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Advice for how to not take things personally or too seriously

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Team Lead at Taro Community21 days ago

There must be a way to work super hard, write high quality code, learn from mistakes, all while being chill even through difficult times and unplugging 100% during time off.

But over the course of a month or quarter something will go wrong, and then I think about it all weekend. There will be some bug or personal conflict or missed deadline.

It could be healthy to a degree to stress about it so that I do a retro, make action items, and fix the process for next time. But it is a major negative to take it too seriously to the point where I go over it 100 times in my head or when talking to coworkers I become defensive, give excuses, or want to start thinking about blame.

My question is not really about having a blameless culture at a company though, but how do I myself keep up high performance while taking things way less personally/seriously?

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Discussion

(4 comments)
  • 2
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    20 days ago

    Allocate time for it and label it. Something like "Reflection time" or "Replay time" or "Self-loathing time"

    Put a 30-minute block on your calendar every week or every 2 weeks where you write down reflections on what mistakes happened and what you can learn from them.

    When you separate out the time to be anxious or hard on yourself, you free up the other 99% of the time, so you don't have to do that! So hopefully you can drop the 100 times you play something over to something like 3-4 times.

  • 3
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    Senior Manager at SAP
    20 days ago

    I agree with Rahul. Scheduling regular time for reflection is super helpful.

    On a different perspective, the practice of daily journaling can be helpful. Writing things down can be a way to let things out.

    You have not mentioned if you have other hobbies or interests. Regularly disconnecting and doing something else unrelated to work can be a good destressing option.

  • 2
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    Eng @ Taro
    18 days ago

    There must be a way to work super hard, write high quality code, learn from mistakes, all while being chill even through difficult times and unplugging 100% during time off.

    Early on in my career, I used to be on edge all the time where I was taking my laptop with me on hikes and getting plane wifi because I was always worried that something would go wrong, and I'd be at fault.

    1. You'll mentally fatigue yourself where you won't be able to perform well and you'll emotionally drag down your team with your body language.
    2. Most companies are well-oiled machines where there are ways to mitigate issues quickly if something goes wrong.
    3. Most engineers are working on something that will cause a minor inconvenience to the end user if it goes down.

    It can be easy to exaggerate the consequences of something going wrong to be astronomical. Sometimes, we just need to zoom out and think of what's the worst that can happen and how they can be mitigated by processes that are in place or need to be added.

    It could be healthy to a degree to stress about it so that I do a retro, make action items, and fix the process for next time. But it is a major negative to take it too seriously to the point where I go over it 100 times in my head or when talking to coworkers I become defensive, give excuses, or want to start thinking about blame.

    You are doing a good job by doing the retro and coming up with action items. Once you get all of your thoughts out in a retro doc, there isn't a use in continuing to dwell on the matter anymore especially if you are going over the same thoughts in your head.

  • 2
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    Team Lead [OP]
    Taro Community
    18 days ago

    Thanks for all the feedback, seems to be helping so far:

    1. Writings lists about things bothering me in a physical private notebook
    2. No-tech-work-at-all Sundays for hobbies and unplugging fully
    3. Worry Tuesdays. I’m short-circuiting obsessing about problems by writing it down telling myself I’m OK in the big picture of things and that I will review and plan action for my problems on Tuesday, not today