Future of work
Focus on understanding yourself, other people, and the world around you
You need to upskill, learn to code, learn machine learning, learn how to sell yourself. But where to start? After speaking with people and their aspirations, I have gathered together four areas, each contains one super easy practical tip, which you can implement right after you finish reading this article.
Get your fundamentals right in the first place. Are you drinking too much alcohol? Thinking poorly about yourself? Not getting enough sleep? Are you in a dysfunctional relationship?
Do you remember the self-help books from the past decades? Those books were all about motivation, being more effective, being a better person. Which implied, you are not good enough.
So then there was a trend of hating all these self-improvement articles (Mark Manson is great at those). It was all about self-acceptance.
Actually, both approaches are needed. You don’t need to compare yourself to Tim Ferris as a master self improver, but you don’t either need to be a monk and accepting everything.
If you want to up-skill yourself, you should start with your well-being.
Be brutally honest with yourself, don’t compare yourself to some fake ideals on Instagram but think about a few things that you miss.
You want to learn to code, but you watch porn instead? Try to investigate why you do it, what are the triggers? If you read a random article which will suggest what you improve, it’s nice. But it is something that you should focus on now? Don’t you have different focus areas than the person writing such a highly subjective article? Most probably, yes.
How to do it: Keep a journal
- You actually don’t need to spend a lot of time reading self-help books or articles. You need to observe yourself. Be aware of when you are most productive, what motivates you. When do you feel in line with your values? What gets you to the higher states?
- Keeping a journal makes you aware of those feelings.
- The goal is to know which activities get you to a higher state of mind and which activities get you to lower states, where you procrastinate. Be honest with yourself and do a bit more activities that get you to the higher states and less which keeps you down.
- In a higher state of mind, we can actually up-skills. Growth is hardly possible when we are depressed and only feeling the imperative to learn something new.
The key is to understand the data structure, how data are organized, what kind of data we have, and what is the expected outcome. Data skills are a journey from data to useful information.
You are probably very familiar with Excel. You create various spreadsheets, visually attractive templates for your work, and complex formulas. Most of you are using excel as a visual tool — what you do on the screen is what you get.
How to do it: Structure the work in with Excel
Let try one simple habit that I have found very useful. When you create a spreadsheet, divide it into three separate parts. I always use the same color coding for each part. In the case where more sheets belong to the same part, I use the same color.
- Main data frame: I use blue color for this. This is the main set of data, that I always format as “table” and give it a name (it’s very useful for later reference). In these data frames, you manipulate data. Which means to either use vlookup from dictionaries and add a column or manually adjust cells. This is the main processing sheet.
- Dictionaries (supporting data sets) Dictionaries are an external source of data that feeds the main data frame. Usually, you don’t manipulate data in them. I use a violet color.
- Dashboard, pivot tables, and charts: I use it for myself to make sense of the data. I also use to show my work to others. It contains visuals in the form of pivot tables, charts, or manually created tables. It always gets the data from one of the data frames. For these sheets, I use green color.
This simple habit let me think about the data differently. There are data frames, dictionaries, and visuals. Each has a different function in data analysis.
Nothing significant was ever created by a single mind. Connected minds are more than 2 minds, ideas interact. Feedback is provided, nonsense are revealed. We all have some inner deficiencies which are suppressed in a team.
How to do it:
- Try different roles in the team. Are you a leader, do the main work by yourself from time to time. Are you a team member? Ask for tasks where you need to lead your colleagues to perform the work, delegate, and control the project team.
This is a bit tricky, and not all of you will agree with me on this. But understanding that people can be really different is really crucial, not now. It was crucial in the past as well.
How to do it:
- I would recommend you one inspiring book, which is focused on complexity and with really great examples from a work environment: Changing on the job