Five things that make us more productive

Productivity is such a key component to happiness. Here’s 5 things that have made me (and by and large, Xoprecious) more productive this year:

1) Basecamp
We like Basecamp, just like other companies have liked Basecamp. It’s pretty simple to use, there aren’t that many features, it keeps us organized, and we’re able to continue working smoothly when not around each other. Largely due to Basecamp, we were able to complete our largest technical project this year despite me having spent 3 weeks in the Far East, our main site developer Mustafa having spent 3 weeks in Lebanon, and our designers all working off-site. We finished on time and on budget.

Basecamp has its minor annoyances, but, they never seem to be “big deals.” They also never seem to be of the “How-the-@#&*$-do-you-do-this?” or “Where-the-#*(&#-is-that-button?” variety.

2) Tortoise SVN
SVN is nice because its integrated into your directory structure. The client lives seamlessly on your computer and isn’t some extra plug-in or bulky software that you have to go to, to check in and out stuff. It’s that same kind of get-out-of-your-way technology that Basecamp is.

We use an external SVN repository as well. So, the combination of Basecamp and SVN is a pretty potent tech cocktail, for those of us that like to work from anywhere.

3) A parking space
I recently got a parking space behind the office building. For the last year, I’ve spent typically an average of 15-20 minutes finding parking + walking to the building. I’m pretty sure I’ve parked far enough away from work that I actually would have gotten to work faster by walking.

Including the walk back to the car after work, I’d estimate a half hour was wasted each day with the whole car fiasco. That’s about 11-12 hours wasted a month, or a staggering 130 hours or so of wasted time a year to find parking. We pay $1,200 a year for that spot. Buying ourselves 130 hours of productivity on $1,200, means we’re spending about $9.25 an hour so that I can work during time I’d otherwise be walking or driving. This isn’t even counting the gas I’m saving and the smaller “carbon footprint” I’m leaving for not having to play the real life version of Mario Kart (Battle) around the block.

4) Code-Hinting Development Environments (Visual Studio, FDT, etc.)
Any code-hinting program is essential to productivity. I’ve been used to it in .NET for years, and not having had it for some time while I was flailing away with the native Flash AS Editor made me realize how important such a thing is. When you can limit programming time you spend finding things and spelling things, and spend this time on thinking, it gets you places a whole lot faster.

5) Nintendo Wii Sports
We’ve had Wii for roughly a year now, and while it’s an unpopular opinion, I still enjoy the out-of-the-box Wii Sports games. They’re the digital version of air hockey, foozball, or ping pong. They’re fast to play. They require you move your arms and torso around, a nice change of pace to pushing with your fingers (though, if your lame, you can also just flick your wrist). Though its a bit more cloudy a calculation than parking, I’m guessing 30 minutes of Wii a day probably adds a good 2 hours of extra thinking energy per day.