Jan Kubr

Archive for January, 2007|Monthly archive page

For example.. now

In Uncategorized on January 18, 2007 at 19:45

I’m going to stop going to the office at the end of this month. Finally. I’m going to Granada, Spain to .. err.. learn Spanish, get some more sun, work online. I’m leaving everything behind and I told no one when I’m coming back because I don’t know it myself. I’m so crazy!

Am I really? I have no kids here, no job I would be greatly satisfied with. Yes, I’m leaving my parents, gf, and friends and it’s sad. But when else will I have this opportunity to just leave and explore? How much more difficult it is going to be in ten years? With a family? With a developed business/good job? Right, way much. I can come back any time and be able to continue this same life without problems (in case I wanted..). In fact this decision is very rational.

If you could do tomorrow over again, would you?

Nebýt figurkou

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2007 at 23:21

Těžko se mi na českém Internetu hledá něco dobrého ke čtení související s tím, čím se zabývám v práci. Často mi texty přijdou příliš technické (v mé oblasti navíc nepříliš aktuální) nebo nenávistné (aneb říkající, co vše je špatně, místo nadšení nad něčím zajímavým). Teď jsem ale narazil na velmi pěkné přirovnání života podle šablony k turismu, trochu barevnější existence naproti tomu k cestování. Důležité je, že se to objevuje na stránkách komerční firmy, tyto myšlenky jsou tedy realizovány v praxi. Agentura PeopleComm určitě stojí za prozkoumání.

Také jsem narazil na takový vtipný obrázek. Ve světle předchozího by se možná daly dvě zobrazené funkce popsat trochu jinak: B: Žiji podle společenských konvencí (jak si myslím, že ostatní předpokládájí, že budu žít). A: Jak bych žil po svém.


In Uncategorized on January 8, 2007 at 22:46

Most offices are bad places to work. They are sources of distraction. Paul Graham says in his essay What Business Can Learn from Open Source: “The atmosphere of the average workplace is to productivity what flames painted on the side of a car are to speed.” Funny and true. You can find many resources that say something similar. Joel Spolsky says in his blog post called Where do These People Get Their (Unoriginal) Ideas? that “if we interrupt a programmer, even for a minute, we’re really blowing away 15 minutes of productivity.” He creates private offices for his employees to solve this problem. From what 37signals say for example in their Alone Time chapter of the Getting Real book we can assume that the same can be achieved with teleworking.

For me distraction and interruption are the synonyms for office. It is natural. There is always someone and it seems so stupid to IM or e-mail someone when he/she is sitting right next to you or in the next room. It is nice to chat and unblur ideas (or just chat and have fun), but it is annoying when you actually want to get something done. And because I’m mainly a programmer, my choice is obvious: teleworking from home with longer breaks during which I try to be among fun people. Teleworking is clearly not for everyone though. As you can read for example here, people can often lack motivation and not everyone can afford a separate room for working from home to help overcome this.

So what is the way out? Who knows.. But I’m sure many many people would appreciate working from nicer places than those open spaces, cubicles, or whatever they call it. I think a good start would be a cozy office. For self-employed there are places to go work, too (damn, I had this idea first!).

To stay organized you no longer need to be all the time together at the same place (were the people organized, anyway?), thanks to information technology and mainly the Internet, very often you need just a lightweight workflow process and a tool that implements it. Anyone said Flempo?

Longer breaks

In Uncategorized on January 2, 2007 at 9:46

I like taking longer breaks when working. It’s convenient to start working at eight and work hard for three four hours; concentrate well and then take a two hours long break. It is good to look back at the work and sum it up, let it settle down and consider again if it was valuable or not, and try to come up with small improvements if needed. It’s also a great time to think what is the next most important thing to do. Mainly though, it is a time to rest, relax, have also different than work related thoughts for a while. And after the pause start another very effective block as if it was morning again.

Work eight hours straight only with a short break doesn’t correspond to the human body biological rhythms in my opinion as so it is probably unhealthy as well. Who is able to concentrate for so long? Most of the people don’t and that’s why we have our breaks anyway. However, the traditional working style expects you to work without these breaks, therefore we make them “secret” and we try to avoid being recognized as taking a break (sitting at the computer, but only browsing the net, having a long coffee, office chit chats, but also not that needed meetings). Of course it is bad for the employer, but also for us I think: We behave as if we were small kids and what more – it is boring, isn’t it? For me it is much more fun to either work or have a rest. And do both well.

Instead of the short lunch break one could go to a movie theater. Egregious? I don’t come up with the best ideas when I’m actually working, but in times I don’t try hard to come up with an idea. When I do some sport and suddenly something strikes my mind. When I have a chat with someone and I notice a relation to what I’m doing at work at that time. Boredom, dullness and stereotypes of the office is the last thing that supports creativity. And creativity is what I think we should need from every single employee.

The problem with longer and more fun breaks is that the work could take the whole weekday. If we were bound to a specific workplace (in the typical case this is far away from people we’d like to be with when we don’t work), longer breaks would mean less time with family and friends. If, though, our work is more mobile and more movable in time, we could manage to be with our closest people during the day. It is better to take your girlfriend/boyfriend out for a lunch and a long walk filled with sun or see her/him every weekday only in the evening, when you are both tired from the whole day at the office?