Work style

I’ve heard tell of this thing called “work style,” or some such — that people have different methods of completing their tasks that work for them.

My way of working is to sit in an office, with the lights dimmed as much as possible and yet still on, the door closed, and the shades drawn. My monitors face away from the door, so that nothing of what I am doing is immediately visible to anyone either walking by or visiting my office. I keep intending to clean, but usually end up cluttered, and ocassionally messy. Sooner or later I get frustrated enough to go back to clean, but rarely feel inclined to do so while there are other employees in the building — I just feel weird walking down the hall carrying a stack of trays from the cafeteria.

The most important part of what I do takes place in a virtual world, of course. My monitors are my windows into other universes, where everything breaks exactly as it says it will — provided you can see what it will actually do, and not what you intend it to do, or what you think it will do.

My employer has set everyone up with lovely 21″ LCD displays. By cunning, force of will, and the fact that I asked, I have a semi-flat 21″ CRT as a second monitor. There was a recent study posted to Slashdot (I refuse to link to it on the basis that that would mean I have to use the lousy Slashdot search to find the article) on how much of a performance improvement is seen when the amount of screen real estate increases by way of a second monitor. It’s true.

I have two monitors, both hooked up to the same development machine. I then have at least three Remote Desktop windows opened to various other systems — my mail machine, my other development machine, and one of my computers back home.

On dev-machine 2, I’m working on a project that has dependencies on a second project, and is tightly integrated with another project — so I tend to have three instances of Source Insight open, one for each project. Two command line windows — one for building, navigating, and working with files; and one open to the log directory to see where I screwed up this time. If I’m developing, I tend to have an instance of a search tool open, that has the shared include files, as well as all other projects, indexed. If I’m debugging, it’s an instance of Visual Studio (2005 at the moment) and whatever application I’m playing with. All in all, fairly routine.

On devmachine1 (my older dev box), I have the aforementioned three Remote Desktop instances. I keep a copy of our bug tracking software running most days, and usually have a copy of Source Insight running with the source for whatever random bugs I’m working on. A command line window and source search tool complete the set.

Aside from, of course, the random Media Player window I have open to watch the show du jour. This month it looks like it’s going to be a complete Babylon 5 marathon. I’m in Season 2. Last time I only made it through Season 4 before getting bored… this time, I’m going to force it through to the end. I find I work best — or at least happiest — when there’s something on in the background, or sometimes just on the second monitor that can’t be seen from the hall.

Hey, you have your style, I’ll keep mine.

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  1. Rebecca says:

    How did you get bored by B5?

  2. Andrew says:

    I seem to recall it had something to do with the randomly impractical and conveniently timed mysterious resurrection of Captain Sheridan. The story started being a bit too impractical for me — now that I’m watching it again, I wonder how I waited so long.

  3. Rebecca says:

    …Sheridan’s “resurrection” (since he didn’t actually die) always seemed controlled by Dork Boy. (I think his name was Lorien. I never liked him.) He was sent back when Lorien had him where he wanted him.

    (Oh, my. I’m sitting here debating third season B5…)