A few cool people in the Enigin office have started ordering ‘Graze’ boxes through the post. The Graze box contains four varieties of nut, fruit or seed and helps combat 3pm trips to the Enigin snack box! The natural goodness also helps maintenance a stable blood-sugar level and helps you concerntrate.
If you’re in the UK, then you can order your FREE trial Graze box by clicking on the following link and signing up.
It’s impossible to spend all your time being 100% productivity. At some point you and your body will need time off to rest and do things which are not related to work. Most people (including myself up until a few months ago) get frustrated when they are not feeling productive and attempt to plough through anyway, often working to exhaustion.
I’m a complete workaholic and regularly work long hours on Enigin and personal projects because I choose to. I know that getting work done in my own time means that there’s not so much pressure on me during work hours in the office. It also allows me a little freedom in the jobs and projects that I work on during the day because people know that I get stuff done.
But overworking can’t be good for us, right? That’s probably true. I regularly forget this and am feeling a little run-down at the moment. So my mission for the next 7 days is not to work outside of office hours. Will I achieve it? Probably not… but it’s worth a shot for a week or so!
This week, we are trialling a new ‘red flag’ system in the Enigin development department. We had our designer, Alan, create some flags which we attach to our Apple Cinema Displays with the help of Cocktail stirrers and bluetak. When we want some ‘concentration’ time we simply set the flag to the upright position, indicating that we don’t want to be disturbed unless it’s an emergency.
Here’s the full set of rules:
If the flag is in the upright position, then Enigin staff are encouraged not to disturb us unless absolutely necessary.
If an interruption is absolutely non-avoidable, then email is the preferred method of communication. Simply put ‘Urgent’ in the subject line.
The flag is only allowed to be raised for 3 hours at any one time. This allows your colleagues a period of time to get answers to their questions.
No sales calls should be forwarded to a ‘Red Flagger’
We have yet to come up with a punishment for Red Flag abusers, but rest assured, staff in violation will be dealt with swiftly!
(For the sake of my job, the above rules don’t apply to Directors of course!)
If you work for Enigin and would like your very own flag, then these can be purchased from the Development department for the tiny sum of £1.00
One aspect of productivity is deciding which of your current tasks are important and which can wait. You will know instinctively which tasks you should place in high priority, as these are the tasks which are giving you the most ‘hassle’ at that time. ‘Hassle’ maybe in the form of a customer who keeps contacting you, a fellow staff member putting pressure on you or an order may have come down from the Enigin Management team for some work which needs urgent attention.
I mentally sort my tasks in to the following categories:
Urgent – This needs to be your number one focus until such time as it’s complete, nothing is more important and your life will be easier once it’s over. Having more than 1 task in the ‘Urgent‘ category will probably increase your stress level!
Important – These are tasks which are time-sensitive and need completing as soon as possible. If you’re not careful then ‘Important’ tasks can soon get elevated to ‘Urgent‘
Other – These are items which you’ve discussed with a co-worker and the phrase “when you’ve got time” is heard. Not time-sensitive, but tasks from ‘Other‘ can at anytime be elevated to ‘Important‘
Many people promote the use of a ‘all singing all dancing’ task management application, but I find that simplicity is the way forward. At Enigin, I started by using a pen and paper but then moved on to using TadaList by 37signals about 5 months ago. I am now considering moving back as there is something satisfying about drawing a real line through your tasks as they are complete!
You can also use your email inbox as a task list, but this has a huge drawback… it means that anyone can add items to your task list without asking you first!!
All members of the Enigin development team use Mac products – either a Mac Pro or Macbook Pro and Apple Cinema displays. Here’s my personal reasons for using these fine machines:
They generally don’t go wrong! I’ve been using Macs for around 3 years now and I can’t recall a single time when I’ve had any major issues. It’s certainly true that they don’t crash as much as Windows-based PC’s.
Mac OS is UNIX based. This is the same technology which powers the Enigin server cluster.
They are optimised for user happiness! Being in front of Mac OS is such a nice place to be and let’s be honest, the hardware looks awesome. If you’re in the development business then why wouldn’t you want to use the nicest equipment around? You practically stare at it for 8 hours a day!
All the above items contribute to my productivity, I would estimate that I get 50% more work done since I switched from my Sony Vaio 3 years ago.
Here’s what the software development company 37 Signals think about Mac:
The last of the Enigin Directors has just completed the move to Mac so we are all hopeful for a company Mac policy soon!
One day a week Enigin encourage me to work from home, and I love it!
Why is this? Well, home working has the following benefits:
No commuting – This saves me a round trip of 2 hours a day!
No interruptions – People are less likely to interrupt you when you’re not in the office and only ask you urgent questions.
Flexible working – Although I do put in a full 7/8 hour day when i’m working from home, I don’t necessarily work 9 – 5. I find that breaking the working day up into 3 hour periods with breaks between helps to stay motivated.
Relaxing Environment – Sometimes an office environment is counter-productive; telephones ringing, people chatting, meetings. Being completely in charge of my own environment means that I can set my own mood!
The Enigin staff stay in touch all day via Skype and Email. It is very rare to actually receive any telephone calls when i’m working from home. People know that I will be in the office tomorrow, so non-urgent in-person conversations can wait for 24 hours.
Do you have any comments about home working? If so, then let me know!