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Friday Refill - Anchor Behaviors

Published 2/26/2021

When you feel a sense of chaos has overwhelmed your week, it can be tempting to want to check out for the weekend. But in today's episode we discuss a tool I've used to combat this sense of aimlessness.

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Happy Friday everybody! My name is Jonathan Cutrell and you're listening to another Friday refill of Developer Tea. These episodes of this show, these Friday refill episodes are intended to help you go into the weekend feeling excited about recharging, recharging with purpose, resting with intention. That is part of our goal on this show is to give you that energy to go into your weekend. But it's not always easy to feel clear-headed. It's not always easy to walk out. I have a long and chaotic week, especially if you're having to work in an environment that is already chaotic. I know many people are in that situation. Like I am, I'm at home with my kids, my wife, my wife is working full-time and we're having to try to make sense of our world where the living room is the office and it's also a classroom and this situation is not ideal for focus. It's not ideal to also go into the weekend and try to separate our minds away from all those kind of chaotic things that were just happening yesterday. But I want to give you a tool that I use when I feel incredibly frazzled, when I feel like I don't have clarity, I don't have the direction that I need. And I want to kind of get it out of the way. Some of the other tools that you probably are already using if you're not, then try these as well. Certainly meditation can help. Things like journaling can help keeping some kind of track of the things that are important for you to do. The things that you've been putting off, the list of things that you tend to procrastinate on. These are ways to kind of wrap your mind around that chaos. But there is something to be said for taking an action, for actually doing something. A lot of these other tactics are kind of management tactics. They set your mind right or they help you change your perspective on things. The tool I'm going to give you today is a little bit different. It gives you a specific action to take. And the action is going to be different for each person. But here's what I want you to do. I want you to take out a piece of paper, take out your phone, whatever you can take notes with. You have a journal that be even better. And I want you to take a moment and write down some of the most critical activities that you participate in. Some examples of this kind of activity would be something that you can't not do. You have to do this. There's no choice about it. For example, paying the bills might make it onto this list. Very important, you can't not do that. The best kinds of things on this list are going to be things that are not just a medial task-oriented, busy work. But are things that you've chosen that are very important to you, that you're kind of obligating yourself to do. For me, one of these things is recording episodes of this piecast. Another example for me is exercise. This is probably a good one for everyone to put on their list. So there's all of these different kinds of activities that you know you're going to do. You're committing to doing them. And 98% of the time, you're successful at doing them. You're very familiar with this activity. It's not something new. It's not an exploratory exercise. It's not something that takes a ton of energy necessarily. It's something that you know you're going to do. You know it produces value. You know how to do it. And it's important that you do it. You've chosen that it's an an important thing for you to do. Here's what this list represents. This is your list of what I'm going to call on the show. I don't know if this is the thing or not. But we're going to call these anchor behaviors. Anchor behaviors. Here's what I want you to do. If you felt this week, if you felt frazzled, if you felt out of sorts, if you felt like the week was chaotic, I want you to look at this list. And even if you have to blindly close your eyes and drop your finger on the paper, if you feel that sense of frazzled and you feel like you need to do something to get rid of that sense, choose one of these anchor behaviors. Do something on this list this weekend. At a physiological level, you're going to get a mental reward for this. You're going to get something like a shot of dopamine, right? I'm not a neuroscientist, but I know that this is how the reward system works. We do something that we know we're supposed to do. We do something that we see as progress as completing a task and our brains dispense a reward. Not only this, but we know we know that this is time well spent. If you ever are in a situation where you're not really sure how to spend your time best or how to feel better in that moment, going back to some of these anchor behaviors can be a great answer because you know you're not wasting your time. You know that this is important. You know that this is a reliable thing for you to invest in. You can think about this very similarly to the way you might, if you're investing in your stock portfolio, for example, you might think about this as a very safe index fund. If you're familiar with this idea, for the vast majority of people, the place they should be putting their money on a regular basis, the default location for their money is probably an index fund. That is what these default behaviors, these anchor behaviors are going to provide to you. This consistent value, consistent dopamine, you can always return to this list. Thank you so much for listening to this Friday Refills episode of Developer Tea. I hope you enjoyed this episode. We're going to be back with another three episodes of the show next week. So if you don't want to miss out on those, make sure you subscribe and whatever podcasting app you're currently using. Thanks so much and until Monday, enjoy your tea.