Top Takeaways - SXSW 2018 day 2: Why Your Biology Still Matters - Even in Tech

Start it @kbc

Tuesday 13 March 2018

Top Takeaways - SXSW 2018 day 2: Why Your Biology Still Matters - Even in Tech

So SXSW 2018 has been fantastic so far, with amazing panels and too many of the best new ideas in tech, society and ideas to mention, but Start it @KBC has been there since the start to bring you the best, and we’ve got some of the most important takeaways from Day 2 for you!

We think a lot about the “art” of getting something done, but not often enough about the science that undergirds our actions. But maybe we should spend some more time on that, because a lot of what we do is affected by things we don’t usually consider. Here are three provocative, but pragmatic ideas for applying these ideas to increasing your own productivity and effectiveness!


Listen to the clock. It still matters to you

In the 21st century, with the global economy in full swing, and all our tech uniting everyone all around the world so easily, it’s easy to forget that, as people, we’re still actually tied to the time of day in any real way. Your clients are in Buenos Aires, your dev team is in Hanoi… who cares about the hour? But new science tells us more about ourselves, and that the time you do something really affects how good you are at it, and whether you can do it well for the people who matter. Big Data coming out of Google, Palantir and even research institutions like MIT prove that you are most useful and productive at only some hours of the day… not all of them! The rising and setting of the sun are more durable than your email. Pay attention to your patterns and focus on them

You’re usually most positive in the morning

Most people still keep diurnal hours - what does that mean? It means you’re awake during the day and sleep at night - When you do this, it means that you’re usually most upbeat, positive and optimistic during the morning hours. You should plan accordingly. Do harder things in the morning, when you’re more biologically inclined to be upbeat. This isn’t just idle advice. There’s lots of science to support it! Take the hard meeting. Do the tricky thing. Lots of us think we’re not “morning people,” but science says otherwise! Take advantage of it!

Don’t be afraid of a break, or even a nap!

In the hyperpowered tech economy, we’re conditioned to think that we always need to be productive, and that a rest is a waste of time. But that’s wrong! One good hour is better than three tired hours. People are still biological - although maybe Ray Kurzweil will solve that later - and we need rest sometimes. If you work by yourself, be willing to take a break and maybe a nap. If you’re at a company, take a walk, take a break, walk around, think about something not related to work. It’s better to spend a little time to let your mind wander than to spend every moment pushing yourself to your hardest. Your mind needs some time

At an event like SXSW, it’s easy just to see the tech and to forget that we’re still people navigating the tech world. We should pay attention to these scientific realities so we can work not just harder, but better.

Written by Magali De Reu