Some good common sense to keep yourself productive and happy at work.
- Write stuff down
- Quit reading e-mail and blogs
- Work on open source late at night, with a beer on your desk
- Work disconnected
- Listen to music while you work
- Work long hours on Monday and Tuesday
- Avoid meetings at all costs
- Work on something you're passionate about
I would add the following to the list:
Get some privacy - constant disruptions throughout the day can really hurt the flow. Matt addresses this with the “listen to music” item. But people will still bother you during the day. A private office, while hard to attain, is still the best option.
Windows - Not the OS. Actual windows. Someone, somewhere once decided that programmers should be locked in the basement away from distractions. Probably the programmers in his company made more money than he did. Windows are not a distraction, they are a pleasant addition to your surroundings. People prefer a nice view, look at real estate. If you do find yourself sitting and looking out the window all day, maybe you shouldn't be in an office.
Work for a small company - Big companies are generally less productive and have more red tape. Plus you will get a broader range of tasks and responsibilities. But everyone should work for a big company once just to see the difference in how things operate.
Work for a techonology company - This one is the exception to the previous rule. If you get a chance to work at Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc. Take it. You may not be there forever, but it will be a good experience. Smaller tech companies work too, but be prepared for the company to fail.
And some more long term career advice
- If you're not happy at work, quit
- Always try to be a contractor before a full-time employee
- Don't work at a company with a two-week vacation policy
- Don't travel if you have kids
- Ask for more responsibility
- Most things can be learned by reading
Read Tips for Productivity and Happiness at Work