Great Wisdom from Seth Godin

seth1

I read this great FastCo article about 4 Bullet points that Seth gave in a talk to Creatives on how to do Design that matters. I personally feel that, these are great points for even non-creatives. For that matter, these are great for anybody who ‘produces’ as part of their job. And yes, I count software lines of code as production. I count efficient management of projects as production too.

The four points are:

  1. Do it in purpose
  2. Tell stories that resonate with those in charge
  3. Demand responsibility, and do not worry at all about authority.
  4. Reflect credit but embrace blame.

I agree with all of these points a 100%. I have actually practiced some of these points in different points in time in my career, and they _work_.

Seth apparently ended the talk with a great quote:

“I have no doubt the people in this room are going to succeed. The question is: Are you going to matter?”

Love the quote.

Read the full article here.

Image courtesy: http://startupquote.com/post/528945569

The Meeting Rule

I follow a meeting rule which is borrowed from Steve Jobs rule book. I read this in the Walter Isacson biography.

I will attend a meeting if, by attending the meeting, one of two things happen — I gain something from the meeting, or the other folks in the meeting gain something from me.

I follow the same rule when calling for a meeting, and inviting folks to it.

As a corollary rule, I will always _NOT_ carry a laptop to a meeting, unless I am presenting, or if I have been explicitly asked to take notes. The reason is that, if I do take the laptop, I will be distracted and be tempted to work in parallel. This would break the first rule. I will neither contribute fully to the meeting, nor will I gain something in its entirety.

Following these two rules sometimes gets me very antsy when a meeting is poorly conducted. But that is beyond my realm of control. I try my very best to ensure that my meetings are efficient.

Thunderbird Rocks

In the recent past, I have been using solely Ubuntu (12.04 LTS) as my primary work machine. And I use Thunderbird for my mail and calendaring needs. It integrates beautifully with Exchange server.

But what surprised me pleasantly was this:

I had typed in “Please find the resume attached” in the email. Nice touch Thunderbird. For a person who has been burned multiple times by missing to attach files to emails, this comes as a refreshing surprise indeed.

 

Gear-shift your productivity

(flickr source: noloran)

Utilizing our mind-power, or for that matter even our physical body, is much like driving manual shift car. Neither can you always drive in first gear, nor can you always drive in top gear. Let me explain using a few points (like I always do). For some reason, my brain thinks always in bullet points (my wife makes fun of me for this always!).

  • You can get the max power when you are in first gear. Driving up a hill, passing a truck, … But you cannot keep in this gear all the time. Your engine can get stressed out. Is this not true with your brain as well? You can be in full-throttle for some time (maybe a few hours), but then you have to shift down and start cruising.
  • Cruising in top gear does give you maximum fuel efficiency. I relate this to the zone. When you put enough enthusiasm (see above) and get to the zone, you then cruise off by finishing your task quickly. Do you realize how when after you get your task done fully in the zone, you are still fresh and not tired?
  • At the same time, cruising in top gear is always not a good thing. You do need to shift up when you need to pass the next truck, or round the next bend, or maybe negotiate the next gradient. I relate these to the distractions and the times, when your brain starts to sag down a little bit. These are the when you need to throttle up and put on more power (in the form of enthusiasm) to get you back into the zone, so that you can shift down and continue cruising.

So when you next focus on your next high priority task, remember to shift down and up your gears so as to get max productivity.

Zoho project

Wow. Just saw the zoho project tour ppt. Looks awesome. I think they have the right tag line – the social way to get projects done. Some of the cool things that I saw were:

  • Integrated chat functionality – which is archived. Small decisions can be taken right there right then.
  • Import Microsoft MPP
  • Neat Gantt charts
  • Dashboard showing the nearby milestones
  • Dedicated wiki which is accessible from the dashboard.

I think it is pretty cool. Should check out.

http://projects.zoho.com/ – Zoho project

For some weird reason – Zoho reached out to me to remove the link – apparently the back links are hurting their Google rankings (or some such reason). The respect that I had for them has decreased substantially with this. Why would a company get in touch with a blogger who has written well about you.

Taoism and productivity ?

That is exactly Scott H Young is talking about. I was very impressed by the blog post. It is indeed very practical and at the same time intruiging. Defenitely thought provoking. Consider the post starting:

Central to the Taoist philosophy is the concept of the Tao, or Way. This Way is a force that underlies the universe. Humans have free will, so they can follow the Way or depart from it. When they depart, however, they suffer because they are no longer aligned with nature.

The Way and Peak Productivity

As I mentioned in a previous article, you don’t have to view the Way as a mystical force. Another way to view it is like the peak operating state of a machine, when there is no internal friction between the gears. For a person, this is when all of your internal mental states are working without friction. Also, all the areas of your life are supporting you towards your goals instead of competing against each other.

This frictionless state of peak productivity and the Taoist concept of the Way are very similar. Taking this metaphor further, I think there are a number of ways you can apply it to your life:

Read the full post here.

Beyond Life hacks …

Gina Trapani, chief life hacker supreme, has an excellent article titled “Beyond Life Hacks … Reusable solutions to common productivity problems.”

I will let you read the first paragraph:

Let’s face it: when you’ve run into serious productivity roadblocks like procrastination, distraction, and overwhelmed paralysis, keyboard shortcuts and index cards aren’t going to save you—only better patterns of behavior will.

And she goes on to describe some common problems, and some useful tips to handle them. Common problems include – distractions, procrastination, information overload etc.

A good read – the article is here.

Life lessons from the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony

(pic courtesy: flickr user yggg)

Lifedev.net has a great article on some life lessons to be learnt from the Opening Ceremony of the recent Beijing Olympics. The gist of it is in the following points:

  1. Step outside your comfort zone
  2. Hard work 
  3. Always strive for better (for yourself)
  4. Do your homework
  5. Work around obstacles
  6. Thing big. Really BIG.
  7. The details pay off.

Read the full article here.