Random Leakage #4
A few random blog bites to hold you over until the next Scooter Sunday.
Updates to Banal Leakage
I finally was able to carve out some time to tweak this blog. I ended up finding a different WordPress template that was cleaner and better coded than the previous template I was using, but with a very similar design. I’m still planning on adding icons and graphics to this site in the coming months, but for now, these minor changes have fixed a few little glitches here and there, plus adding back full IE 6 support. Not that I had a ton of visitors using IE 6, but it makes me feel better that this site works well in most of the common browsers without that look of “What The Hell!” in the left corner. That doesn’t change the fact that you should be moving away from the mess that is known as Internet Explorer and using something like Firefox or Safari [both available for Windows and Mac platforms, with Firefox also available on Linux]…. C’Mon… click, download and install. All of the cool kids are doing it.
The Internet Sucks
Sucks all of your time, that is. I admit that I am not the best time manager. I do ok, but I tend to get distracted by many things that….. hey, what’s that?…. Mmmmm… ice cream sandwich… err… uh.. Oh.. sorry… Oh yes… I was saying that I get distracted pretty easily and with all of the Twitter, Pownce, Gmail, Google Reader, Plurk, AIM and hundreds of news articles and emails I sift through on a weekly basis, it’s easy to see where the distractions come from. But given these multiple avenues of distractions, I find there’s not much time left for me to write. But as I have been enjoying this time of creative ideas flowing out of me and writing down each and every thought, idea, story, script and blog post subject, I have to devise a plan to get some of it completed. For this, I need something that has no internet access. Short of using a typewriter [which I have actually considered], I decided I needed to find a solution for something I already use.
Enter a program called Freedom. It’s a Mac OS program that cuts off your internet access for up to three hours, allowing you to get work done. I heard about it on an episode of Mac Break Weekly podcast [sorry… I don’t remember exactly what episode it was]. It was recommended by Andy Ihnatko as he explained how frustrated he gets when he needs to get something done that doesn’t require being online, curbing the urge to check email, Twitter or read blogs.
So I gave it a whirl. WOW! Fucking WOW!! In less than two hours, I had completed almost two chapters of a story I am working on. The words just flowed out of my head and into my fingers, without a single thought of how many Twitter posts I could have replied to in that time frame.
If you lack the control to get something done, this is a good start towards training yourself to manage your time better and get some of your shit done. There’s no Windows version of this program (yet), but there’s other options for Windows users. Sadly, all that I found are shareware with trial periods. One program, EZ Internet Timer, stood out as one that looked pretty good. Not the simple no-frills that Freedom offered, but it works.
Work From Home
And speaking of managing your time well, today marked the first official day of me working from home one day a week. I picked Thursdays [Mondays and Fridays are impossible as I need physical access to several resources at the office]. I’ve worked from home many times before at previous jobs, but this was the first time I have [at least during the day] with my current company’s blessing.
While my total hours worked was just under 7 hours today, I got a lot done. It’s amazing how much I can get done with no one around, no desk phone ringing off the hook or physical interruptions by various people with email issues … just me, a VPN connection and my MacBook Pro using Remote Desktop Connection to my Windows box at work. I look forward to what I can accomplish each and every Thursday.
So with Labor Day approaching, what’s everyone’s plans for the weekend? Last ditch boating trip to the lake? Staying at home saving gas? Sound off in the comments. If you are traveling, have a safe trip. If you are drinking, stay put but near a restroom.
I run my business out of my house, and the worst part of it is that I never feel like I’m off work.
Yes, I can confirm Firefox runs on Linux like a charm as I’m using it as we speak.
My boss lets me work from home at least once a week, sometimes two. I love it. My music is blaring, I’m in my undies, I’m more productive, life is good.
I love working from home, for all of the same reasons. Mostly the lack of phone interruptions! I get more done in 2 hours than in an entire day in the office.
We don’t have Labor Day but enjoy your long weekend :o)
Like you said, minor tweaks, but they look nice.
My Wednesdays off are soon coming to an end. I love summer hours, but I hate when they end. I wish I could get a work-from-home day, but the paperwork, I’m told, is immense.
avitable – I know that. Years ago, I ran my own business at my house. And if it wasn’t for the travel, I would feel like I never left work. I would walk from the bedroom to my office and start work. At the end of the day, I would still find that I was going into the office more often than not.
kevin – I run a copy of Fedora 7 under VMware Fusion on my Mac and Firefox 2 works pretty well. It’s nice to have a cross platform browser that works like it should.
I don’t know if I could do more than one day a week from home, but I know I could get used to it pretty quick.
penelope – The lack of phone calls is nice. Not that many people know my cell phone, so it only gets calls in an emergency.
kapgar – Thanks. No matter how small the fixes, they were needed, IMO.
Sorry to hear your Wednesdays off are coming to an end. So far, most of my paperwork can be done one day a week. For now, 4 days a week at the office keeps me busy, mostly with the management of servers and backup jobs that have to be babysat all too often.
My husband has tried to work from home before and it always ends up with him having to go somewhere else because either I or the kids won’t stop talking to him. He is rarely home, so when he is everyone is all in his face for him to pay attention to them (myself included) and it just doesn’t work out for us. Those days he usually goes to Starbucks to work as if he was working from home and then comes home early.
I think we are going to just hang out this weekend. We have a birthday party to go to, and a few friends might come over one evening, but otherwise a nice relaxing weekend. Well, as relaxing as things get with 4 kids!
Have a great weekend!
tori – When I ran my own company from home, there was a good share of distractions, including being a full time dad to my daughter (who was 3 at the time) and running a business. I see why Starbucks could be a good place to go, even if it’s busy, especially if there are interruptions at home. Understandably, you and your kids crave his attention. A tough balance.
Thanks and you and your family have a good weekend, too. Sounds like fun plans.
I like the new layout. It’s clean. However, one of my biggest pet peeves? When the link for comments is at the top of the blog post. After reading the entry, I have to scroll all the way back to the top in search for the link. Drives me a little nuts. (Organization freak? Yes!)
Working from home. Rules. I was able to stay home 2x per week when they were doing construction on the main highway. I’m hoping to extend that flexibility through my wedding. I could use the extra time spent not commuting!
nilsa – I sent you an email about the comments link.
Cool that you get to work from home two days a week. And I hope you can extend that all the way to your wedding, too. Reducing any time (let alone the gas savings) of commuting is a big positive.
I agree about the comments link, and also this page with the preview and post don’t render properly on the blackberry, which means I can’t post comments when mobile. About 5% of the blogs I read don’t allow me to comment from the blackberry.
That internet-blocker sounds like a really good idea, actually.
whall – I sent you email, too. Comment link now at the bottom and at the top. Looking at the blackberry issue for comments. As I mentioned in my email, it’s from the comment preview plug in.
If you try any of the internet blocker utilities, you will have to let me know how you like them and if they increased your offline productivity.
I use Freedom! It’s the only way I get anything done! It’s increased my productivity by 83%* at least
*lots of research went into coming up with this figure. Lots.
bec – Wow. Cool. So it’s helped you, too. And by 83%?? That’s awesome. All of that research paid off.
I worked at home for 90 minutes on Tuesday after I messed up my knee. I got about 3 hours worth of work done. My co workers are what drive me nuts. All the whispering on the phone. All the hi how was your weekend or what are you doing this weekend. All the I’m just teasing comments all day long. A whole plethora of annoying things. I’ve taken to using my head phones with my phone to listen to the MP3s on it, thereby tuning out the buzz buzz in the office.
winter – Co-workers can be a pain in the ass. At least you got 90 minutes worth of freedom.