Friday, June 29, 2012

The "Busy" Trap

I'm so busy! What a common refrain from so many in today's world. A NYT article recently looked into what it means to be so busy. The article was posted by a person I follow - Tim Ferriss so I thought it would be worth reading and it was. The article talks about how people often feel a need to schedule every minute of life. And it's not only adults, the adults are doing the same to their children. What is wrong with kids just going outside and playing for a few hours with the neighborhood kids? What's wrong with a family taking a day to do nothing but spend time together?

Here is an interesting quote from the article:

Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day. I once knew a woman who interned at a magazine where she wasn’t allowed to take lunch hours out, lest she be urgently needed for some reason. This was an entertainment magazine whose raison d’ĂȘtre was obviated when “menu” buttons appeared on remotes, so it’s hard to see this pretense of indispensability as anything other than a form of institutional self-delusion. More and more people in this country no longer make or do anything tangible; if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary. I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.

Is it possible that what we are really looking for is meaning in life and when we can't find the meaing we are filling our time with activity so we don't notice there is no meaning? Is it time to examine our lives and figure out what is really important and focus on that? Don't get caught in the "Busy Trap".

Monday, June 25, 2012

What A Wonderful World

A beautiful reminder that everything we see or hear in the news is not all there is - what a wonderful world.

Friday, June 22, 2012

What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

What do you do in the morning? How much time do you devote to improving your life before the day even begins? Many people believe the morning is the best time to do the most important activities because you are rested and there are very few interruptions.

A recent Fast Company article answered the question of What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. Here is the first of five tips in the article.


1. Track Your Time
Part of spending your time better is knowing how you’re spending it now. If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you know that nutritionists tell you to keep a food journal because it keeps you from eating mindlessly. It’s the same with time. Write down what you’re doing as often as you can. Use my spreadsheet, a Word document, or a pad and pen.

While measuring your mornings, try tracking your whole week. The reason? The solution to morning dilemmas often lies at other times of the day. You may be too tired because you’re staying up late. But if you look at how you’re spending your nights, you’ll notice that you’re not doing anything urgent. The Daily Show can be recorded and watched earlier--possibly while you’re on the treadmill at 6:30 a.m.

As for the mornings themselves, you can be organized but still not be spending them well. Question your assumptions. You may believe that “a man who wants to keep his job gets into the office before his boss” because that’s what your father did, but your boss may be disappointed that he doesn’t get the place to himself for an hour first! If you decide that something is a top priority, do it, but understand that we have to do few things in life.


If you want to improve what you are doing, start with how you begin your day. What do you do before breakfast?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Share this with Your CEO

In a recent HBR blog there was a post about energy management which is similar to time management but instead of being about time it is about energy. Below are some stats from the blog post.

77% said they had trouble focusing on one thing at a time, and felt easily distracted during the day.
80% said they take too little time to think strategically and creatively, and spend too much of their time reacting to immediate demands rather than focusing on activities with long-term value and higher leverage.
54% said they often feel impatient, frustrated or irritable at work, especially when demand gets high.

The result of these types of feelings is that people get less done and what they get done is lower quality and quantity. One of our goals as leaders is to help people in our organizations to feel good, be energized and get more done.

There were six activities, or lack of activities, that drove the feelings listed above:

82% reported they regularly get fewer than 7-8 hours of sleep and often wake up feeling tired.
70% don't take regular breaks during the day to renew and refuel.
70% eat lunch at their desks, if they eat lunch at all.
65% don't consistently work out.
68% said they don't have enough time with their families and loved ones, and when they're with them, they're not always really with them.
71% take too little time for the activities they most deeply enjoy.

We need to help people improve. We can do this by educating and sharing with our people that live doesn't need to be such a drain - we can feel energized and get more done.

Go to the blog at HBR and see what the author says to do to improve and then share that with your people to get more improvement.