Weekly reviews: WTF, OCO and BLUNT

Weekly reviews are where we turn failure into learning experiences. They’re postmortems of the week, and they should be very focused on the things we should do differently (or more of) next time. They don’t have to be huge. In fact, one would hope we don’t have massive learning experiences every single week. But there […]

Whose team are you on, part two: the IC edition

Allow me to quote myself: As an IC, your main structure at work is a team of other ICs. As a manager, you manage a team of ICs, but are yourself working alongside other managers. This means you and your ICs are, in effect, on two different teams. This blew my mind a little when […]

Resetting after your morning goes to bits

One of the things I find hardest at work is resetting if my morning didn’t go at all as planned; if rather than getting stuck into my planned, focused work I ended up running around like a headless chicken, trying to clear multiple small things that kept popping up like moles in a whack-a game. […]

Quick writing tip: Start with meaning

“What do all the words mean?” Asking that is a very powerful way to start working on a document that Product or Engineering requested, but for which they provided little more than a headline: “We need a document explaining how to cook fish in an office microwave”. What do all the words mean? Then continue […]

Helping colleagues after layoffs

Whether your colleagues just got laid off or are worried they’ll be next, there are ways you can help – even if you don’t have a job to offer them. All of these things can help people feel prepared and in control, and can reduce anxiety. That’s about all you can do, since you can’t […]

Fear-based procrastination

Half of what I read about procrastination, focus, and productivity seems to ignore what for me has always been the prime driver of procrastination: fear. The unfearing view of procrastination focuses on perfectly reasonable advice, some of which I also give, to alleviate some symptoms. But the best way to beat fear-based procrastination is to […]

How to properly end things

There is a line in Atomic Habits that I really like: “I’m just proactively lazy. It gives you so much time back”. It refers to resetting a room after every use so that it’s ready the next time you want to use it. I like to apply it to my work computer, and I am […]

Embrace the suck, writers’ edition

In a post titled Find It in the Edit, I mentioned that your first draft is going to suck, and that seven drafts into the writing process is halfway there. I was making a point about the importance of editing. But I should have made another point: “The suck is normal. It’s almost requisite. Embrace […]