« All Episodes

3x3: Morning Routine Tasks Every Developer Should Do

Published 11/10/2017

In today's episode, we conclude the first 3x3 week with a list of 3 morning routine tasks every developer can benefit from.

Today's episode is brought to you by Linode.

Linode provides superfast SSD based Linux servers in the cloud starting at $5 a month. Linode is offering Developer Tea listeners $20 worth of credit if you use the code DEVELOPERTEA2017 at checkout. Head over to spec.fm/linode to learn more about what Linode has to offer to Developer Tea listeners!

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
So I can't speak for everyone. I can certainly speak for myself and anecdotally. I can tell you that I've heard this from quite a few successful people. The morning is perhaps the most important phase of the day as it relates to my work. And there's quite a bit of neuroscience and other studies. You know, a couple of Google clicks away. I'm not going to detail all of that in today's episode, but the quite a bit of research that suggests that the morning is the most important part for most people of the day as it relates to your productivity, as it relates to creativity, etc. So we're going to talk about some of that stuff today. My name is Jonathan Cutrell. You're listening to a Developer Tea. Today's episode is a three by three episode. This is the last three by three episode of the week. I'm really excited to share this stuff with you today. We're talking about three things every developer should do every morning. And I believe that 95% of developers who are listening to this and probably people who are not developers who are listening to this can benefit from these three actions. Very simple, kind of straightforward, practical actions. Again, three by three weeks. This is three episodes in a row where I give you three practical things. Three objective practical things that you can take away. And immediately use immediately get benefit from in your day to day work in your day to day life. So I'm excited to dive in. But first, let me reinstate once again, what Developer Tea is about. This show exists. And my purpose here is to help driven developers connect to their ultimate purpose and to excel at the work that they do so that they can positively impact the people that they have influence over. That's a very simple way of saying, I'm here to help developers who care about their work. And I help you by doing quite a few different types of content on this show. You know, the show is intended to be short. As often as possible, we make it short. You know, sometimes the interviews go a little bit longer, but I want to help you become a better developer, not just to become a better developer, right? Not just because being a good developer is worthwhile. That's not worthwhile unless those efforts are pointed in the right direction, unless that is empowering you to be a more holistically healthy individual. If it's empowering humanity, if it's helping you achieve some higher level of success, not just monetary success, you know, not just achievement for achievements sake, but rather a deeper level of fulfillment. And again, you may not fit this group of people, the driven developer group of people. These are people who are focused not only on the bottom line, but also on their impact on the world. They're socially conscious individuals. People who don't believe that their job is just a quest or two, the nine to five, and that's all it is that it's only working for money. That's not the type of people who are considered driven developers. And it may be that your current job, you have that feeling about. It may be that you're stuck in a place where you don't want that feeling, that you desire more, that you desire to care more. And those people definitely fit in that group of people that are considered driven developers. So again, thank you so much for listening, especially if you're in that group. I encourage you to subscribe in whatever podcasting app you use. We're talking about three things you can do every single morning. And I'm going to give you that list right after we talk about today's sponsor really quickly. We do this on the three by three's because quite frankly, it's hard to split three by three and a half. So we're not going to go one and then do the other two or two and then do the final one. We're just going to talk about the sponsor beforehand. So today's episode is sponsored by Linode. If you haven't checked out what Linode has to offer, I encourage you to go and check it out. Even if you already have a provider or even if you don't think you need a server, this is one of those services that quite honestly, if you're spending five dollars in some other place, it's very likely that you could get more benefit out of what Linode has to offer for your five dollars than that extra pumpkin spice latte that you probably don't need it anyway. So go and check out what Linode has to offer. Here's the thing. Linode provides plans that fit pretty much any budget and any need. So you start at five dollars and you can get a gigabyte of RAM. This is the best RAM per dollar ratio that I know of on the market. A gigabyte of RAM for five dollars, two gigabytes of RAM for ten dollars. These are built on top of E5 process, Intel E5 processors. And the internal network at Linode is 200 gigabits. This means that when you're if you were to spin up two servers and have them talk to each other, connect them to talk to each other and share information or share processes, for example, the connection between them is probably going to field near real time. And you can connect these together with Linode service, node balancer. It's very easy to get started with any of these services. You could spin up a box on Linode very quickly and you're only pay for what you use. It's they're all hourly plans. So go and check it out again. They also have high high memory plans, sixteen gigabytes for sixty dollars a month. This is such a good deal. Go and check it out, spec.fm slash Linode. Remember the code Developer Tea2017. That's going to get you $20 worth of credit. That's just a $20 bill effectively. And you can use that on any plans and services. Head over to spec.fm slash Linode use the code Developer Tea2017 to check out. Thanks again to Linode for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. So let's talk about the three things every developer should do every morning. The first one is a pretty popular one and I'm not stealing from other people. I'm actually giving you my own experience. This is such an important one to me. And that is the very first thing is perform a simple task. Perform a simple task. This is such an easy thing to do but has such a major effect on your mindset. And you may have seen this elsewhere as make your bed. This is a very simple thing you can do. You can get up. You can make your bed and you've already accomplished something in the first few moments of your day. And that jump starts that sense of accomplishment. That jump starts that flow process in your brain. That ability to say yes I'm moving through and I have control over my environment. I have control over myself. In other words the actions that I take are the ones that I deliberately am choosing to take. Now for me I can't make the bed. I wake up earlier than my wife does and she's still hanging bed. I don't think she would appreciate it very much if I tried to make the bed while she's still in it. So instead of making the bed, I walk into the living room. I immediately drink a full glass of water and I do five to ten pushups. This is such a simple thing and obviously five to ten pushups doesn't have a major effect on my physiological state. It's not going to, you know, it doesn't count as a workout by any means. But what it does do is it tells my brain, at least this is the way I perceive it. It tells my brain that I've started the day as I have chosen to start the day. Now a side tip here, if you're going to do this, then you need to make it the first action you take when you wake up. What that means is you no longer are allowed to use the snooze button. This is kind of a difficult thing to get past. But if you're like me, then you know that the first snooze turns into the second snooze and the second snooze turns into the third and so forth. But if I get up on the first moment that my alarm goes off, then that sense of willpower energizes me to go ahead and get moving with my day. This is such a simple thing and that is really just about that first five minutes. When you first wake up, do something that you have full control over doing. Do something intentionally. That sounds like a buzzword, but really it's very simple. Do something that you have decided to do. Maybe that is simply get dressed. Maybe it's you want to take your vitamins or you want to brush your teeth. Whatever that positive habit thing is, go ahead and exercise that positive habit. Moving on to number two, and this one kind of references an episode that we did a week or two ago called the most important part of my day. We had a two part episode on this. It was on journaling. I believe this is so important that I'm going to bring it back up again here, but in kind of a different light. So once you've completed that habit, or for me, I have a string of habits, kind of a routine that I go through each morning. Once you've completed whatever that routine is, and you're ready to kind of start your day. And more in particular, you're ready to start the working portion of your day. Before you get too far into the day, I would recommend even doing this before you go, for example, if you want to go and exercise, if you want to go for a run around the neighborhood, I would recommend that you do this action first. Take some time not using a screen, using some kind of analog material. That means a piece of paper and a pen or a pencil if you can, and this is going to provide a different context for your thinking. So take a piece of paper, I recommend getting a journal. You can get them for like 10 bucks. What I want you to do is spend five to 10 minutes being mindful about today. There's so many ways that you can do this. I follow a kind of a modified version of the five minute journal outline. You know, I write my own questions, and you may come up with something that works well for you, but the important thing here what all of these methods should have is a way of saying here is what I think is most important for me to do today. It's a way of getting focus in a positive sense of control over where your efforts are going to go today. You're going to be proactive rather than reactive. You're going to decide what to do rather than being told what to do. And these are very different things. So many people fall into the trap of heading into work or you know, starting their day out at home, especially if you're a freelancer, starting that day out without knowing exactly what the most valuable way to spend your energy is. And then other people come along and they want to take your energy. And it's normal as they aren't they aren't being malicious. They're doing their jobs just like you're doing your job. But the problem is other people are not going to design your day. And they're not going to design their day to optimize your day. Now what this doesn't mean, let me be very clear, what this doesn't mean is that you can decide what to do and that everything else doesn't matter. What other people ask of you doesn't matter. That's not true at all. If your boss comes in and asks you to do something and you say, oh, that's not in my, that's not in my proactive planning for my journaling this morning. So I'm going to put it off. I'm not going to do it. Then you can probably expect to lose your job pretty soon. Here's the key. This journaling step, this moment of journaling is going to prime your energy. Instead of kind of aimlessly wandering, right? Instead of aimlessly walking around the office or digitally wandering through social media or rechecking your email for the 17th time or spending time on 30 different things, not really progressing any one thing forward. When you do have energy that you can decide where it goes, you know where to put it. Now side tip for number two here. If you wake up early enough, then you have the energy to put towards something that you choose. If you wake up early enough, in particular, if you wake up before anyone else has demands on your time, then your time is yours alone. You get to decide where it goes. And we'll be talking more about what it means to create that space in your day and to create focus. You know, this is kind of a perpetual topic on developer to the idea of focus and clarity and all of those things. They all are something that we talk about all the time on the show. But for now, number two, define where your most important energy is going to go. Define what that most important thing proactively determine and be mindful about your day and do it on paper. Do it in some analog format so that you're separated from the screen. And the reason that I do this is more theoretical than it is proven. There's not a research that directly backs this, although I haven't really done a lot of secondary research to find any. But I believe at least for me that when I separate myself from the screen, that the work that I'm doing on that piece of paper and that journal becomes a different thing. It has a different level of tangibility to me. And it holds a different place on my mind. So this is very different from creating a document on my desktop. And it just kind of sitting there and I can close it whenever I want to. The journal is a tangible and physical reminder. It doesn't get minimized. It doesn't change shape. It's always the same form. And I can't delete it. I can't get rid of it. I can't edit it. So this is something that signals to my brain. It's a richer, physical experience, of course. It has a 3D quality, it has texture, it has my own handwriting. I can draw in it. I can create graphs or doodles, whatever. All of this kind of gives me a more of an attachment and memory of the things that I write in this journal. So we'll talk more about journaling in other episodes as well. And I'd love to hear your questions. And I'd certainly love to do some more research on this topic if everyone is interested in hearing more about journaling. But I want to get on to the third thing that every developer should be doing every morning. And that is automating the fight against your bad habits. Automating your fight against your bad habits. This is really important to me. And I think it's probably important to you if you're like me. If you ever pull out your phone and you have kind of a reflexive couple of apps that you open. For most people, this is going to be an app that is designed to be addictive. So something in the social media realm is very common. Certainly email and notifications. You want to clear those. These are all kind of instinctive or reflexive actions that we take on our phones, on our smart devices. Even when I open a new tab and my brows are very often, I'll find myself halfway through my Twitter feed before I even realize that I'm on Twitter or scrolling through Reddit before I realize that I'm on Reddit or entering my Gmail and checking every one of my 5 or 6 inboxes before I even realize that I'm checking them. And it's only been 5 minutes since I checked them. It's only been 10 minutes since I last checked Twitter. And these things are completely mindless activities. Sometimes checking your email is certainly mindful. So I'm not saying get rid of email. Sometimes going on Reddit or going on Twitter. These can be mindful activities. But if you allow your time to be sucked away when you're not being mindful. In other words, when you're just kind of reflexively engaging in these activities, when you're responding to those push notifications without really thinking about it, without thinking, this is what I should be doing with my time at this very moment. If that is something that you do like me, then I recommend that you find a way to protect yourself against those reflexes. And I do this right now. I'm using an app called Freedom. There are tons of applications and things that will protect you from these reflexive actions that you can use. DNS level. So even if I go in my browser, which is how I access Twitter, it's how I access my email now. If I go in my browser on my phone or on my computer, it is blocked at the browser DNS level. And there's some quirks to the software. There's quirks to every software out there. Another great application is Focus App. And there's tons of other things that you could imagine that could be useful in this. There are also other habits that you can automate the fight against, right? These anti habits, bad habits. One of those would be eating poorly. So if you have a habit of eating poorly at lunch, for example, if you tend to cave because you're busy and you eat poorly, go to the nearest restaurant that only has food that isn't very good for you. Well, then maybe in the morning, it's time to start making a healthy lunch. There's a hundred other anti habits, a hundred other bad habits that I could list here and give you an idea of how to automatically, you know, fight those habits, rather than having to fight them in the moment, having to fight off the bad habit when you're already text, when you're already spending your mental energy doing something that's more important. If you can find a way to create a system that helps you avoid those bad habits, eventually you're going to break those bad habits. Eventually, those reflexes are no longer going to be served. And eventually, you're going to be able to move on to more productive things and continue to refine your focus. This is a never ending process. You will never get to the place where you feel a hundred percent focused. So remember, this is a constant refinement. You're going to continue eliminating bad habits. You're going to continue becoming better every single day. So these three things, I believe, are going to help you significantly. Number one, do something you have full control over. This is a very intentional activity that you have decided to do. That means getting up and doing that thing, very first thing that you do in the morning. Number two, take a few moments to be mindful about your plans for the day. All right. Decide what is most important for the day. Write it down, do it in an analog way, if at all possible. And finally, number three, automate the fight against your bad habits. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode. Thank you again to Linode for sponsoring today's episode. You can get $20 worth of credit by using the code Developer Tea2017 at checkout. Head over to spec.fm slash Linode. Thank you so much for listening. And if you consider yourself a part of that group of driven developers, these are developers who want to become, you know, the very top tier, not only in their skill level, but also in their ability to communicate with other people to create value in the market. If you consider yourself one of those people, then I highly encourage you to subscribe in whatever podcasting app you use, connect with other Developer That you consider to be a part of that group as well. And start having conversations around this content. I would love to hear your feedback. Thank you so much for listening. And until next time, enjoy your tea.