Tracking time

I was reading this interesting article about people tracking what they do with their lives and was fascinated by this video:

Baby Sleep Tracking.

Somebody spent a whole year tracking the sleep patterns of their newborn baby and generated a visualization of it. Quite interesting to see the pain that many of my friends are going through right now. It would be interesting to see how it is for different philosophies of what to do when babies wake up in the middle of the night. There are lots of them out there!

This reminded me of the time that I spent about two weeks tracking by the minute how I spent my time at work. It's really enlightening! I suddenly realized how much time I spent writing emails and talking to people that dropped by my office. The part that I wasn't able to actually track was the context switching cost.

The problem with this is that some context switching is good: it allows you to relax your brain and when you come back you will see things that you were ignoring before. At the same time, it might produce bad results. I've seen variable naming standards changing because of breaks in coding. I've seen even full system architectures shifting because of the inability to remember all the context when coming back to the code. So some of this loss might be long term, when you have to go and refactor the code to handle this "drift".

In any way, it was a good exercise. I suggest everybody to do things like that from time to time to really understand their days and how to maximize the parts of your day that you actually like.