Re: Goofing off on the job?

Subject: Re: Goofing off on the job?
From: Gwen Gall <ggall -at- CA -dot- ORACLE -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 4 Oct 1994 12:27:23 EDT

In-Reply-To: CNSEQ1:TECHWR-L -at- VM1 -dot- ucc -dot- okstate -dot- edu's message of 10-04-94 16:25

Julie Azoulai in Isreal asks two questions:

1. <The folks that write long answers about suit colors, mouse vs. keyboards
<etc. - where do you find the time? Are you goofing off on the job?

2. <I work 45 hours a week (standard for Israel) writing software
<documentation. I often find it difficult to keep my mind on my work when
<spending long hours in front of the computer.
<Can anyone suggest tips for improving concentration?


1. Some technical writers (me included) are isolated from their peers, and work
in very small "shops" on the edge of town amid car dealerships. My morning
and lunch email correspondence with other writers has become important to me
both as a professional association, and as social contact. I bear with the
long, boring or irrelevant stuff by deleting it unread--fast, but with the
knowledge that someone else on the list may really need some advice from his
_peers_ about job interviews, even if I don't. Most of what I read makes me
better at my job, and I since I have a flexible schedule and work from home
alot, I end up doing _more_ than 45 hours a week on average, _and_ read my
email... And I don't have trouble concentrating, 'cause I break up the work,
like the experts say...

So perceptions must be modified by circumstances, and assumptions should be
avoided. We have programmers who come in at noon, then go for lunch--but at
midnight or 2 a.m. or Sunday afternoon, they're workin'!

Flexible, and thankful for it--as a professional, I get my work done, meet my
(usually ridiculous) deadlines, and get my bonuses for quality work done on

I'm sure most of us on this list are the same--and the rest are students,
(now, _you guys_ are goofing off, right? ;-))

2. > Ann Arbor, Mich. -- People who work with a view of the outdoors are more
> enthusiastic about their jobs. They're also less frustrated, more patient and
> report fewer physical ailments, a researcher told the Associated Press.
> "A window with a natural landscape reduces workers' 'directed attention
> fatigue,'" the deliberate attention used to focus on a work project, said
> Prof. Rachel Kaplan, a psychologist at the University of Michigan.
> She reported her research Sunday at the American Psychological Society in
> Chicago.
> The opposite of directed attention is involuntary attention, the effortless
> attention used to see pleasing landscapes, paintings and music, researchers
> said.
> "When employees can glance away from their desks or computers and rest
> their eyes on a natural landscape, no matter how modest, involuntary
> attention takes over," Kaplan told the Associated Press. "Workers get a
> respite that offsets directed attention fatigue, a mental condition that
> comes with even the best of jobs."
> "Windows with views of nature help us maintain our train of thought and
> help us remain composed and civilized in the face of interruptions and
> demands," Kaplan told AP.
> She said she also found that workers with a view of nature "had fewer
> headaches and felt generally more healthy."
> Workers stuck in windowless work stations, even if they are well-lit and
> modern, are more vulnerable to distractions, less flexible in their thinking,
> more impulsive, less able to solve problems, and more irritable, Kaplan told
> AP.

So get near a window, and apply for flex-time...

Apologies for the long post, but people really shouldn't make assumptions
based on their own experience--another subject that's cropped up lately on
this list.)


Gwen (ggall -at- ca -dot- oracle -dot- com)

"The question is not the size of your intelligence,
but how you use the little amount of it you might have."

--Sir John Gielgud

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