Spending time deliberately

Thoughts on doing my best work.

Throughout any given day, my mood & state of mind fluctuates depending on many factors: quality of sleep, what I ate that day, how my personal relationships are sgoing, how my company is doing, etc.

Because of this, I try to avoid a fixed schedule as much as possible. I view my day as fluid: I have a collection of different states of mind throughout the day, and I have a collection of work items that need to be done, so I try to match these up.

When I'm feeling creative, I write code or do frontend design. When I'm feeling insightful, I think about longer-term company strategy. When I'm feeling extroverted, I focus on user outreach and customer conversations. Mapping my states of mind to the appropriate deliverable lends itself to my best work. The opposite is also true - forcing tasks in an improper state of mind often produces worse results.

This is a simplified view - it certainly won't be possible in all jobs or on all days - but I'm fortunate enough right now that I'm able to abide by this as much as possible, given that an early-stage startup has time spent mainly between building and talking to users (and both of these have a spectrum of sub-tasks that tap into different states of mind). This is in contrast to my time spent at Google, where I often had days filled with back-to-back meetings.

Deliberately not working is also important. If I'm feeling awful and particularly unproductive, I prefer to make a conscious decision to step away and rest, in contrast to making little progress on something while beating myself up over the lack of productivity.

Collect this post to permanently own it.
Colin Armstrong logo
Subscribe to Colin Armstrong and never miss a post.
  • Loading comments...