Treat people as if they were what they should be, and you help them become what they are capable of becoming. ~ Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
I am not a successful entrepreneur. I do not know the secret to life. I know that I love what I do but struggle with feeling content and balanced. I’d ask other entrepreneurs about their advice and…
A lot of ink has been spilled on people’s opinions of what makes for a great leader. As a scientist, I like to turn to the data. In 2009, James Zenger published a fascinating survey of…
If you’re currently employed—and a human—then you know of the great email deluge. You get more of it than you can reply to each day, and often it keeps you from doing your “actual job.” But in this modern world, being on top of your inbox is a must if you’re going to impress your boss and get ahead.
Now, many people judge how well they handle email by the number of emails they crank through. “I spent three hours this afternoon and answered 120 emails” is cause for celebration and bragging rights in most offices. But in most cases, that is a huge mistake.
The truth is, there are three types of emails:
1. Emails that are a quick read and can be answered right away (Reply time: less than five minutes)
2. Emails that require some thought or careful writing, but limited extra “work” (Reply time: 5-30 minutes)
3. Emails that require research or an output to be created (Reply time: 30 minutes or more)
When faced with a block of time to attack their inboxes, most people start with the quickies. It’s satisfying to get them out of the way, the total number of emails in your inbox drops by a lot more, and they don’t require too much brainpower.
But you should actually be taking the opposite approach. It’s the old rock, pebble, sand metaphor: Imagine that you’re given a glass jar representing your time, as well as rocks, pebbles, and sand. The only way to get it all in is to start with the biggest things: your rocks. If you fill your jar with sand first, you’ll never fit everything in.
In email terms, make sure you’re not filling your jar with sand by answering quick and easy emails first—you’ll never get to the big, important ones. Instead, when faced with a two-hour block of time, you should always start with emails that require 30 minutes or more, and get at least one or two of those done before doing any quicker ones. On the other hand, if you only have 15 minutes before your next meeting, that’s the perfect time to get quick emails out of the way.
The easiest way to seamlessly implement this strategy in your daily life is to add two tags (or filters in Gmail): “quick reply” and “requires focused time.” Any emails not tagged would therefore fall into the middle category, requiring five to 30 minutes.
When you know you have a solid block of uninterrupted time, start by opening your focused time folder, and decide which ones you most need to tackle. Recognizing how rare those large blocks of time are is the key to success: When you have one, take full advantage of it! And next time you have a couple minutes to spare while waiting for the bus or in line for coffee, open your “quick reply” folder instead of checking Instagram.
Proteus Digital Health are taking a common sense approach to developing items for the health industry. Rather than spending billions on developing new drugs, Proteus are spending money on ways of making sure the current drugs are being used properly.
If a patient doesn’t take their pills as prescribed and their condition doesn’t improve or worsens then the Doctor is likely to prescribe higher doses or different drugs. Proteus are designing edible sensors which go inside pills which can advise when pills are taken. This gives Doctors the visibility of what is really happening, it has the potential to save money and improve results in one foul swoop.
This is a view that should be taken in every industry. What Proteus are doing is something which I am currently trying to drill into my team at work. Let’s stop bending everything out of shape because other people aren’t doing what they are supposed to and, instead, put the effort into making sure the right work is in the right place.
I am just reading the November 2013 edition of Wired magazine and I’ve found an interesting short article on a new quirky way of analysing data.
The website, Web Colour Data, analyses the colour of websites and identifies trends, for example… Do all Technology companies use the same colour systems? What are the most and least popular colour combinations?
The main use of such a tool is to allow designers to identify what colours would be best to use on new clients, to see what works and what doesn’t in the particular industries they are in. However, it’s likely to have further uses and to be developed over time… Of nothing else, it provided 10 minutes of play time for anyone who likes graphs and data.
The first talking robot in space is shown off on the BBC news website today.
It’s purpose is to keep an astronaut company and while he can’t exactly do the dishes and make the beds, his facial recognition software and ability to converse with his colleague mean that he should prove invaluable in reducing loneliness and stress. If nothing else he looks extremely cute when floating weightlessly.
As I was sitting this weekend watching the endless reruns of my favourite TV show, Friends, on Comedy Central I realised that one of the episodes in particular had a storyline that all ambitious business folk could learn from.
“The One where Rachel Smokes” sees Monica and Phoebe organising a surprise party for their friend Rachel’s birthday. Despite agreeing to plan it together, Monica takes over and leaves Phoebe with nothing to arrange.
Monica: “There’s plenty of things for you to do.”
Phoebe: “Like what?”
Phoebe: “Cups? You’re giving me cups?”
Monica: “And ice!”
Phoebe: “Cups and ice? Oh I get to be in charge of cups and ice? Alright, ok. Fine. I will be in charge of cups and ice.”
(view it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vHOrIUKkhs&feature=youtube_gdata_player)
Having been dealt a seemingly poor hand, Phoebe realises she can actually make cups and ice the standout aspect of the party. Cue cup hats, cup decorations, snow cones, crushed ice and even dry ice. No one eats the Tuscan finger food prepared by Monica because “they’re all filling up on snow cones”.
The moral of the story? Don’t dismiss the little side projects as a waste of your time or not bother because you feel snubbed. With a little bit of thought and a hefty bit of effort, you can turn uninteresting work into a WOW project and get yourself known.
Too often we assume that it’s the big projects that will make our careers. Undoubtedly these help, but more often than not, if we surprise people by creating something from nothing then we become far more memorable. Ultimately it is those that learn to do this, over those who ‘just’ do their day job well, who find themselves climbing the snow cone laden ladder to success.
From Forbes by Kathy Caprino • September 20, 2012
Yesterday, I read an intriguing piece by Kevin Purdy on Fastcompany.com about What Successful People Do With The First Hour of Their Workday. Like many compelling posts online, this one made me want to open it up pronto and check out what “successful” people recommend, to see if I’m on the mark or way off (one never knows). The selected tips from such high achievers as Craig Newmark of Craigslist, David Karp of Tumblr, motivational coach Tony Robbins, and career writer (and Fast Company blogger) Brian Tracy were helpful, and I found that I subscribe to some of the recommended routines, while disagree with others.
Here’s my first-hour ritual:
1) When my alarm goes off (and after I hit the snooze button once), I lay in bed for five or so minutes without stirring. I bring to mind what I’m excited and grateful for, and also what I’d like this new day to bring and offer. I choose whatever I want to experience (the sky’s the limit), and it’s often what I feel most in need of that morning. I might ask that the day be full of peace, or excitement, reward or collaboration, support, or new opportunities, calm, forgiveness, etc., depending on what I’m hankering for most. I embrace the feeling of what I’d like to experience, and hold it close to my heart, before the crazy bustle of my life kicks in.
2) Then, I get up and head straight to my home office computer. Flying in the face of what others recommended in Purdy’s post, I like to start off the day checking what emails have come in overnight. For me, it’s a great way to survey what’s emerged that I’ll want to deal with, and it helps me prioritize, plan, and review what’s critical to achieve that day. As I work with people and organizations from all over the world, it’s not uncommon to receive emails overnight that I’m excited to address. Occasionally I receive time-sensitive media requests, or notes from collaborators or partners that I want to attend to. Contrary to these throwing off my day or making me feel pulled in too many directions, I embrace these as exciting developments that add spice to my work-life.
3) At this point, I extricate myself from my computer (and sometimes that is hard), and spend the next 20 minutes helping my son get ready for school.
4) After he’s left, I’m back at my desk armed with a steaming cup of decaf. This is when I make a full plan for the day – and divide the work in front of me by 1) what must get done, 2) what I’d like to get done, 3) what in fact doesn’t need to get done that day (thanks to Patti Danos, my terrific publicist of my book Breakdown Breakthrough — for that helpful tip). I do try to tackle the most challenging and/or important task first, because in doing so, I’ve done the “heavy lifting,” and feel I’ve accomplished something critical, and then have a bit of breathing room in which to relax into what else needs to be accomplished.
By the end of this hour, I’ve taken the opportunity to:
1) Be still and be grateful
2) Bring to heart and mind exactly what I’d like to experience
3) Helped my son start off his day
4) Prioritized my work for the day
5) Launched into the most important, juicy task that will help me feel I’ve accomplished something important
The day doesn’t always unfold like this, of course, but I’d say the majority of time it does. Reviewing what highly “successful” folks do in their first hour of work, one key theme that emerges is the need to examine – critically and deeply — if you’re enjoying what you’re doing, and are doing what you want to be doing (per the great Steve Jobs’ words from his commencement speech at Stanford).
Checking in with yourself about how you experience your work each day is vital step that keeps you on the right track in your career. If you get up in the morning and absolutely dread what’s in front of you, or feel that gratitude is the hardest thing in the world to conjure, then you’re getting a powerful wake-up call telling you to change something, and quick.
I’m no expert on what you should do your first hour of work each day, but I am an expert on what makes my own days and weeks feel productive, stimulating, and engaging. I’ve realized that to start the day off right, I need some modicum of:
Tackling something new
That’s the first-hour recipe that works for me.
What about you? Let’s make you the expert in your life. What do you need to do the first hour of each work day so that you feel alive, engaged, and in control – and most importantly, excited – about the work that faces you and the professional identity you’ve created. It’s up to you what you choose to do, but I believe that these initial 60 minutes set the tone for your entire day, and can make or break your experience of success and fulfillment at work.