Book Recommendation: NutureShock

With my rapidly (just over one month if everything is on schedule) approaching Fatherhood, I have been reading more about parenting. I highly recommend the book NutureShock, which is a fascinating explanation about how children learn best (which often goes against conventional wisdom), backed up with clear facts from studies with sound practices.

Spending my mornings learning

I fell into a trap a few years ago that I have been slowly digging myself out of, bit by bit. Being all consumed by my working life, I left little room for reading and learning. I don’t claim to have resolved this issue, but I do feel I made substantial progress this week with one tweak to my morning routine.

The root cause of the problem: I wasn’t prioritizing reading and learning in the morning. For years I tried to do this at night. But with the fast paced, high stress, and definitely mind consuming work that comes with being a part of two very successful startups (Dyn & Fastly) in the past seven years, I was simply fried at the end of my work day. My mind would endlessly drift any time I tried to read a book or focus on a learning project in the evening.

I had tried shifting my reading to the morning before, but I could never make that schedule stick either. Maybe it was because I don’t drink coffee. Maybe sometimes I take a little bit longer to get out of bed to make my way to the couch where my iPad normally sits…if I made out that far before I had to rush to get ready for work.

This past week I have tried something different: placing my iPad next to my bed and reaching for that device in the morning when I wake up, not my iPhone.

Something about this workflow change has made me priorities. When I wake up in the morning now, I prop up my pillows and reach for my iPad. I immediately open iBooks and start reading, even in my semi-awake state. With this, I have already finished two books this week I had been reading for over a month with little progress previously.

Because my mind is activating quicker from reading in bed during the morning, when I make my way to the kitchen to begin breakfast, my brain is begging to learn more. So I now turn on a podcast in the morning when I make/eat breakfast, usually one that focuses on teaching its listeners something. In my case, for the past week I have been catching up on the awesome Seeking Wisdom podcast. My notes file this past week has filled with little tidbits and thoughts from these morning podcast sessions.

In the end, this seems to be going well because of a simple workflow change: placing my reading device (an iPad) next to my bed, which somehow triggered my brain to want to read. Let’s see if this continues!

Two months until our life changes forever

Seven months ago, my wife shared with me the news we had been waiting for: we are going to be parents. Right now, we are under two months to go.

House wise we are getting there, but have a bit more setup to go. We completely refinished the floor in the nursery and painted the walls, both look great. The baseboard needs a coat or two of paint and then we can move everything into the room.

We have taken to this opportunity to slowly clean out the house as well, donating much of what we no longer want to Goodwill and throwing out what we can’t use. I guess a controlled nesting.

Emotionally, I’m in a weird state right now. Excited is certainly an understatement. I can’t wait to meet my kid. But I’m also wondering if “Am I going to be a good father?” Even with the time I spend with my nephews, I still feel underprepared. I know my life is going to change forever in less than two months and that’s a weird feeling. From what I heard, this is par for the course. There is no good training for this other than doing the job. A little adjustment and 18 years later…

So that’s what I’m doing. Preparing for the most important job of my life. One that is starting in just under two months.

Back to work.