Category Archives: Happiness

Productivity fetishism

I switched to Firefox recently, which has a “Recommended by Pocket” section on the New Tab page. As I expected, many of the recommendations are productivity fetish articles from Lifehacker and similar rubbish. Their job is not to make you more productive–whatever that means–it’s to keep you reading.


  1. Discover what’s valuable. Talk to people with high visibility and the insight to match. That could be an executive, or it could be your spouse.
  2. Do only valuable things. Being busy doesn’t mean you’re doing anything worth doing.
  3. Learn your tools. If something feels like it’s harder than it should be, you’re using the wrong tool, or you don’t know your tools well enough.

If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be happier, less stressed, and deliver more value.

Saying no

Here’s a short list of things I’ve said no to in the last two weeks:

  • Joining Toastmasters
  • Joining a second developer book club
  • Joining a reading competition at the library
  • Taking a second class
  • Participating in an ongoing lean and agile forum

I’ve come to really enjoy doing things deliberately: focusing on a handful of things I really care about and enjoy.

By contrast, here are some thing I haven’t said no to:

  • Spending time with my wife cooking and playing video games
  • Spending an extra 20 hours a week on my side project
  • Taking an extra 2 hours to practice some problem sets to make sure I really understand the material in the one class that I am taking

Time is finite. Your attention is finite. Spend them both deliberately.