October 23, 2018
A Productivity Definition
A few gems in this podcast interview of Chris Bailey on the Ezra Klein Show
Productivity is accomplishing what you set out to do.
Maybe simple, but I keep back to it. It clarifies the misconception that being always busy must mean you’re productive.
It also drives into another point towards the end of the episode:
The best benchmark the we can use to measure productivity is by measuring it against the intentions that we set at the start of the day.
October 20, 2018
Having some technical issues. A cache somewhere needs to be cleared.
October 18, 2018
Define a Principle
It’s a useful leadership tool. Today our CEO told me:
Let’s define a principle: if you’re removing work from someone by standardizing a process, I’m going to be on board.
This is actionable, versatile and clear. It helped me with the specific question I had, but also provided guidance for future ones I don’t know I have yet.
October 17, 2018
The Perfect Typing Device
I have too many keyboards. There are at least 4 good ones on my gadgets drawer. They all share a story about being needed to better type on an iPad — or even a Mac.
The feeling of typing on a physical keyboard is something I truly enjoy. A post typed on a real keyboard will probably fulfill me more than touch typing the same post with my thumbs on an iPhone.
However, most of the recent posts have been typed on a glass screen. It’s the keyboard that’s available when I can write. And writing is not about the clicks or the taps, it’s about moving the cursor to the right.
October 16, 2018
Robie is 1040 days old today and I’m beyond fascinated by the level of interaction he’s reaching.
Over the past couple of weeks, he seems to have developed into an opinionated and articulated being — and I can’t get enough.
We are starting to have actual conversations, where I can see original ideas coming to him and interests not copied from Ana or myself.
Experiencing this is among the most fulfilling things in my life, and I can only grin thinking about the next 1040 days.
October 15, 2018
How much would Steve Jobs or Paul Allen have paid to have my good health? For how much would I have accepted their health in exchange?
Every time I worry about money, these questions bubble up at some point to give me perspective. Many of us are filthy rich by this measure — and I can’t be thankful enough for it.
October 14, 2018
Nudging with UI
The shopping cart emoji on a stores folder evokes a pleasing sensation — while using the credit card emoji does give me pause.
Renaming my folders with emojis is a fun test. But using symbols that not necessarily represent what’s inside them, rather than trying to influence my behavior with emojis that are attractive or disagreeable — is my real experiment.
October 13, 2018
One Small Step Today
Leaving your next day clothes ready the evening before is probably the best productivity advise I learned at Procter & Gamble. I did so by accident — my boss casually mentioned some of the learnings from a manager’s training she attended.
Almost 15 years later, a simple lunch comment has stayed with and affected most of my work life.
October 9, 2018
Push Back on Time
Some days there’s not enough time for all the things you plan to do, but make sure you push back by doing the things you want to do.
Time can bend. The strict calendar rectangles hide moments in between.
And the feeling of fighting time and winning once in a while makes it worth trying.
October 8, 2018
That’s probably the last thing someone says before telling you something that does make your blood pressure go up.
It might be uncomfortable but sometimes it’s necessary to transmit the importance of a result.
When you hear no pressure, don’t focus on the perfect outcome — that could be paralyzing. Make sure you can continually update those who decide the expected outcome given any changing conditions.
October 7, 2018
Traveling without roaming is among my top 10 first world worst problems. But being offline for the last 24 was a gift. I was present in time and space with those around me, and I channeled my impulses to check the data-less iPhone to interact more with them.
Enjoying the airport WiFi like a good meal after a fast, but the was something during the break that I want to explore more.
October 5, 2018
Good Friendly Lessons
Not all good lessons come from dead greek philosophers. Here’s three things childhood friends said that have stuck with me over the years.
On being a good teacher:
Don’t ask did you understand?, ask did I explain myself?.
On a good marriage:
Never keep score. That’s not how the game is played.
On good parenting:
It’s a destination, so don’t try to get there in a straight line. There’ll be lots of course corrections.
October 4, 2018
Uncertainty in a Process Flowchart
When you design in the beautiful world of diagrams, everything is known. A task can either be this or that. Committees or Approval Boards decide if something moves on to the next stage. Assessment agents decide the type of request and sends it on its way.
But what if you don’t know?. A new process can’t have every sort of input typified. This leads to a pause in the process because its actors want to be sure and request more information. Now the beautiful flowchart is like a park without efficient walkways: the grass shows dirt paths were people are taking shortcuts.
Give uncertain items a way out of decision points in your flowchart, because corner cases love to create bottlenecks
October 3, 2018
Good Days Should Be the Default
Some days will be bad. Friction and uncertainty are implied when trying to create something, and that means not all plans will work out.
But the default day can be designed to lean towards good. Break projects into smaller pieces, make a lunch walk a habit, sneak some reading into the day. Find what gives you a boost and design your day so that it incorporates these nuggets.
Nobody owes you a good day, but if we’re spending it sitting in front of a screen with air conditioning and a water fountain close by — we still have it better than almost everyone in the history of humanity.
October 2, 2018
When designing a process that needs an approval scheme, look for the number of times attention is required — you may not have to break down and classify all possible requests.
If an approver has to check once a week a report that includes 30 requests and can pick out any that seems strange, the volume of requests is not 30, it’s 1.
The natural tendency is that you’ll try to create filters so that only major items are escalated. But it’s possible that you’re wasting more aggregate time than a simple straight to the top process would take.
This insight isn’t mine. I was defining an unnecessarily complex process for work and went for a sanity check with my boss. Glad I did.