Busy vs Effective

It’s frustrating to get lost in the tyrannical distraction of NOW. Quickly one is lost to simple, mindless reaction, weaving to and fro, accomplishing little to nothing; even though the day was full, laden with busy. The result of losing focus.

When priorities get lost by attending too much to the blizzard of demand, emptiness wins. We’re active, yet no progress made since “what matters” was left undone.

One must slow down, consider the value of each task before you act. At least get the priority work done first, the stuff that moves you forward. Even better, more powerful; learn the value of “no”. Decline to take energy away from your priorities. Doing more by doing less. Focus your energy for energy isn’t limitless.

Resisting Resistance

Sometimes inertia is massive. My resistance to motion, to change puzzles me. This illogical opposition towards bettering my circumstances annoys me. My frustration with myself, ironically, impedes my ability to resist resistance’s drag. The more anger, the more stuckness. Moments like this drive home that we are not logic driven brings. Emotion’s power: mammoth and dominant.

Blog Names and Changes

Last week I was listening to John Richards of KEXP interview Brett Morgen, creator of Montage of Heck, the new movie about Kurt Cobain. There was a line which struck me: “are you prepared for luck?”

Powerful words. I want to incorporate them deeply into my life. They capture a core belief: our ability to take control of our lives. That we are empowered to affect change, to have a positive impact on the world. I deeply believe luck is the intersection of opportunity and preparation. Thus, preparation is critical. It’s what we control. It’s how we bring change into being.

My challenge: to reach past my tendency to fret and worry, focusing instead on preparing for opportunity. To see the potential in life and continuously grow towards that light. Hence, the new name.

Puzzling about busyness

It sure seems that I’m busier. Whether that’s a perception or reality, I’m unsure. But the differentiation isn’t important. The feeling is.
Many people I know feel like life is moving faster. A big piece of that, for me, are deadlines. More things are urgent. More people expect instantaneous response. It seems to take more effort to remind folks that 24 hour response times are not insulting.
I’ve noticed more articles by leaders who aren’t checking email every few minutes. They’re limiting their time on Twitter & Facebook. And they don’t necessarily respond instantly to texts or voicemail. This is how the high producers are responding to what I’m feeling. There’s something in there for me, and us all, too.
Our society needs to back away from demanding instantaneous response. It’s unrealistic and corrosive. Respect for others needs to return to being a paramount virtue. That’s healthy for both sides of these issues; for us all.

A Few Of My Favorite Gmail Tricks

One of my morning tasks: sorting email. Yeah, the same as zillions of other earthlings. My team are Gmail users, so here’s a quick trick I use to speed up my morning. Plug the following into the search bar: in:inbox has:nouserlabels.

This pulls up everything that’s not been labeled yet. I use labels to help prioritize. Plus, one everything is labeled, it’s easy to pull up the whole thread and then archive the redundant messages. I prefer getting all the responses together in one email. Trying to minimize data scatter.  Another one I use: in:inbox is:unread. Pulls up all your unread messages. Of secondary value to the first, though.

I check my spam folder >= daily, but I don’t scroll down to the spam tag. In the same box, just type “in:spam”, and it pops up fast.

Business Tip Of The Day: You’re Not Too Busy

Was just told about a real estate agent who regularly dumps files on their admin, without any explanation or discussion, because they’re “so busy”. They’ll just figure it out. Ugh! If you’re “so busy”, then you really need to take the minute or two it takes to give an explanation of the file, or task you’ve dropped onto your staff. Expecting folks to just “figure it out” is a near guarantee for re-doing/un-doing work, which is duplicative and wasteful (which should be obvious). Reminds me of one of my father’s adages: “you might think you’re too busy to do it right, but you won’t be too busy to do it again”. Slow down, folks; take the time to set your staff, and, thus, yourself, up for success.

Data, Bulk Emails and, Well, Data

I just received an email with the following request: “if you service the following states, NY, NJ, PA, OH, MD, VT, MI, ME, CT and NH…”. I immediately closed and deleted the email, for I’m in Washington. But then I started thinking, “why did the sender blast this out to the entire country?” Today, right now, with pretty much every CRM tool, you can refine your targets. With a few minutes of work, the sender of this email could’ve culled a few words from their message as well as targeted her message. Too many irrelevant emails and you find yourself in the spam box.

This ability to customize your message makes it significantly more relevant to your customers, to your audience. It makes you look more professional, and more knowledgeable. Powerful traits if you’re trying to build an audience, or come across as an influencer. Or, if you simply don’t want to waste your customer’s time. Which is good thing to desire.

So, the data is (or should be) there. Use it! Make yourself look smart, talented, professional and engaged. Unless you’re hoping to create more spam fodder.

To just be me

It’s so easy to succumb to this desire: be something, something important, impactful, powerful.  Chasing after an ideal “should be”, losing sight of who you are; cruel phantoms. So easily we get pulled into career/family/cultural expectations, that when we lose sight of ourselves, we don’t easily see the path back. That’s assuming there is a path “back”. I expect, for many of us, this is a path forward; new direction, new experience. Often, the path of self-discovery and self-acceptance is a journey of deep creativity; true exploration. A journey not started in youth, rather born out of regret and emptiness.

Paper Notebooks vs Smartphones?

As I love smartphones AND Moleskine notebooks, so this video is perfect for me. I do love it so.

Social Media Success

One common element to successful social media campaigns: fun. Seems quite simple, yet it’s everything. Simply trying to make money, or gaining popularity, shows. That’s trite and pathetic behavior offline, too. But delighting in human interaction, in these discussions and conversations; connections get made. All those “success metrics” build out from there. Genuineness: social media’s gold standard.