From The Doist blog:

The trend toward near-constant communication means that the average knowledge worker must organize their workday around multiple meetings, with the time in between spent doing their work half-distractedly with one eye on email and Slack.

I love working remotely because I get to spend more time with family, avoid nasty commute times, get more rest and in a non-pandemic world, spend more time with friends. In addition, I can optimize my day around the rest of my life for the most part to run errands or do things around the house when it makes the most sense to do so.

What I don’t love is being on video calls from 8-5 every day. It leaves no room for any meaningful work outside of business hours, which slowly robs myself and others of their newly-gained additional free time. I think most companies are still trying to recreate all of the ceremonies, processes and expectations of the physical office. What this fails to do is take advantage of the massive productivity gains teams can get from working more asynchronously. If trust levels are high and you work in an environment that’s focused more on results than punching the clock, teams can really crank through work and still maintain a high level of communication.

I recently heard a really interesting episode of Sam Harris’ podcast where he spoke with the founder of Automattic about their history as remote first. There’s a lot of interesting tidbits in there about how companies transition from first trying to replicate their office environment and eventually move towards “enlightenment” – where almost all communication is async and open.

The main tips are to lean into note-taking when you are in meetings to ensure high levels of alignment, handle what you can in slack or email and in higher quality communication than standups in Zoom. On the teams that I work with that have leaned into these practices, I’ve found way more time to focus on making my team better instead of running on the meeting treadmill.

Asynchronous Communication: The Real Reason Remote Workers Are More Productive

From The Doist blog:

The trend toward near-constant communication means that the average knowledge worker must organize their workday around multiple meetings, with the time in between spent doing their work half-distractedly with one eye on email and Slack.

I love working remotely because I get to spend more time with family, avoid nasty commute times, get more rest and in a non-pandemic world, spend more time with friends. In addition, I can optimize my day around the rest of my life for the most part to run errands or do things around the house when it makes the most sense to do so.

What I don’t love is being on video calls from 8-5 every day. It leaves no room for any meaningful work outside of business hours, which slowly robs myself and others of their newly-gained additional free time. I think most companies are still trying to recreate all of the ceremonies, processes and expectations of the physical office. What this fails to do is take advantage of the massive productivity gains teams can get from working more asynchronously. If trust levels are high and you work in an environment that’s focused more on results than punching the clock, teams can really crank through work and still maintain a high level of communication.

I recently heard a really interesting episode of Sam Harris’ podcast where he spoke with the founder of Automattic about their history as remote first. There’s a lot of interesting tidbits in there about how companies transition from first trying to replicate their office environment and eventually move towards “enlightenment” – where almost all communication is async and open.

The main tips are to lean into note-taking when you are in meetings to ensure high levels of alignment, handle what you can in slack or email and in higher quality communication than standups in Zoom. On the teams that I work with that have leaned into these practices, I’ve found way more time to focus on making my team better instead of running on the meeting treadmill.

Thought I’d give a quick update on something I’ve been spending a ton of time with in quarantine life. I’ve been a heavy podcast listener for a long time now – I can remember listening to podcasts even before it was part of the iTunes Store, using apps to side load mp3s into the app. My list of favorites has ebbed and flowed over the years, and being stuck at home has given me more time to listen than ever.

I’ve used a ton of apps over the years as well, but lately I’ve started using Pocket Casts more instead of Overcast. The reasons are varied but ultimately despite the fact that I like the way that Pocket Casts looks and “feels”. Overcast works extremely well, is built by an indie developer (Marco Arment) who I love to support, and he’s been on the forefront of a lot of the best features in podcast players over the last few years. He nailed voice boosting, silence trimming and sharing way before the competition caught up (Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher etc haven’t even tried yet).

However, despite the fact that Pocket Casts is a little more fiddly than Overcast is, I love the little details like the way the UI subtly changes to match the podcast artwork, the way you can modify the up next queue, and the multiple of ways you can listen. Pocket Casts supports Chromecast, Sonos, has a web app, a desktop app, and is on nearly any platform under the sun. They’re also owned by NPR and a few other radio stations, so it’s not like it’s some evil company like Luminary or Stitcher.

I’m not 100% sure that I’ll switch away from Overcast full time as it’s familiar and more “set it and forget it”, but I am growing weary of the app’s design, lack of multi-platform strategy and slower pace of development.

2020 podcasts

2020 Podcasts

One of the neat things about Pocket Casts is that sharing what you’re listening to is pretty simple. There’s a built in interface that allows you to share some or all of the shows you listen to, which is a nice middle ground between the single-episode sharing in Overcast and some overly-aggressive sharing of everything you listen to.

I’ve been listening to mostly the same group of podcasts for years now. However, with additional downtime at home and more time doing things like yardwork, I’ve picked up a few new shows to augment my old favorites. I’m not a completionist by any stretch – I tend to look at the show notes and aggressively remove shows I’m not interested in.

You can find the full list here.

My 2020 Podcast Lineup

Thought I’d give a quick update on something I’ve been spending a ton of time with in quarantine life. I’ve been a heavy podcast listener for a long time now – I can remember listening to podcasts even before it was part of the iTunes Store, using apps to side load mp3s into the app. My […]

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Even more great news! I had just started listening to the old show – this is even better.