My Work Sessions

June 6, 2008 Posted by Tyler Cruz
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I’ve been making a pretty decent effort at increasing the amount of hours I put into working online. Some readers may recall how for about the past 18-months I was averaging around 2-3 hours of work per day.

Recently, I’ve been trying to increase the amount of time and effort I spend working online and have been slowly making a bit of progress. The past few weeks I have probably been averaging around 4 hours per day.

Now, I know how that sounds: extremely lazy and shameful, and I’ll be the first to agree that a large part of it is simple laziness. But it should also be noted that when I work – I really work. I always work in 1-hour increments (I may work 2-3 hours in a row, but I don’t allow myself to work 30-minutes or 90 minutes, which would count as 1 hour) and my work sessions are very concentrated work sessions.

I do not take any personal calls, engage in any non-work related instant messaging. I don’t allow myself to take a break and make a snack, or take a quick peak for information of an upcoming game or movie that entered my mind. I also do not browse through blogs or forums and count that as a work session.

When I work, I really work. So, my 3-4 hours of work per day is very high-concentrated level work and I get a fair bit done. This is partly why I only work around 4 hours… because a lot of energy is already invested into the sessions I do work, and so is as mentally tiring as having worked 8 “regular” hours. I could easily take a more casual approach to working and put in more hours, but in the end I’d still be getting around the same amount done. I instead prefer to split my “playing time” and “working time”. I’d rather work 4 “serious” hours instead of 8 so that I have 4 more hours dedicated to “playing”, instead of working 8 “casual” hours and having less time to play.

When I start a work session, I usually make a cup of coffee and sit down at my desk in my office. I then start Winamp which is preset to play from my favourite online radio stations. I listen to dedicated stations anywhere classic rock, the 60′s, 70′s, 80′s, movie soundtracks, gentle soothing music, and even reggae! Anything that is easy to listen to and not impeding with my work. I love jazz, but never listen to it on the radio because they always seem to play horrible, horrible jazz. I’m into the good stuff (Keith Garrett, Chick Corea, etc.)… NOT Kenny G or another lame version of Mack the Knife. I don’t listen to the classical stations for similar reasons.

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Next, I start the stopwatch on my watch to time my sessions. I work only in 1-hour increments and not a second before. I usually work 1-2 hours at a time, but occasionally work 3 or even 4 as well. I almost never work over 4 hours in a row simply because I get too hungry or in need of a break.

In my view, there’s no point in working when you’re tired as you’re not going to be very productive or efficient. I only work when I have the energy and drive to work, otherwise I won’t work. If that means not working for a few days, then so be it.

Once I have my coffee, music playing, and stopwatch started, I then proceed to work. This is what my desk looks like when I’m doing a work session (only this photo has a Red Bull instead of a coffee).

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Anyhow, that’s my view of working hard/playing hard. In my view it’s not how many hours you work, but how focused, concentrated, and efficient you work.

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Posted: June 6th, 2008 under Miscellaneous  

34 Responses to “My Work Sessions”

  1. What a beautiful work space!

    My work space is a Dell laptop in Starbucks. :-(

  2. bryan says:

    I definitely agree. I still worka 9-5. I concentrate on getting my work done in the first 3-4 hours of work and still get more completed then my co-workers. I often then get to jack around. Dont tell on me but my boss still praises me way more than the other guys. The other 4-5 hours I just work on my blog or side work. I know…Im evil.

  3. XLOR says:

    And where is your system block is standing?
    Under the table from the left of the chair?

  4. KushMoney says:

    I like your work space. My work space is me and my laptop in bed with a cup of water. Going to build my personal office when I move. Got a great idea for it.

    As for working, I mostly complete my work in a few hours then read other blogs.

  5. Matt says:

    God help you if you ever need to get a real job.

  6. I stay online for about 2-3 hours a day, but I work/play/read blogs in that time.
    Hopefully after my exams are over, I will try setting a schedule similar to yours.

  7. Very nice layout i need to clean up my desktops to look like yours very clean bro

  8. Mike Huang says:

    I’m also a very very lazy worker. What could be done in 1 hour takes me about 4 hours…:(

    -Mike

  9. What a good blog and a good message for us newbies.

    The difference between those that do something with their blogs and those that don’t is not luck, as some moan about when they don’t get the hits or the PPC’s… but work – and hard concentrated work at that.

  10. Jonathan says:

    Hmm, contrary to some of the others here I am not too envious of your workspace, thought it’s nice enough. But I’ll take my laptop any day ;-)

  11. DotDriven says:

    lol tyler, you better get as many hours in as you can now before SC2 comes out ;). I actually just ordered the digital download of starcraft battlechest because I packed my cd’s away to keep focused but then was too lazy to go find them when the urge came up lol. I’ve been good though…haven’t even started it since I downloaded it ;).

    I’m really bad about focusing on straight work. I wander too much and it actually seems harder to focus if I have the TV off and such. When I can focus everything just blurs out but I seem to need breaks often lol. Probably why I don’t get enough work done heh.

    I should try to spend a week with a stopwatch and make it really structured but don’t think I would have much fun. I’ve heard of people who actually dress up, like in a business suite, to walk into their home office so they switch their frame of mind. That is just way too much for me lol. I at least walk to the living room so I can be in front of the big screen >;)

  12. Paul says:

    You seem to really try and justify only working a handful of hours per day to your readers. We’re not here to judge you mate, you work what hours you want to work. You’re only cheating yourself. We don’t benefit if you work 1 hour or 10 hours per day – we’re not your boss. I think this post was written to try and convince yourself that you’re not actually that lazy – when let’s be honest, you are, in a big way.

  13. Hey Tyler,

    Where did you get that background for your desktop? It really looks you got it from a buy on DeviantArt his name is “jamesbond” but with a combination of numbers for some of the letters.

    Look at the background on my monitors and let me know if you think it’s the same artist:

    http://www.chrisguthrie.net/go-dual-or-go-home/

    It’s the pic on the bottom.

    Also, I believe that if I were in your situation as well (full time web publisher) I couldn’t make myself work 8 hours a day either. I think that for most of us the goal is always to make enough money from our web ventures while working full time so that eventually when the income comes close to or surpasses the day job income you can quit. Then just work as much as you used to when you had a full time job and you should be good.

  14. Idris says:

    Work blocks aren’t a bad idea. It’s very easy to become distracted online, trying to do too much at once (which leaves you having spent loads of time doing very little).

    • Yeah, ‘study blocks’ were how I got through College. They work great when you have a clear plan of what needs to be achieved and how long it should take. It stops you getting bogged down on one task for too long when you could be adding more value by just moving onto another task.

  15. wesley says:

    You work 3-4 hours on what exactly? It’s been so long since you’ve released any new sites. Or are you just not sharing those new sites any more?

  16. Jim says:

    Dang, that’s a really nice workspace. So clean! I’m jealous. My desks are almost always a cluttered mess… I can’t say I don’t like it that way though, I’m a messy guy.
    I want to see some more pictures of your house, it looks pretty upper-class. Living the dream! :D

  17. [...] Cruz made an interesting post about his work sessions, and how he only works 4 hours per day, 1-hour at a time. It was a well thought out post, but what [...]

  18. David Turnbull says:

    Could you give us a run-down of what you actually do? You may be trying to work more, but maybe if you were only doing 2-3 hours of work each day, then maybe 2-3 hours is all you need, and unless you’re launching a new project then there is no point to trying to work more.

    I may be off, but to me it sounds like you were working 2-3 hours for $200+ per day, and for no reason you’re trying to work 4-5 hours for the same amount.

    Also, how long are you spending in your email inbox? Are you one of those people who check their email every five minutes? Have you tried checking your email just 1-2 time per week?

    I know you showed that screenshot of your email inbox, and it was full of emails, but quite a few of the ones I saw weren’t exactly urgent and I’d recommend you use filters to make most of those just skip the inbox, so they don’t make your email seem so overwhelming.

    As you can see, I have a certain interest in productivity. :P Just don’t see the reason to work more than is required. Instead of working an extra 1-2 hours per day, why not go for a run/walk 1-2 hours per day?

  19. Working online for me is a lot more casual than yours. However, your desk is a lot more cleaner!

  20. Nima says:

    so what do you do when you are not working on the websites?

  21. Jared says:

    The point of being an entreprenuer is to not be chained to a desk 8 hours a day – good stuff, Tyler. I doubt anyone who’s holding down a 9-to-5er is ‘working’ 8 hours per day, anyway.

  22. Joe says:

    we have somewhat similar work patterns. I find that certain times of the day I am able to sit down and get stuff done without being distracted. So i try to work during those hours.

    I dont know about anyone else, but i really like to smoke a blunt before working. It especially helps with tedious/repetitive work such as directory submissions. Just throw on some tunes and ill just work for 2-3 hours straight.

    I am also a big list guy. If i see something that needs to be done i just write it down and everytime i work i just knock out a couple items.

  23. SuMan says:

    What a beautiful workspace! Mine is somehow opposite. :-(
    This environment is nice and proliferates great ideas. But what amazed me is that you only work for few hours but the outcomes are so great. What more if you work for several hours? You’ll be the best of the bests (which is actually not impossible)…

    I’ll try to fix my workplace. I hope I could make it… effectively.

  24. Bibokz says:

    I like the set-up, not to mentioned the screen saver too. :)

  25. LP Creations says:

    Some good tips here how to keep motivated, that’s my pitfall if I’m honest – being on the internet there are hundreds of things that can easily distract me away from actually working.

    I like the stopwatch idea, I may have to try that out.

    Thanks

  26. Apoorv says:

    WOAH ! Such cool desktops !

  27. Binary Ant says:

    Nice work space :) I use two 20″ monitors so I have visible several windows at the same time.

  28. I love the dual screen desktops. I have to go to school so not a lot of time to work

  29. Thats a nice office very bright :)

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