I use a program called Wakatime to track my IDE usage. In 2021, I was in the top 10% of all users. In 2022, I decreased substantially, matching my career transition from software engineering to product management.
I was pleasantly surprised to see only 6 hours of software engineering work for Pinwheel. As I was transitioning into being a PM full-time, I had two concerns: being unable to pull away from development work and staying too in-the-weeds with the engineering team. I’ve had qualitative feedback that I avoided the latter issue, and I’m happy about this quantitative data showing I’ve avoided the former! This was ~1/100th of the time I spent programming for Pinwheel in 2021. Instead, I spent hundreds of hours1 using writing and data analysis tools (Notion, Jupyter notebooks, Google Sheets, Looker, and various SQL runners).
The remaining ~100 hours were between consulting work for Luminopia and friends’ startups, and hobby projects. I’ve been working on improving my productivity, so I was glad to see my hobby project work in <3 hour bursts. More than 70% of the bursts corresponded with discrete functionality being added2. These were spread across 5 projects, 2 of which were 3+ years old, demonstrating maintainability.
I’ve had a personal theme of “pace” over the past 3 years: how can I be more efficient with the time I spend? I.e., getting to the 80% quality bar as quickly as possible, and only going to >95% quality when absolutely necessary.
I plan on keeping this theme for the next 3 years. I’m applying it to more than programming. With programming though, it means less fun going down meandering technical rabbit holes, but delivering more projects that actually achieve their goals! Now to stop yak-shaving my offline file indexer and ship a working version…
Wakatime stats for 2020, 2021, and 2022. 2022 is missing ~40 hours of work that I performed in Gitpod.io, a cloud dev environment.
In addition to Wakatime I use Rescuetime. Wakatime tracks IDE usage, which repo you’re working on, and the languages of the files you’re editing. Rescuetime tracks which desktop apps and websites you’re actively using.↩
Based on a quick review of the past 2 months. I coded on 26 days, grossing an average of 1.5 hours per day. According to the commit log, I released a workable feature on most coding days.↩
Written by Alex Wendland, who is currently exploring fintech at Pinwheel. Here's a Twitter handle, a GitHub, some LinkedIn, ol' Facebook, or a hip Instagram if you're interested.