It's a bad sign when you're playing catchup on everything. Here are some random related thoughts...

I just spent he last 5.5 hours trying to catch up on some e-mail and reading RSS feeds. In the past week I've unsubscribed from several mailing lists and earlier today I worked on pruning my RSS subscriptions and making better use of search/keyword based subscriptions.

I made a good sized dent in the e-mail problem but am not even close yet. I am, however, caught up on RSS matters.

It's a nice day outside. I should go for a long walk with a nice audio book, take a shower, write a magazine article, go to the grocery story, and then take my glider down to the airport. The drive to and from Reno yesterday was uneventful this time around. I guess I had paid my dues last time around.

One of these days I'll get around to my MT upgrade and a few other related matters.

I'm considering a new rule for my schedule at work. No more than 2.5 hours worth of scheduled meetings per day (for semi-obvious reasons, I hope), and no less than 30 minutes of time in between meetings. I've noticed that back to back meetings are a real pain in the ass. By the time I'm done with the series of meetings, much of the first meeting or two has already escaped my poor little brain.

Being a bottleneck sucks. Doing busywork sucks.

My goal is to do far less of both--as soon as I figure out how.

Anyway, off for that walk now while the Sun is still shining. Stop reading this and go outside too. :-)

Posted by jzawodn at November 14, 2004 11:44 AM

Reader Comments
# Timboy said:

Hmm... less than 2.5 hours of meetings per day might possible if you're not managing anyone. Good luck!

But you've opened yourself up to an obvious followup question. I don't think you write code in your new job, and if time in meetings is < 2.5 hours, then (there's no way to ask this tactfully) what do you do the rest of the day? :) (Keep in mind that many of us have little insight into the work of a marketing ... professional. :) )

on November 14, 2004 02:51 PM
# Timboy said:

less than 2.5 hours, then (there's no way to ask this tactfully) what do you do the rest of the day? :) (Keep in mind that many of us have no insight into the work of a marketing ... professional. :) )

on November 14, 2004 02:54 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

I should have said "scheduled meetings" instead of meetings. I'll update that.

The problem is that if I spend too much times in meetings, there's not enough left over for:

1. reading (e-mail, weblogs, news, etc)
2. writing (mostly responding to e-mail)
3. thinking about various things I'm asked about
4. handling the many things that just pop up every day

In theory, if I was managing people, I'd also be able to partition off some of this stuff for others. Of course, that'd be counteracted by the overhead of other managing related stuff that I know little about.

In other words, it's not that meetings are evil. But being overcommitted is bad. And meetings that could be handled via e-mail are a problem too. Other meeting certainly necessary, but it's the rare meeting that concludes in less than the alloted time.

on November 14, 2004 02:59 PM
# Timboy said:

Heh. Makes sense. Truth to tell, reading, writing (email as well as other docs), thinking, and dealing with things that come up take a similar proportion of my day. (I didn't really think you were slacking :) )

Wrt meetings, if genuinely individual contributors (like people grinding out code) spend a significant portion of their day in meetings, then something's wrong. Managers don't get to complain -- they should be throwing themselves at meetings so their reports don't have to go ...

on November 14, 2004 03:30 PM
# Denise O'Berry said:

Jeremy --

I've never been to a meeting at Yahoo (want to invite me? [smile]), so I'm making some assumptions here.

Most people hate meetings because they waste their time. The majority of meetings don't stay on track, have the wrong people in the room and only cause more meetings to happen.

You shouldn't have to keep the details of a meeting "in your head" if the meeting was properly conducted.

If you'd like to take a gander at my blog post I Hate Meetings! it may be helpful to you.

Best regards,

Denise O'Berry

on November 14, 2004 04:50 PM
# Barnaby James said:

Only go to meetings that can't start without you - that's a meeting worth going to! ;-)

on November 14, 2004 05:48 PM
# Jonathan Aquino said:

Email inbox is overflowing? I recommend David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD).

on November 14, 2004 10:57 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:


Thanks for the advice. Would you belive that I've read the book and audiobook versions already? Well, that's not quite true. I read half the physical book but never had time to finish. So I listened to the audiobook version instead during my morning walks.

I've tried to do the initial purge and filing a few times now, but... damn there's a lot there. :-(

on November 14, 2004 11:05 PM
# Damion said:

The problem I have is that I have so many meetings, that when I have a day without them... I have no clue what to do. I have this nagging thing in the back of my head saying "You're supposed to be doing something else" and can't concentrate on the millions of things that should be worked on. Hell... I keep forgetting that I'm a sys admin. Don't think I've touched or seen any of the systems I manage for months. (Granted on one hand that is a good thing).

I wish I could reduce the amount of meetings I have. But since everyone and their mother demand that they be involved in every aspect of things that may even remotely affect them, it's difficult to do. /lament

on November 15, 2004 07:01 AM
# Scott Johnson said:

One of these days I'll get around to my MT upgrade and a few other related matters.
I've been telling myself that ever since the 3.xx series came out. Hopefully it will happen soon, but the 2.6x stuff just works so well as it is...

on November 15, 2004 09:38 AM
# Austin Frank said:


I'm a grad student in a non-CS science (well, sort of... I am doing some computational lingustics now, but that's not _really_ what I do). I've always been a tech-y alpha geek type, and my social circles include many of the same. My passion for language won out over my various tech loves, though, and so I do psycholinguistics professionally while I live the bleeding-edge-of-the-good-bits-of-tech life vicariously through blogs like yours.

I've taken to writing to friends who are still undergrads and exhorting them to do all of the cool things that I sort of wish I could do (but not enough to have done them instead of what I do now).

The point of the exposition is that, until recently, I've been telling my friends "go work for the ximian guys at novell" and "I bet google would be alright". As a result of reading your blog (and, to be fair, the kickass rss integration you guys are rolling out) I recently wrote to my friend Tao (the best-potential-hire and my favorite of the lot), simply saying

"Apply to Yahoo. They are cool again, and worthy of your time."

If you're lucky enough to get him, one of you is flying me out to vist ;)


on November 15, 2004 10:18 AM
# Farid said:

Yes it affects my perception. It tells me the Yahoo hires good engineers who are committed and are there for the longer run.

Keep up the good work man!

on November 15, 2004 01:33 PM
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