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Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time

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Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time
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Confreaks, LLC
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High-tech culture is obsessed with managing time. In fact, if there’s one thing that we spend as much time on as actual work, it’s getting the most out of that work time. But here, like elsewhere, choosing the wrong optimization does more harm than good. Wringing every minute out of your day is more likely to burn you out than to turn you into a code-producing machine. Instead, we need to get better at managing our energy. Put down the kitchen timer, because in this talk you’ll learn about better research-driven approaches to get more out of work and life.
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after the first. was really good. are high in german asked.
they really do apparently now a conference speaker i also do a lot of work with companies to help them build friendships and i've got flagrant time management problem so i'm here to talk to you about them and and hopefully make all of us feel better about that informal survey there's no we're all friends here who in this room. it has either don't work today or was working yesterday which as a note was sunday. as he hands me to that is of fifty eight percent of the audience. at so i said mr his son day and half of us or she so not so how's problem right so i said yeah i want to these things and software developer i had had his need to get stuff done i feel like i don't do enough and i feel like i need to be productive all the time.
i feel like i need to be contributing meaningful code constantly this is something that's the been waiting on the really for the last couple of years because we get this image right of of people who are constantly producing you get like this that shah's of the world they put out ten thousand books every for one year and so that's the image that i have. on top of that now that we're in like the is to graham culture i feel like this is how it's supposed to look like this lady is so put together i don't even know anything about it she is a coup hipster camera i don't even own a camera.
her tea looks really well but she does like thought leader in before breakfast and i am struggling right and on top of that now is where the software world i'm supposed to be this like magical unicorn not only should i be productive one hundred percent of the time i also need to be more productive than everyone else that companies are only interested in taking the top ten percent of program.
years and if this mythical ten x. programmers of thing which is not that they believe it is and so we're still in this place. i need to be the most productive. and it's hurting us and i think that you have this problem to and i don't think that just because you should have for productivity top which thank you for showing up for productivity talk i think they have this because i looked at a bunch of statistics on this i realize i'm not the only one were to walk through a couple studies were going to we're going to talk a lot about research it's on this is the talk is very heavy on.
and on cited resources so you can look them all up online afterwards site on my resources gallup poll couple years ago twenty five percent of american salaried workers work sixty plus hours a week. now if you back that often only fifty hours a week as forty percent of salaried workers forty percent of people working fifty hours a week and if you know anybody or if you are that poor soul who is working fifty to sixty hours a week you know that this is not really a monday to friday thing nobody does sixty hours monday to friday and they're really take said. and now this is a sort of like low level burned all day long all week long kind of thing right. more half american got twelve months out of education. so we have this this conversation i like how much vacation time to have it turns out americans forfeit about twenty five percent of the vacation every year so if i give you more vacation it would not matter because you're not taking it anyway. at. some kills me such an axe to grind on this one but two thirds of workers eat at their desk work at their desk and you people this is like the five so much to get down just grab a sandwich and so you start to get this picture right of of this this out of control situation where because we feel the need to get so much. done we're consuming all of our time and the results of that is this stunning but statistically accurate that number here which is a thirteen percent of workers are engaged.
so yeah that's why poll thirteen percent or engage in the eye was forget this number twenty four percent almost twice as many are actively disengaged which i can't quite exactly tell if that is but i'm pretty sure that's the point where you're about to burn the building down and walk out is like twenty five percent of people a half as many are actually actively engaged. does anyone here work on a team. and we were with other people ok thank you again checking that your way if you're going to team if you're one of these people. that energy spills over into the rest of your team. so not only do you have this problem for yourself got help you if your leader if you have people reporting to you that energy cascades on to those folks. so we have this problem is a great quote that ice on it when demand exceeds capacity we make expedient choices. i think the expedient choices when we don't really know how to solve this problem are to start sacrificing the parts of the rest of our life i like it subsumes more time in your energy and you do the work at home in to work in bed to do the work before you eat you just don't bother reading. so we do it right.
so being the child of the internet that i am i decided that somebody is probably written about this and that maybe they could help me out.
the fact that i can even like get into this the perfect. i don't have time for that and so and and even better about this by the true fact i discovered i wanted to use a screen shot and i waited a day i came back and had written it down and actually were three hundred more of them in the one day between when i decided that this was ridiculous and the the time i took the screen shot. there's some good advice out there i'm sure. decided instead will google around will a google product of an will get some articles and seven some advice was ok so the advice was. if the list on forbes' known for their intellectual rigor.
five minute lists as the. the context of this tip is if you are brain out can handle doing productive work anymore here's one fast easy tet to push your face against the grindstone just a little bit harder. thanks for this. another article. the only club their subscriptions your member of time spent on them can be justified drop out. and i'm going to have done i still have hobbies an interest and friends. morrow said. this article this is not even like you know backwater two thousand and six of the internet this article is from last week. so this is like actively up near the top of my google is that so i picked these articles i went through like the top five and that's where all these are coming from it's no secret that the more time you have for work the more you can achieve. the better you'll get the surrounding text the actual tip is just wake up earlier and start working earlier another lie you i am not going to go to bed any earlier to accommodate this right and so the reality of this type is just don't sleep. right at this is my favorite things so happy because i found life packed out orders were to get some light tax on identifier tiny the days when a great metaphor immediately.
he gets the problem isn't me the problems i have time thieves and they're like little known as the come and i may take my tiny human and i can't get enough stuff done right and if i can muster up enough energy i'm going to be that i'm going to chase away my time thieves this kind of metaphor those this isn't a unique metaphor right rescue times.
really common productivity tool rescue your time from the time thieves and as another his side was taken this i look down on here this is this like you know why you should buy or product is will tell you when you spend more than two hours on facebook.
so huge need more of reinforcement that the all of us have this problem and somebody this clearly came from somebody like personal story of just cannot get under two hours a facebook. hurts so early talks every if you want to tax unicorn chase your time he's and rescue your time.
well this sound like such a wonderful romantic movie basically it's not effective and and we're doing these things right and got how do you take this advice and it's not working and the more this happens when this happens to me the more that i focus on it the worst time i have it and i find myself back doing the things that are. the active i feel guilty about not being productive and i want to try to spend time with my family i feel guilty that i have not spent that time being productive. this is what i want my life to look like.
i want to spend time on work i love work really do love work but i also want to spend time on the things that are important to me. there's more than those of the work and this is kind of where i am i. are productive. my contention here is the am not going to reclaim that last one percent for him to hopefully obvious reasons but. my contention is that the reason that this is so out of whack is that we are measuring the wrong thing. it is all well and good to not waste your time. but we optimize what we measure. so we're going to talk about how to optimize better we can do better.
so i look at one particular study this was something this is a gallup poll is a multi-year study they looked at effective workplaces there's an interesting side effect if you read this which is that there's no such thing as an effective company only effective worker and interesting side effect their lot of other studies of the sort of there's an easy one.
so what made people productive they felt cared for by somebody work got positive feedback some and work encourages them and bullshitting on that last one that wasn't actually on their at so these these things will always have in common. not about time not about efficient meetings. not about how early wake up in the morning about energy.
and so specifically when we talk about what we're measuring was my contention is not measure the quantity of time that we put towards these tasks you to measure the quality of the energy. and when you start to think through this when you when you take this position a lot of the things that we discovered a minute ago start to make sense right.
if you find is so browsing facebook for an hour two hours or something there may be a reason behind this if you have employees who are chronically having trouble focusing the answer to this is not to make it is equally impossible for them to do anything but focus. this is a sign that things are out of whack. and we need to learn to actually balance those things.
so if you want to get back to this place was discussed some some tips was inspired by those life tax love life tax i don't really but this was seems like a good way to do and.
so you're my contention is our going to we're going to break down i did get more and more study on what is that people found that is affected and managing energy i think it falls into three categories getting more energy spending it wisely figure out how to recharge so getting energy this is probably the easiest want to spend a couple.
minutes telling you things that you probably know. it's interesting to see how factually these things work like how the received wisdom works here that are asleep.
i know it's a big it. i love that big and so. there's a reason to give this tiny pig is because some of you aren't sleeping enough i just wanted to give you this lovely list here of things that happened where it was found after investigation that it was due to lack of sleep trouble the exxon valdez bow paul three mile island. and the challenger explosion. q tiny pig. week we need sleep we need sleep as not just about twenty asleep it's about quality of sleep.
both of these things are very important.
the surprising statistic to me although i am clearly with them the eighty percent camp here i did not think that so many people were eighty percent of people sleep with their cellphones. we sleep with their cell phone signal eighty percent levy like either under your within arm's reach i think is the is the answer here. yet. fans will and will talk about it. was so here's the thing right is that if you are a light reasonable person you use your cell phone for o'clock right if you have an alarm it's your cockle i'm like no he's got that like to be the thing on the side of any more right. the couple people thought i was out of their bed but because we're in this by now where we're devices serve multiple purposes this is a danger because as it turns out you probably suffer you are looking at your screen as you go to bed i have talked a lot of people who say that the the time when they can get stuff done is right before. ads you hop into bed and you serious screen for a while and then when you're too tired to continue kind of like what you had done right. but it turns out that using screens is about i pads. using screens enough to suppress year nighttime melatonin so melatonin is if you don't know it is the sleepy drug that makes you want to go to sleep so staring at your screen. going to slow down your bill you go to sleep out all that the the time when they can make you raise your hand. . but if you are on a team that does a fair amount of drinking after work. this is my former team they're laughing really hard and. it takes the if you're faster to fall asleep to those flags maybe you can contact your cell phone use by being wasted when you go to sleep. but it reduces rem sleep which if you don't remember the research on that run sleep is the one that has an effect on concentration motor skills and memory so if you don't remember that maybe you're going to sleep waste into autumn. the quality of sleep.
i actually said no. there's no queue. exercise that's only nominally about exercise but that's really q a. so i could tell you that if you don't do exercising entirely but this is not that top the different could tell you that if you have depression or if you do it too much stress exercise will help you deal with depression and stress this is not that top the productivity talks order to keep it in scope here.
it turns out there doing even a little bit of exercise ten minutes not very much exercise the immediate boost the concentration of mental focus. so going to go into a little bit what and how we should spend time recuperating keep this in mind even a small amount of exercise bike and work walk from the train even a little bit going to be really helpful there is other research indicated an added to the slides here but there's other research that indicates that the long term effects are similar actually if you consistently exercise over long. period of time to those benefits add up so if like many of us you're not precisely the kind of got a lot of exercise remember that you're cutting itself short mentally by doing so and you have died. he and i could intuition is the world health organization adequate nourishment. this should be an easy one for us this should be given some i'm guessing that a lot of us out here have free food work right and some not. is it healthy food. in some sneers good how they do is get we were in this really interesting spot right like we are we're white collar highly pain highly educated workers this one should be giving eat the food that your body needs and you will have more energy to get things done red bull may give you wings but it is not going to help you. i actually concentrate long term. and then stress this was another really interesting want to me you should have some stress you should have moderate stress much like a muscle if you have modern amounts of stress your body becomes capable of dealing with this you can expand your ability to cope with that situation if you go way overboard. which is what happens a lot of the time run its kind of we're talking about here doesn't work that way right but too much stress on a muscle in tears and there's some great metaphor there.
but so were we want to be balance stress.
now it's about.
but in time wise that section two.
this is a free there are heard the research that says it will power can be diminished by. using it you know if you if you have a tacit takes will power you have less well power so it turns out that only true if you believe it. carol dweck who if you if you have to re-enter stuff you should go look out pretty much everything he's ever done. that my free give to you for showing up to this talk is that you won't get unlimited will power from here on out because as it turns out if you do the same study that shows that you or your willpower is diminished but beforehand you prime people that that doesn't work that way there will power isn't in fact diminished. you're welcome. multitasking.
multitasking does not work really really really does not work if you're in your seat saying yeah but i'm really good at multi-tasking research says that your worse at multi-tasking than people who don't think there are any good at it. is awesome. you drop for what they expected they smoked weed or stayed up all night. we didn't talk about me but i'm guessing this is not to be very productive either so they said that the i.q. job was fifteen points which was enough to take the the men in the study from wherever they were about the average for an eight year old. at what they didn't say i wish they had is that means that if you stay up all night and then multitask you've got the i.q. of a stoned eight year old boy. that i don't know why they left that out of the study but i'm fairly confident of those results multitasking does not work. if you want to use your energy wisely you need to be single tasking you need to get things out of your way and focus on what you're actually working on and then put it away. related one i'll buy you end up with a lot of things and my in my life where they don't they're not immediately resolvable and i can kind of just like pushing off on the side of the play but there are always something that i'm caught carrying along. remember that there are a lot of things in our lives like that if you can deal with them if you take the time even though it's not the fission use of that time per se. you get off your plate to get them done this is something that has been reinforced my life many many many times is that when it comes down to it the stuff you're avoiding doing again you're probably avoiding doing it for reason you take care of it. you get to spend the rest of your life without being taken care.
to recharge we start with energy we use the energy into a charge energy.
there are two big points a section of the first one rest is not the same as idleness i don't this is not the same as rest.
so it turns out that when you are doing nothing. but for real nothing they defined as not focused on external stimuli your brain goes into this thing called default mode is needed because it also like shows why we think you know a thing computers are like brains we have mode versions for it. so concert mode so your brain is really different stuff and the research shows that default mode this this processing that your brain does when you are for reals idol is important to your actual cognition when you're not idle is your brain doing maintenance tasks. which means that this is the problem we talk about the two hours on facebook.
this i think is one of the really fundamental ones when we don't really disengage from what we're doing when we look around and twitter when we're gone on facebook when you're doing all these things you're playing games your focus on external stimuli you're not actually resting and so the reason why there is no amount of facebook that you can consumed. actually get back to being focused is because you're not resting you're just not doing work. that's a big one i have trouble with alan so there is a wonderful parable this reminds me of its a buddhist story and there are two monks very young and the bragging at each other which is what monks apparently do in the media and they're talking about their masters and one says my man.
after is so powerful he can walk across this river without even using bridge right and says that's nothing my master when he chops would he chops would we care is water he carries water. i love that story of the power of the of that thought that we can actually be present in the things that were doing including when we're doing nothing at all.
so when i say to you you should eat breakfast and you should take a walk when i say to you should listen to music what i'm saying to you is not you should consume your r.s.s. feeds are podcast well eating breakfast or that you should you know read the newspaper while listening to music you need to take these times to disconnect. and the disconnection is what's going to get you ready to actually be productive again. the second big idea is the bigger version of the last idea you need to alternate activity and rest so activity so doing all the time we get a lot of that we have plenty of activity but we don't really taking rest so think back we said we're not were two thirds of people are eating lunch at the desk. right saying fifty percent are taking vacations say or working sixty hours a week.
we're saying well wagering is essentially this i work ninety five percent of the year for sixty hours a week with no breaks for fifty years and is idiotic. and yet that's clearly implicitly what we're doing and i think the reason for this is that it doesn't look like you're making this wager nobody says this out loud because it sounds stupid. when you say is i'm doing professional development i'm going to meet ups i'm writing a blog i expect that passion projects because i'm a programmer and so we never take that down time and this is implicitly the wager that we're making.
so my girlfriend is a contractor as well as i'm and she was talking to friends of hers who works at a job the same must be so great every day is like friday. it's a no it's not quite like that every day like tuesday's an infinite string of tuesday's. he has discussed the situation really well and that i feel like this this was the goal right like this is what i wanted was one hundred percent output all the time i'm going to be like a machine own be like the people that they write those bullshit forbes articles about a big way when in reality what we need.
is this we need significant up time we also need significant down some say is take some time off.
i say that i mean for real like off off which means not answering e-mails and not answering the work slack and all that. so recap.
it's enchanted. this is the real currency of what we're doing doesn't matter what your time looks like or lease is just not the primary thing to pay attention. get some energy take everybody was will stop working but when you get all spent wisely recharge better i think that i wasn't going to turn a magical productivity unicorn because you corps don't like exist.
but i think that but i think that they don't exist but i think of this is a better life worth living thank you very much.
and i believe i did i don't really have time for questions i see do of stickers i am on the twitters i would like to talk all being so are their questions so the there's a question about its there is there is a. this rule on your to do list right if you can do it in under five minutes go out and get it done. so. three minutes. i suspect that someone without know if you're if you're being productive i think the ideas don't put off things until later and up with the infinite list i think where we get in trouble is the idea that i can be this kind of big productive and and once i can't handle that anymore that's what all fit and all these other things and that. i think is is where that trouble happens is that you're never taking that time to actually disconnect doesn't make sense. other questions. the the definition so in that small open the disconnect and taking breaks the definition was risk was whether your primarily paying attention to external stimuli or whether your mind as an opportunity to sort of wander off and internalize and and. you're imagining stuff you know in your lives in the shower and is thinking about stuff right. in that big loop the difference creativity and rest second question i don't have a precise definition for you on that i can say sort of informally that when you're one of the things i've taken that makes it easier for me to have breast as i go out and i do climbing trips i love rock i'm not paying attention to work not trying to be productive. it is not particularly mentally strenuous that i think that's a the obscenity style definition all know i see it but i have a great definition for young person i say what works that. computer games that's a good question i haven't seen research into that i know that a lot of these other fronts i wouldn't say i would so computer games your the situation. you're still respond to external stimuli and so i think that in that small sums is not rest can you take a vacation that is composed of video games and liked for that to be true. if. but i don't know if i have any at the facts to that basis. questions over here looking over their use it. it's hard. i'm sorry how do you not feel guilty about not doing work. it's it's very hard the the best recourse that i have the reason that i back this up with stats and not just with like a good life is that taking time away from work is ultimately more productive an absolute sense. so that the the taking a sixty hour week thing you're not actually be more productive your cars like more sound of noise it's more as and see time but it's not actually more productive and sewed taking that time away his was preparing you emotionally and physically and mentally for the times and productive and say of the bill by the hour the customer. forces of course i think sometimes it's true i've got so as a contractor i've got clients are definitely would be happy for me to put in the closet infinite number of hours and even when i explain to them that i'm not effective past a certain point it. the charge more you know i'll take that advice. you always charge more to say they have heard a definition of the difference for an activity and rest with higher order brain function was lowered brain function. this is very plausible if you want so it's hard always to do everything all at once i think if you want one real takeaway. it's what i get out of here. this is great and all sounds lovely a model even and life's going to happen and that i'm going to be right back where i am i think that's that's a very real concern i'll say that i bounced between doing these things well and doing them not well if you want one thing that you can remind yourself of its that if you find yourself avoiding doing the work that you need to buy screwing around on the internet. i think is sort of endemic that there's a reason that you're doing that have the knowledge that when you do that it's because your year doubling from you know what you need to do and to take that opportunity to to truly discuss. it's not because they're bad person you know you're not actually worthless i love you all through the committee i can say i love you on it doesn't sound weird. yeah so she said that like a lot of places people start to really brag about how busy they are like ghana i haven't slept in a week man like a cool mind and that advocating for that and the reality that situation help i find it helps to shame them about it. yes. you're going to make mistakes because you don't feel like eating lunch screw you go eat lunch so that you don't inflict your bad decisions on me. maybe it's just me. and then. not to be around the hallway like i said i've stickers thank you. some.