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jerryking : work-back_schedules   8

Work smarter, not harder. Here’s how
July 29, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by KIRA VERMOND, SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL.

Suzanne Andrew, a freelance writer in Vancouver, took stock of her growing number of deadlines. One client wanted her to complete 26 profiles – articles that describe an individual or organization – in one month.

“I love writing profiles, but when I looked at the amount of work, it felt crushing,” she says.

Rather than brace herself for 18-hour days, all-nighters and inevitable burnout, Ms. Andrew took a different approach. She paused and then came up with a game plan.

“I’d worked as a project manager in the past and found that what worked best when managing other people was to create work-back schedules and milestone deadlines,” she says. “As a freelancer I was used to simply working to deadline, but realized I could make things easier and less stressful if I acted as my own project manager.”.....Ms. Andrew created a work-back schedule that outlined exactly how many interviews she had to conduct, plus a daily writing quota to meet the overall deadline. Once she met her daily target, she could stop work for the day and rest.

Here are a few pointers.....

1. WORK WITH YOUR ATTENTION LEVELS
Not every moment of the day is created equal when it comes to feeling sharp and productive. Our brains can only handle so much focused work time. Everyone has three levels of attention: proactive, active and inactive.

Feeling proactive? You’re in the zone: Take advantage of those times each day. Active times are best spent on less focused tasks like addressing emails or making a phone call.

And those inactive times? “Your brain is cooked,” You should probably be taking a mental break, going for a walk or getting a cup of coffee. Even just doing low-priority, repetitive work like filing is a good idea.”
Work with your brain’s energy levels. Don’t fight them and push yourself through those inactive times.

2. PLAN THE NIGHT BEFORE
Don’t allow your inbox become your to-do list. Instead, take 10 minutes at the end of the workday and create tomorrow’s action plan. What’s most important? What must get done? The next morning, look at that list and work on the most vital tasks before even thinking about firing up e-mail.

3. THINK LIKE A SMOKER
Pay attention to the way smokers take their breaks: They leave the building, go outside and even socialize.
“I’m a big believer in quality breaks,” she says. “How you take your break is as important as [taking] a break.”Get up. Move. Take in some fresh air and talk to people. You’ll come back more refreshed and proactive.

4. TRY THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE
....a productivity method, developed by a business consultant named Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. (Pomodoro means “tomato” in Italian, a nod to old-school, plastic timers shaped like tomatoes.) The method dictates that you set a timer for a short amount of time – say, 25 or 30 minutes – and then focus on one task without interruption. Once the timer goes off, take a short break. Then, if needed, you do it again. Commit to going deep for 25 - 90 minutes (jk: sustained inquiry),” “It’s amazing when we consciously choose to do one thing, and one thing only, how much we get done.”
action_plans  attention  attention_spans  best_practices  focus  lists  monotasking  Pomodoro  preparation  priorities  productivity  project_management  slack_time  sustained_inquiry  thinking_backwards  thinking_deliberatively  timeouts  timing  to-do  work-back_schedules  work_smarter 
july 2019 by jerryking
To-Do List Apps: 5 Easy Tricks for Using Them Better
Oct. 12, 2017 | WSJ | By Chris Kornelis.

Evernote, an organizational app includes a myriad to-do list capabilities and allows the dispensing with conventional written lists.

Best practices:

* Empty Your Human Brain Into Your Digital Brain
“Your brain did not evolve to remember, remind and prioritize beyond about four things,” “Your head is for having ideas but not for holding them. So get all the ideas out, not just part of them. Otherwise, you won’t trust your head and you won’t trust your list.”

The Things 3 app is uniquely set up in this regard: The app, a complete overhaul of which was released last spring, has an “Inbox” specifically designed for a brain dump.

Put any idea or task into the Inbox—or even direct Siri to put a thought in the Inbox—and leave the item there. When you’re ready to get organized, mouse-click each Inbox idea or task and drag it to the specific list where it belongs, or schedule a time to complete the task.

* Detail the Whole Task
“Most people’s to-do lists don’t work very well because they don’t specify an action to be taken for each item. Put actionable items into your app—input “Make a reservation at The Cheesecake Factory for Mom’s birthday,” rather than something that requires even 10 seconds of analysis, such as “Mom’s Birthday.”

Trello, an app that allows users to drag-and-drop digital cards onto various vertical boards, makes it easy to visualize every one of your to-dos at a glance and make sure each is actionable. But the onus is on you to do so.

* Write Down When and Where You’re Going to Complete the Task
E.J. Masicampo, co-author of a paper exuberantly titled “Consider It Done!: Plan Making Can Eliminate the Cognitive Effects of Unfulfilled Goals,” says one of the biggest to-do list mistakes people make is failing to commit to a time frame to accomplish each of the tasks on their lists. “If your strategy is to go to the list and pick something to do,” he said, “eventually your list becomes a graveyard of things that you never felt like doing.

* Embrace Anxiety and Satisfaction
Merely writing down a to-do task can give you a feeling of having made progress. But Mr. Masicampo cautions against letting that give you a false sense of completion. “There’s a balance,” he said. “You want to have some anxiety, otherwise you won’t work at all.” And, of course, it’s far more satisfying to cross a finished task off a list.

* It Could Come to This: Delete the App
Some people are not ready to give up paper, and that’s OK: “I know a bunch of tech people who are going back to paper because there are fewer clicks. It’s easy input and output. You don’t need to slow yourself down too much to use it. Tech sort of pretends that it’s going to speed things up, but it doesn’t.”
David_Allen  Evernote  false_sense_of_completion  GTD  lists  mobile_applications  paper-based  productivity  Things_3  tips  To-Do  Trello  work-back_schedules 
october 2017 by jerryking
Thane Stenner: Here’s where the wealthy get their investment ‘edge’
Mar. 02, 2016 | The Globe and Mail | THANE STENNER.

They have clear investment goals: High-net-worth individuals are obsessive goal setters. They always know why they’re investing (beyond “to make money”). They reverse-engineer their return objectives to meet both long- and short-term goals.

They know when to delegate: High-net-worth investors are not “do-it-yourself” investors.

They think risk first: High-net-worth individuals are generally focused on wealth protection as much as wealth generation.

It’s business: In general, high-net-worth investors tend to be good at “segregating” their emotions from their investment decisions.

They keep the news in perspective: Most wealthy individuals are news junkies. Of course they listen to, digest, and consider a lot of financial news. But the focus of their attention is on long-term trends, not necessarily up-to-the-minute financial data. And they think very, very carefully before making any decision based on news.

They seize the opportunity in crisis: Most high-net-worth individuals are born contrarians.
high_net_worth  slight_edge  investing  investors  rules_of_the_game  Thane_Stenner  goal-setting  contrarians  reverse_engineering  wealth_protection  kairos  impact_investing  passions  passion_investing  calm  Carpe_diem  Michael_McDerment  thinking_deliberatively  thinking_backwards  work-back_schedules 
march 2016 by jerryking
Eight ways to become the most proactive person you know - The Globe and Mail
MICHAEL MOGILL
Young Entrepreneur Council
Published Tuesday, Dec. 09 2014

It’s all about you. No one else is going to get you where you want to go – it’s up to you.... Take ownership of your problems, and realize that nobody else is going to solve them for you.

Be solution-focused. ...The most effective way to handle a problem is to focus on finding a solution. Focusing on things that are out of your control is a waste of time, so focus on what you can control with the final outcome.

Be accountable. Set your clearly defined, quantifiable goal and then work backwards from that goal to establish metrics to track and evaluate it.

Use “SMART” goals. S: Specific (Pick something particular instead of using a broad category.) M: Measurable (Choose something you can quantify.) A: Attainable (You should actually be able to reach this, and it may just require the right steps.) R: Realistic (Be honest – it’s probably unrealistic to say you will go from making $10,000 to being a billionaire in one year.)T: Timely (Give each goal a timeframe to create a sense of urgency.)

Make your own luck. Being successful ... is about taking steps every day to be better than you were the day before by moving in a positive, forward trajectory. Make a blueprint and set out milestones for yourself in specific timeframes, or you are not going to hit your goal. Things do not come to fruition just because you really, really want them to happen. You have to make them happen.

Be consistent. Ultimately, success is not about getting everything right. It is about being consistent. Are you consistently and persistently taking steps every day to steadily move toward your goal?

Find the right people. Surrounding yourself with driven, effective people is a proven way to help you succeed.

Honesty is the best policy. Busywork is not effectiveness/progress. At the end of the day, if you don’t hit your goals, you are only doing a disservice to yourself. You cannot get better if you tell yourself, “Oh, it’s okay, I’m fine where I am.” (There has to be a certain element of sustained dissatisfaction).
accountability  affirmations  beyond_one's_control  blueprints  books  busywork  chance  character_traits  consistency  contingency  creating_opportunities  dissatisfaction  effectiveness  goal-setting  GTD  honesty  indispensable  intrinsically_motivated  It's_up_to_me  JCK  ksfs  luck  Managing_Your_Career  personal_control  proactivity  problem_solving  productivity  rainmaking  restlessness  self-starters  solutions  solution-finders  span_of_control  the_right_people  thinking_backwards  work-back_schedules 
december 2014 by jerryking
New Rules for Bringing Innovations to Market
March 2004 | HBR | Bhaskar Chakravorti.

The more networked a market is, the harder it is for an innovation to take hold, writes Bhaskar Chakravorti, who leads Monitor Group's practice on strategies for growth and managing uncertainty through the application of game theory. Chakravorti argues that executives need to rethink the way they bring innovations to market, specifically by orchestrating behavior change across the market, so that a large number of players adopt their offerings and believe they are better off for having done so. He outlines a four-part framework for doing just that: The innovator must reason back from a target endgame, implementing only those strategies that maximize its chances of getting to its goal. It must complement power players, positioning its innovation as an enhancement to their products or services. The innovator must offer coordinated switching incentives to three core groups: the players that add to the innovation's benefits, the players that act as channels to adopters and the adopters themselves. And it must preserve flexibility in case its initial strategy fails.

Chakravorti uses Adobe's introduction of its Acrobat software as an example of an innovator that took into account other players in the network--and succeeded because of it. As more content became available in Acrobat format, more readers were motivated to download the program," he observes. "The flexibility in Acrobat's product structure and the segmentation in the market allowed the pricing elasticity that resulted in the software's widespread adoption."
HBR  innovation  networks  network_effects  rules_of_the_game  commercialization  monetization  product_launches  howto  growth  managing_uncertainty  cloud_computing  endgame  Adobe  uncertainty  switching_costs  jump-start  platforms  orchestration  ecosystems  big_bang  behaviours  behavioral_change  frameworks  sharing_economy  customer_adoption  thinking_backwards  new_categories  early_adopters  distribution_channels  work-back_schedules 
july 2012 by jerryking
7 Things Highly Productive People Do
Dec 13, 2011 | Inc.com |By Ilya Pozin. 

Work backwards from goals to milestones to tasks.
Stop multi-tasking
Be militant about eliminating distractions
Schedule your email
Use the phone
Work on your own agenda
Work in 60 to 90 minute intervals
affirmations  distractions  lifehacks  monotasking  productivity  thinking_backwards  tips  work-back_schedules 
december 2011 by jerryking
reportonbusiness.com: Asking 'why' again and again is harder than you think, but it works
May 5, 2008 | Report on Business pg. B10 | by George Stalk.
George's column in the G&M on the benefit of asking "why" five times
to increase one's chances of being able to work backwards to
identifying a problem's root cause.
5_W’s  BCG  George_Stalk_Jr.  questions  root_cause  thinking_backwards  work-back_schedules 
january 2009 by jerryking

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