🥗 Beet Salad: Recommendations That Will Help You Thrive
Mood Boards, Friction Logging, Father/Daughter Trips, and the Science of Happiness
We created the term Beet Salad to mean a rapid-fire set of recommendations based upon what is top of mind in our life right now. For this edition, I focused on one recommendation for each of our Substack’s categories: Career, Product, Parenting, and Life.
👋 Mind The Beet: Two working parents (both product leaders in tech) discuss our journey with career, parenting, and life. We publish every Sunday. Subscribing is free.
🏄♂️ Career: Mood Boards
We all struggle with how to bring intentionality to work. We want to show up a certain way but are on autopilot too often instead.
Consider taking an hour to create a mood board for your work life - it can help anchor you to whatever is important or top of mind. I’ve done two: one when I was returning from my sabbatical, focused on how I wanted to show up on my return and another as the AI Era dawned and new working styles were needed to capture the moment.
Pick a set of 6-10 visuals, memes, or pithy slogans that represent the way you want to show up at work and important impact statements you want to achieve. I write a paragraph about each thing I choose, to clarify my thoughts. You can use Midjourney or DALL-E to help you create the visuals.
⚒️ Product: Friction Logs
Every product team needs to deal with the blindness that occurs when you’ve been working on a problem too long. You drift from seeing your product like your customers do - you subconsciously skip over problems because they’ve been there forever or because you know they are hard to fix.
Recently on Lenny’s Podcast, David Singleton, CPO of Stripe, talked about a mechanic he uses to institute a shared culture of craft and excellence to address this form of bias: It’s called Friction Logging. This is similar to a process that we use on my team called Experience Reviews.
According to frictionlog.com, a Friction Log is “a type of UX experiment where the subject journals their feelings, thoughts, struggles, joys, and any other type of emotion. The point is to surface anything that gives the user discomfort or joy so the product or feature can improve.”
David talked about doing it himself monthly on the same user flow (e.g. the onboarding to a product) and then sharing a write up of issues he found with the team. On my team, we tend to get a cross-discipline group of people together for a shared walkthrough with a pre-defined task list and green/yellow/red ratings.
Friction log toolkit - including templates
Frictionlog.com - a podcast that does friction logs
👨👩👧👦 Parenting: Father/Daughter Trips
One of the best pieces of advice I got as I started my sabbatical last year: Take a trip 1:1 with each of my daughters. Of course, you can expand this to mothers and sons and any combination of parent/kid trips depending on your situation.
It creates core memories for your kids and it’s a fantastic way of being present in a new way. Seeing your kids as a 1:1 travelling companion will give you new perspectives on your kids as well - you’ll learn something about what makes them tick. I think between 5-12 years old is the prime kid’s age for this type of tradition.
Helen and I expanded the tradition this year where we each are taking a trip with each daughter (I’m going to Whistler and San Diego, Helen is going to New York and San Franciso).
One more thought to consider: Do you want to go to somewhere you know well (i.e. show your kid what you love) or take them to a place you haven’t been (i.e. the joy of co-exploring together)?
🤹 Life: Dr. Santos’ Coursera Class on the Psychology of Happiness
This free 10-week course on Coursera is like a warm hug to your mental wellness. It’s the perfect class to sign up for as summer approaches to complement the boost from all the sunshine and activities - you can even fit it into your lunch hour 2-3 times a week.
Dr. Santos explains to you what you already feel but couldn’t articulate - what science says is key to sustained happiness. She gives an overview of the field of Positive Psychology - how science can help relatively healthy and well-adjusted folks vs. focusing on pathologies - and its chock-full of wonderful little nuggets of wisdom.
One of the things that brought me the most joy was hearing my kids ask “What did you learn about happiness today?” at the dinner table and I could share some study or insight that was approachable to them.
Thanks for reading, sharing, commenting and cheering us on through our journey. We love getting notes from readers with thoughts about what stuck with you or ideas for more posts. Reach out!