HUMAN O.S. MANIFESTO
I believe we all have our own personal operating system - our way of being. Our O.S. is powered by our values, abilities, skills and informed by our psychology, context, and habits. Over time our O.S. evolves based upon our life experiences through learning, testing, and refining how we operate. My personal aim is to have a vision for who I want to be, design behaviors, and change myself to operate in line with that vision of who I am. This is my HUMAN O.S. manifesto.
What guides my Human O.S.
“Empathy is feeling what another living thing feels. Compassion is putting yourself in the shoes of another person and seeing the world through their lens for the sake of alleviating their suffering.” (Jeff Weiner). With this insight I came to understand that management and leadership is not just about the WHAT, but also about the HOW. Which means it’s a skill we can learn and practice. That is why I practice Compassionate Management.
Thoughtfulness is the cornerstone of compassion, it is about taking others’ needs into consideration. Acting thoughtfully towards others helps us learn new things, build trust, and give others dignity. And it feels great when you make someone go “awww”.
Curiosity is that insatiable appetite to learn, while humility is the deep understanding within ourselves of our limitations. I combine both in order to operate in the most open-minded way I can which helps me learn and appreciate others.
Grit is the combination of having a goal and the determination to to see it through. Research shows a strong correlation between grit and successful goal accomplishment. But, we need to develop the discipline to execute in the face of adversity and difficult trade-offs. (Test your grit level on the Grit Scale by Angela Duckworth)
In order to improve my decision-making processes I focus on objective facts and strong logic. And whether it goes to plan or not I always reflect in order to learn what went well or how to improve.
Integrity is the alignment of what I think is what I do and is thus who I am. Transparency is exposing your thoughts and actions in the open for others to evaluate; it is the ultimate test of our integrity.
Responsibility and accountability go hand-in-hand. Being responsible is about owning the outcome while accountability is about not passing the buck. Ultimately that means holding yourself, and others, accountable.
Getting sh*t done (GSD)
People gravely underestimate the power of our subconscious habits and routines on how we live. Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit covers this well. If you can develop the skill of designing habits and the discipline to execute them (i.e. a routine) then you can change who you are and what you are capable of, thereby increasing the odds of accomplishing your goals in life.
Since developing a habit is a skill that can be learned I think of routines as ways to practice my habit formation skill. And similar to lifting weights constant practice makes me better at it. As I get better I can develop more difficult habits, which in turn allows me to grow as a person so that when I encounter new challenges to accomplishing my goals in life I can evolve and increase the odds of success. Kind of like a video game where each level gets harder and harder, you got to practice to win.
I find it strange we don’t think of this as a skill and teach it as one in school. It is the one thing everyone can always improve, has a huge impact on productivity and personal satisfaction. The most successful people have to work at this.
I use Panda Planner to do a weekly planning session to orient myself around where things are at with my goals. The focus is on health, time, money, and people relationships. Then each morning I do a 10 minute planning session for the day focusing on what I need to do to create outcomes towards my weekly goals (also Panda Planner). I tend to have both a goal and task list so I can orient my mind around the outcome and actions to be taken to get the outcome. Then I use the Eisenhower method as a gut check.
“You’re a machine, how do you do it?” is a commons question I get from friends and colleagues. And while I’m flattered I know there are far more productive people than me. I’ve worked with them and I learned a few key things.
- There are different types of work and time spent doesn’t = value created
- Prioritization and planning matters
- If I don’t control my time others will
I get big stuff done by distinguishing between shallow vs. deep work and time blocking both. Everyday I set my key priorities, visualize my schedule to see if the two align, and say no to intrusions that don’t align. For example, if I need to do some deep thinking on a topic to plan a strategy I block out 2 hours, close email, and crush during that time block. Conversely, I am batch process email and have almost no pop-up notifications on my phone. If you want to learn more about deep work productivity I highly recommend Cal Newport’s blog.
Email is mostly a flood of noise. I try not to use it to chat, but for conversations to GSD and manage/store flows of information (e.g. newsletters)
I batch process emails at least twice a day normally spending 1-2 hours on it. To help prioritize I focus on things related to outcomes for my goals that week. Rule of thumb, if it can answered or solved in 2 minutes respond now.
“Don’t reinvent the wheel.” A simple phrase with so much wisdom.
Most of the time in life you are not the first to encounter whatever problem you have, so before trying to solve it look for someone who has and start with they’ve learned or provided. This goes for everything from building a financial model to how to living a happy life. There are a few keys to success:
- Humility to know you don’t have the answer and to look outside yourself
- Knowing where to look and getting access to it
- Knowing when you have enough to get started with
- Don’t constrain yourself to what you get, consider it a starting point
In some form or another we are all leverage and need leverage. (i.e. help). The key is designing your workflow for this so you’re the most productive and impactful you can be. I will often ask myself:
- Who can do this better, faster, and cheaper than me?
- What are the best ways for me to provide leverage to others?
- Will my leverage impact the outcome?
Texting is OK for sending quick info (like the address to a location) but research shows that it’s not good for conversations since you can’t fully convey ideas and emotions well, or respond in real time. Communicating online leads to weaker social connections, which are critical for happiness and great collaboration. I prefer communicating in-person, phone/video conferencing, email, and texting; in that order.
Email is a great way to give people all the information they need in one place, especially if that information is going to be shared among a group. Here are the four most effective ways to use email:
- To formally communicate a decision
- To confirm or schedule meetings or appointments
- To document or recap important conversations
- To send company or team-wide announcements