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.
Be More Productive & Less Busy
David McKay ★ Scottish
★ Productivity Nerd
★ Aspiring Stoic
➔ Software Consultant
➔ OpenSource Contributor
➔ Bichon Frise
➔ 3 Degus
➔ 5 Chinchillas
➔ 2 Russian Dwarf Hamsters
➔ Docker Glasgow
➔ DevOps Glasgow
➔ Pair Programming Glasgow
➔ MongoDB Glasgow
➔ Technical Lead TEDx Glasgow
Your brain is a liar!
Bat & Ball
➔ A bat and ball cost $1.10
➔ The bat is $1 more than the ball
➔ How much does the ball cost?
➔ It takes 5 machines, 5 minutes, to make 5 pretzels
➔ How many minutes does it take 100 machines to make 100 pretzels?
Fast / Automatic
aka “The Chimp”
➔ Fast Response
➔ Effortless / Automatic
➔ Dumb and Gullible
Slow / Pragmatic
➔ Deliberate / Conscious
➔ Controlled Mental Process
➔ Logical and Skeptical
Which brain would you rather use
➔ 27 Minutes Per Day
➔ Major increase in gray matter
density in the hippocampus
➔ Decreased gray-matter density
in the amygdala
➔ None of these changes were
seen in the control group
“Our mind is for having ideas, not
ANYTHING that needs your
➔ An email you need to respond to
➔ An article you want to read later
➔ Tickets to the Chevelle gig just
➔ The warranty on your new TV
Fill that inbox!
Your brain needs to trust the
➔ Is this an action or reference?
➔ If it’s an action, will it take less
than two minutes?
➔ Is there a next action?
◆ OSS Project
◆ Someday / Maybe
➔ 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
Reflect You don’t know if you’re on the right
track, if you don’t know where
➔ Did I make progress on each of my lists?
➔ Can you chase up anything that is #Waiting?
➔ Organise your inbox
➔ Archive completed projects
The Weekly Review
“If you don't pay appropriate
attention to what has your
attention, it will take more of your
attention than it deserves
Time is the only commodity that
What do you want from life?
1. Career / Education
8. Public Service
➔ Goals don’t need to be large
➔ Goals must be SMART
➔ Be honest with yourself
➔ Macro & Micro Goals
3 Goals 30 Seconds
If there’s an item on your to-do list that doesn’t help you reach one of your
➔ Why are you doing it?
➔ Have you identified a missing goal?
➔ Delete it
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?
Building a system takes time
and it can be frustrating
“What we found was that it takes 66
days on average for people in our
study to acquire a habit
Professor Jane Wardle
Why are habits important?
You’re a rat
➔ Wake up at 5:30am
➔ Check your email only twice a
➔ Your working clothes
It’s all Cookies and Radishes
How I Work
Becoming a Morning
5am is amazing … but it’s not easy
I use a Light Alarm Clock
- Don’t look at your phone in the morning and try to avoid it
during the day
- Identify rabbit holes … Wikipedia!
Become Comfortable with the Uncomfortable
Start with a cold shower
Meditation is a great way to remind yourself to be a bit more
We’re always rushing through life; take a moment to stop and
really experience where you are and who you’re with
➔ Digital & Physical
◆ TickTick (ticktick.com)
◆ Code & Quill Notebook
◆ Fountain Pens
◆ Rapid Logging
¿ Make up your own!
➔ Only put it in your calendar if it’s immutable
➔ Don’t try and “schedule” time for yourself
◆ Instead “Theme” your days
Eat the Frog
“Eat a live frog first thing in the
morning and nothing worse will
happen to you the rest of the day
The Rule of Three
Applying Pareto’s Principle to your to-do list
Work in time-boxes of 25 minutes
Take a 5 minute break
Every 4 pomodoro’s, take a 25 minute break
“Work expands so as to fill the time
available for its completion"
C. Northcote Parkinson
Deep Work / Flow
“Professional activities performed
in a state of distraction-free
concentration that push your
cognitive capabilities to their limit.
3. Within your skill set
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
Don’t listen to music with vocals
Get comfortable saying “no”
Building a system takes time and
it can be frustrating
“Your success in life is the sum of