Even we “experts” fall prey to our base instincts. I was traveling last week. It was 6:00pm. My client dinner appointment was set for 6:45pm. It was a quick Uber ride from the hotel to the restaurant. All I needed was a post-workout shower and I was ready to go. Plenty of time to reply to this one last email….
My father passed away in March at the age of 91. He lived a full and active life. That’s him bicycling with his grandchildren when he was in his early 80s.
Walgreens Drives Productivity The Sunday paper contained an insert produced by Walgreens. It listed ways to boost brain power. Five of the suggestions focused on the food we eat. Avocados contain medium-chain fatty acids, which increase our brainpower by reducing inflammation. Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which boost memory by spurring structural brain changes. Wine & Peanuts both[…]
Our 2015 summer vacation took four of us through the wilds of western Montana. We camped in the southern reaches of the Bitterroot Valley before traversing deep into the Ruby River outback. We enjoyed Yellowstone National Park next. Our return path took us through Bozeman before heading north back to Whitefish.
Internet connectivity was sporadic throughout the trip, with the longest disconnection occurring for 72 hours. Valuable lessons were learned about our connected lives.
Observations on Modern Connected Lifestyles
Think of it this way: The mind is a product of the brain. The brain is an organ. Organs need rest and nutrition to perform at peak levels.
- Quizzitive. Free with in-app purchases. An entertaining quiz, an addictive game, and a new way to test and improve your vocabulary. iOS only, Android alternatives available.
- Red Herring. Free with in-app purchases. Red Herring is a unique new puzzle game. Each puzzle has only one correct solution and there’s no time limit. Three difficulty levels make it suitable for the whole family. iOS, Android, Widows.
- 7 Little Words. Free with in-app purchases. If you enjoy crossword puzzles, word finds, and anagram games, you’re going to love 7 Little Words. iOS, Android, Windows.
My Personal Experience
Everyone’s heard about stand-up desks. “Get Off Your Rear!” is the true believer’s battle cry. The pitch is that sitting all day is unhealthy and unproductive, so Stand Up.
Much to my skeptical self’s surprise, I have joined their ranks. I purchased my first stand-up apparatus a year ago and haven’t looked back. To the contrary, I have pursued refinement of my standing workspace accoutrement with a vigor normally reserved for mobile technology!
What’s the Difference?
I have no explanation for why it’s so much better to stand than sit. My guess is that standing forces me to remain vigilant at a cellular level lest I fall down. The increased awareness translates to a better working environment. Plus, shifting weight and moving back and forth definitely makes the blood flow stronger. […]
Short Bursts of Quiet In his book “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less,” Greg McKeown refers to getting focused as being in the “Monk Mode.” The benefit to the Monk Mode is greater and higher quality work product. Given our time-starved world, it might be more effective to find Mini-Monk Modes throughout our day. Here[…]
Part 1 of Making Email Better observed that how we use email significantly contributes to its negative effects on our productivity and sense of satisfaction. Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported on a UK study that found up to 80% of email traffic is a “waste!”
Better Mechanics and Better Messaging
We established that focusing on Better Mechanics – use of the tool – and Better Messaging – the manner of communicating – makes email more effective and productive. We covered three best practices suggestions for each. You can review those here.
The R in S.M.A.R.T. stands for Recipient Focused. Effective use of e-mail requires focusing on how your recipients will receive your e-mail and what they need to know to be fully informed by it. We might term this empathetic sending because we need to put ourselves in the recipient’s shoes to ensure we are communicating effectively with them.
Transferring the information in our heads to our recipient is difficult in any medium. Leaving out important context, background information, and companion information leaves the recipient without all the pieces of the puzzle. Including the pertinent information increases the effectiveness of our communication and reduces the inefficient back-and-forth required when clarification is needed.
E-mail is particularly susceptible to the risk of insufficient supporting information. It’s a silent form of communication—the thoughts we are communicating start in our head and transfer to our fingers. Our fingers will never work as quickly as our thoughts do. Thus, there is the inherent risk of information loss along the way. Moreover, we treat e-mail as a quick form of communication, and quick does not guarantee effective or inclusive.
The other day, a good friend said something that caused a Moment of Clarity for me. We were discussing the juxtaposition between prioritizing things we need to get done and balancing our time between personal and professional pursuits. His comment was, “It’s funny, we always seem to make it to the airport on time for our flight, but we regularly let our workday drift long into our family time.”
When other people set deadlines for us, we regularly meet them. However, those we set for ourselves are regularly ignored. Stated a little differently, we perceive the flight as a hard-stop and the end of the day as a soft-stop. The reality is that they are both soft-stops because we can always reschedule the trip.