3 Simple Tasks

I only had 3 simple tasks on my ToDo list today for work.

“So easy!” I thought.

Then, one thing after another came up. A meeting here, a request there, another meeting. No biggie, these tasks are so simple I can do them later.

Well, later came, so I started on one and I ran into a snag. Of course, software issues through me a roadblock. So, while I was waiting I decide to do the other task. No problem. Done.

Then I decided to do the other task, and it had some weird software configuration issues too, so I couldn’t actually do what I wanted.

Meanwhile, the first task required a call from the help desk. They helped, but then immediately after I hung up, I pushed the wrong button in the process, and had to call them back. They said I had to completely start the process over again.

So I did.

But I hit another roadblock. And had to call the help desk again. And I happened to reach the same guy who helped me the first time. (His name was Christian Tiger, coolest name, and super nice guy.)

He finally helped me through the rest of the process and I was done!

(It was 11:30pm.)

What did I learn from this?

  1. Software is complicated (I know, it makes me sound like an old man, non-tech guy, but I think I’m actually pretty tech savy.)
  2. Don’t be afraid to call the Help Desk back.
  3. Get your tasks done early.

On the road

Episode 12 – It’s your time.

Curiosity Video

5 Curious Tips for Success

Thoughts Web sites

Do you trust us with the new tools?

Companies set up systems in order to produce their products, then they put their heads down and produce. tools

“We don’t have time for that new fangled mumbo jumbo, we’re busy doing real work here.”

I wonder when the first company decided that telephones were a good idea to give their workers?

And give a computer to every employee? That’s crazy talk!

I do remember when everyone in our company was given full access to the internet.  That was quite the controversy.  “They’ll just be surfin’ the web all day.”  Maybe, but it seems like each new advance in tools or technology requires a lot of trust.  Mostly because the most powerful tools can be used for good or bad, productivity or wastefulness, innovation or drivel.

Well, here we are in another phase of new tools – Web 2.0.  It seems like companies should be able to learn from the past.  And I think they are, but there is still resistance, and progress is slow.  Again, trust is a factor, plus a lack of understanding of the impact or potential that the new tools can provide.

Here is a great article from a reputable source (McKinsey) on how companies can make the new Web 2.0 tools work for them.  

The info is out there.  Companies really have no excuse for not understanding  and benefitting from new things.

flickr photo by docman


Getting Things Done

It’s a phrase that makes people feel good, one that generates confidence, accomplishment.  It’s something we all want to do.  However we define ‘things’, we want them finished, complete, closed, accomplished.

David Allen was a management consultant that began to see the DNA of how things got done and then developed a method, a step by step process, even an entire philosophy around personal productivity and the business of ‘getting things done’.  His books continue to grow in popularity and he is now (and has been for a while) one of the most recognized names in the personal productivity arena.  He basically owns the phrase due to his first book, “Getting Things Done“, and his methodology is now referred as GTD. 

His second book focused more on the philosophy and principles behind the method and is a collection of short essays called “Ready for Anything“.  I actually read that one first and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I’ve also come back to that one quite a few times for re-reading and study, to help me get back on track.

His latest book, just recently released, “Making it All Work” is supposed to provide new perspectives and help you reach new levels of productivity.  I haven’t read it yet, but probably will at some point.

His core premise is that one’s ability to be productive is directly proportional to one’s ability to relax.  He uses the “mind like water” analogy where water responds with total appropriateness to a pebble being thrown in it.  It doesn’t overreact or underreact, it simply interacts with whatever comes to it and returns to its natural state. 

He defines 4 main areas of productive behavior:

  1. Capturing and corralling all our internal and external “open loops” to regain clarity and energy.
  2. Consciously managing our focus within the multiple levels of outcomes and responsibilities to which we are committed.
  3. Creating trusted structures and consistent usage of them to trigger the appropriate focus and reminders as necessary.
  4. Grounding it all with flexible, forward motion at the physical-action level.


People don’t need more discipline as such – they need a more discipined approach.  It’s not about working harder or getting your priorites straight, it’s about defining your work better at multiple levels of detail and staying focused on all of them simultaneously.

I highly recommend investgating David Allen’s work.  I have not mastered his method perfectly yet, but his concepts help me to understand all the things I have to do in a different way, and therefore helps reduce my stress.