Sustained exhaustion is not a badge of honor, it’s a mark of stupidity.
There’s hardly any uninterrupted, dedicated time to do (your) work.
The majority of time is being wasted on things that don’t matter.
How many of those hours are really spent on the work itself?
@basecamp's goals = No Goals
Why Basecamp doesn’t have goals:
(1). It’s disingenuous for us to pretend we care about a number we just made up, and
(2). We aren’t willing to make the cultural compromises it’ll take us to get there.
When you stick with planning for the short term, you get to change your mind often.
You’re better off steering the ship with a thousand little inputs as you go rather than a few grand sweeping movements made way ahead of time.
The best information you’ll ever have about a decision is at the moment of execution.
Depth, not breadth, is where mastery is often found.
If you listen to your discomfort and back off from what’s causing it, you’re more likely to find the right path.
8’s enough, 40’s plenty
If you can’t fit everything you want to do within 40 hours per week, you need to get better at picking what to do, not work longer hours.
Companies guard many things, but all too often they fail to protect what’s both most vulnerable and most precious: their employee’s time and attention.
Instead of adding to-dos, we add to-don’ts.
Not doing something that isn’t worth doing is a wonderful way to spend your time.
Ask people where they go when they really need to get something done. One answer you’re rarely hear: the office.
Modern-day offices have become interruption factories.
Taking someone’s time should be a pain in the ass. Taking many people’s time should be so cumbersome that most people won’t even bother to try it unless it’s REALLY IMPORTANT!
Meetings should be a last resort, especially big ones.
“How do you know if someone’s working if you can’t see them?”
Same answer as this question: “How do you know if someone’s working if you can see them?”
The only way to know if work is getting done is by looking at the actual work.
In almost every situation, the expectation of an immediate response is an unreasonable expectation.
Almost everything can wait. And almost everything should.
The best companies aren’t families. They’re allies of families.
They’re there to provide healthy, fulfilling work environments so that when workers shut their laptops at a reasonable hour, they’re the best spouses, parents, siblings, and children they can be.
If the boss really wants to know what’s going on, the answer is embarrassingly obvious: They have to ask!
Example: “What’s something nobody dares to talk about?”
The higher you go in an organization the less you’ll know what it’s really like.
It was a mere suggestion, but it’s taken as a mandate.
It takes great restraint as the leader of an organization not to keep lobbing ideas at everyone else.
Respect the work that you’ve never done before. Remind yourself that other people’s jobs aren’t so simple.
Work is not more important than sleep.
OUT OF WHACK
The typical corporate give-and-take is that life gives and work takes.
If it’s easier for work to claim a Sunday than for life to borrow a Thursday, there ain’t no balance.
A list of work is not the work itself. Don’t just take their word for it. Take their work for it.
They hire someone based on a list of previous qualifications, not on their current abilities.
In spaces like that (open offices), distractions spread like viruses. Before you know it, everyone’s infected.
@Basecamp is really a library for work rather than an office for distraction.
The reality is that most companies don’t actually offer their employees any real vacation time. All they offer is a “fakecation.”
Almost everything can and should wait until someone has had a chance to think it through and properly write it up.
If the design leads to stress, it’s a bad design.
Our projects can only get smaller over time, not larger. As we progress, we separate the must-haves from the nice-to-haves and toss out the nonessentials.
The team doing the work has control over the work.
They wield the “scope hammer.”
The rest of the people in the room are asked to react.
Not absorb, not think it over, not consider — just react.
Knee-jerk it. That’s no way to treat fragile new ideas.
If every one of them (decisions) has to be made by consensus, you’re in for an endless grind with significant collateral damage.
The cost of consensus is simply too much to pay over and over again.
The final decision should be explained clearly to everyone involved. It’s not just decide and go, it’s decide, explain and go.
Knowing when to embrace Good Enough is what gives you the opportunity to be truly excellent when you need to be.
If you actually want to make progress, you have to narrow as you go.
Accept that better ideas aren’t necessarily better if they arrive after the train has left the station.
Doing nothing can be the hardest choice but the strongest, too.
Unless you’ve actually done the work, you’re in no position to encode is as a best practice.
You’re not actually capturing a hill on the beach of Normandy, are you?
You’re probably just trying to meet some arbitrary deadline set by those who don’t actually have to do the work.
The only way to get more done is to have less to do.
“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” – Peter Drucker
Any conversation with more than three people is typically a conversation with too many people.
Big teams make things worse all the time by applying too much force to things that only need to be lightly finessed.
We make every idea wait a while.
Generally a few weeks, at least.
That’s just enough time either to forget about it completely or to realize that you can’t stop thinking about it.
No is easier to do, yes is easier to say.
No is no to one thing.
Yes it no to a thousand things.
No is a precision instrument.
When companies talk about burn rates, 2 things are burning: money & people. One you’re burning up, one you’re burning out.
PRICED TO LOSE
Becoming calm is all about making decisions about who you are, who you want to serve, and who you want to say no to.
Simulated situations give you simulated answers.
Shipping real products gives you real answers.
Promises pile up like debt. The longer you wait to fulfill them, the more they cost to pay off & the worse the regret.
Promises are easy & cheap to make, actual work is hard & expensive. If it wasn’t you’d just have done it rather than promised it later.
Keeping the show running for the long term is a lot harder than walking on stage for the first time.
Pace yourself. Don’t burn out early thinking the hard part is behind you.
When you deal with people who have trouble, you can either choose to take the token that says, “It’s no big deal” or the token that says “It’s the end of the world.” Whichever token you pick, they’ll take the other.
Companies are culturally and structurally encouraged to get bigger and bigger.
Cutting back when times are great is the luxury of a calm, profitable, and independent company.
Are you going to choose contemplation and consideration prior to communication?
No matter where you live in a organization, you can start making better choices. Choices that chip away at crazy and get closer to calm.
A calm company is a choice. Make it yours.