Grigori Melnik joined our team recently. He’s new to Microsoft so I shared some tips for effectiveness. Potentially, the most important advice I gave him was to timebox his day. If you keep time a constant (by ending your day at a certain time), it helps with a lot of things:
- Worklife balance (days can chew into nights can chew into weekends)
- Figuring our where to optimize your day
- Prioritizing (time is a great forcing function)
To start, I think it helps to carve up your day into big buckets (e.g. administration, work time, think time, connect time), and then figure out how much time you’re willing to give them. If you’re not getting the throughput you want, you can ask yourself:
- are you working on the right things?
- are you spending too much time on lesser things?
- are there some things you can do more efficiently or effectively?
To make the point hit home, I pointed out that without a timebox, you can easily spend all day reading mails, blogs, aliases, doing self-training, … etc. and then wonder where your day went. Microsoft is a technical playground with lots of potential distractions for curious minds that want to grow. Using timeboxes helps strike balance. Timeboxes also help with pacing. If I only have so many hours to produce results, I’m very careful to spend my high energy hours on the right things.
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