Friday, January 11, 2008

Blog diet

It should be no secret to regular readers that I'm not crazy about my job. I still think the substantive parts of what I do are important and interesting, but my real, day-to-day duties have turned me into a glorified editor. The writing quality of the documents I receive is so low that I have to do significant work to turn them into things my agency can publish without embarrassment. It is a sad, sad state of affairs.

Perhaps the saddest aspect of this state of affairs is what an incredible slacker I've become. I spent all week reading a document for which I'll have to prepare a memo summarizing my (and other readers') comments. I want to have the memo ready by Monday and I started writing it today. I'm at page 22 of the document and page 8 of my memo (it's a bad sign that my memo is so long).

In order to get this memo done on time, I decided to track my time at work. Being accountable to myself should help me get more work done. I set up a little free timer thing with categories for my different tasks, including non-work ones, like lunch, breaks and "non-work reading." So, what did I find I was spending most of my time on? Was it on writing lovely, entertaining blog posts? No, not at all. Most of my time was in the "non-work reading" category. That's right, I was spending (almost) ALL DAY reading blogs! And I'm a fast reader. However, since I subscribe to over 100 blogs on bloglines, even a reader as fast as I would get bogged down.

Yesterday I decided that not only were my reading habits ridiculous but they bordered on the shameful and definitely crossed over to the irresponsible. I may not enjoy my job, but I am well paid and I do have work to do and I damn well need to get it done.

Even in the super slow times, I need to limit the blog reading to off hours. I have lots of non-pressing reading to do if my projects are in lulls. I actually was starting to get some of that reading done before the holidays, but too many days away from the office and the ramping up of some projects put it on the back burner. But it's there, waiting, when the slow times come again (and they will).

I'd say that even doing my own writing is a better non-work use of my time than reading blogs. Not that I'm going to stop, oh no. I'll just have to gorge myself in the evenings and weekends. When I'm not knitting, that is. Or maybe while I'm knitting!

Today's approximate numbers:
Time spent on real work: 5 hours
Time spent on blog writing: 30 minutes
Lunch: 1 hour
Breaks/email: 1 hour

Hey, that's almost a full day! I haven't even included the drop-bys and casual work conversations (one was a question about how to use our phones for conference calls—if it's electronic, they ask me). I'm off to a good start.

Wish me luck!

Grateful for: self-discipline.

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