Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Two week update

Ok, so I've adhered to my new rules and regulations for two weeks now, both my 10-meetings-per-week rule and the mobile-free-Saturday one. I figured it's time for an update on the progress.

It seems that SEMC is still somewhat in a holiday mode, because so far I haven't had to decline a single meeting. I've had 10 meetings per week the last two weeks, but not a single declination has been needed so far. If you know me you're probably not surprised that I've been keeping track of the exact number of meetings per day for the last two weeks (hey, I even have a spreadsheet to keep track of hotel nights and then of course all flights on Flightmemory). So, without further ado, here's the last two weeks' meetings:

I'm still not really sure how to handle this 10-meetings-per-week limit. For example, this week I had an all-day meeting, but only counted that as a single meeting. Should it be counted as several? Anyhow, so far so good on the meeting front.

The rule to only handle my emails two times per day is difficult though. I've tried to limit the times I open my inbox, but it's not that easy. It's definitely been more than two times per day, but also less than before. I'm considering it a medium success.

When it could to mobile-free-Saturdays it's pretty good as well. Last weekend I was kind of occupied all Saturday managing a hangover and more or less slept most of the time when my phone was turned off. In other words, I wasn't really affected by it. Yesterday was however different. I did spent the whole day with the phone turned off, but it was actually pretty close that I turned it on a couple of times, just to "check things". This compulsion is exactly the one thing I want to get rid of. Also, leaving the apartment without your phone is not an easy thing to do after 10 years of constant checking of "is the phone in my pocket?". It's actually quite scary how dependent your are on your phone and it did show this Saturday...

Anywho, I've stuck to my policies for two weeks now, and don't plan to change anything quite yet.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Americans and non-us characters...

This is how my badge for SXSW will look like:

And of course you can't change your name after registration...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I left this complain note on the hotel room desk...

"Is there anything we should know?"

Yes, Scandic, there is...

Monday, January 07, 2008

Change is good

One of the things I hate about travelling is that moment when the plane is taxiing towards the runway. This is the moment when all communication with the rest of the world stops. You shut off your mobile phone and you know that you're basically in a quarantine for the next 10 hours or so. Nobody will be able to reach you and you won't be able to reach anyone. This is like a 180 degree turn from my normal always-connected life.

At the same time, once I've gotten over that initial feeling of helplessness that's incurred by this radio silence, I kind of enjoy it. You can't use your mobile phone, you can't use the internet (well, you could on SAS flights up until about a year ago when they discontinued the service), so you have no means of communicating with people not on the same flight as you. While it's at times somewhat annoying, it's also a feeling of freedom. You won't get bothered, you won't bother others, and you won't waste time surfing the web. This is a very big change.

Change is in many ways good. It can put perspective on things and force you do act differently. That's one of the reasons I've decided to force with change onto me. Once a week, every Saturday to be precise, I'll have my mobile phone turned off. I see this as part of my goal to improve my quality of life, starting with my new work plan. The "rules" I'll be following, as of now, is that every Friday night when I go to sleep I'll turn off my mobile phone and will not turn it on again until Saturday evening (no earlier than 18.00). I doubt that this will affect my social life in any real way. If people want to reach me they will anyway (email, IM, land-line phone, knock on door, etc).

The long-term plan for this is to move on to not allowing myself to even use a computer during this time, but I think I need to take this one step at a time. Not using a mobile phone nor a computer would leave me rather isolated during this time. It's the same kind of freedom that you experience on a long flight. The only real difference is that I'm free to do anything, compared to the rather limited options you have onboard a plane. I'm guessing that I'll focus more on meeting people (I just need to coordinate it all the day before), reading, and doing more practical things (compared to just sitting with a laptop in my lap). It's possible that this will improve my quality of life, as it forces me to break the normal patterns.

You may very well ask why I'll be doing this. I see this is a very minor form of lifestyle experiments. I'm definitely not prepared to go for something like Radical Honesty or living biblically for a year. This is more along the lines of proving to myself that I'm able to change my life and my habits - designing my life if you will. Will it actually improve my quality of life? I don't know, but I'm intrigued by the actual change. Let's just see if it's possible...


Update on my work plan: Today I only went through my inbox (and emptied it) twice, and had three meetings. That means 7 more meetings this week.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

New year, new work plan

As most of you know, I work. You might also know that I work quite a lot. Noticing a rather big dip in motivation (and thus productivity), I've decided to change that. The overall goal is to work less and have some more time for more rewarding things in life. What are those things? I don't know, but at the same time I haven't really had any time to find out during the last couple of years.

To achieve this I looked at my current work situation and found two big time thieves: meetings and emails. These are the things that are forcing me to work nights to be able to keep up. The plan is then to address these issues.


I attend a lot of meetings, most of which don't really achieve anything and which I'm not really able to participate actively in since I'm focusing on trying to catch up on my email (see next section). My new goal is to limit the number of meetings each week to a maximum of 10. I'd say that an average meeting is about 1.5 hours long, which adds up to 15 hours a week. That's still 37.5% of my (supposed) workweek, but it still leaves a lot of time for other things, while making me more focused during these high-priority meetings.

Only attending 10 meetings per week will require me to decline and prioritize a lot more meetings than I do now. The obvious ones are meetings with no proper agenda or stated purpose and goal. Those are out immediately. The rest will probably be harder to handle, but needs to prioritized among themselves. This will most likely result in a lot more late declinations (I'm fully booked, ie 10 meetings, and it's Wednesday with one hour to go before a planned meeting. I then receive an invitation to a Friday meeting which I feel is more important. Then I won't attend the Wednesday meeting), but I'm still quite optimistic to this approach. If this works out well, I might limit the number of meetings even further.


Email is very time consuming, especially if monitoring your inbox all the time. I'm getting better at not checking email too often, but from now on I'll only be reading (and handling) my emails two times a day. No email is that urgent that it can't wait a couple of hours. Exactly when I'll handle my email I'll have to figure out as time goes, but I'll have plenty of time between those, on average, two meetings per day to do it.

I will also try to call people instead of sending emails, as this is usually a lot more time efficient.

Work time

The idea is that limiting meetings and inefficient email reading will make me more productive. I'll be able to do what needs to be done quicker and can thus leave work earlier. I plan to keep to a 40-hour workweek from now on, and actively avoid working at nights and weekends. In theory, this will in turn make me even more productive, and the end result is that everyone is happy.

Limiting the week to 40 hours will however most likely result in me saying "no" to a lot more things. "Will you be able to do this?", "Have you done that?", etc. We'll see how it goes.


I don't know if, or for how long, I'll be able to keep to this. I'll definitely try. I believe that this is something that potentially could make me more productive at work, while at the same time give me more free time. And the end result is hopefully that I'll be happier in general.

Pretty empty...

Methinks it's soon time for some grocery shopping...