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The Mindful Developer (PHP North West 2017)

David McKay
September 30, 2017

The Mindful Developer (PHP North West 2017)

Being a developer, programmer, analyst, tester, designer, etc … is hard. We work in an industry that champions the 12+ hour work day; continued learning and open source contributions, but not on the company’s dollar. We’re continually berated with the idea of the 10x developer and so we must work harder, read more blogs, write more code and buy more books … but when will it ever end? Will technology ever stand still long enough to let us all catch up? No. You’ll always be busy, busy playing catch up in a race you didn’t sign up for.

Fortunately, there’s another way. Instead of being busy, I can help you be more productive. I will walk you through some of the tools and techniques that I use on a daily basis to maintain and upgrade my skills in a world of ever changing technology, and, more importantly; to protect my sanity, be more present and remove stress and fear from my life.

David McKay

September 30, 2017


  1. Me: ➔ Software Consultant ➔ OpenSource Contributor Pets: ➔ Bichon

    Frise ➔ Ferret ➔ 3 Degus ➔ 5 Chinchillas ➔ 2 Russian Dwarf Hamsters Organiser of: ➔ Cloud Native Glasgow ➔ Docker Glasgow ➔ DevOps Glasgow ➔ Pair Programming Glasgow ➔ MongoDB Glasgow ➔ ScotlandPHP Volunteer: ➔ Technical Lead TEDx Glasgow
  2. Bat & Ball ➔ A bat and ball cost £1.10

    ➔ The bat is £1 more than the ball ➔ How much does the ball cost?
  3. Pretzels ➔ It takes 5 machines, 5 minutes, to make

    5 pretzels ➔ How many minutes does it take 100 machines to make 100 pretzels?
  4. System 1 Fast / Automatic aka “The Chimp” ➔ Fast

    Response ➔ Unconscious ➔ Effortless / Automatic ➔ Dumb and Gullible
  5. System 2 Slow / Pragmatic ➔ Deliberate / Conscious ➔

    Effortful ➔ Controlled Mental Process ➔ Logical and Skeptical
  6. Eight Weeks of Mindfulness ➔ 27 Minutes Per Day ➔

    Major increase in gray matter density in the hippocampus ➔ Decreased gray-matter density in the amygdala (a mig dala) ➔ None of these changes were seen in the control group http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2011/01/eight-weeks-to-a-better-brain/
  7. Capture ANYTHING that needs your attention ➔ An email you

    need to respond to ➔ An article you want to read later ➔ Tickets to the Chevelle gig just announced ➔ The warranty on your new TV Fill that inbox!
  8. Clarify ➔ Is this an action or reference? ➔ If

    it’s an action, will it take less than 5 minutes? ➔ Is there a next action?
  9. ➔ Some tasks are people based #David ➔ Some tasks

    are location based #Home #Office #Phone #Laptop ➔ Some tasks are blocked #Waiting Not all tasks are created equal.
  10. Reflect You don’t know if you’re on the right track,

    if you don’t know where you’ve been
  11. ➔ Did I make progress on each of my lists?

    ➔ Can you chase up anything that is #Waiting? ➔ Triage your inbox ➔ Archive completed projects The Weekly Review
  12. “If you don't pay appropriate attention to what has your

    attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves David Allen
  13. Goals What do you want from life? 1. Career /

    Education 2. Financial 3. Family 4. Artistic 5. Attitude 6. Physical 7. Pleasure 8. Public Service
  14. Goals ➔ Goals don’t need to be large ➔ Goals

    must be SMART ➔ Be honest with yourself ➔ Macro & Micro Goals
  15. Goals If there’s an item on your to-do list that

    doesn’t help you reach one of your goals: ➔ Why are you doing it? ➔ Have you identified a missing goal? ➔ Delete it
  16. Goals Weekly Review’s are your best way to monitor your

    goals ➔ Did I make progress on all of my goals? ➔ What one thing can I do in the next week to help my goals? ➔ Are my goals still relevant?
  17. “What we found was that it takes 66 days on

    average for people in our study to acquire a habit Professor Jane Wardle
  18. Keystone Habits ➔ Wake up at 5:30am ➔ Meditation ➔

    Exercise ➔ Check your email only twice a day ➔ Your working clothes
  19. Becoming a Morning Person 5am is amazing … but it’s

    not easy I use a Light Alarm Clock
  20. Effective - Don’t look at your phone in the morning

    and try to avoid it during the day - Identify rabbit holes … Wikipedia!
  21. Not to feel exasperated, or defeated, or despondent because your

    days aren’t packed with wise and moral actions. But to get back up when you fail, to celebrate behaving like a human–however imperfectly–and fully embrace the pursuit that you’ve embarked on Marcus Aurelius
  22. Meditation Meditation is a great way to remind yourself to

    be a bit more present We’re always rushing through life; take a moment to stop and really experience where you are and who you’re with
  23. Tasks ➔ Digital & Physical ◆ Todoist / TickTick ◆

    Code & Quill Notebook ◆ Fountain Pens ◆ Rapid Logging ◆ Migration
  24. Schedule ➔ Only put it in your calendar if it’s

    immutable ➔ Don’t try and “schedule” time for yourself ◆ Instead “Theme” your days
  25. “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and

    nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day Mark Twain
  26. Pomodoro Work in time-boxes of 25 minutes Take a 5

    minute break Every 4 pomodoro’s, take a 25 minute break
  27. “Work expands so as to fill the time available for

    its completion" C. Northcote Parkinson
  28. “Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that

    push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. Cal Newport
  29. Deep Work Foster the ability to perform Deep Work: ➔

    Drown out office noise with headphones ➔ Ensure you have no distractions ◆ Close Slack, Twitter, etc ➔ Build a habit out of your Deep Work cycles ➔ Stop working at 5:30pm. Let your brain recharge