Level Up

By Patrick Kua

Level Up - Issue #57



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Level Up

September 13 · Issue #57 · View online

Level Up delivers a curated newsletter for leaders in tech. A project by https://patkua.com. Ideal for busy people such as Tech Leads, Engineering Managers, VPs of Engineering, CTOs and more.

Escaping the Reactive Hamster Wheel trap
A lot of leaders I know fall into what I call the Reactive Hamster Wheel trap. It’s easy to find yourself suddenly inside this trap. All it takes are a series of emergencies or many simultaneous requests you say yes to. Suddenly, bam! You find yourself inside the wheel. You know you’re inside the wheel because it feels like you’re moving from meeting to meeting, struggling to keep on top of emails/slack and never feel like you’re making any progress on your key topics. Constant reaction takes away your time and a lack of time leads to reacting more frequently. It’s a vicious cycle. It’s one of the reasons I see effective Time Management as a foundation for effective leadership. As I often say, “If you don’t prioritise your time, others will do it for you.
Once you’re in the Reactive Hamster Wheel, it can be hard to escape. You find yourself reacting to every email, request, and can never seem to find the time to find your focus. But you can break out of this vicious circle.
Even though you may be in the trap this week, you need to look further in the future. Look at your calendar a week or two weeks in advance and add a 1-2 hour placeholder titled, “Focus Time.” Use this time to list out your priorities and where you *should* be focusing your time, not where you *are*. Use this list as a way of evaluating work or requests coming through. If you do this right, you’ll start to say no and find ways to be more proactive and less reactive.
(Last week for discount) Join the virtual 3-hour workshop, “Shortcut to Tech Leadership.” Level Up subscribers receive a 15% discount off registrations with the coupon code “LEVELUP15” until Sep 15. Each course has a limited number of tickets (up to 30), so book now.

Photo courtesy of frankieleon (https://www.flickr.com/photos/armydre2008/3716273172/)
Photo courtesy of frankieleon (https://www.flickr.com/photos/armydre2008/3716273172/)
Seeking a new Technical Leadership role? (sponsored)
Engineering Manager @ Phorest Salon Software [Dublin/Remote]
This opportunity is to join Phorest as a senior member of the development team to support the CTO to create and sustain a high performing, high output, world-class team. Learn more here.
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Solving real-time collaboration using Eventual Consistency (AKA an introduction to the Fluid Framework)
Roadmap to becoming a data engineer in 2020 (Github Repository)
Introducing the Polyglot Code Explorer
Want to sponsor an issue or advertise a leadership role?
🌟🌟🌟 Want to reach thousands of engineering leaders around the world? Maybe you want to share a leadership role you’re looking to fill? Interested in becoming a sponsor? Get in touch for details. 🌟🌟🌟
Organisation & Processes
Reading Code is a Skill
(Podcast) Interview with Don Reinertsen (Part 1)
From Procedural to New Knowledge: Leveraging Your Team’s Know-How
Tech firms face growing resentment toward parent employees during COVID-19
Interesting tweets
This “simple” diagram from the Cloud Native Foundation tries to show the current ecosystem of cloud tools based on applications. 🤯 Keysey Hightower puts it succinctly in this tweet below…
Kelsey Hightower
By 2025 it will take 64 CPUs and 1TB RAM to deploy a modern "Hello, World!" application. https://t.co/LDNE4v3io8 https://t.co/8LVUGiWD5q
Phil Estes
When the mail merge should have been caught by a human smell test. This is why the AI won't be taking over anytime soon. 🤓 https://t.co/5X78A6ouZO
Some great words of advice about what to optimise for in software teams.
James Ward
Programming, no matter what level, is mostly trial & error. So before anything else, optimize for the shortest feedback loop possible.
Thanks for making it this far! 🤗
If you enjoyed this newsletter, please send me feedback and share with others!
Want to level up your technical leadership skills? Join the Shortcut to Tech Leadership online training workshop, built from the ground up for a distribute remote learning experience. Or check out the self-paced courses at the Tech Lead Academy including “Time Management for Technical Leaders” and “Fundamentals of Systems Thinking”.
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Patrick Kua, Postfach 58 04 40, 10314, Berlin, Germany