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Motivation Batching

Published 5/23/2018

Take a moment to take a few breaths. That's what we're talking about in today's episode, taking a moment to appreciate the time you live in and how far you've come as a person and a developer.

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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone and welcome to Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and we're going to get straight into today's episode because it's a very fast episode. But before we do that, I want you to take a break from whatever you're doing. Take a moment, take a few breaths because although while we appreciate how fast things can go and how short episodes are really important for the show, I also want you to recognize the importance of taking things a little bit slower every once in a while. Just taking a breath, taking a moment to appreciate everything that's around you. Appreciate the fact that you actually get the chance to listen to this podcast. Right? It's an amazing time that we live in and I don't want to overstate it and this isn't a meditation podcast after all, but I do believe it's important to take a few minutes to appreciate the normal and sustainable pace in your daily life. Rather than just always going after it, always pushing as hard as you can, always hustling and always moving just as fast as you possibly can at break next feet and sprinting and sprinting and sprinting. Eventually, you will burn out. In today's episode, we're talking about exactly that. We're talking about not burn out necessarily, but how our motivation will change because very often, those high level of productivity hours or days or even months, weeks, sometimes years, although rarely years, those periods where we feel particularly energetic about what we're doing, we're highly motivated during those times. One of the goals of this show is to increase kind of your base level of motivation, the higher your average motivation level, the more energy you have and not necessarily to work longer hours, but to work better, to invest in that work, to put effort into that work. It's not necessarily about working as fast and as hard as possible, but working as best as possible. What happens when that motivation dips? Because we are not machines and we're not going to continuously have the same level of motivation, how can we deal with this reality? I'm going to give you a very simple tip in today's episode, but first, we're going to talk about today's sponsor, Stack Overflow for Teams. You've probably used Stack Overflow to save your tail a few times as a developer. I know I certainly have and many times, the best answers to my most practical questions can be found on Stack Overflow, but sometimes the questions that I have are really specific to my team. They may be private information that we don't really want to share in a public Stack Overflow question, for example. But in the past, the only tools that we had available to us, well, they were kind of insufficient. We had to go and dig through our chat message logs or dig through old emails or even I message sometimes, there are so many different places where we communicate with our team. Stack Overflow is fixing this problem with Stack Overflow for Teams. With Stack Overflow for Teams, you have a private and secure home for all of your team's questions and answers. No more digging through those stale wikis and documentation and lost emails. You can get everything that 50 million people already love about Stack Overflow and your first 14 days are free. When you check it out, s.tk slash Developer Tea, that's s.tk slash Developer Tea. Get Stack Overflow for Teams today. We're talking about what we do when our motivation dips. Really this is kind of a problem, because so many times the habits that we want to form are motivation cycles don't last long enough for those habits to take hold. Our default behaviors, we end up resorting to our default behaviors because they're the easiest thing to do, especially when we're low on that fuel, on that motivation fuel. So what do we do? Well there's some very simple advice and this advice is inspired by BJFog. BJ's advice is to prepare for the times that you won't have motivation during the times that you do have motivation. Now this seems very simple, doesn't it? It seems like an obvious solution. We talked about very similar things in the past when we talked about batch work. When you need to come up with ideas for example, let's say you're writing a blog post, maybe you're a developer and you have a blog and you want to come up with good ideas for blog post. One of the best things you can do is sit down and write out a very quick list of 10 or 15 or even 50 blog post titles. Now the criteria here is that they don't necessarily have to be good. You write out 50 ideas that are just okay. What you'll find is that some will rise above the others and when you read back over those 50 ideas, if you are going to jump out and in fact, if only 10% of them jump out, well there's five good ideas for blog posts. And if you were to try to write five blog posts back to back and come up with a new idea after exhausting all of that creative energy, that's going to be a little bit harder. And part of the reason for this is exactly the same motivation reservoir. You're running out of energy. And so how do you set yourself up for future success? Well prepare yourself to make those decisions, the good habit decisions a little bit easier. So while you are on a motivation high, you might go through and create some testing architecture for the application that you've been building. Maybe you haven't created a testing architecture yet, but once you create the architecture, writing the tests becomes a little bit easier. And so next time when your motivation is low, you don't have the barrier there of creating architecture first in order to write tests. So instead of viewing your motivation as fuel to get the mundane work completed, view your motivation as fuel to create more capacity. View your motivation as fuel for creating tools for creating leverage points where you're work when you're less motivated when you're not as energetic when you don't have as much commitment when you're kind of running dry on all that, the easy work is better. The same amount of effort that you put in yesterday, you can put in today, but the outcome is a little bit better because you used your motivated period, the time where you were motivated to actually set yourself up for better work. This is a very simple idea. And again, it's the concept of batching, batch the work that will ultimately make you more successful, that will create and enable those good habits, batch that work in times where you feel the most motivated. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. Once again, thank you to Stack Overflow for Teams for sponsoring today's episode. Head over to s.tk slash Developer Tea today to get started for your first 14 days for free with Stack Overflow for Teams. Thank you so much for listening. If you're enjoying this episode, then you almost certainly will enjoy other episodes of the show. Go ahead and subscribe in whatever podcasting app you're using right now so that you don't miss out on future episodes like this one. Thank you so much for listening and until next time, enjoy your tea.