One day, the consultant and copywriter Justin Lambert found himself thinking that he was “getting absolutely nowhere” in his blogging. Not a good place to be, and probably not an uncommon sentiment, either. But what was different was what he did next. Read More →
One of the main reasons we hesitate, procrastinate, or fail to take action is that we feel like we lack the power to act.
When we’re out of work or stuck in a dead-end job, or struggling to get others to buy in to our ideas, or even to return our phone calls or emails, it sometimes seems as if we have no leverage at all.
But guess what: You have a lot more power than you think!
Last month I introduced the Five Levels of Proactivity model and discussed the key reasons why we may not be as proactive as we might like to be -– and how you can go from being inactive and reactive to super-proactive. Now I’d like to show you how to give yourself the confidence boost you may need to proactively take your game — and your career — to the next level. Read More →
Taking a break for some exercise in the middle of your workday may have you getting more done. A Swedish study that was published in The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that physical exercise can improve productivity, even with a reduction in working hours.
In the study, employees at six “dental healthcare workplaces” were excused from work for 6.25% of the time (about 2.5 hours a week). One group had two mandatory exercise times, and the other group just got the reduced working time. The results? Both groups showed increased levels of productivity, even though they worked fewer hours. The exercise group also had fewer sick days on average. Read More →
Do you wait for things to happen . . . or do you make things happen?
Do you find yourself stalling for the “right” time to take action. . . or do you make “now” the perfect time?
Do you always find yourself one or more steps behind. . . or comfortably ahead?
Whether we’re talking about your personal life, your career, or your current job, one of the most overlooked keys to success is your degree of “proactivity,” which can help you get ahead of all the barriers, obstacles, and challenges that stand in the way of making things happen. Read More →
- Michael Wolf believes that 2012 will be the year of artist-entrepreneurs, who can cut out the middleman through spunk, digital knowledge, and much easier ways of getting goods to consumers.
- It’s too late to use this advice for Christmas, but it’s not too late to use it to make your resume more winning: “What Clever Advertising Can Teach Us About Buying Gifts.” As Jordan Weissmann writes, “The trick for a good gift-giver, or good marketer, is to think like the person they’re trying to connect with. In one of the experiments, subjects told to think about the big picture when putting together a resume abandoned the more is more approach, and instead focused on a few appealing accomplishments. It worked.”
- New York’s American Museum of Natural History has begun a fully paid Master of Arts in Teaching program for aspiring science teachers. An open house for the program will be held on Saturday, 7 January.
- If there was one previously admired work habit that took a beating in 2011, it was the energy-sapping habit of multitasking. But even if you’ve already stopped trying to do a dozen things at a time, there’s always room for improvement in other areas: “7 Things Highly Productive People Do“. [Inc.]
And from The Hired Guns blog:
Tomorrow, it turns out, isn’t just Veterans Day — it also happens to be the inaugural No Email Day.
The group’s founder, a British project manager named Paul Lancaster, encourages all of us to “stop using email completely for 24 hrs” in order to “do something more productive with the time saved.” Read More →
One of the most rewarding aspects of being a manager is the power to waste other people’s time. A great way to do this is by transforming short meetings into endless morale-sucks in which nothing is accomplished and big chunks of the work day are blown.
Here are some helpful hints for pulling this off effectively:
1. Do it on short notice! Impromptu meetings disrupt whatever work people were already doing. Everyone loves a surprise, especially in the middle of a busy day. An unplanned two-hour meeting not only shakes up the same old boring routine, it teaches patience, discipline, and time-management skills. Your employees will thank you a thousand times over. Read More →
Next Monday, October 3, Noah Scalin will teach a Hired Guns Academy class on ways to stay creatively productive.
Are you a perfectionist like me? If you aren’t, I can almost guarantee your company or boss would like you to be one. This is a shame, because perfectionism is probably the biggest roadblock to innovation that you will ever encounter. In fact, letting go of perfectionism, or as I like to call it, preciousness, is the key to unlocking your creative potential.
Over the years we’ve been taught that it’s unacceptable to try out new things that could potentially fail because they will:
A. Waste Time
B. Waste Money
C. Get You Fired
D. All of The Above
So we’ve gotten into the habit of working safely within our comfort zones in order to avoid creating anything that’s less than perfect. This is fine for just getting by, but terrible for moving forward. Read More →
Weather hyperbole be damned, Irene looks like she’s going to strike the east coast but hard. Sure you could hunker down and watch a bunch of Netflix and then Facebook your face off, but why not take the next 48 hours of uninterrupted time to work on your career, your productivity, and your creativity? Here’s a list, arranged roughly from the most beneficial steps to least.
1. Gear up for your year-end review…. Now! HR consulting firm Towers Watson just announced that the best workers inside companies will get a 4.3% bump this year. Make sure you’re in the promotion class. There are just four months left in the year, and if you want a little present in the form of a raise and a promotion under your tree this year, you have to make “the ask” and justify it. Get ready by “listifying” your major achievements for the year (this list also comes in handy when you need to update your resume and go out on interviews if you don’t end up getting what you’re looking for). Then schedule a meeting with your boss for next week. Read More →
We recently talked with Mark Hurst, the User Experience entrepreneur and writer behind the Gel Conference and Creative Good consulting firm, about his background and some of the simple steps that people can do to avoid getting overwhelmed by email, media, and information in general.
I think lots of people may have an inkling that they have a problem with information overload. But where should they start? Are there any simple steps that people can do?
Move your action items to a to-do list. Just try working from a to-do list, rather than the inbox, for a few days. There are other helpful things that people can do to reduce stress and overload, but that’s where I’d start.
Has changing technology, such as the rise of social media, made the problem worse, or has it always been this bad? Keeping up definitely seems like it takes more work these days. . . .
There are certainly more sources of distraction today, more easily accessed, than we’ve ever had in human history. However, I’d also point out that even 15 years ago, people were complaining about being overloaded by email. Personally I find that it’s just as easy today to solve overload as it was in the mid-90s. Empty your inbox and then focus on a to-do list to get your work done. Read More →
Email is probably responsible for saving more time in the office than any other recent technology. Tasks that used to require letters and phone calls–which often went unanswered, and had to be followed by a series of messages left and ignored–can now be handled with a few taps on a keyboard.
But email can also waste hours and hours. Think about how many times you’ve been inundated with a dozen messages in a row from people hitting the Reply All to weigh in on some point of trivia that could have been solved with one conversation. What used to be a dialogue between two people becomes a conversation among four, five, or fifteen. It’s like part of our brain is always in a meeting.
I once worked in an office where Reply All was responsible for so much lost efficiency that managers actually announced a plan to disable the Reply All button on all our computers. The plan was abandoned when they discovered this was impossible—but you could understand where they were coming from. Email also strips vocal tone and body language away from our words. Without that nonverbal information, criticisms sting harder, requests seem abrupt, and genuine praise can fall flat.
After all this time, why are we still struggling with email? I think it’s because different jobs carry different expectations, and norms vary drastically from office to office. And the plain truth is, email is writing, and some people are better writers than others.
Even if you aren’t a champion writer, you can still keep from flailing when you use email. Here are ten guidelines that can help your emails turn out better—or help you know when not to send an email at all. Your approach may vary, but I’ve found that these work for me.
1. Only send an email if it’s faster than a phone call or a person-to-person conversation. Read More →
A number of Hired Guns are presenting at SXSW Interactive this year. This series profiles a few of the proud and the brave. Please tweet and “like” this story so as a community we can build a little buzz for them.
The 90 Minute Solution: Live Like a Sprinter!
Saturday, March 12, 12:30
Presenter: Tony Schwartz
(your resume in 140 characters or less):
Evangelist for changing the way the world works. Lifetime seeker.
What inspired you to submit this idea?
I thought of all these techies with 12 windows open on their computers dying a slow death, and I wanted to give them a better way of working.
Why are you the expert on it?
Because I’m not sure anyone else knows there is a 90-minute solution. I may be the world’s expert on how renewal influences performance (and happiness).
Why did you want to speak at SXSW?
I want to share some of my ideas with some of the leading thinkers in the world.
Who should come to your talk?
Anyone who is struggling to get everything done in life–and falling short.
What will people walk away learning from you?
How to take back control of their lives. I hope.
What do you hope you learn from your SXSW experience?
Some unexpected new ideas and a good feel for Austin.