Saturday, September 27, 2008

Inbox Zero

Are you overwhelmed by your email. Watch this, it's pretty good.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The End of a 9-5 Workday

I came across an interesting post on Dan Schawbel's blog about ROWE - results only work environment. The idea is that we are owe our employer our results, not our time. We work when we want to in order to get our work done. No more 9-5 (or 8-6 as some organizations are).

I've worked in a couple of places where the emphasis was how long you worked, not what you delivered. The smarter companies are recognizing that isn't what's necessary in this day of knowledge workers.

Last Friday my kids were off school. I got up early and put in a very productive 5 hours. Then I went mountain biking with my son, took both kids to lunch, and went back to the office to wrap things up, another 3 hours or so. Some days I will wrap up before 5, go for a run, and then spend a little time answering emails before I go to bed.

Now I will admit there are some days, especially when I'm with a client, that I'll put in 10+ hours in the office. A flight attendant accused me of being a workaholic this week because I was about the only one not sleeping on an early morning flight, but to me, the airplane is a great place to get things done, no distractions. It helps when I'm in first class and have a little room to spread out. It also means I don't have to work late at night and I can go out and enjoy myself.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Out of Control

I conducted an interview with David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, last week. One of the things we discussed is how people focus on what's out of control. The example he used was that if there's a hole in your ship, you're not worried about what course you're on, you focus on fixing the hole.

This makes sense for project planning. Have you been in the situation where you should be planning, but you're busy putting out a fire? You have to get the fire off your plate before you can get to planning. The key is to focus effectively so that you can get to the planning.

The technique provided in Getting Things Done is to identify what the next action is for any project or other task on your plate. When you can clearly identify the next actions, you are more effective in executing. Pick up the book if you want more details and look for an upcoming article in Projects at Work on the topic.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Simplify Things

I came across a great blog post on Zen Habits about simplifying your life. The post gave 10 things you can do to make your life less cluttered.

The fifth one, simplify your to-do list, has been something I've been practicing for some time. I try to start each day thinking about what the most important things I need to get done that day. Most days I have a top 3 work list and a top 3 other list (household projects, volunteer stuff etc). I find if I focus on those things, I'm less likely to get distracted by other activities.

The other thing I like about the blog post is the advice to pick just one thing on the list and try start practicing that today. Tomorrow, pick something else on the list. Don't try to do everything at once.

Today, I'm going to clean off my desk. It gets cluttered easily when I'm traveling a lot because I throw things on it between trips and piles build up. I'm not traveling this week, so it's a good week to do a little organizing.