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Joel on Software

2001/06/07

by Joel Spolsky
Thursday, June 07, 2001

New experiment: working 9 to 5.

Today I actually left work at 5 PM, not because I was done, but because I have a distinct theory that if you force yourself to leave work after 8 hours, eventually you train yourself not to waste time during the day.

I just read Slack, by Tom Demarco, one of the authors of my favorite software management books, Peopleware . Demarco is a big fan of the 7.5 hour workday, which got me thinking about it again.

It'll never last.

Slack itself is one of those books that should have been an article. It's got one very good idea at the beginning, then it repeats some of the good ideas from Peopleware (like Lister's Law: you can't think faster, so trying to force knowledge workers to work "faster" in the same way you try to get Nike shoe makers to make more shoes per hour will never work.) But then Slack devolves into a typical lightweight bizniss who-moved-that-cheese kind of book about Managing Change, albeit an intelligent one, but I didn't learn much after the first couple of chapters.

TechInterview: A man has two cubes on his desk. Every day he arranges both cubes so that the front faces show the current day of the month. What numbers are on the faces of the cubes to allow this?

(P.S. Michael and I are going to move TechInterview to a faster server in the Fog Creek office as soon as we can. This is taking longer than expected because he is on a fishing trip and I've been leaving work at 5!)


Have you been wondering about Distributed Version Control? It has been a huge productivity boon for us, so I wrote Hg Init, a Mercurial tutorial—check it out!

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