Saturday, October 11, 2014

Where My Time is Spent: 30 Days of Random

Day 11:  The question/topic came up on Facebook...because there's this perception that I spend far more of my time at work doing facebook stuff than I do actually working. So I think the curiosity much of your time are you wasting? So first, this...

Work asks me (and the other salaried employees) the same question. I answer it monthly in the form of a timesheet. What the timesheet is supposed to be and what the timesheet is are not the same thing.

What the timesheet is supposed to be is an accurate hourly accounting of where I am billing time so that the numbers can be analyzed to fine tune our estimating procedures when we bid projects. If I bill 200 hours to a project where we estimated 240 hours to complete, for example, then the estimator can adjust his future estimates on similar projects down to potentially provide a lower bid on the next project and increase the company's chances of winning it! But nobody actually analyzes the number with an eye for adjusting estimating.

Instead what happens is salaried employees' time is analyzed with an eye for "stays within budget" or "exceeds budget". Exceeds budget indicates you're costing the company money, eroding project margins, and you should stop doing that. What ends up happening is that every single salaried employee of the company, recognizing that there is no "upside" to blowing budgets, creates a fiction as compelling as any Faulkner could write that shows time spread evenly across all projects until that project approaches its budget limit at which time all hours magically transfer equally to all other projects with fatter budgets until such time as they approach limits.

Often I look at my timesheet and just make zigzag patterns.

Project   M     Tues     Wed     Thurs    Fri

ABC       1
DEF                1
GHI                             1
JKL                                          1
MNO                                                   1
STU                                         1
VWX                          1
YZ                 1 

And so on.

But in reality, I might not have even worked on ABC or DEF or whatever. And yes, "everyone does it". So the timesheet thing is completely ridiculous.

In terms of how my time is spent at work not related to developing artful patterns with fictitious numbers on my timesheet, I've developed a graph:

There you have it.


  1. That is a VERY nice pie chart... all shaded and crap. Want to make one for me??

    1. well, i WOULD, but I think you can see my schedule is full...