Growth equation

To make the growth equation work for you

  • Pick an area of your life.
  • Reflect on where you currently are and where you want to be.
  • Think about whether you ought to be in a state of stress—taking on just-manageable challenges—or in a state of rest, recovery, and reflection.
  • Align your behavior accordingly.
  • Check in every few weeks, just like you would for any other training program, and evaluate your progress.

This Simple Equation Can Change Your Life

Weekly Links for 24th of October

A weekly collection of posts and articles about productivity, time management, tools and technology.

If you have any interesting articles please share them in the comments section.

Weekly links for 13th of June

A weekly collection of posts and articles about productivity, time management, tools and technology.

  1. How to Make a Moleskine PDA
  2. Dooity: A Lightweight HTML5 To-Do List
  3. Good Hours, Not More Hours
  4. 10 Ways to Save Time With Batch Processing
  5. How mind mapping can help consultants to delight clients – and make more money

If you have any interesting articles please share them in the comments section.

Keep it slow

Turtle
I’m learning my lesson to keep it slow. In the last few months I had to cut down my running due to a medical problem that prevented me from hitting my standard pace.

Since I’ve resumed running I can only do it at a very low intensity and pace.This is completely new experience for me as I’m well used to pushing myself hard. First of all it’s very difficult to adjust to new lower pace. I need to be very much conscious of my speed and control it. Often times I need to remind myself to slow down. It’s not always easy because of the by internal idea that only slow people and newbies run at my pace. Need to swallow a lot of pride to feel comfortable but I’m getting there.

What this has to do with productivity?

Well a lot. As more and more stuff is coming my way, I’m learning to accept the fact that I can’t do it all. I need to make conscious hard choices about where to put my attention. Sure it’s often fun and exciting to constantly engaging in new projects and activities but this can’t last forever. At some point something gotta give. I’m learning that I can’t do it all and keep everybody happy because I’m one person.

I have my limits, my time is limited, my attention is limited. There is only so much that I can do in 8-9 hours at work. Rather than except everything and strain your limits constantly try this Delegate, say ‘No’, Delete. May not always be possible but it might be enough to buy you some time.

High volume is not sustainable in the long run. Regardless if you are researching an issue, dealing with a client, drafting a proposal if you get too many of these after a while they become a blurr. All you can remember is that you deal with this before but was it last week, two weeks ago or just on Monday?

You/I need periods of down town to absorb new information, to re-think progress etc.

So keep it slow. Remember the parable where a tortoise and a hare take part in the race. In the end slower one won.

 

PS. I’ve signed up for Dublin marathon in Oct ‘11. Although I’m anxious to start training and get running I’m taking it slow and gradually build up my mileage.

Photo by LabirinthX

Weekly Links post 14th March

A collection of posts and articles about productivity, time management, tools and technology.

Expertise triumphs Experience – Over at Productive flourishing Ali Luke explores the notion that experience may not be the best indication of the performance and ability to do the job. As she point out you may be cooking for twenty year using the same recipes but that does not make you a chef. What really matters is the expertise in the particular field gained through learning, testing and asking questions.

WorkAwesome Podcast: Episode 12 – Patrick Rhone – WorkAwesome site has a very interesting interview with Patrick Rhone. The interview focuses on topics like productivity, macs, software tools and minimalism.  I came across Patrick when he did a lot of writing about staying productive using pen and paper. His new area of focus is minimalism where runs two sites Minimal Mac and Enough – The Minimal Mac Podcast. Both places are worth visiting for some food for thought and inspiration even if your platform is Windows.

10 Awesome Videos On Idea Execution & The Creative Process – I think the title speaks for itself. This is a really great collection starting from Steve Jobs Stanford speech to JJ Rowling speaking at Harvard. Be sure to set a side at least 2h as these talks cover a lot of ground.

Developing Systems That Work – Over at Get Rich Slowly JD Roth writes that he found three ways of a successful system: routine, automation, and simplicity. Although the context of this post is very much focused on personal finance it’s very easy to draw parallels with personal productivity. In fact if you apply above three elements it’s almost certain that you will become more effective and organised.

 

If you have any interesting articles please share them in the comments section.

Lessons from the “Drive”

Keeping up with any productivity systems requires dedication, will power and motivation. Making sure that the system is constantly updated that it contains actual information can take a lot of work. Sometimes when we struggle with too many assignments it’s easy to let the whole system go.
The book that made a lot of buzz in recent month and that looks at the traditional and scientific approach to motivation is Daniel Pink’s "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us".

The main concept of the book looks at the interrelation between two of the three of our drives.

Traditional concepts of motivation assumed that reward / punish  is the most effective approach. Throwing more money or threatening with more severe punishments was and still is a common practice to ensure that job gets done. This concept still works in some type of jobs which are mostly simple outcome, procedure or routine based. 
However it appears that science does not support that support that view. In his TED talk Daniel Pink describes an experiment conducted over 40 years ago where researchers have discovered that people rewarded with high payoff were less creative and engaged and had bigger problem in solving the task than those with smaller reward. (the talk is just 20 min long but it’s well worth it)

What does this mean for current workers? The ongoing shift to so called knowledge work means that old approach of carrots and sticks is less and less effective. Daniel Pink says that what we need is to motivate people by giving them option to develop three intrinsic elements: autonomy, mastery, purpose.
Although I’m yet to read this book, you can get a pretty good idea what’s it about by reading blogs and interviews with Dan Pink.

Below is an outline of some key lessons that I’ve learned.

  • On Mastery – it’s not possible to  become a master with out feedback. No athlete or musician becomes true master with out constant improvement and reviewing of his work. The so called performance review in our work places are not enough to bring any reasonable value. Dan Pink’s advise is to set your own goals for things you want to learn or do and then review the progress monthly. Mark your self against the desired result and see where you fell short and where your succeeded.
  • On Purpose -  you need to find what’s your internal drive. Pink’s advise think what gives you the most satisfaction at work, what would you spend your time on, what would you do for free. If you answer these then you will be on the right track to finding a purpose.
  • On autonomy- educate your boss so he/she can understand that giving large amount of autonomy will result in greater satisfaction, creativity and engagement. Be working example of such beheviour as the persisting view is that more autonomy means more slacking off.

Some other lessons/observations:

  • Top motivator for people is chance to develop and making progress.
  • Carrot & sticks still works however it’s good only the in short run  as it narrows focus to produce only one thing. As result it limits chances for great work.
  • Carrot & stick approach creates constant expectation of reward and risk of taking shortcuts to get it – vide current financial crisis.
  • Money matters are still important but for jobs that are creative it’s best to take the issue of money off the table.
  • Although the intrinsic motivators are effective not only for knowledge work. Any profession can benefit from using them. Pink gives a great example of hospital janitors who were given some autonomy over their work and this little change resulted in greater work satisfaction, lesser turnover and continuous progress.

This book is definitely worth reading and I’ll be sure to order it with my next Amazon purchase.

References:

  1. Daniel Pink’s Drive – Recommended – Harvard Business Review
  2. How to Stay Motivated: Daniel Pink on ‘Drive’ – WSJ.com
  3. Daniel Pink On His New Book, ‘Drive,’ And What Motivates People
  4. Drive: Daniel Pink’s Definitive and Fun Guide to Motivation – Bob Sutton
  5. My full review of Dan Pink’s “Drive”… // Brett’s Waste Blog
  6. Drive by Daniel Pink – Jessica Smith – Digital Influencer, Marketing Strategist, Creative Thinker
  7. New Release: The Bottom-line on Daniel Pink’s “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” « Mine Your Resources
  8. Drive – Video Book Review
  9. The Four Essential Drives That Every Creative Needs
  10. The Hidden Art of Achieving Creative Flow | Zen Habits
  11. A Story About Motivation – Peter Bregman – Harvard Business Review
  12. ‘Drive’ Not Always Explained By Rewards : NPR
  13. Full Interview: Daniel Pink on Motivation 3.0