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Invest in clarity to multiply your results

February 18, 2020

"A key point to bear in mind: The value of attentiveness varies in proportion to its object. You're better off not giving the small things more time than they deserve."
— Marcus Aurelius

This week's keyword for me is clarity. It is easy to be swept up by all the things we have to do at any given time. We've talked about this in past issues, right?

This happens in both directions: we get carried away looking too far into the future, just as we get drowned from our past by things we could've done better. Neither of those gives you a real sense of direction: they are only pieces of feedback that tell you what you don't want, rather than where you should go.

I have many moving pieces and projects at the same time right now: architecting a new feature at Buffer, still performing a backend migration for Otter, working on my personal brand here, and on social media... And that's just the tip of the iceberg: for each of these three projects, many more tasks and to-do's make an appearance through the week.

That's why I need to put extra weight on my intention behind that clarity and make sure I'm doing the right things, at the right time, and with the right tools.

For brainstorming and putting my ideas in order, I'm using my iPad with GoodNotes as a portable whiteboard, and MindNode for creating mind maps. Mind-mapping is a powerful tool, and if you haven't tried it out ever, I can't stress enough my recommendation. I am a visual thinker, and when thinking about a topic, I can see in my mind a structured, multi-level view of all the sub-topics and things it's composed of. Being able to dump and explore that structure outside of my own head is critical to make quick progress and mostly to prevent myself from getting stuck in my own train of thought.

For planning, I'm mostly keeping my bullet journal approach, but I'm trying a different set-up where I'm using Visualize Value's Daily Manifest. It is an interesting framework to plan your day, keep track of your habits, and find some alignment of your 90-day goals with your 30-day milestones and your tasks for the day.

When dealing with chaos, dedicate more time to anchor yourself on the important, and remain undisturbed by the rest.

Thanks for reading!

Essays on Being a Remote Developer


My good friend Tigran Hakobyan is distilling a collection of essays with his thoughts and learnings on remote work into a short book. Tigran is a very inspiring, reflective person to be around and I love his writing style. If you leave your email there, you'll get a 20% discount when he launches the book!

The Effective Engineer


I've been reading these past few days this book by Edmond Lau on his views on the skills and techniques needed by senior engineers to be truly effective in the workplace and to multiply the teams around them. So far, it's been a really enjoyable read that I've found encouraging, mainly because I'm finding more reasons and validation for the principles and values I'm developing for myself. Excited to keep on reading it :)