goncalo pereira
Jun 12, 2013 · 1 min read

While reading Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us I found a mention of 20% time for doctors.

This is something developers mention from time to time after being brought into the spotlight by companies like 3M and Google and is also implemented at my workplace with a two days a month allowance .

It means that you can dedicate part of your work time for personal projects: it leads to innovation, to people feeling like they have time to experiment ,and it can bring new ideas and products. It has been proven to bring benefits to both companies and workers. As long as it does not interfere with daily work.

On paper it seemed to me like something that wouldn’t work with doctors as you can’t do heavy medical research with a few days a month and you can’t be given that extra time off.

In their case 20% time means is they are given as a perk that they can work on something specific from the list of daily tasks. Either because they enjoy it more or because that will improve quality of life.

That reminded me of all the tiny tweaks that stay in my mind month after month and if I was given a day to fix a specific tool or process it would make my life so much easier. Unfortunately there is just no room on the roadmap to ever get it prioritised, or maybe it will never stand out on your team retrospective.

So next time I have some 20% time I might just do some housekeeping.

    goncalo pereira

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    distributed systems 🚀 ,metrics 📈,clean code 🧐 , automation 🤖.Contracting at the moment @HMRCgovuk