My inbox represents unprocessed things that have entered my life and that need some sort of decision making in order to direct them to where they belong, could be the bin, could be my highest priority list, I don’t know as long as they sit in my inbox. I do know that things may explode if I wait too long before taking action on them. This potential threat makes my mind wander off and fantasise about catastrophic scenarios, compromising my focus and my productivity, not to mention my sense of satisfaction about how I spend my time.
That’s why I make sure my inbox is zero once every 24 hours.
Most stuff enters my life via my e-mail inbox, and I’m pretty sure that’s a reality for the majority of knowledge workers (except the ones who have decided to quit workingClick here to continue reading
By johannatime On May 14, 2013 2 Comments
Sometimes, work is just too much. You have a ton to do and everything seems important as long as you get it done. You’re clearly overwhelmed: you can’t seem to see the forest for the trees. There are a couple of not so productive coping styles for this undesirable situation:
1 Freezing up: you stop communicating and reflecting on your actions, you just do whatever you can at hysteric speed, because after all, time is running short. You run around like a chicken with it’s head cut off. You experience extreme pressure and you are fighing with all your might against it. Bear in mind that a tense muscle is a slow one, this way you’re not in control of your situation.
2 Getting paralysed: You over-communicate and over-react to others who -from your point of view in this state of mind-Click here to continue reading
By johannatime On May 7, 2013 No Comments
It took me a while to get this post done, so this one is for all procrastinators out there: All who believe that work cannot be delivered until it’s perfect. Those who cannot resist the ease of Facebook and Twitter. And everyone who feels an urge to clean, make coffee or snack when a complicated task is to be done.
Many task lists have a dynamic of easy small tasks being added to them and ticked off within 24 hours or so, on top of a great deal of huge things to do that just sit there for weeks, months even, without taken on, without being done, without progress being made on them. The one and only reason for that is: These tasks are too big.
You may have commitments sitting on there like:
- Fix the website
- Get insurance
- Strategic plan
So what about them? Surely toClick here to continue reading
By johannatime On April 26, 2013 No Comments
Stress other than running or fighting for your life or being hungry, is generally caused by thoughts, not by the threat itself. And in 9 out of 10 times, these are thoughts about possibly catastrophic scenarios for the future. You may recognise similar thoughts like:
- I need to do my taxes because otherwise I will get a penalty or I will go to jail
- The next meeting should be organised and if I don’t do that now, the board will be furious
- Our household will go bankrupt if we don’t adjust our mortgage this week
- If we don’t organise our son’s college enrollment he may as well end up without a degree at all
The human brain has a rather underestimated talent for thinking through disasterous futures for ourselves and the ones we care for. The mysterious thing is, these hugely dramatic ideas come from tinyClick here to continue reading
By johannatime On April 17, 2013 No Comments
Have you ever thought you’d go nuts of being busy? Far too busy? I think many people have. In fact, I think many people are so terribly busy that they are close to going crazy. It goes like this:
Every day, new seemingly important stuff lands on your plate. There’s such a huge pile of work, you can’t imagine just facing tomorrow, with a similar load, not to mention the day after tomorrow and next week, because when are you going to get all the work done?
You have meetings and appointments, sessions, conferences: basically, your calendar is full of commitments. From every meeting you go to, you bring home a bunch of actions to be taken, and you haven’t been able to get actions done during the meeting (except that important decision) so now let’s get back to work!
No way, another loadClick here to continue reading
Why Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) aka Winter Blues affects your productivity (and what you can do about it)By johannatime On April 4, 2013 No Comments
Here in Australia, daylight savings will end this weekend, and emotionally, that’s the end of summer for me. Most people I know like summer more than winter and there’s a clear reason for that, too. Let me explain: In most areas of the world (that’s basically everywhere outside the tropics), life happens in summer, because this is when resources are abundantly available. All residents of this planet are more or less adapted to this yearly rithm of seasons. Humans, too, regardless of our efforts to protect ourselves from the heat in summer and the cold in winter. In fact, it is not so much temperature that triggers and tares our biological clock: its light intensity. Winter is a fact of life, and many species have adapted to it by getting inactive in some way or the other: trees drop their leavesClick here to continue reading
By johannatime On March 28, 2013 2 Comments
A few weeks ago, in a post about discipline, I came up with this equation:
Discipline + Purpose = Commitment
- Where discipline is setting yourself some rules, trusting your rules and complying to them,
- Purpose is knowing where you’re heading at, and why, and feeling that heading there is inevitable,
- And commitment is adding the action to the dream, or adding meaning to your rules.
If the commitment is right, all lighs are green and you can go ahead. Yet sometimes, it still doesn’t happen. Let’s investigate:
I’m basically talking about commitment to yourself in the above equation, as this is the purest form of commitment. It takes little effort to do the things you are truly committed to, and you are confident to allocate plenty of time to those activities, without a nagging thought that you are wasting the hours. Commitment is the magicalClick here to continue reading
By johannatime On March 21, 2013 No Comments
What’s in your bag right now? And what’s in your wallet? Your pockets? I bet they’re full of stuff. Stuff that should remind you of something you still need to do. Stuff that needs to be packed away, and stuff that needs to be filed or trashed. Stuff clutters your space. Physically, indeed, but more dramatically: mentally. So let me tell you something about the contents of your bag:
Sure, your bag tells your story. It represents your brand. Some bags are rather functional and not so pretty. Some are gorgeous but just an accessory that barely fits your phone. I like my bags to be both practical and beautiful.
The thing with bags is, many people put things in their bags just in case. Like a set of clean clothes in case they need to spend the night somewhere, or an umbrellaClick here to continue reading
By johannatime On March 13, 2013 No Comments
Some chaotic people say: ‘I can’t be creative when I’m organised’ (though they’ve never tried). Some organised people say: I can’t be spontaneous because that causes chaos (and they only remember the mess after their spontaneous dinner with friends). Both tell only half the story, and present the issue as if being spontaneous does not go well with being organised. Allow me to tell you the other half:
Spontaneous chaotic creatives often use their messiness as an excuse not to tidy up; they say they need chaos. Can you identify? Do you feel that you would compromise your creativity and hence your productivity if you’d organise your mess? As if your ideas only florish in a cluttered environment? I think it is the other way around: Creatives like you are productive despite the chaos they live in, and you would be evenClick here to continue reading
By johannatime On March 7, 2013 No Comments
Human beings try to multitask to be more productive. Let me explain why you are wasting your time when you are multitasking:
Multitasking is doing two cognitive tasks at the same time. Two things you need your brain capacity for. Consciously. A computer can work out two different calculations simultaneously, even more than that, but you can not. You may want to save some time by combining activities, or they may just come to you at the same time. Either way, you’ll have a hard time doing them both in one moment, because what you really do, is quickly switching between the tasks.
Imagine yourself making a phone call and checking your e-mails at the same time. The moment you are engaging in the conversation, you forget what you were reading or writing. The moment you concentrate on your e-mail, you cannot evenClick here to continue reading