Getting ready for the new year

Inspired by Mike Cohn's blogpost, I thought it was a good idea to think about my own New Year's resolutions. I'm not talking about setting unattainable goals for 2016, but rather small improvements that improve the way we work as a team.

I came up with 7 that I feel are easy to do, but can make a world of difference:

  1. Create a definition of done and definition of ready with your team
  2. In team meetings, ask more questions and make fewer statements
  3. When someone's talking to you, give them your undivided attention
  4. Celebrate small wins
  5. Improve the information radiator for an ongoing project
  6. Default to yes (with regards to changing something in the way we work)
  7. Change or remove meetings/processes that aren't serving the team

I'm always right

Not literally, but bear with me. I don't like listening to the radio, so my daily commute to work/clients is filled with podcasts (I'll do a separate post on that in the future).

One of my favourite podcasts is Back to Work. I love listening to Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin. They talk about A LOT in less than 2 hours per show. And from time to time, there's stuff that just sticks in my mind.

"I'm always right" came up in a story by Merlin. If I recall correctly, he taught his daughter how to remember whose glass she was holding in which hand, by thinking about that line.

So next time you pick up two glasses, you know where to hold yours.

Future you

Lately I've come across two different sources, talking about future you/future self. The idea is simple: while you are living in the present, you can take decisions that will make your future life a bit easier.

For example: every night before going to bed, I set out my clothes for tomorrow and make sure that all bags or boxes I need to take with me, are at the door.

Those are low effort things to do, but create a more relaxed mind to go to bed. By doing this, future me is ready to take on a new day without worries.

This is an excerpt from Shawn Blanc's The Procrastinator's Guide to Progress. You can download his free e-book at The Focus Course.

If you’re waiting until it’s time to begin work before you make a choice about what to be working on, the choice is much harder. Instead, make the choice for yourself ahead of time.

1. Today, at the end of your day, write down the one thing you need to get done tomorrow. Not necessarily an “urgent” task with a deadline, but rather an important one. A task you need to accomplish in order to keep making progress on a project.
2. Now, decide when you’re going to do that task. Preferably, it will be the first thing you work on tomorrow.
This is your current self making the choice for your future self. Right now, when you can think clearly and make an unbiased decision about tomorrow, is the perfect time to make a decision about the first thing you’re going to do.

Garrick van Buren tweeted about the same subject a while ago:

What’s a one-time investment you can make in yourself? Do it now. Future You says, ‘Thank you.’

Always the stairs, never the escalator

In 2012, Casey Neistat made a video to promote the Nike Fuelband. It's filled with awesome footage and a great soundtrack: Fischerspooner - Emerge (Junkie XL Remix).

There's this one line that I can't get out of my head ever since: "Always the stairs, never the escalator".

Whenever I can, I'll take the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator. My current workplace is on the 5th floor and I'll happily take (at least) 100 steps up and 100 steps down each day.

So thank you Casey Neistat for teaching me a healthy habit!

My playlist for a productive evening

Discovering a habit you had for quite a while, is a wonderful thing.

I try to dedicate at least one night per week, to experiment with new tools, improve my current setup, read up on articles I saved,...

While I listen to a wide range of music during the day, it struck me that I keep coming back to a particular playlist for these "productivity evenings". It's a list being curated by manners.nl

If you haven't heard of this site, I suggest you start out with an Inspiration post. They always deliver.

Enjoy the music!

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