We, the people, “they” (the experts) say, are in a post-consumption society. We have enough money for everything we need, and most of what we want … however, our most scarce resources are time and attention. How do we use all the incredible stuff available to us to be effective and productive at work and play?
What Would It Look Like If I Wrote It Down?
I have a lot of writing to do in my new job … brochures, reviewer’s guides, blog posts, roadmap strategies, emails, blog comments, and more … and it gets a bit overwhelming at times. As my friend Marc Orchant said to me recently, “nobody can write all day long”. Even with 23″ monitors and super-quick computers, they are only a tool for expressing ideas … at the end of the day, I have to do the creative hard yards.
When I find those creative hard yards particularly challenging, I’ve started asking myself this question: “what would it look like if I wrote it?” I’m sure this builds off Anne Lamott’s wonderful idea of a “shitty first draft” (as outlined in her wonderful book, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life), that of just getting something, anything, whatever down on the paper / screen, and then working with it for a better second draft. The “what would it look like” is my question, however, and it puts it in my terms and in something that I can relate to. I’ve found it really helpful.
What question do you use when you’re stuck?
Work from Home to Increase Focus and Productivity
Consider working from home a couple of days a week if you have the sort of job that would benefit from focused time and energy on specific deliverables. Those of us that have tried it have found it extremely beneficial. Someone commented to me a couple of days ago: “My time at the office is filled with interruptions from the moment I walk in until the moment I leave. When I work from home, however, I get 12 hours of focused and concentrated time, and I get to see my wife and kids during the day”. Every manager needs to be available to be “interrupted” during the work week, but that doesn’t equate with putting yourself in a place of constant interruption all of the time. Sometimes it is right and proper to erect some time and space barriers so as to put focused time on strategic work.
Others that work from home regularly say:
- “Working out of my home lets me be flexible and spread things out throughout the day …. The commute to the office is also a lot shorter when you only have to walk across the room” (Tris Hussey, Qumana)
- “For a working mother, it’s ideal because of the flexibility and the convenience … But I think it’s an absolute myth you can work from home and take care of the kids at the same time … Working from home can also cause you to ‘overwork’ on occasion” (Carolyn Bach, LexisNexis)
- “I found myself wasting time in a car and burning gasoline . . . so I think telecommuting is an efficient way to work … You can also control interruptions much better. When you’re in an office or a cube and there’s people walking by, there are a lot of interruptions” (John Aikman, Acceller)
Work-from-home individuals need to set some boundaries for themselves and for other family members in order to make it work. At my place, given that there are 7 other people here all of the time, including 6 children under the age of 11, the rule is “you have to ask Mummy for permission to interrupt Daddy”. It works … most of the time.
A Blog to Devour
I love coming across new web sites, articles and blogs focused on productivity and effectiveness. This week I stumbled across ProductivityGoal: Work productivity, time management, organization, tools and tips, authored by Claire Tompkins. With posts like Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There!, and Overworked = Underproductive, I felt right at home. Devour, and enjoy!
I wanted to write about and link to some of Kathy Sierra’s awesome work up on the “Creating Passionate Users” blog, but it’s time to turn in for the day. Perhaps next time …
Categories: Culture & Competency