Gratitude for the hunger

At times my comfort zone is the edge. The adrenaline rushing through me after having exciting meetings and a productive all day. Coming home worn out from that. Hopping on client calls and then falling asleep before 7 only to wake up when everyone is asleep and head right back into crushing it.

The hustle can kill.

I don’t want to glorify it. But tonight I want to appreciate it. The appetite and the sensational feeling when you quench it in small steps.

The last few nights I’ve been so excited about what’s on my plate that I just got up and got them done. Last night for example. I had said to Ellen Chisa that I’d take the questions she answered for me on Product Management and make a real post with it for other newbie PMs. It was bugging me when I laid down. So as I got to sleep, I felt bothered, jumped back up and keeping all my devices on airplane mode-cranked it out. Ellen can vouch for it being less than perfect, but I got it out. She looked it over. I took on her edits. And now it exists as a resource that hopefully helps make someone’s experience better, easier or more informed.

Sure, I might miss a few things during these late night rampages. But delivering. Shipping. It’s is so exiting.

Done is better than perfect. M. Zuckerberg, Facebook

I can’t say my delivery always happens in 9–5 sprints. In fact, very rarely am I productive from 9am straight through 5pm. I don’t think its the most effective for pushing productivity.

In an industrial assembly line economy, sure. But in a creative technology driven, but human-centric economy…No. That old school idea of breaking down 24 hours into a day doesn’t work.

Read: Ultradian Rhythms (cont’ below this picture)

Ford pushed this model

Ultradian Rhythms lay on this principle that our minds worth in cyclic fashion. We aren’t linear. There’s a natural reset button. A point at which we loose interest.

The basic understanding is that our human minds can focus on any given task for 90–120 minutes. Afterwards, a 20–30 minute break is required for us to get the renewal to achieve high performance for our next task again. Leo Widrich, Buffer

I work best when I look at work in 90 minute sessions. In fact, tonight I did a spot under 90 minutes of crunch work starting at 1am and I didn’t even notice it but I was SO PRODUCTIVE.

Because the sprint is time bound and the task is narrowly scoped I think it’s easier for me to focus.

To maximize session productivity focus is key. Justin Gardners does some really cool research that helps us understand how the brain focuses. Leo has the best summation so I’ll borrow from the BufferBoys again..

1.) “Sensitivity enhancement”: It means you see a scene or setup and take all the information in that is presented. Then you focus in on what needs your attention. Kind of like “a blurry photo that slowly starts to come into focus”, describes Lifehacker.
2.) “Efficient selection”: This is now the actual zooming in on a task happens. This allows us to enter into what Mihály Csíkszentmihályi calls “Flow” state. Now our actual work on a task happens.

I don’t think about all this stuff when I’m looking forward, sitting in bed looking at my ceiling and turning in excitement. But as I look backwards I definitely see a lose framework in which each of these play a role.

My keys:

  • Break it up into smaller sprints
  • FOCUS: Find ways to stimulate my mind into flow during those sprints
  • Ship

Generally the second part is me thinking about something until the wheels click. Then I go do it. And go back to sleep hoping the person on the other end doesn’t crush my humanity for my attention to detail. (I’m big on iteration)

I haven’t made it yet. Not even close. But the journey to live a life where I can do what I love+well and pausing to recognize the distance I’ve traveled both have me exceptionally excited.

I’m really excited tonight. Thanks for listening.


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