Attention is your scarcest resource

#2 – September 14, 2020

this week's favorite

Once I was full-time managing, I had no shiny distractions and was able to spend my showers focusing on how to be a better manager. And once I was 50%+ focused, well, I haven’t become a “superstar 10x manager” yet, but I quickly stopped being 0.1x.

As manager you need to give your report tractable work in the first week. Managers not being ready for a report to start is the number one reason people end up normalizing underperformance, because they had nothing meaningful to do. If a manager describes a report as not having initiative in the first couple weeks it’s a red flag - it’s the manager’s job to provide new hires with clear paths to contribute immediately.

This blog post is for engineering managers who find themselves managing very senior engineers and want direction on how to be more effective. Read on for a compassionate dose of reality and actionable advice.

We all have a finite amount of time to live, and within that mortal countdown we devote some fraction towards our work. Even for the most career-focused, your life will be filled by many things beyond work: supporting your family, children, exercise, being a mentor and a mentee, hobbies, and so the list goes on. This is the sign of a rich life, but one side-effect is that time to do your work will become increasingly scarce as you get deeper into your career.

“Why did you decide to become a manager?” It’s a question that gets asked a lot, in job interviews, 1x1s, and plain old casual conversation. I ask this question a lot, and I am often frustrated (or bored) by the answers I hear back.