The allure of optionality

“Maximizing optionality” - the state of enjoying possibilities without being on the hook to do anything - is a key reason young people give when going for big school or employer.

  • working at a consulting firm creates optionality because of the broad exposures & skills
  • going to graduate school creates optionality by enabling more opportunities than a narrow professional trajectory can provide.
  • working at prestigious firms and developing social networks are similarly viewed as enabling more choices and more optionality

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The Trouble with Optionality

thecrimson.com

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Optionality is like playing the lottery

Like lottery ticket buyers, the people pursuing optionality postpone their dreams and undertake choices that they think will enable their dreams. 

The shortest distance between two points is reliably a straight line. If your dreams are apparent to you, pursue them. Creating optionality and buying lottery tickets are not way stations on the road to pursuing your dreamy outcomes.

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The Agile Method To Organize Your Life

The Agile prioritization techniques help us break tasks into tiny subtasks and then rank them from top priority to least priority.

  • It is hard to prioritize a long list of tasks, all of which seem important.
  • Completing a task, no matter how insignificant, releases dopamine inside our brains, giving it a feel-good reward.
  • The Agile method makes large tasks easier to do and makes us more productive.

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Organize Your Life with the Agile Method

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Manage your expectations

We all need uninterrupted work time every day, regardless of our role. Unbroken work makes us more motivated and focused. Yet uninterrupted calendar blocks are hard to design into a schedule.

We can't productively attend to meeting-heavy days while also spending hours on uninterrupted work time. We need to manage our expectations about what we can accomplish.

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Manage your energy to thrive at work | Zapier

zapier.com

The term "emotional labour"

Our feelings are hard at work. In 1983, Arlie Russel Hochschild defined labour as requiring one to "induce or suppress feeling in order to sustain the outward countenance that produces the proper state of mind in others."

Clear examples of emotional labourer are therapists and other healthcare professionals, communications professionals, and educators. But we all do emotional labour when we empathise with our customers or plan a project at work.

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What is emotional labor and why you're doing it at work

zapier.com