Last year, I read Atomic Habits by James Clear. I first heard of James Clear during Justin Jackson’s Laracon 2019 talk in New York, when he quoted:
Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.
No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your identity.
This is why habits are crucial. They cast repeated votes for being a type of person.
I picked up the book a while later. It was a great read and I got through it pretty quick! However, the key metric for a book like this is: did it have an impact on my daily life or mental models?
My colleague Brent tells the story of how he got “stuck” at his old job.
I decided to leave because I got stuck, there wasn’t any room to grow anymore. The perspective of being a developer who’s 5 years behind of modern day practices made me miserable.
Even though I’d been advocating within the company to make significant changes, both on a technical and management level; it didn’t seem achievable. We were still struggling to deliver the quality we promised our clients, we were using out of date technologies, I went home almost every day feeling down and depressed.
I believe “we were still struggling to deliver the quality we promised our clients” is what really wears you down. Using out of date technologies might have held the team back in this situation, but isn’t necessarily the root cause.
I don’t regret having worked for that company: I did learn valuable lessons there. It’s ok to be at a place where there’s little or no room for growth, as long as it’s not too long. Watch out, and critically assess your situation from time to time; you might get stuck without even knowing it.
It’s important to evaluate from time to time. Not just your job, but all of your work. Ask yourself how the project you’re working on is going every now and then. What went wrong in the last few months? What are you happy with? Keeping this in check will keep you from getting stuck.
Read the full post on stitcher.io.
Long overdue, but I finished reading Shape Up. This quote stood out as I’ve experienced its effect first-hand.
It’s easy to overvalue ideas. The truth is, ideas are cheap. They come up all the time and accumulate into big piles.
Really important ideas will come back to you. When’s the last time you forgot a really great, inspiring idea? And if it’s not that interesting—maybe a bug that customers are running into from time to time—it’ll come back to your attention when a customer complains again or a new customer hits it. If you hear it once and never again, maybe it wasn’t really a problem.
I used to keep lists for everything little thing that popped up. Both things that I had to do and things that I wanted to do. These lists slowly became mountains of work with paralyzing gazes, having the opposite effect of motivating me.
At some point I decided to delete all the baggage I’d been carrying around. It was exhilarating!
Now I only add things to a todo list that I’m not allowed to forget, not things that I have to or want to do. Something that’s on a list for more than a week is a smell; maybe it’s not as important as I thought.