Overclocking your tasks

Overclocking your tasks

As a continuation of the active time management thought experiment (makes it sound fancier than time tracking) there is a piece that requires consideration: overclocking. Since most professional productivity experts (myself included) have written off the concept of multitasking as a faulty idea, there is still something to be said for the productive use of time when more than one thing can accomplished.

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Actively Measuring your Productivity

Actively Measuring your Productivity

As we go through our days trying to be as productive as possible, how do we know when we've accomplished that goal? What tells us we've been successful in reaching the targets we've set for us, or better yet identifies when we've missed those targets? One of the methods I've been exploring more lately is the idea of Active Tracking when it comes to time and completion of tasks. 

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Holiday Shopping in the Age of Outrage

Are you being naughty or nice?


At some point in our recent history it became acceptable to take whatever possible perceived slight and propel it to a public tirade against all things we don't agree with.  Whether it's red coffee cups or Black Thursday shopping the holidays are a perfect target for this false fury on the internet.  Any slight, real or perceived, is now the catalyst for a tweet storm or Yelp review with all the civility of an Archie Bunker diatribe. Why do we allow ourselves to fall into this mode of thinking and what can we do about it?

Salespeople are not out to ruin your holiday.

In the vast majority of cases, salespeople are trying to do their best to help you while making it through the crush of harried, rude customers who live by the mantra, "The Customer is Always Right." (Personally I think whomever came up with that slogan never actually worked with customers, but that's just me.) Try imagining dealing with a hundred demanding, complaining, immature kindergartners in an 8-hour day and you start to get the idea what it can be like on the sales floor. Yes, I know there are sales people out there who want nothing to do with their jobs or the customers they are there to assist.  Those are the rare ones and should not be used as an excuse to mistreat or abuse anyone working with the public.

Would your grandmother approve of your behavior?

If you stand back and watch the way some people act during holiday shopping the only thing you can imagine is their grandparents would have been appalled. Failures in common courtesy, decorum, and behavior become passable because they might miss out on the last hoverboard on clearance. How difficult is it to take advantage of the holidays to act the way we should be acting all year long, and recognizing people for showing the common decency and behavior which should be the norm?

You will still be loved even without that "thing".

For some reason we have gotten into the mindset of, if we fail to deliver on a holiday wish, we will no longer be loved by the recipient. Honestly if that is truly the case you were never loved in the first place. Do your best to give from your heart but don't attach your happiness to the happiness of another.

"Your" holiday is not more important than "my" holiday.

There are multiple holidays and traditions observed during this time of year, all equally important to the people who observe them.  In none of those holidays is the mandate to diminish, criticize, attack, or downplay any other. (If you think "your" holiday does subscribe to that thinking, you need to do some reading and get educated.) Show respect for the observances of everyone.  You don't have to prove yours is the best by diminishing another. Also, any time "your" holiday is not given top billing and the genuflection you feel it deserves, it is not an attack on the holiday or the religion.  That's a self-important, arrogant view that has no place this time (or any time) of year.

Remember the "why".

Remember why you celebrate your holidays.  Think about how you would explain their importance to a child.  Follow those words carefully even in crowds of bustling shoppers or at 4 a.m. in line on Black Friday. Make the greatest gifts you give this year be to the people you don't know and may not ever see again. Carry the gifts you receive forward and know that the warmth and caring of the holidays doesn't come with a receipt, a commercial, or a sales flyer.  It's time to let your heart grow three sizes.

Some readers will recognize this post from the last two years but based on the current climate and state of our interactions with others I thought it would be worth a reminder. If we allow interactions with others to negatively impact our emotional well being our productivity suffers along with ourselves. Avoid adding more stress to an already stressful time of year by staying on task, being patient, and being productive.

Here are some related articles about productive shopping you may find of interest:

Creating a low effort shopping list with Trello

How Android Wear and Google Keep Saved My Day

What do you think about this topic?  Why not share? Come over to the community and let us hear your ideas. Comment here.

Keeping things in focus

Keeping things in focus

I hear time and time again about the challenges people face when trying to keep "focused" on their work. I have the same dilemmas with our interrupt driven workplaces stealing our attention away from the work at hand. How do we block out the distractions, get work done, and avoid acting like the troll living under a bridge?  Here are some of the techniques I use that might just work for you as well.

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