Brody MacLean

#productivity

Remote working tips

A Twitter thread worth reading for tips on the "new normal" of remote work.

tl;dr

  • Get a great chair and desk
  • Understand async working
  • Always over-communicate
  • Ask for help regularly
  • Go to lunch with people
  • Pick up an active hobby
  • Travel as much as you can
  • Have a great work setup
  • Learn when to finish the day
  • More time for family & friends
  • Get a noise-cancelling headset
  • Block off time in your calendar
  • Have a ‘transition’ activity
  • Document everything you do
  • Separate work & living space
  • Take walking meetings
  • Only attend essential meetings
  • Still see your colleagues
  • Remember to take breaks
  • Always assume positive intent

Remote: No Office Required

In thirty years’ time, as technology moves forward even further, people are going to look back and wonder why offices ever existed.
— Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group

The time is right for remote work

Why work doesn’t happen at work

If you ask people where they go when they really need to get work done, very few will respond “the office.” If they do say the office, they’ll include a qualifier such as “super early in the morning before anyone gets in” or “I stay late at night after everyone’s left” or “I sneak in on the weekend.” What they’re trying to tell you is that they can’t get work done at work. The office during the day has become the last place people want to be when they really want to get work done. That’s because offices have become interruption factories. A busy office is like a food processor— it chops your day into tiny bits. Fifteen minutes here, ten minutes there, twenty here, five there.

Even short commutes stab at your happiness. According to the research, commuting is associated with an increased risk of obesity, insomnia, stress, neck and back pain, high blood pressure, and other stress-related ills such as heart attacks and depression, and even divorce.

Say you spend thirty minutes driving in rush hour every morning and another fifteen getting to your car and into the office. That’s 1.5 hours a day, 7.5 hours per week, or somewhere between 300 and 400 hours per year, give or take holidays and vacation. Four hundred hours is exactly the amount of programmer time we spent building Basecamp, our most popular product. Imagine what you could do with 400 extra hours a year. Commuting isn’t just bad for you, your relationships, and the environment—it’s bad for business.

Stop commuting your life away

According to the research,* commuting is associated with an increased risk of obesity, insomnia, stress, neck and back pain, high blood pressure, and other stress-related ills such as heart attacks and depression, and even divorce.

Procrastination: It's pretty much all in the mind

The answer may be down to differences in how our brains are wired, a study suggests.

A study of 264 people's brains has identified two areas of the brain that determine whether we are more likely to get on with a task or continually put it off.

It found that the amygdala, which processes our emotions and controls our motivation, was larger in procrastinators. They also had poorer connections between the amygdala and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (DACC). The DACC uses information from the amygdala and decides what action the body will take. It helps keep the person on track by blocking out competing emotions and distractions.

Research has already shown that mindfulness meditation is related to amygdala shrinkage, expansion of the pre-frontal cortex and a weakening of the connection between these two areas

Tips for procrastinators

  • If you don't have an external deadline, use a timer to focus for set periods - for example, 25 minutes at a time with 5-minute breaks and a longer break every 90 minutes.
  • Write a list of tasks but break it down into smaller, more specific ones. This makes them easier to action and complete.
  • Try to minimise interruptions like email notifications. Putting your phone on "airplane mode" or going somewhere to work where you won't be disturbed will also help.
  • Being "busy" is easier than doing the thing we are avoiding. Instead of doing the task at hand, we do other stuff instead and kid ourselves that we don't have the time. You do have the time. You just need to make it.

Source: Procrastination: It's pretty much all in the mind

Elon Musk’s 6 Productivity Rules

Source: Tesla Switching To 24/7 Shifts To Push For 6,000 Model 3s Per Week By June, Elon Musk Says

Here are some of his personal productivity tricks he gave the employees.

Elon Musk sent Tesla employees a memo, pledging a big push towards productivity as it gets production of its Model 3 car back on track. Here are some of his personal productivity tricks he gave the employees.

1. Nix big meetings

"Excessive meetings are the blight of big companies and almost always get worse over time. Please get [out] of all large meetings, unless you're certain they are providing value to the whole audience, in which case keep them very short."

2. Ditch frequent meetings too

"Also get rid of frequent meetings, unless you are dealing with an extremely urgent matter. Meeting frequency should drop rapidly once the urgent matter is resolved."

3. Leave a meeting if you're not contributing

"Walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren't adding value. It is not rude to leave, it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time."

4. Drop jargon

"Don't use acronyms or nonsense words for objects, software or processes at Tesla. In general, anything that requires an explanation inhibits communication. We don't want people to have to memorize a glossary just to function at Tesla."

5. Communicate directly, irrespective of hierarchy

"Communication should travel via the shortest path necessary to get the job done, not through the 'chain of command'. Any manager who attempts to enforce chain of command communication will soon find themselves working elsewhere.

"A major source of issues is poor communication between depts. The way to solve this is allow free flow of information between all levels. If, in order to get something done between depts, an individual contributor has to talk to their manager, who talks to a director, who talks to a VP, who talks to another VP, who talks to a director, who talks to a manager, who talks to someone doing the actual work, then super dumb things will happen. It must be ok for people to talk directly and just make the right thing happen."

6. Follow logic, not rules

"In general, always pick common sense as your guide. If following a 'company rule' is obviously ridiculous in a particular situation, such that it would make for a great Dilbert cartoon, then the rule should change."

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