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The effective engineer series (part-I)

I started reading this great book “The Effective Engineer” by Edmond Lau. While reading through the book after around 50 pages realized its good to note down the points while reading so that it can be kind of cheat-sheet for myself and others too. I strongly recommend buying the book and reading it at-least once.

The book is divided into 3 parts and my idea here is to write 3 blog posts one for each. So here is the first part of the series.

Adopt right mindsets

Practice: High leverage activities

  1. How can I complete this activity in a shorter amount of time?
  2. How can I increase the value produced by this activity?
  3. Leverage = impact produced / time invested
  4. Is there something else that I could spend my time on that would produce more value?”
  5. Meetings
    1. Keep it less than 30mins meeting
    2. Have clear agenda and goals
    3. Circulate before hand
    4. In case in-person is not required then email discussion


Optimize yourself for learning

  1. Growth mindset vs fixed mindset – Always improve, keep learning, Accept responsibility, own your story
  2. Invest in your Rate of learning – compound effects – exponential curve
  3. Seek work environment conducive of learning
    1. Fast growth
    2. Training
    3. Openness
    4. Pace
    5. People
    6. Autonomy
  4. Dedicate time on the job to develop new skills
    1. Study the code for core abstractions written by best engineers at your company
    2. Write more code
    3. Go through any technical training materials available internally
    4. Master the programming language you use
    5. Send your code to harshest critics
    6. Enroll in classes and areas you need to improve
    7. Participate in design discussions in the projects you are interested
    8. Work on diversity of projects
    9. Make sure your are on a team with at least few senior engineers
    10. Jump fearlessly in to the code you don’t know
  5. Always be learning – locate learning opportunities outside of work
    1. Learn new programming languages and frameworks
    2. Invest in high demand skills
    3. Read more books
    4. Join discussion groups
    5. Attend talks and conferences
    6. Build and maintain strong network of relationships
    7. Follow bloggers who teach
    8. Write to teach
    9. Tinker on side projects
    10. Pursue what you love


Practice to Prioritize Regularly

  1. Maintain only a single To-Do list – Track To-Dos in a Single, Easily Accessible List
  2. Focus on What Directly Produces Value
  3. Focus on Important but not urgent – Is this the most important task I should be working on?
  4. Protect your maker’s schedule
  5. Limit amount of work in progress – Cost of context switching is high tee-workinprogress.png
  6. Fight procrastination with if-then plans
  7. Make a routine of prioritisation tee-priorities [4],[2],[1],[6] – are Pomodoro chunks

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