I don’t know if I had a good day anymore

Just over a month ago I started a new job. After over a decade as a programmer, I’m now managing programmers at Bugaboo.

And now I don’t know if I had a good day anymore.

I first verbalized this in a discussion last week with my wife.

Me: How was your day?
Her: Busy, but I made progress with [something related to opening a new South American bank account].
Her: How was your day?
Me: … I don’t know.

I used to gauge my day by my productivity. “I fixed three bugs” or “I wrote a new logging module.” Or some other quasi-tangible measure of productivity.

Now my job is talking to people, and thinking.

Any output I produce happens on the scale of weeks or months (“I re-organized the department to improve efficiency”), not hours or days.

The transition is a challenge for me. That’s not to say a negative one, but it’s one I hadn’t thought of before starting the position.

It makes me wonder how others gauge productivity on a day-to-day basis. How do writers, doctors, or teachers know if they had a productive day? And if productivity isn’t objective (perhaps in the case of a university professor), or clearly positive (perhaps a failed experiment), how does one determine if they had a “good” day, objective productivity not withstanding?

How do you know if you had a good day in your work? I’d love to read your comments.

3 Comments

  1. Interesting read. I have found myself judging my day by my productivity…how much I accomplished or how little in some cases. Lately, I judge it by who I work with…sometimes pre-judging how may day will go based on that. I think the only time I didn’t judge how my day went was when I worked for the library. I loved working there so much, that even the few irritations I had or what I did or didn’t do didn’t really effect how my day went much. Just wee observations of my job days!

  2. Out of curiosity, have you been able to identify your good days finally?
    Did you need to change the scale? (I’ve had a good year)
    Is this new position fitting who you are?

  3. Hi Olivier, and thanks for asking. (And my apologies for not responding sooner!)

    Yes, changing my scale has helped a lot. I’ve also had to change what I measure. Whereas before I may have measured more objective goals (“I created X features” or “I fixed Y bugs”), now I gauge good weeks and months more, and based more on human interactions (“I feel Bob is learning a lot!” or “It seems Alice is starting to engage more with her colleagues” or “I’m getting good buy-in from the team on my new initiatives”).

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