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Many companies in supply chain and manufacturing space shave benefiting from a Just in Time (JIT) inventory system.

The idea is that you can cut costs by only ordering parts or building products exactly when they’re needed. You then cut warehousing costs, labor costs, and raw material cost as you have less work-in-progress (WIP) or finished goods lying around.

How can knowledge workers benefit from this approach?

In software development specifically we often feel a constant need to fill our heads with the latest news, frameworks, and technologies. This can quickly become exhausting.

Our “warehouse space” (or mental capacity) is…

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Emotions aren’t “good” or “bad”

They just are.

Emotions are just another way your body communicates its needs to you, similar to physical indicators such as hunger, thirst, or sleepiness.

Is it “bad” to be hungry? No — it’s just your body’s way of saying it needs energy.

Is it “bad” to be angry? No — it’s just your body’s way of saying that:

  • It doesn’t feel safe,
  • It doesn’t feel heard,
  • It doesn’t feel fulfilled
  • etc.

When we ignore these “bad” emotions, we make the problem worse. We build up negative energy that will eventually spill over into worse…

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Your glass isn’t “half-full” or “half-empty”

Just be glad that you even have a glass!

We live at an amazing time in an amazing world full of amazing opportunities!

You can literally fill your glass (aka your life) with anything.

Education? Advocacy? Relationships? Positivity?


Social Media? Resentment? Boredom? Loneliness?

What are you filling your life with?

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If you answer “yes” to any of the questions below then you know you can’t trust yourself.

Your rational brain has been hijacked by extremism and you aren’t seeing the world clearly.

Questions to ponder -

  1. Do you disagree with everything the opposing party does?
  2. Do you take one isolated negative interaction, and quickly apply it to all members of the opposing party?
  3. Do you believe the opposing party and it’s members are allevil”?
  4. Do you disregard perspectives that challenge your view of the world?

Most situations and people aren’t a binary “good” or “bad”. It’s merely a spectrum of “pros” vs. “cons”.

We do ourselves harm when we apply arbitrary extreme morality to a situation. It prevents dialogue. It prevents consolidation. It destroys relationships.

So the first step to heal the world is to challenge yourself.

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Social media unnecessarily polarizes our population.

You are either

  • Democrat or Republican
  • Pro-life or pro-choice
  • Pro-guns or pro-gun-control
  • etc.

And then all we do is yell at each other.

The reality is that issues are not binary. And oftentimes, the truth is in-between the two camps.

You can be “pro-life”, while acknowledging that there should be exceptions if the life of the mother is on the line.

You can be “pro-choice”, while acknowledging the inherit limits to choice (i.e. terminating the baby post-delivery, but before the umbilical cord is cut)

You can be “pro-guns” while recognizing that something should be…

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If you want to get something done, you need both responsibility and ownership. Why?

If you own the outcome, you’ll be much more driven to get it done right.

Here are some red flags to know if you don’t have sufficient ownership:

  • You have no “decision-making” power — prevents you from moving powerfully and fast in a direction. You are instead busy in “checkpoints” with senior leaders
  • You have to “design by committee” — forces you to make the “politically-right” decision, instead of what’s best for the project or product
  • You have arbitrary “gate keepers” — prevents you from interfacing with customers or stakeholders directly, so you never really know the true problem you’re trying to solve.

With the blockers above you may still get the task done, but how do you know you solved the right problem?

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The first step

Ponder whether you can change your own mind. And then be willing to be wrong.

If you approach any conversation with that mindset, people will naturally be more receptive to your message.

They’ll be less defensive

They’ll be more open

They’ll feel heard

The second step

Make the conversation safe. This often means one-on-one.

No one changes their mind on social media. Parties “on the fence” do not attend the massive political rallies

The environments can be so toxic, and people can get so aggressive, that people’s walls are naturally up

The result

Do this and suddenly you’re not a “salesman”, you’re just a friend trying to have a conversation.

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Sometimes we over-index on the value of “hard work”, almost as if that’s the solution to every problem.

In excess though, it can completely drain you due to:

  • Regular, expected overtime
  • Less breaks throughout the day
  • A sacrifice of personal needs (sleep, exercise, etc.)

But it doesn’t have to.

You can still “work hard” and be off by 5:00pm every day. You can still “work hard”, while making time to connect with people personally at work.

People will always want and expect more from you.

So it’s your responsibility to set the appropriate boundaries, and push back when a request becomes excessive.

You define what your limits are. And you must enforce them.

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How do you react when people ask for something “as soon as possible”?

Do you immediately de-prioritize all your other work? Do you work late that day to complete it right now? Do you sacrifice your sleep and your health to move heaven and earth for every new request?

Remember, oftentimes when people ask for things “as soon as possible”, they aren’t trying to be tyrants, trying to squeeze more out of you in a short amount of time.

They may actually be trying to be helpful — “As soon as possible” to them could mean “As soon as possible

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As developers, sometimes we think if think “if I just knew more about x technology, then my job would be easier”.

So we spend years of our lives reading documentation, practicing syntax, and learning more about the systems we work with.

That is wonderful.

But oftentimes, the technical part is not the hardest part.

It’s figuring out what to build and how to build it.

The internet has vast resources to help you actually code the thing. This makes each tactical coding decision relatively easy.

But the “who”, the “what”, and the “how” of software development is more fuzzy. …

Erik Andersen

Software engineer and wellness advocate. My opinions are my own.

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