Tips on Procrastination

From a psychologist:

  • Try projecting yourself into the future. Imagine the good feelings you will have if you stop procrastinating and finish a project.
  • Just get started. Tell yourself you don’t have to do the whole project. Just do the first one or two steps on it.
  • Stop beating yourself up. Replace the negative thoughts with something more positive.

Truth to be told: “A real mood boost comes from doing what we intend to do—the things that are important to us.”


Some Tips to Increase Mental Strength

From forbes:

  • Evaluate your core beliefs: We, unconsciously and subconsciously believe many things to be true. While somethings does not affect our worldview (and self-view), so beliefs do affect us to a large extent. We have to be more aware of ourselves to recognize those beliefs and demolish them. Presence of mind is very much needed for this.
  • Expend your mental energy wisely: It, too, is a finite resource and cannot be squandered.
  • Replace negative thoughts with productive thoughts: Direct corollary of the above one.
  • Practice tolerating discomfort: Our brain forces us to be comfortable. While that is good for survival, it is not, definitely, good for progressing in life. It need not be great risks. Tolerating discomfort can start from very small things such as – calling a person whom you wanted to call, but were uncomfortable in doing so, going ahead and starting that exercise etc.
  • Reflect on your progress daily: What you can measure is what you can manage.

On Improving Technical Leadership Skills

This article does a nice job in explaining what makes a technical leader effective. First, it highlights the attributes of a technical lead:

  • Knowledge: At all level of details of the system one is working on. Doing code reviews, reading design documents, and writing code is how one can keep their knowledge levels up to date.
  • Speed: To respond quickly, to make decisions swiftly etc. Keep things connected to achieve the same.
  • Awareness: Know what is happening in the project.

Then comes a set of activities which will be enabled by the attributes mentioned above:

  • Block: block things that you think are wrong (preferably with another right solution)
  • Unblock: If somebody is blocked for something, do whatever it takes (including asking other members etc.) to unblock
  • Redirect: Be a human 302, an effective one.
  • Decide: Make decisions
  • Show: Lead by example

There are some important actions mentioned as well:

  • Host effective engineering team meetings
  • Make sure meetings are brief and to the point as necessary
  • Help create project priorities
  • Say no to unnecessary features
  • Define and follow best practices
  • Maintain cross functional relationships
  • Stay updated on useful tools
  • Coach other engineers
  • Review code in detail and provide feedback
  • Always be coding
  • Shield engineers from management
  • Define, identify and explain technical debt
  • Explain why decisions are made
  • Fight for right decisions
  • Load balance work among members
  • Have some understanding about project or product’s value and its importance to the company and customer
  • Evaluate architectural decisions and their implications
  • Ensure test cases are being written
  • Improve debuggability of problems
  • Generate new ideas and solutions
  • Escalate blocking issues

The Power of Compounding and Personal Growth

We all might have learnt the power of compounding when we started earning and are beginning to invest. The gyst of it is that – you should invest early. The more you invest early, the less you need to invest later on.

For example, when I learned it, I was literally amazed to see that upon reaching half the tenure of investment, you would already have accumulated 85% of the final returns. The other half of the tenure of investment contributes to only 15% of the final returns. No wonder, Einstein called this the eighth wonder of the world.

What this has to do with personal growth? The same lesson can be applied here. For growing up in life, the initial years matter. The latter years just add only so much to the life. It is the initial years that count. The first two decades of life. It is very important. If not us, we should at least pass this valuable lesson on to our kids so that they appreciate the point.


Things ToDo in the Morning

Another classic:

  • Get up early
  • Review your focus list
  • Review your To-DONT list
  • Exercise
  • Eat a healthy breakfast
  • Kiss your partner goodbye
  • Practice 15 minutes of positive visualization
  • First things first
  • Do difficult things first
  • Connect with right people
  • Stay informed

On Goals and Habits

Some interesting insights from this post:

All of these are self-help clichés. And they’re not wrong. In fact like all clichés, they contain a nugget of truth, but they’re too general to convey the subtlety required to become actionable advice. You can go from zero to somewhere using this advice, but I think it’s as likely to make you fail as it is to help you.

Why is that? The reason is because it puts emphasis on the results of what you’re doing, and relies entirely on your willpower to get you where you want to go. The reason this is dangerous is two-fold: your willpower is a finite resource and its availability is controlled to a large extent by your ego.

Your ego is a funny thing. It a lot of conceptions about who you are. It thinks you have all the talent in the world, and all the ability in world. It carries within it your precious self-image. The problem is that if your brain feels that your self-image is threatened it will shut down your willpower, and allow you to rationalize giving up in the interest of maintaining your ego.

This recognition helps us see why setting firm goals and keeping track of what you’re doing is a problem for beginners. It risks your self-image when it’s at its most vulnerable: when you’re trying something new. If during the first few days or weeks of coding you fail to reach a goal, either because your willpower is depleted or your goals were unrealistic, it’s easy to feel your self-image being threatened. Your fear center kicks in: what if I’m not as smart, and talented and special as I thought? And then it says to you: it’s better I stop trying than find out. And so your willpower is gone, and you’re right back where you started.


Step One is concentrating on habit creation.


And so the biggest part of Step One is not to get better at doing, it’s to start doing.


What’s interesting is this: if I had set goals, and tracked my progress I would have been sorely disappointed at having missed going to the gym. I would have felt like such a failure. And my ego would have been very quick to tell me to just completely give up and rationalize it by saying things like: I’m too busy, or I don’t like exercising anyway. My willpower would have been sapped completely.

But none of that mattered to me. By just going every once in a while, and doing whatever I felt like doing the gym became a somewhat enjoyable experience. It wasn’t a highlight of my day but it certainly wasn’t horrible. Some days I even kind of wanted to go. And even more interestingly, having a week or two when I didn’t go at all had a surprising effect: it made me realize how much better I felt when I was working out.

That realization reinforced my emotional attachment to going to the gym, and I picked right back up with very little difficulty. It’s one thing to know rationally that going to the gym will help you feel better, it’s another thing to know it emotionally.

Once you have enough experience at an activity like coding, something interesting happens. You begin to know: hey I can be pretty good at this. It might not get it at first, but I’ll be able to figure it out. That means you’ve successfully convinced yourself not to take your failures personally. Which means your ego is safe from being irreparably harmed, and your fear center won’t kick in to make you do weird things. Once you’ve developed that attitude, that’s when you need goals.

So, in short to get good:

1. Learn how to build habits
2. Habituate doing the things that you want to get good at in an easy-going, non-threatening way. Recognize that this will take time.
3. Once you’ve done that, set goals.