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jerryking : sabbaticals   5

Hey, you: Stop multitasking and focus - The Globe and Mail
HARVEY SCHACHTER
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Jul. 27 2014

New Jersey-based consultant Daniel Forrester believes we all have to find similar moments of contemplation to be more effective in our careers. “It’s about tapping into what makes us unique as human beings: reflection and conscience. The big innovations all are a product of reflection, getting a break from the tumult of immediacy that surrounds us,” he said in an interview.

The author of Consider: Harnessing the Power of Reflective Thinking in Your Organization was moved to study the issue when reading an article about the now-legendary “think weeks” that Bill Gates took as the head of Microsoft. Armed with cans of diet Orange Crush and a stack of documents with ideas and proposals, he would isolate himself in his cottage and spend time pondering future possibilities for his tech empire.

It’s a fascinating idea, but Mr. Forrester wondered why the CEO couldn’t manage to find reflection space in the office. “He’s Bill Gates. Why can’t he shut the door and get time to think?” he asked in an interview.

Mr. Forrester believes we have to change that tendency – and not only for CEOs, but for everyone. Reflection, he explained, is the space between data and meaning.

It starts with think weeks, proper vacations and sabbaticals to refresh and reflect. Our brains continue to work on issues even at rest, and the subconscious can come up with some electrifying findings. So it’s vital that a vacation be a true vacation, rather than pushing an employee, through social pressure or direct orders, to check e-mail a dozen times a day.
books  contemplation  creative_renewal  focus  Harvey_Schachter  immediacy  innovation  meditation  monotasking  multitasking  reading  reflections  sabbaticals  slack_time  strategic_thinking  sustained_inquiry  thinking  timeouts 
july 2014 by jerryking
Creativity vs. Quants - NYTimes.com
MARCH 21, 2014 | NYT | Timothy Egan

"Creativity remains so unquantifiable, it’s still getting shortchanged by educators, new journalistic ventures, Hollywood and the company that aspires to be the earth’s largest retailer, Amazon.com.

An original work, an aha! product or a fresh insight is rarely the result of precise calculation at one end producing genius at the other. You need messiness and magic, serendipity and insanity. Creativity comes from time off, and time out.
Aha!_moments  Amazon  contemplation  creativity  creative_renewal  genius  insanity  insights  messiness  quantitative  quants  sabbaticals  serendipity  slack_time  timeouts  under_appreciated 
march 2014 by jerryking
John Rau Learns From Staff, Then Guides Them Well
May 6, 1997 | WSJ | By HAL LANCASTER.

life lessons picked up in his high-level career:

Lesson #1: Learn the defining issues of your time.

"There are issues that define every generation, and companies will select as leaders the people who can best handle those issues,"
Lesson #2: Attach yourself to the right people.
Lesson #3: Learn to manage people who know more than you do.
Lesson #4: Look for positions where you can make a difference.
Lesson #5: Don't hire managers to run the organization you have; hire those who can run the organization you want to create.
Lesson #6: Some time off can help you define what you really want out of life.
Lesson #7: To promote change, win the hearts and minds of those you want to change.
movingonup  lessons_learned  influence  Managing_Your_Career  Hal_Lancaster  CEOs  howto  timeouts  sabbaticals  change  high-impact  the_right_people  life_lessons 
december 2012 by jerryking
Do Your Commitments Match Your Convictions?
January 2005 | HBR | By Donald N. Sull & Dominic Houlder
The Idea in Brief
How many of us struggle harder every day to uphold obligations to our bosses, families, and communities--even as the quality of our lives erodes? And how many of us feel too overwhelmed to examine the causes of this dilemma? For most people, it takes a crisis--illness, divorce, death of a loved one, business failure--before we'll
refocus our commitments of money, time, and energy on what really matters to us. But why wait for a crisis? Instead, use a systematic process to periodically clarify your convictions and assess
whether you're putting your money (and time and energy) where your mouth is. Identify high-priority values that are receiving insufficient resources--or outdated commitments that are siphoning precious resources away from your deepest convictions.
Once you've spotted gaps between what matters most to you and how you're investing your resources, use a time-out (a sabbatical, course, or retreat) to rethink old commitments and define new
ones more consistent with your values. By routinely applying this process, you--not your past obligations--will determine the direction your life takes.

The Idea in Practice
To manage the gap between your convictions and commitments, apply the following steps.
Inventory Your Values
List the things that matter most to you, in specific language. For example, instead of "Money," write,
"Providing financial security to my family," or "Earning enough to retire early." Aim for five to ten
values, and write what you honestly value--not what you think you should value.
Assess How You're Investing Your Resources
Track how much money, time, and energy you're devoting to your values. For each value you've
listed, record the following:
• Percentage of your household income you devote to that value
- 2 -
• Number of hours per week you spend on the value
• Quality of energy (high, low) you devote to activities related to that value. (An hour spent on an
activity when you're fresh and focused represents a greater commitment than an hour spent when
you're exhausted and distracted.)
Identify Gaps Between Your Values and Commitments
Do some values on your list receive little or none of your money, time, and energy? Is there a single
value that sucks a disproportionate share of your resources away from other priorities?
Understand What Has Caused the Gaps
Disconnects between what you value and how you actually spend your time can have several
causes. Perhaps you've taken on obligations without considering the long-term ramifications. One
successful entrepreneur in New York had promised to spend more time with her London-based
partner. But when she decided to sell her start-up to a West Coast competitor through a five-year
earn-out deal, she had to move to San Francisco to run the business. She now spends even more
time airborne--torn between two conflicting commitments she made simultaneously.
Or maybe you've let others define "success" for you. One young banker earned colleagues' praise
for his extreme work ethic. When he became a father, he wanted to spend more time with his family,
which baffled his colleagues. Because he badly desired continued praise from colleagues, he
continued his workaholic ways--and effectively gave his colleagues the power to set his priorities.
Change Course
It's harder to recalibrate commitments when you're not facing a crisis. A time-out--a sabbatical,
course, or other device--can help you reflect and give you an excuse to break old commitments and
forge new ones. To avoid "commitment creep," abandon or renegotiate one old commitment for every
new one you make.
commitments  convictions  disproportionality  Donald_Sull  financial_security  HBR  indispensable  JCK  Managing_Your_Career  overwhelmed  reflections  resolutions  sabbaticals  slack_time  timeouts  values  what_really_matters 
march 2012 by jerryking

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