Three Ways to KISS – Keeping it Short & Simple

Our workdays are bombarded by endless interruptions and distractions.  They cause us to lose focus, feel more stressed, and reduce our productivity.  Much of my work centers on ways to create quieter work environments (internally as well as externally) so that people can get more focused, get more done, and get more work/life balance.

Once we can quiet the cacophony of the modern work place, the next point of attack is to increase productivity (and it’s cousin – sense of accomplishment) by making the way we actually get work done more efficient.  And, like most things, it’s all been done before.

Texting is Great Practice for Good Communication

Much lamenting is heard about texting.  How we are “disengaging” from our surroundings to remain digitally linked to persons distant.  We also talk about how our use of the English language is suffering from the cryptic abbreviations used in texts.  And let’s not forget the ~ping~ that sounds each time a new text arrives.

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Why Would Anyone Want to be Led by You?

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post written by Trever Cartwright.  Trever is co-founder of Coraggio Group, a Portland-based strategy and organizational change firm. You can reach Trever by calling 503-493-1452 or by email at trever@coraggiogroup.com. Visit his website at www.coraggiogroup.com

The year is half over. Many leaders and executive teams are taking their annual step back to do a deep-dive assessment of their organization’s progress against the goals and objectives of their strategic plans.

As part of your strategic progress review, consider including another area of assessment—one that will require a different kind of examination and be much more introspective in nature. Why not take some time to also consider how you’re progressing as a leader? It makes sense when you consider that an organization’s strategic performance is, in large part, a direct reflection of the effectiveness of the leader—and the leadership team—at the top.

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Making Time is Easy Once the Priorities are Established

I was recently on a week-long business trip.  My schedule was booked solid with meetings both at my online business – Outdoorplay, Inc. – and with my QuietSpacing® clients.  Just another week in the modern world … before the call came in …

The Call

Me (seeing it’s my mom on caller ID):  Hi!  How are you doing?

Mom:   Not so good.

Me (sitting straight up because (a) this is never the response I get and (b) my father is 86):   What’s going on?

Mom (sounding very discombobulated):  They’re admitting your father to the hospital because they don’t know what’s wrong with him.

The remainder of the conversation covered the events that led up to my father’s admission to the hospital.

The Situation

Turns out my father had gall stones and one had become embedded in his digestive tract causing an infection.  This is a painful condition but not generally life threatening, unless you’re in your mid-80s.

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Productivity and Happiness Lessons from Plato and Ben Franklin

 Editors note:  This is a guest post by Chris Tuttle. Chris is an avid cyclist who focuses his intellectual property legal practice on cycling and the outdoor recreation businesses.

I just got done with a great read – Hamlet’s BlackBerry by William Powers.  Every page is filled with QuietSpacing® wisdom.  Before sharing specifics, a couple words on terminology.  This book is about the often dysfunctional relationship we have with the “screens” in our lives.  Desktop PCs, handheld smartphones, laptops, iPads, etc.  Any electronic device can be a “screen.”  The unexamined axiom of our times is that we and our screens should be connected as much as possible, all the time.  Connection = good, disconnected = bad.  But when we are connected, there is no quiet, there is no space.  If our lives and screens are connected 24-7, the promise of QuietSpacing (a more productive and happier life) will forever be out of reach. 

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QuickTip: Hey, Stop Snoozing Over There!

We lead lives filled with bells and whistles.  Unfortunately, they aren’t the kind that mean upgrades!  Instead, I’m referring to the constant alerts that sound during our day starting with the alarm clock in the morning signaling that a new day has begun to the wristband alert at night reminding us to take our medication.  The good news is that these alerts help us remember to do all the things we need to get done each day.  Unfortunately, there’s a “bad news” part too.

Incessant Noise Makes Johnny Less Effective

The most insidious feature of most alert systems is the “snooze” option.  Disguised as a benefit, snooze buttons really only allow us to defer the inevitable.  And, in doing so, distract us from what we were focusing on BEFORE the alert sounded.  This may seem like no big deal, but here’s an illustrative example of why we should stop availing ourselves of the snooze option.

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149-30-6: Big Focus Meets Little Focus

I achieved a milestone this week that I never thought would happen.  The only reason it did occur was because I took the advice of a number of people who have inspired me both recently and over the longer term.  Yes, I’m going to name names, and then I’m going to tell you what was achieved and, more importantly, what I’ve learned from the experience.  First, to the list of people who immediately come to mind as people who inspired me to embark on this particular effort:

Leo Babauta, creator of Zen Habits, who focuses on the very simple (and clear) ways to get things done.

Michael Perry, author of several books, Population 485 among them, who focuses on the very precise things that matter.

Ken Ammann, my best friend for 25 years, John Trujillo, my business partner and intrepid adventurer, and Tom Nitopi, my unwitting mentor and close friend, who all only know one direction – forward.

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Top Ten Time Management Tips

Below are the time management suggestions I most often give to my speaking and training audiences.  Whenever I deliver these, I implore people to Adopt, Adapt, Reject any or all of them.  What I mean is:

  •  Adopt. Give the suggestion a try; see if it works for you.
  • Adapt.  If the suggestion isn’t working for you, but you like the idea, try to Adapt it to your way of working.
  • Reject.  If you can’t Adopt or Adapt a suggestion, toss it out and go to the next one.  We’re just looking for one or two ideas to help you regain command of your day.

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Your Office at 34,000 Feet – Why You Should Wi-Fi While You Fly

I’m on my way to Boston to speak at a CEO breakfast.  According to the captain, we’re cruising at 34,000 feet – over six miles up.  And the most amazing part is that I’m connected to the office, friends and family via the Gogo Inflight wi-fi system now available on most airline flights. 

Like all new technologies, many people recoil from the notion of being connected while flying.  “Just another sanctuary compromised” is the opinion of these nay-sayers.  I’m confident that their ancestors scoffed at those odd looking jalopies sporting internal combustion engines some 100 years ago.  Now, before everyone rushes to the Comment section to lambast me with rebuttals to what may appear to be a technology-hugging predisposition, let me point out two things:

  • Technology is never the problem.  The problems with technology arise from its use, which is purely an individual issue.
  • I whole-heartedly advocate disconnecting and spending time away from all the craziness that modern-day technology can deliver.  Need I remind y’all that I’m an avid fly fisherman?  Rarely can even a cellular signal be found in the places I prefer to frequent!

That said, there is some new neurological science and some great common sense that supports the idea of working while in-flight

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Which Books to Keep? – Making Really Hard Choices

When I downsized to a small cottage about six years ago, I had to pare down the number of books I owned.  This was a huge issue for me.  I’m a book fanatic.  All hope is lost when I walk into a bookstore.  We’re talking hundreds of dollars a visit.  In fact, if I have less than 15 books scattered around the house waiting to be read, I get nervous!

As you can image, this need to reduce my library to a manageable level for the new house – all of 1050 square feet – caused much rending of garments and gnashing of teeth.  Instead of spiraling down into analysis paralysis, I simply created a three-step process to deal with the situation.  I am, after all, a process guy!

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QuickTip: Three Uber-Effective Tips for Home Offices

We just moved into our next “forever” home.  Seems like the only “forever” is the moving part.  But that’s not the point of this missive. The point here is to describe THE three characteristics every home office should possess to be highly effective.

The background on this is that I work from home when I’m not on the road.  In the last seven years of working from home, my “office” address has changed five times.  Thus, I’ve become quite an expert at setting up home offices.  Here are the three characteristics I found to be crucial to creating and working effectively in a home office. 

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