Tag Archives: Fast Company

Productivity

The December/January edition of Fast Company was dedicated to productivity. Interviews and studies on what it takes to produce at your best.  Ruminating over common themes and the most applicable stuff, I’ve come up with a list of things I’m going to try to incorporate into my daily life:

  1. Leave my alarm set at 5:40, six days a week.  Consistent wake-up times train your body to be ready to go, instead of fighting the snooze bar.  Also, this leaves me enough time for 20 minutes of prayer before kids and work demand my time.
  2. More protein for breakfast.  Carbs just feel funny!  Protien tells my body its ready for action.
  3. Mid-morning coffee.  I’m in trouble if I need the energy just to wake-up, but the second boost later is quite welcome.  I’m finding that a cup of coffee around 9-10 am gives me the second left, and helps fight off the afternoon crash.
  4. Keep a task list.  Anything that will take more than 15 minutes needs to be scheduled.  Any less can sit on this list until a small window of margin opens.  Less than 2 minutes, I’ll just do it now.  I’ve found that good old fashioned paper works well for this.  I’m using an Evernote App to list out “projects” develop progress over time.
  5. Scan email early, but “do email” later.  I’m at my best at the beginning of the day.  I don’t want to waist my creative energy on the non-urgent and non-important.  I have to check my email to see if something important did in fact come up, but clearing out the inbox is something I want to save until at least one big task has come first.  I’ve found that little things can squeeze into the end of the day, but the big things won’t happen unless I claim that early.
  6. Use the lunch to break the routine.  I’m guilty of working through lunch almost every day.  I’m starting use a 20-min lunch to read the articles I’ve been meaning to read, rather than grind out more of the usual.
  7. Mid-afternoon personal phone call.  Contact with people I love is a good recharge.  A 5-10 minute break around 3:00 will boost me for the closing stretch… and is much healthier than grabbing a soda to live off the sugar!
  8. Shutdown knowing where you’ll pick back up.  Clearing my desk and checking tomorrow’s calendar helps me feel like I’m not going to be blindsided by tomorrow.
  9. Read at night.  Turning to TV to decompress doesn’t leave me satisfied.  I can relax and enrich at the same time.
  10. Make the morning decisions at night.  I’m setting my clothes out, packing my lunch, and gathering anything else that needs to leave with me for the day… the night before.  Morning stress has strangely dropped now!

That’s a handful of things that have been making me more productive this month.  Anyone else have good tips on productivity?

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Leading in Times of Flux

Read an interesting article in Fast Company on leadership… keeping up with change and trends that are happening faster than ever.

One of the more interesting themes amongst those interviewed was there comments leadership structure.  Pretty much unanimously, the leaders that have been successful with our ever changing context have been the ones to involve the voice of those from the “bottom.”  In other words, executives aren’t an untouchable class protected by a receptionist and corner office, they listen and invite innovative ideas from a wide range of people.
As much as innovation is welcomed from all, leadership is not.  Top leaders aren’t necessarily making a flat org-chart… there are people at the top; and very few of them.  Change happens with greatest agility with smaller boards and fewer people with decision making capabilities.  Some of the giant corporations have failed to keep up because they can’t pull the trigger fast enough.  The tiny start-ups with less than 50 employees and 1-5 leaders have had a field day in this context and market.
Pair of things I believe non-profit leaders such as myself can take away from this: 1) Listening is a valued practice that never gets old, and 2) Don’t apologize for being leader – someone has to make the call if stuff is going to get done.