Availability bias and the remote work advantage

Removal of the easiest to observe input metric – face time – reduces the availability bias in remote work organisations, and helps them focus on the more productive outcome-based metrics.

This switch to emphasis on outcomes can be helpful for individual productivity, but is truly transformative when the whole organisation goes remote-first.

Behavioural biases confuse performance appraisal in office-based organisation culture

The time spent in office looking productive is a key factor in performance appraisals across teams and organisations. Even when time in office is not a formal factor, it unconsciously creeps in and affects rating scores on other factors.

This focus on input factors and ‘visible productivity’ (time spent, sales calls made, lines of code written1, bugs closed) is a result of the availability heuristic and substitution bias in action.

The outcomes of an individual/team’s work are delayed and often diffused – hard to credit exactly. However, the inputs are visible and trivially measurable. In pursuit of productivity metrics, the manager/organisation substitute the hard to measure outcomes with the easily available input factors (time spent in office, calls made, lines of code) etc.
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Chrome Extensions I use (start 2018 edition)

This is the updated, early 2018 snapshot of the list of Chrome extensions and apps I use.

Favourites/recommendations are in bold.
My own extensions/apps are marked with an asterisk (*).
Extensions by Google are marked with a (G)

The previous list, from late 2015, is here.

Continue reading Chrome Extensions I use (start 2018 edition)

Quick-tip: Moving multiple tabs to a new window in Chrome

Just discovered this by trial (requires tabs to be consecutively located):

  • Open the first tab (click to it)
  • Press shift and mouse-down on last tab to move
  • Drag out of the current window and release mouse

Voila!

All the selected tabs in the range are moved into a new Window.

Productivity timer & activity tracking

Garmin Fenix 3 & Pomodoro Timer

The Garmin ‘move’ bar & the pomodoro timer

My latest piece of bling, a Garmin Fenix 3 watch, comes with an inbuilt activity tracker. One feature of this activity tracker is the so-called Move bar.

The basic idea is that if you are inactive for one hour, the bar turns red and shows an alert asking you to move around for 2-5 mins. The longer you’ve been inactive, the longer you have to walk to dismiss the bar.

On the non-fitness side of things, a.k.a. work, I use a pomodoro timer app to split my work into manageable bits. For the last year and a half that I’ve used it, I’ve stuck with the default 20 mins work, 5 mins break pattern 1. After every 4 sets, is a slightly longer 15 min break to stretch legs, and pamper Chewie.

Today was my first full day with the new watch, and I’ve already settled on a modified pattern – 25 on (working), 5 off (twitter). Every 2 sets, i.e. every one hour, take additional 10 mins off to walk around to clear the bar, chat with family, and then back again.

Worked well for the half day that I’ve worked today. If this works on Monday too, it’ll be a fun combination of work & walk :)


  1. Most of those 5 mins breaks are used for catching up, or posting, on Twitter :) 

Chrome Extensions I use

Just thought I’d share the full list of Chrome apps and extensions I use. Favourites/recommendations are in bold.

Extensions

General / Productivity:

Introducing: Done – Chrome extension for iDoneThis

iDoneThis puppyiDoneThis is a unique productivity tool that begins where normal productivity tools finish – after you complete a todo/task. The core idea is very simple – log your completed tasks in (as you go, or once daily), and then track, search, tag, discuss, share them as you want.

To log a task you can either email a specified email address with completed tasks (better: just reply to their daily emails), or go the iDoneThis website to log the tasks.

Users can be part of (and post dones to) multiple teams, say one for each project or department. Completed tasks can be #tagged for easy organisation, and team members can comment on and/or *like* each completed task.

Productivity hack: Close your email client!

The log-by-email option used to work for me till, as a productivity hack, I decided to keep my email client and Gmail tabs in a default closed state *all the time*.

The hack’s worked brilliantly! There’s no notifications, and no more quick-check-if-there’s-any-important-new-email only to spend 15 mins going through unimportant, but interesting ones. I open the email client now only when I want to send an email, or am taking a break so I have time to spare. No more interruptions!

The downside to this successful hack is that now I don’t want to open the email client, more recently the Inbox tab, or the iDoneThis website just to send a one line completed task email. And so, slowly, I stopped logging any dones at all.

The real deal: Done!

Done - Chrome extension for iDoneThis This new extension, Done!, is my solution to this problem – a way to quickly log completed tasks to iDoneThis without sending an email, or opening the website. Quick, simple, single-purposed.
Continue reading Introducing: Done – Chrome extension for iDoneThis