All in personal effectiveness
No, I don’t want to give up on this topic. But I want to clarify something: Multitasking is an effect - a result of the system in which we find ourselves. In order to “stop multitasking”, the system has to change. And this is where we get to apply some thinking - what can we change in the system?
Some thoughts on email inspired by a recent New York Times opinion piece by Adam Grant, “No, You Can’t Ignore Email. It’s Rude.” My favorite rule of thumb: To get less email, send less email. Other people will be less inclined to fill my mailbox with replies if I don’t send requests/replies to them in the first place.
Red and green language: language that is full of judgement and ambiguity or language that is clear and descriptive. John Tompkins focuses his Not Crazy Yet? Then … Start Talking to Yourself Differently on these topics as they have to do with how a person talks to themselves. But there are some elements here that point to being clearer in talking to one another as well.
Another piece on dealing with collaborators and personal relationships from Adam Kahane in Strategy+Business, this time “There’s No Such Thing as Difficult People.” His suggestions revolve around the idea that whenever I am upset or angry or in a pique, it is me that is upset. What is it about me that is causing that scenario? How can I “wear the world as a loose garment?”
Soon: An Overdue History of Procrastination isn't a book about how to "fix" procrastination. Rather it is a review of the different ways people have thought about it over time, as well as Santella’s own challenges with procrastination. There are many takes on the topic that made for a good, fairly quick read.
Going into a long weekend in the United States, I came across John Rampton's list of 20 time management tips, Manipulate Time With These Powerful 20 Time Management Tips at Forbes. Many of them sound familiar, but they are good reminders nonetheless. To me, it is primarily about focus-and-finish.
Our daily practice says more about ourselves than we like to admit. If my practice has me multitasking, there must be something about it I enjoy. Is it possible to change my practice? Of course, it is.
"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." - Stephen Hawking, who died 14 March 2018.
The goal isn't efficiency. The goal is getting the right things done.
Digital tools (and other humans) can interrupt the flow of work. But are they necessarily bad? Can I allow disruptions in such a way that I can still work and get stuff done?
Marshall Goldsmith's "Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts - Becoming the Person You Want to Be" is a great, quick read. I couldn't help but think of "wear the world as a loose garment" as I thought further about the book.
Paraphrasing a quote: As soon as we stop losing sleep over the success of our business, and start losing sleep over the success of our customers' business, then we will find success.
The Ministry of Ideas podcast has a recent episode of the idea of "(In)Efficiency." It was also excerpted in yesterday's Boston Globe, "Long Before Uber, Efficiency Was Divine." It was informative, but there is a big element that is missing for me: why is the concept so strongly embedded in the way we think - so much that it actually damages individuals and organizations.
I've had "Stop Letting Email Control Your Work Day" by Paul A. Argenti flagged for follow-up since it was posted a month ago. The title is pretty obvious: so many people let email control their work day. This doesn't make sense - it is a tool like any other and should be controlled by the wielder, not the other way around.
"Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box" by The Arbinger Institute was a good and challenging read. I found it engaging with connections to ideas from Theory of Constraints that I have been exploring and using in my work. I also finished the book on Yom Kippur - a day of reflections - so I was thinking about my own assumptions around how I operate in the world.
When I don't take control of those requests, I can become slave to every interruption (or request every request that comes through on my calendar). Poppy Harlow (CNN anchor) had a great piece in yesterday's USA Today on "Finding Happiness in 'No'," where she described her journey in learning how to set limits.
By now, most people who read this know that multitasking causes a lot of problems in organizations. It creates delays, lowers quality, and creates more and more tension in an organization.A recent HBR Ideacast with Mark Mortensen described a variant that I have talked about but had never named: "multiteaming" - being assigned to multiple (different) projects.