Spent My Day' context to see what made me so busy that day.

 

Quick look at the 'location' band on 'My Timeline' assured me that I spent exactly the right time at work, 'nine till five' as they say, as strips for travelling time to and from work surrounded this period. The 'Apps' band, showing usage of apps on my desktop, displayed that I have been working most of the time on the desktop and, yes, I have been working hard, almost no breaks. It was such a day, I had concrete things to prepare, no deliberating what to do. But still it have been around 7 hours of clear application using – a really high value, as quite often thinking or talking over issues with my colleagues takes important part of the day, so real 'hands on a keyboard' time result could be a good 4 hours and I would be happy with that too.

So where's more work that I have done? The 'outgoing calls' strips show the secret. I had two one-hour-long meeting with clients. Checking what applications I was using, shows that the first one was really busy, because most of the time I was working remotely on client computers, which was the meeting's purpose. The second meeting was a conference, that didn't involve me that much, so I was listening mostly and at the same time I was writing a report. Quick check at the 'Mobile Apps' band reveals also where I have been taking the data to the report from – on my smartphone I had displayed the sources I needed. So it was a real equilibristic, a handset by my ear, one hand on a keyboard, the second one on mobile screen? Maybe not so exactly, but I was switching often enough, especially during the second meeting, that you could really call that multitasking.

So was I really working 9,5 hours? Yes and no, I would say. No, because no magic time folding was really involved. It was a good 8 hours, but no more than that. Yes, because it is all the work I have been doing – listening and talking on the phone, reading, writing, probably also consulting my colleagues many times. If I just did this tasks separately, I would need many hours more for that. Multitasking is what we do very often – it is the need that things does not take forever, that makes us behave like that and thanks to that, on such occasions, I feel more alive and productive.

Checking the other data displayed in Analytics and bringing back that day, I found also some other examples of 2 in 1 occupations. Coming back from work took me more time than usual, because I decided to take a walk, adding some physical exercises to the necessary travelling time. Later I went shopping in the supermarket, making supplies for the next week, but I was not alone, as I spent that time with my son. I also (which is not yet visible in Analytics) I spent the evening with my family, watching an extraordinary program on television.
Sleeping and dreaming, as scientists say, could also be a good example of multitasking, maybe some Quantify Self device could give me some insight in that?

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