personal+effectiveness category archives
If you find yourself dragging, and the coffee is merely a delicious distraction, maybe the problem is a little more interesting: lack of clarity!
We seem to be addicted to busy. Does the busyness help? Does it hurt? Do we swim around in a lake, getting nowhere? Or do we row down the river, ensuring we don't get stuck?
A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. - Annie Dillard
More on time management and multitasking. It's a topic near and dear to what I've been doing for many years.
The recommendation? Give it a whirl - try something more focused on the task at hand. And if it doesn't work, email will always be there, like an old habit that you can't break.
The latest HBR Ideacast interview with Erin Reid talks about Why We Pretend to be Workaholics (based on a related HBR article). I enjoyed the discussion, but what really got to me is this idea of "pretending to be busy."
First impressions depend on our assessment of the person's warmth and their likelihood to do us harm. Science of Us provides a nice way to think about this in The Simpsons First-Impression Matrix.
Besides finding some extra lint in there, why do people get into navel gazing? When does it help? When not? Some interesting thoughts on the topic from Megan and Euan in Shift episode 35.
So, is multitasking bad or good. This author talks about both sides and then decides he wants to continue multitasking anyway.
Charles Duhigg's The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business has a lot of familiar material in it. Duhigg puts it together in a compelling story that talks about why we get stuck in ruts - in personal life and in business life - and the paths to breaking out of the rut.
A colleague has been thinking about this topic and now in any of his (brief) emails attaches a signature that links to the Email Charter. Be smart about email.
I don't think many people are paid to read email. But looking at the inboxes of the world, and it seems we spend a lot of time doing it. If you are tired of getting so much email, look to yourself first: stop sending so much!
John Kotter's A Sense of Urgency is completely focused on the first of his eight step change model. The book describes the basic problem (too much complacency and false urgency; not enough urgency), describes a high level strategy to create urgency, and gives four tactics to help increase urgency.
This one sounds like it could be pulled from The Onion, but it isn't. A button to make Do Not Disturb really come to life.
The Fox News website has a nice summary of research into multitasking (task switching) and the impact it has on our ability to get things done. Always nice to have "official" outlets talk about this kind of thing. And I appreciate that they describe more of the nuance than simply "listening to music, doing homework, watching videos, and texting at the same time."
What am I good at? What do I love to do? What drives me? What fits my personality? These questions are the core of today' full-day session on TOC for Personal Growth, by Efrat Goldratt.
I've had the Stop Starting, Start Finishing brochure / comic from Arne Rock and his team sitting in my briefcase ever since the Lean Kanban conference last spring. It's a fun read about how Justin (Time) does a Kanban implementation.
The Boston Globe, David Allen and Farhad Manjoo all have me thinking about personal productivity, and how to go about creating the necessary focus.
Project management and knowledge management are about getting things done. I attended and spoke at the Center for Business Information (CBI) 6th Annual Forum on Knowledge Management this week in Philadelphia. Rather than talk about knowledge management directly, I opted to speak about managing projects - whether they are KM or other types.
Mobile phones are the best thing since sliced bread. They are the worst invention since television commercials. Yin. Yang. Are your mobile devices distracting you from getting things done? Or are they part of your web of tools that you use to accomplish things today?
I drew David Allen's logic in response in describing why people get overwhelmed at work (and elsewhere).
The monthly SIKM Boston meeting is usually an eclectic mix of member-focused discussion, and today was no different. There was a range of topics from personal knowledge management to KM technology rollouts to "how to" to social business and more. Here are some thoughts and links inspired by the conversation.
Inspired by Oscar Berg thinking on experts: "Being an expert is not about knowing everything within a certain domain. It is about being able to ask the right questions, and having the skills and network to find the answers."
It seems obvious to say some of these things, but not everyone knows how to use email better. Here are some basic hints.
Listening to podcasts this week, I came across an odd juxtaposition of topics associated with whether things are real if we can think them. I happened to listen to In Our Time and LeanBlog podcasts sequentially, and the ideas connected in my mind.
In the Personal Knowledge Management workshop hosted by the Social Learning Center, the latest question is to write an elevator pitch for PKM. The quick take: It's about getting things done.
I checked out LaunchBar and decided to keep it as a replacement for Mac's built-in Spotlight. I'm keeping it in my toolbox now.
Garret Keizer's article about Privacy has me realizing something important about the Seek-Sense-Share model Harold Jarche uses to describe PKM: it is iterative and works at multiple levels.
The Boston Globe had an article on "How to make time expand" this weekend. Interesting research suggests that giving away time creates the perception of having more time.
Nathan Zeldes has discovered the "dark side of information overload" - that people can't stop because that is what their environment forces them into.
Interested in personal effectiveness? What about how people work together? One seemingly simple aspect of this is the design of the workplace itself - the space, the technology, the tools. Sometimes these simple things get in the way of our being more effective. A Dan Morris article has me thinking, "Most overlooked place for efficiency improvement? It's right in front of you!"
A recent HBR Blog Network article by Susan David asks "Is Busyness Bad for Business?" and the answer isn't completely as expected. Be smart. And I suggest we need to do a better job of SEEING what is going on.
I don't think it will be my first act when I become King of the World, but it will happen in the first few days. Kill off email.
People say a lot of things without thinking. We believe a lot of things without checking their validity. I've run across some examples recently. For many of these things, we should at least ask ourselves if they are really true.
Thought without action is a dream. Action without thought is a disaster.
Interesting definition of slack from Jim Benson: The gaps between work that make flow possible and define cadence
I just listened to Joe Dager's Business 901 podcast with Dan Markovitz of TimeBack Management on Individual Lean, the Root Cause of Success? and found myself nodding my head and smiling at many of the familiar themes I have taken with my interest in the topic of personal effectiveness.
Another find on my personal effectiveness journey points to Dan Markovitz and his book, A Factory of One.
Wasting time is such a 20th Century mindset. Why not give people the time and resources they need to accomplish interesting work, and then measure them on results instead?
Be conscious of what you are doing. This is my takeaway from Soren Gordhamer's blog post, "How to stay focused in a world of distractions."
Everyone claims to know what their priorities are. But do they know what to ignore? What to say "no" to? What NOT to do today?
Tony Schwartz has a great piece on "The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time" that has inspired a lot of comments and additional conversation. Multitasking - and eliminating it - is an important topic to doing well as an individual as well as in organizations that want to get stuff done.
What tricks do you use when confronted by a mountain? How do you convert it into a molehill?
Ask yourself some good questions, rather than worry about getting buried in information. This is the essential advice of Frank and Magnone's new book.
Interesting set of executive "habits" associated with failures from Sydney Finkelstein - originally published eight years ago. I like the "lack of respect" early warning sign.
A local paper has a great quote that is takes four times longer to complete two tasks effectively than to do each one individually.
There are always more things to do. Rather than continually bemoan the fact that the backlog exists, find some mechanism to "gain comfort and control" over what you are doing today and what you are NOT doing today.
I came across something in my personal life that connects back to my business life. Use experience to get better.
Another take on defining problems the right way, motivated by a David Allen newsletter article.
Pierre Khawand has a simple, short video that looks at interruptions from a slightly different angle. Not multitasking but the results of the effort.
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