Stop and think about how you are spending your time.
Time is constantly moving, whether we stop to recognize it or not. How will you spend it? These five powerful questions will help you reconfigure your time today.
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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
We're saying on the show all the time, questions are powerful. And in today's episode, I'm going to ask a few powerful questions for you to think about. It's a very simple concept here today, but hopefully these will be helpful in lightning for you. We're going to ask five questions today. We're going to jump straight in. First, today, am I doing things that I care about or things I only wish I cared about? Think about this for a second. Am I doing things that I care about or things I only wish that I cared about? If you have ever tried to do a values definition for yourself, this might feel familiar. What do you value? And what do you wish you valued? These are two different lists. Sometimes there is overlap. Sometimes we are happy with the things that we are actually valuing in our lives. Other times we have some idea of who we would like to be that is in conflict with some reality about ourselves. And this specific question is about how you're actually acting this out. Are you doing things today to perpetuate some kind of picture of yourself that isn't true to who you really are? This is maybe a difficult question to ask. And it may be a concept that you've never encountered before. So spend some time with it. It might make sense to journal on it to consider that. As a variation on this same question, you can ask, what did I do yesterday that I didn't actually care about doing? What did I choose to do yesterday? What did I spend my time doing yesterday that I didn't really care about and why? Now, there may be answers that say, well, I did something that I didn't care about doing because it got me something that I do care about. Some of the work that we do, we may not necessarily care about as much as other work that we do. But for one reason or another, it's necessary. It's necessary for us to continue doing a job. It's necessary for us to get the money that we need to keep living our lives or whatever the thing is. But it's important to face this reality because time is our most precious resource. And so the way that you're spending your time as much as you can align that with what you care about, the better. We're going to take a quick sponsor break and then we'll come back and talk about the other three questions. Today's episode of Developers is then brought to you by Split, the feature management and experimentation platform. What if a release was exactly how it sounds, a moment of relief and escape from slow, painful deployments, the whole back product engineers, you can free your teams and your features with Split. By attaching insightful data to feature flags, Split helps you quickly deploy, measure, and learn the impact of every feature you release. Which means you can turn up what works, turn off what doesn't, and give software innovation the room to run wild. Now you can safely deliver features up to 50 times faster and exhale. Reimagined software delivery? Start your free trial and create your first feature flag at split.io slash Developer Tea. That's split.io slash Developer Tea. Thanks again to Split for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. We've got three more questions to talk about today. The first question was am I doing things that I care about or things I only wish I cared about. The second question is kind of a variation on that. What did I do yesterday that I didn't actually care about doing and why? The third question today is when I go to bed tonight, when I finish my day, what will I wish I had done differently? This is kind of a pre-mortem and we're keeping this scoped to one day. Although you can apply this and do another variation on this. It says, in a week from now, what will I wish I had done today? But I find that, at least for me, even thinking about just a short jump to this evening tonight, what will I wish I had done today? What do I want to accomplish if I get to the end of this day? What is one thing that will make me feel good, make me feel accomplished for the day? This question is so powerful because we often have an answer to this. We often know what is important. We often know what will be rewarding to us, what we want to do. What we haven't asked ourselves that question and so we might go on autopilot and just start doing whatever is in front of us to do and then time slips away and the end of the day comes and we are disappointed with the way we spent our time. This question is one tool and the tool bag to help you avoid regretting the way you spend your time. The fourth question today, who needs my energy the most today? Who needs my energy the most today? Sometimes the answer is a coworker. Sometimes the answer is your boss. Sometimes the answer is a report of yours. Sometimes the answer is somebody you don't even know. But the answer I want you to pay the most attention to is when the answer is you. Interestingly we often give away our energy. Energy in the form of time or in the form of effort, we give it away to other people who are just simply asking for it. They may not need it as much as we assume they do but they are asking for it and we give it away freely. And simultaneously we are not investing in ourselves, we are not spending that same energy on our own development, our own problems. Who needs my energy the most today? Very often the answer is me. Now if you don't tune in to any of the rest of these questions, if you don't spend time answering them and what should tune in and listen and focus on this last question, that's very simple one. What stress can I let go of right now? What stress can I let go of right now? And perhaps just as important, maybe you said there is no stress that I can let go of right now. All of it is important, everything is overwhelming and there's reasons for all of it to be overwhelming. We'll ask this follow a question in that case. What would it take to let something go? What stress can I let go of right now and what would it take to let it go? I do this exercise almost on a daily basis, this last one. I try to find the thing inside of me that is producing the most stress. Locate where that thing is, it feels very much like a meditative, kind of mindfulness exercise sometimes. Try to understand what is that stressful feeling coming from? Sometimes it's coming from bad night of sleep. Sometimes it's coming from not having exercised enough this week. Sometimes there's some loose end that I haven't tied up. There's an appointment that I need to reschedule or a message that I received in Slack that I haven't responded to yet. And that kind of to-do list has accumulated in my mind. I haven't let it out of my brain to any kind of system of record or anything like that. And so this accumulation of stress is kind of just under the surface. If I intentionally face that stress, if I intentionally figure out what it's coming from, often the resolution for that is simple. Sometimes it's just scheduling a phone call. What's the most interesting and the most rewarding experience is when the resolution of that stress is just recognizing what the source is. This happens very often. Once I understand why I'm feeling that stress from that particular thing, I can rationalize that the stress is kind of out of proportion with whatever the thing is that's causing it. I'll give you kind of a hint about these questions very often, the answers tend to have overlap with these five questions. For example, the answer to this last question, what is the source of my stress? Is often directly, you know, sometimes exactly the same answer to the question of once I go to bed this evening, what is the one thing I wish I had done? What do I wish I had accomplished earlier in the day? There's one important takeaway for you in this discussion. When we think about the way that we spend our time, it's easy to forget that time is passing in this moment, right now, right this second, time is moving out from under us. If we stop for a moment and become mindful of the way that we are spending our time, we can drastically improve how we are spending our time. Making a conscious choice about how you spend your time is not difficult, but it does take recognition. It takes an intentional choice to investigate how that time is being spent. Thanks so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. Thank you again to today's sponsor, Split, the feature management and experimentation platform that reimagined software delivery. Go and check it out. You can safely deliver features up to 50 times faster and exhale starting today. Increase your first feature flag. It's split.io slash Developer Tea. That's a free trial available at split.io slash Developer Tea. If you enjoyed this episode and you'd like more powerful questions or maybe you have your own you'd like to share, go and check out our Developer Tea discord community. You can learn from other engineers who may be just a little more experienced or maybe you want to try your head mentoring those less experienced engineers. This is a great forum to try that out. That's again developertea.com slash discord. Thanks again for listening and until next time, enjoy your tea.