At-Work Productivity: IM

I’ve been reading Lifehacker for a while now, and, up till now, have been bombarded with productivity tips and tricks that have been more or less useless since I haven’t been working on anything I’ve been the slightest bit interested in.

That’s changed, though. I’m now working on stuff I’ve been itching to work on for about two years. So all the stuff I’ve been digesting about how to be an awesome software developer starts to have relevance. But it also means I have an awful lot of bad habits to break.

The first bad habit is probably instant messenger. Lifehacker has some IM tips that I’m going to try to follow.

I hope people don’t take it personally if I ignore them on IM. I’m going to start making use of status messages and invisibility. My default mode is still going to be online, but if I’m working on stuff, my status will say that. I turn notifications off and I’m going to ignore whatever comes in until the next break time.

I like IM a lot. We use it as a communication tool in the office. You can get quick feedback from people without having to compose emails, but it’s still relatively asynchronous–you don’t have to connect and stay connected with people like on the phone.

IM is good. I don’t want to get rid of it. But it can be a real distraction. Not that I can’t use a distraction sometimes, but I do kinda need to get work done. So I’ve got to be a bit smarter about how I use it.