Monday, July 16, 2007

Productivity Enhancement

I've been thinking for some time now that I would be a better employee if I took a longer lunch and used it for some exercise. Granted, this would only work if I did the exercise and didn't use it as an excuse to read and perhaps nap. Exercise early in the morning tends to make me tired and cranky, but later in the day I can get quite a little pep out of it. I got my chance to prove myself right today.

During the summer months we tend to have extra power outages. It was the same when I worked in Boston - someone would dig in their back yard, a squirrel becomes a nice short between wires, someone blows up a manhole, and the electrical power will glitch. This might be a brief flicker or it might be a distinct on/off. Often this lasts less than a second, usually less than five seconds. Today the power went off in this whole end of town for 2 hours. It wasn't even that hot out, just a steady 82*F or so. Oddly, the streetlights were all still on, which is different from my Cambridge experience, but everything else was out cold. Even the "In and Out" was closed, fortunately only at the tail end of the lunch rush.

When stuff like this happens, the power hungry industries in the area like us and Am.gen get a friendly call from the power company. Today they called and said that a substation went down but they weren't sure which substation. With no power, we have no exhaust and after a long downtime, the airhandlers need to be on for a while before we can re-enter the cleanroom. With no idea how long we'd be down, I got the green light to go home for a couple hours and come back an hour after the power came back on.

If I have a couple hours on a weekend that isn't scheduled up, I can totally piss it away like there are infinite tomorrows. But when I have an unexpected couple hours free and an agenda on a beautiful day like today, I get my poop in a group and get stuff done. I drove home to find the power ON in my section of town - usually I get glitches when work gets glitches so I was pleasantly surprised by this. In 2 hours I:
  • Got the car washed
  • walked over to the local jeweler and had them tighten the settings on a couple loose stones in some rings that have been bugging me.
  • got the next laundry load washing and the next dryer load drying
  • went swimming for exercise and didn't just float
  • snuck in about 10 pages of a book while I drip dried from the swimming
  • showered and got back to work

For the swim, I did use the condo pool not the gym's lap pool. So 16+ laps in that turned out to be about a 400yd swim, or a quarter mile. Respectable as more than zero and I felt at the end like I had a lot more go in me (it was a good warm up and got the blood moving) but I knew I had to get back to work as the recall call had been made shortly before I got wet.

I came back to work, dispositioned my lots affected by the power outage (no scrap, thank goodness), and I'm now waiting around to see if the night shift needs me for anything but it's looking like I'm free to go. I *had* planned to do some experiments this afternoon but that got canned because all my tools use cryo pumps that have a four hour regen/recovery cycle after a long power down condition after which they still have to be requalified. We should be back up and running around midnight/2am but I'm not going to be doing my test runs then, even if production would let me.

It seems odd to feel so good about a day that went so horribly wrong. But it's one of those "there was nothing I could do" situations that I won't let stress me out. I couldn't even get into my office for most of those 2 hours to do presentation prep work so I don't even feel guilty about that - or about this blog entry because I'm the last one here. And I think using my "meh" early afternoon hours to exercise every once in a while might be something I can talk to my boss about - see if she'll let me do that once or twice a week. As long as I stay on task and really hit the gym it might be just the right thing to do for maximum productivity enhancement.

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