Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
An analysis
Published on October 9, 2007 By Draginol In Business

This past week I took 2 days (Thursday and Friday) and combined them with a working weekend to go up north to work on some critical projects. Most notably, I needed to work on the technology trees for Galactic Civilizations II: Twilight of the Arnor. 

Going to a vacation spot to do work is always a tricky proposition. The temptation to...well...vacation is very high.  To see if working from the cottage was a viable activity from me in the future I tracked my time meticulously.  The results were disappointing.

While I averaged over 8 hours of work per day, I didn't feel I had enough to show for it.  I wrote approximately 40 pages of content (I had hoped to accomplish closer to 60) and managed to do a lot of reading.

The problems of working at the cottage that I ran into were:

  1. The work environment is not as efficient. At home and at the office I have numerous high speed computers at my fingertips to call on. At the cottage, I took 2 laptops which were adequate but not nearly as powerful. Similarly, I have 24 inch monitors at work and at the office. I had a 17 inch monitor at the cottage. And yes, it makes a difference.
  2. The ergonomics were problematic.  The desk and chair at the cottage were chosen for their aesthetics over functionality which I definitely suffered for. My comfy computer chairs at home allowed me to work many more hours at a time without taking breaks.
  3. There was over 8 hours lost in traveling, unpacking, getting setup, repacking and returning.
  4. General distractions.  I'm at a beautiful lake cottage with perfect weather and my kids and wife are there.

There first 3 issues are the most significant. There's an 8 hour overhead in travel.  This can be greatly reduced by choosing a different time to travel.  In the future, I'll travel up north Thursday after having worked (instead of traveling during work hours) and then returning home Monday morning before work rather than Sunday night.  If I did that, I'd gain back nearly all the overhead time.

Getting a more comfortable chair would also help significantly so that I could work for longer periods.  And, I hate to say it, I may have to consider getting a larger monitor.

In the future, I think the cottage is best used for paper work and other reading. I did accomplish a great deal of reading and analysis while I was there (including reading through a few of  the legal opinions that had backed up -- yes, you Americans are incredibly litigious causing even small companies to constantly deal with lawyers).

Below is a chart of my hours for those days. It's lower than I normally work (the chair was the big issue for that -- the importance of good ergonomics, I'm converted).

October 4th Time (hours)
Forum Participation 1
Travel to cottage 3
Unpacking 0.5
Grocery Shopping 1
Email/IRC 1
Forum Support for WB 1
Legal Reviews 1
Resume Reviews 1
WB Articles 1
Total 10.5


October 5th Time (hours)
Forums/IRC/Email 1
Employee Review 1
Marketing Interview w/CPU 1
GalCiv:TA Improvements 2
Terran Tech Tree 1
Computer Maint 1
GalCiv TA Forums 1
Total 8


October 6th (Sat) Time (hours)
Drengin Tech tree 2
Tech Journals 1
Royalty Reports 3
Forums 1
Back Logged Paperwork 2
Employee Reviews 1
Total 10


October 7th (Sun) Time (hours)
Arcean Tech Tree 2
Terran / Drengin updates 2
Forums 1
Emai  1
Tech Journals 2
Total 8



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