How many of you are low energy?

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zbigi
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Re: How many of you are low energy?

Post by zbigi »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Mon Oct 11, 2021 7:51 am
Maybe switch to 4 x10 hour schedule if possible, and play golf on Wednesday. There’s a reason why a lot of humans with typical surgeon-like personality types choose to do this when afforded the opportunity.
They (the company) won't go for it - they're smart enough to know that in that 9th and 10th hour not much will get done anyway.

I think I need to, as someone suggested, try spreading my slacking off more evenly over the workweek.

DutchGirl
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Re: How many of you are low energy?

Post by DutchGirl »

zbigi wrote:
Mon Oct 11, 2021 8:59 am
I think I need to, as someone suggested, try spreading my slacking off more evenly over the workweek.
Yes, I think that's a great idea, too. Hopefully it will make you feel reasonably good every day - and will keep your bosses happy with your work as well.

My mother is one of those people with an extremely high level of energy. Right now she's 70 and she's finally slowing down to a more average pace. I just wrote down a list of things she did on a day, but it became too long so I just deleted it again. You just have to trust me that she would never sit still or just do nothing for a while during the day nor in the evening.
So when I went of on my own, I crashed down a lot from trying to mimic her and just not having that energy. I had to learn to not compare myself to her and to accept that I need a bit of rest every now and then. Like the more regular folks do.

So maybe you're comparing yourself to others who just got really lucky in the energy level lottery. Or maybe you even just don't see them when they are tired.

Or maybe even you're comparing you now to yourself twenty years ago - energy levels might drop a bit as we get older.

So maybe for you also it could be a matter of trying to accept that your energy is limited. That the battery is running low every now and then. And that maybe you can find some ways to deplete it slower and/or to recharge faster.

AxelHeyst
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Re: How many of you are low energy?

Post by AxelHeyst »

To echo Tyler9000, it's easy to set "deadline crunch" productivity mode as the standard for productivity level, but it's not sustainable. So your week-average productivity is 7, let's say, but Monday is a 9 and Friday is a 5. Also, consider that for many types of knowledge work, you're not cranking widgets, so pure cranks/hour isn't the best metric. If you start calmer and end calmer, and have a more laid back, less urgent/rushed approach, you're more likely (because mind isn't in borderline panic mode, or drained just-get-through-this mode) to have creative insights that save you oodles of work. Several of Cal Newport's recent articles are on this theme of Slow Productivity - some of the most "productive" people in the world, when you look at their day to day schedules, look like megaslackers by modern frenetic hustle culture standards. Their brilliant insights came from having lots of space in their lives to mull things over. Something to consider, in addition to all the other points.
Drucker wrote:There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.

M
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Re: How many of you are low energy?

Post by M »

I went through something similar years ago...I kept pushing myself to work more and work harder. Eventually I burnt myself out, the company would not let me take vacation because I was 'needed' too much...I was burned out for a long time then one week I did not sleep for three days straight from work stress and then abruptly resigned from my job. I found a better job the next week.

I am still low energy...not sure what the answer is but in my case I found a job that only does two standups a week. This way if I'm depressed/stuck on something for a day it doesn't matter I will just slack off that day and then report on what I did the day before. No one has caught on yet and I still do more work on my good days to more than make up for the slacking. I actually recieved several promotions while doing this, so I guess it is working for me. Sometimes a change in environment really is all you need.

zbigi
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Re: How many of you are low energy?

Post by zbigi »

M wrote:
Tue Oct 12, 2021 5:05 pm
I am still low energy...not sure what the answer is but in my case I found a job that only does two standups a week. This way if I'm depressed/stuck on something for a day it doesn't matter I will just slack off that day and then report on what I did the day before. No one has caught on yet and I still do more work on my good days to more than make up for the slacking. I actually recieved several promotions while doing this, so I guess it is working for me. Sometimes a change in environment really is all you need.
The two standups per week sound pretty sweet. That's probably why most companies don't do it... Daily updates (at work, we often jokingly call them "confessions" - we're a Catholic country) create the pressure to keep the grind on even on the bad days.

chenda
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Re: How many of you are low energy?

Post by chenda »

What's a standup ?

mountainFrugal
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Re: How many of you are low energy?

Post by mountainFrugal »

In a nutshell, a stand-up is a very short meeting (~10 minutes depending on size of team) at a predefined time every day or every few days. Everyone goes around and says what they accomplished yesterday, what they are going to accomplish today, and anything that is blocking them (e.g. waiting on other teammates, managers, etc.). You stand-up to ensure the meeting is short and to the point. It can vary depending on teams/organizations, but this is an effective way to have managerial/team/ project checkins without burdening everyone with a ton of long meetings.

jacob
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Re: How many of you are low energy?

Post by jacob »

@chenda - I'm guessing it's some kind of progress report/group presentation. It keeps the pressure on. If it happens too frequently, it might interfere with other functions (maintenance, recovery, growth) which might be the problem here? See https://earlyretirementextreme.com/prod ... -eggs.html ... it can be a total mind killer if the work is highly creative and requires days or weeks to "mentally set up" a good/original idea, see http://www.paulgraham.com/makersschedule.html ... in academia they happen at 6-12 month intervals.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: How many of you are low energy?

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

The standup meeting comes from agile software development: https://www.atlassian.com/agile/scrum/standups. Other industries are taking on the term as shorthand for a short daily meeting (everything cool gets watered down). It seems to be getting more popular in part to keep up with teams that have recently begun working remotely.
Last edited by Gilberto de Piento on Thu Oct 14, 2021 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Scott 2
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Re: How many of you are low energy?

Post by Scott 2 »

Any chance you could get buy in on asynchronous stand ups via your IM tool? We used a slack bot for awhile.

Tyler9000
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Re: How many of you are low energy?

Post by Tyler9000 »

jacob wrote:
Wed Oct 13, 2021 1:33 pm
it can be a total mind killer if the work is highly creative and requires days or weeks to "mentally set up" a good/original idea
Ain't that the truth.

I understand how stand-up meetings are effective at helping teams of engineers prioritize efforts and clear roadblocks on the execution side of development. But in design it's a huge drag, and PMs that overly depend on them often don't last long.

PM: What are you working on today?

Me: Still trying to invent a better way to do X.

PM: When will it be done?

Me: No idea. Maybe never. But I know we're on a deadline and we have a backup plan if it doesn't work.

PM: Any roadblocks?

Me: Repetitive meetings that destroy focus and task-based processes that actively discourage creativity.

Bonde
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Re: How many of you are low energy?

Post by Bonde »

I'm trapped in a unproductive work environment.
In September I moved to another department and work in a inpatient unit. Overall it is great but there is way to many meetings and I don't have time for "deep" work. Hurts my research and I also have to do specialized patient reports that are quite long.
E.g. today I didn't have anything scheduled before lunch but I got many interruptions so I didn't write any on the specialized report or research that I am. Instead I did some smaller tasks.

I think it will get better when I start to get home working days. I am not doing clinical work everyday and I think I will be able to work home about once a week.

Also, I try to schedule myself to increased productivity. Meetings with professor makes me find time for research. Though often it is in the evening. Longterm that is not doable.
I joined a journal club to keep reading psych papers that I want to read but only find time for it when I schedule it.

For me scheduling is important and maybe the best way to get things done. But I need to keep in mind work/life balance, my physical and mental health. I use my diary to look out for the essentials: sleep, exercise, relationship, food etc. I also use it to reflect on motivation and goals. Where am I headed and pro/cons on working a lot now vs. later when we hopefully will have children.

Bonde
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Re: How many of you are low energy?

Post by Bonde »

Extraction: patient notes, research papers, poster presentations, supervision of students/junior doctors, lectures.

Maintenance: Staying healthy, enjoying time with GF, taking care of our house, breaks doing the work day.

Expanding: Reading papers, journal club, attending congresses and academic meetings, psychotherapy course. A lot of this is in my off work hours. I enjoy it and it energizes me. E.g. congresses is both a lot of new perspectives and interesting talks with colleageues from other countries that mostly have much worse work conditions and still up good spirits and are able to do research on the side. It's not easy for them or for me.

chenda
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Re: How many of you are low energy?

Post by chenda »

I see, yes it does sound problematic. @jacob The Paul Graham articles are very good.

jacob
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Re: How many of you are low energy?

Post by jacob »

Ideally "extraction" should be aligned (telicity) with "maintenance", "expansion", or perhaps other factors in order to turn the job setup into a win-win situation. Some people may dislike expansion and favor maintenance or vice versa. One of these factors may even be negative. It would be the role of a good manager to create as much positive alignment as possible between the vector of an employee possibly changing their role if it is doesn't work.

For example, in my jobs, I've almost always managed (ha!) to aligned expansion with extraction---consequently I saw the manager's function as an highly compensated individual, whose main function was to remove "maintenance"-obstacles from my way. (I severely dislike maintenance.)

zbigi
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Re: How many of you are low energy?

Post by zbigi »

Scott 2 wrote:
Wed Oct 13, 2021 4:31 pm
Any chance you could get buy in on asynchronous stand ups via your IM tool? We used a slack bot for awhile.
Currently, our standups are actually pretty productive and not just pointless ceremonies. Though lately they have degenerated into 30-minute long morning meetings where we discuss ideas on dealing with the latest severe issue (our system depends on a lot of other systems in the company, many of which are not very... dependable - at any given day, often at least one of them is malfunctioning, and we need to deal with it), so they're no longer standups per se really.

Scott 2
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Re: How many of you are low energy?

Post by Scott 2 »

Ah, that's too bad. I despise the interruption of flow ensured by a daily standup, especially in the morning. The async alternative is much more palatable.

In my experience, the highest performers manage energy through saying no and buying back time. Housekeeper, food delivery, personal trainer, lawn service, concierge medical care, therapist, expert instruction, zero commute location, replace instead of repair, stylist, nanny, etc. Eventually, you hire someone to manage all the helpers and even your schedule.

It is pretty much the opposite of ERE, but the secret behind highest level career performance. The outsized compensation is partially to enable this support team, allowing for extreme specialization.

I was headed down this path before pulling the plug on my career. It began to feel like paying others to live my life, while I was eternally trapped behind a computer. The outsourcing left large skill deficits and a much bigger identity hole, when I finally stopped. The decision felt like an inflection point in my life, where the other path was to never stop working.

guitarplayer
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Re: How many of you are low energy?

Post by guitarplayer »

@Scott 2 that was a powerful synopsis of taking the matter of specialization to its logical conclusion.

jacob
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Re: How many of you are low energy?

Post by jacob »

Scott 2 wrote:
Sat Oct 16, 2021 12:35 pm
In my experience, the highest performers manage energy through saying no and buying back time. Housekeeper, food delivery, personal trainer, lawn service, concierge medical care, therapist, expert instruction, zero commute location, replace instead of repair, stylist, nanny, etc. Eventually, you hire someone to manage all the helpers and even your schedule.

It is pretty much the opposite of ERE, but the secret behind highest level career performance. The outsized compensation is partially to enable this support team, allowing for extreme specialization.
The other solution---the only one I know of---is the "simple living" movement of the 1990s where extraneous activities are removed. The ultimate example being monastic living allowing people to concentrate nearly 100% of their time on "spiritual development" for lack of a better word.

This falls in the sacrifice-end of the spectrum. There are some "hacks" such as "wearing a uniform" that will eliminate all mental decisions wrt clothing. It seems like this might be worthwhile exploring. Minimalism did for a while but seems rather commercialized these days as the focus has shifted from simple living to which minimalist product is optimal.

zbigi
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Re: How many of you are low energy?

Post by zbigi »

jacob wrote:
Sun Oct 17, 2021 8:46 am

This falls in the sacrifice-end of the spectrum. There are some "hacks" such as "wearing a uniform" that will eliminate all mental decisions wrt clothing. It seems like this might be worthwhile exploring. Minimalism did for a while but seems rather commercialized these days as the focus has shifted from simple living to which minimalist product is optimal.
I personally feel like I've minimized everything out of my life a long time ago - or rather, never developed any burdensome needs or habits or hobbies in the first place. The only things that cost serious effort/money and are potentially outsource'able are cooking and cleaning. I've done both of them myself for about a year in an attempt to be more ERE, and the result was: dirty apartment a lot of the time, monotonous food, and even greater overall exhaustion. So, after returning to work this October, I've decided to again outsource the two. Now, I will have weekends purely for recovering my energy, and not to clean or cook for the week.

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