Published on 11 June 2020. This is approximately 53 minutes long. This episode is sponsored by Anchor.fm.
In this episode we talk about mindfulness, meditation and how to use both to improve your work day. We also talk about cognitive approaches to thought, and why convergent and divergent thinking are important for everyone, especially developers.
We had lofty goals to also include Stoicism, Yoga, and philosophy, but we were really engaged in the minfulness topics, and we didn’t get there! We’re already planning a follow-up episode to go further into the philosophy.
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Show Notes & Selected Links
How mindfulness can help engineers - an engaging article from HBR
It’s not all about sitting in a room chanting.
No trips to the wild, or finding a cave required
No prescription for how to do it, make it your own
Convergent thinking (Wikipedia) generally means the ability to give the “correct” answer to standard questions that do not require significant creativity
Divergent thinking (Wikipedia) is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. It typically occurs in a spontaneous, free-flowing, “non-linear” manner, such that many ideas are generated in an emergent cognitive fashion. Many possible solutions are explored in a short amount of time, and unexpected connections are drawn.
Convergent thinking is linear, involving going through a list of steps to get to a single correct answer. In contrast, divergent thinking is exploring different directions from an initial problem statement to generate many possible ideas. In the design process, engineers use divergent thinking when generating ideas, so they can identify a wide range of potential solutions. They use convergent thinking when evaluating ideas to determine the optimal solution. – HBR
17 min: Flow State (Wikipedia) is mental state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.
Can you really do your best work if you try to work in between meetings? Can you build a killer presentation by working on it in six 15 minute sessions over four days? How do you want to represent yourself?
38 min: If you find yourself in an email “discussion”, take a moment to center yourself, and call the person on the other end. Don’t go back and forth, fueling the miscommunication. Have a phone call, and work it out. Call them. Solve the problem, answer the question.
Make sure you include an agenda for all meetings
If you can, specific the goal of the meeting
If you know a decision needs to be made, make it clear
Help the attendees prepare for the meeting
Give context, set expectations, help the invitees make the most of their time
Make the most of your time. You only have this moment once. Memento Mori
End of the day Friday, review the meetings for next week
See what others need from you, and make sure you’re prepared
For Steve, this is about preparation, and the ability to contribute
A meeting invitive is like an API Endpoint Contract - it’s what you want to talk about and sets the stage for the discussion
45 min: Back to meetings and how to schedule and what information to include
What would it look like if this were easy?
Change the way people are thinking about a topic?
Interesting article about the topic, and how a musician uses this concept
Safety tip of the day!
Use the railing when going up, or down stairs
From a project at DuPont, this was a common refrain. Even 15 years later, Steve still holds the railing when using stairs