welcome to this week's newsletter. Have fun with some inspiration and a new article!
Inspirational Nugget of the Week
Keep "People Lists"
I don't know about you, but I have a really bad memory. And I mean really bad. I don't remember what I had for lunch an hour after lunch.
Even worse, every day I have to deal with people who expect me to have remembered certain things. Or I want to remember something to talk about with a person next week.
My solution to this problem is a list for each person that I interact with.
Every time a thought comes up that I need to follow up with someone, it goes on the list for that person. That way I can't forget.
Looking at the list, I can decide if and when to schedule a face-to-face meeting with that person to discuss the topics on the list, or if I can drop them an async email or chat message and wait for an answer. Then, when I have my answer, I take whatever action is appropriate with that new information and update the list.
The more people I had to interact with, the more my people lists have helped me stay sane. I can safely let my memory forget things because I know it's on a list and will be picked up when appropriate.
I also take some notes about people's achievements and things they might want to develop in the future on those lists, so I can give them feedback at some point. This is a great tool to avoid recency bias when the time for feedback has come.
These lists work just as well for people in my private life as for people in my work life. I keep a list for each of my kids and my wife, as well, but with a focus on what favor I can to them every now and then (these lists contain ideas for birthday presents, for example).
They also work for private contacts I want to keep up. I drop some notes about what we talked about so I have the info ready the next time we talk (this works better for video chats than for real-life social meetings, I'm afraid, because it's still considered awkward to pull out a sheet with some notes when you talk to someone outside of a work context).
This week's article is a little different from the usual articles. Instead of going into the details of some framework or tool, it's a primer on getting started with Java.
If you're reading this newsletter, you're probably already proficient with Java, but maybe you know someone who wants to start Java from scratch? In this article, we're going step-by-step to finally build a robot arena in which we let robots battle each other in Rock-Paper-Scissors!