Jay Hoffmann

Books, movies, and code


Mandy Brown, with another simple and elegantly put life-changing tip

Here’s a small trick that worked for me over the dozen years I led remote teams: at the end of your working day, shut down every app on your machine. Yes, all of them. Stash your tabs somewhere if you must, but close them all down. The only exception that may be made is for a simple note-taking app—the kind that lacks any kind of notifications. Then, spend ten or perhaps fifteen minutes reflecting on your day, whether in said note-taking app or, even better, on paper. This needn’t be anything formal or structured, just jot a few things down—maybe short phrases, maybe just some key words. The only hard rule is to do your best to keep any sense of judgement out. Then, in the morning, when you open up your machine, there should be nothing yelling at you—no unread badges, no cluster of notifications calling for your attention. At that point, you can reverse the practice, and spend a few minutes thinking ahead to the day that you want to have, and anything you think is important to keep your attention on, even as everything and everyone else tries to drag that attention in a million other directions.