The Joy of Work

One of my favourite podcasts is Eat Sleep Work Repeat hosted by Bruce Daisley, the European Vice-President for Twitter. I was delighted when I heard earlier this year that he was publishing a book, The Joy of Work (2019).

The subtitle of this his first book promises a lot: “30 ways to fix your work culture and fall in love with your job again”. The book is arranged into three sections which he claims together create happier work environments:

  • Recharge—ways we can help recharge our own batteries.
  • Sync—suggestions about how to encourage trust.
  • Buzz—ideas, based on research, that can help teams reach a state of ‘buzz’.

Each chapter relatively short, easy to read and is packed with great, up-to-date research and ends with a few practical ideas about how you could implement that idea.

Recharge

The first section offers 12 performance-enhancing actions to make work less awful:

  1. Have a monk-mode morning—silent and distraction free.
  2. Go for a walking meeting—seemingly, it makes you more creative.
  3. Celebrate headphones—they can really help you focus by shutting out the noise around you.
  4. Eliminate hurry sickness—don’t see gaps in your schedule as moments when you are not working, celebrate space—sometimes you have your best idea when you are doing ‘nothing’.
  5. Shorten your work week—stop celebrating overwork, go home on time, break your day into small chunks. Burnout and exhaustion are no good for your creativity.
  6. Overthrow the evil mill owner who lives inside you—don’t be a tyrant, don’t jokingly say ‘half day?’ when someone comes in at 10:00. Don’t give people a hard time about their hours especially when work has some flexibility.
  7. Turn off your notifications.
  8. Go to lunch—it’s better for your mental health.
  9. Define your norms
  10. Have a digital sabbath—for example, don’t email afterhours
  11. Get a good night’s sleep
  12. Focus on one thing at a time

How I start my weekly review

A white mug of coffee with the word begin written on it sits on a wooden table.

Above: photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

Every Sunday evening I sit down to review the previous week and plan the week ahead. This is my weekly review, a discipline that I adopted after reading Sally McGhee’s book Take Back Your Life in 2003.

One of the first things I do during my weekly review is read a document I wrote in October 2017 that I called The Discipline™. Occasionally, I update it to keep it fresh and relevant; it’s a living document.

It’s a reminder of what is important to me right now, what I should be focusing on. It’s like a little manifesto for my life—something to give me direction, to help me prioritise.

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Shu ha ri—three stages towards agile maturity

“Scrum has its roots in Japanese thought and practice”, Jeff Sutherland, the co-creator of Scrum, tells us in his book Scrum: the art of doing twice the work in half the time (Random House, 2014), p.38.

One of the ideas that Scrum has drawn on is the Japanese martial art concept of shu ha ri (or shuhari) which outlines three stages of learning towards mastery.

Over the last few years, I have found this a really useful model to bear in mind when working with teams as they embrace and grow towards agility.

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An overview of my planning and productivity system in 2019

Google Calendar, Microsoft OneNote and Todoist

My personal organisation system has evolved over the years in an iterative and rather agile approach.

This post outlines the major building blocks of my current system.

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My paperless(-ish) office with OneNote and NAPS2

Screenshot of NAPS2 application. Two documents have been scanned and are shown side-by-side.
Screenshot of NAPS2, the scan to PDF application I use alongside OneNote

I’ve started using NAPS2 to convert paper documents to PDF to store in Dropbox or Microsoft OneNote as part of my paperless(-ish) office approach to productivity.

Predictions about the paperless office have been circulating for over 40 years now. And yet here I am in 2018 sitting next to a four-drawer filing cabinet containing letters and documents about everything from my house rental and utility bills to health records, university qualifications, and work-related documents.

Continue reading My paperless(-ish) office with OneNote and NAPS2