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jerryking : work_smarter   6

Productivity Without Privilege: How to Succeed When You’re Marginalized or Discriminated Against in the Workplace
Oct. 1, 2019 | The New York Times | By Alan Henry.

Productivity isn’t just about getting things done — it’s about spending less time on the things you have to do so you can spend more time on the things you want to do.....so much popular productivity advice is accessible only to people who have the option to use it in the first place (e.g. if your boss or co-workers believe that women shouldn’t be in the workplace, or that African-Americans are unmotivated, no “productivity hack” will force them to objectively look at your accomplishments and decisions the way they would employees they view without biases.)......the real factor determining whether you can take productivity advice at face value is "privilege".

* ‘Glamour work’ vs. ‘housework’: Who gets the opportunities matters.....

A 2018 story in Harvard Business Review pointed out that women of color in the workplace are asked to do “office housework” — the behind-the-scenes tasks that keep departments and teams humming — more often than white employees. That kind of work rarely raises an employee’s profile, in contrast to “glamour work,” which is highly visible, helps people make a name for themselves and leads to promotions and other career success.

* Trust your gut: Don’t get gaslit!!
Unfair treatment in the workplace often comes in the form of “microaggressions” — subtle actions that undermine a person and are often explained away by forgetfulness, ignorance, or anything but the malice that usually inspired them. ....gather proof — your own, or someone else’s — to remove doubt (e.g. collect the data — literally document the number of times you’ve been asked to do the office housework). Also, take note of the instances where colleagues are asked to do glamour work, and who they are......find colleagues you can speak with candidly. This way you have a sounding board to help you objectively see through your own self-doubt and determine whether you’ve actually been slighted or ignored, or whether you’re being paranoid.

* You don’t have to be twice as good, but you do have to “manage up”

If you're often volunteering for work that’s less glamorous — the office housework — to make a positive impact, or be seen as active and engaged..... while this drive is well meaning, it can often be counterproductive, and it gives managers cover to ignore their own behaviors and implicit biases when assigning work or handing out opportunities. Your best tool in this case, she said, is learning the fine art of saying "no" without ruining your career......learn how to “manage up” viz a viz your boss. Recognizing quickly whether something is a small or large ask, and how it fits into your personal or team priorities is essential — and asking your boss for clarity on what your team’s priorities are is also essential.

* Beware the lure of “just helping out”.
learning to, and practicing how to, hold back the urge to constantly volunteer,”

* Protect your boundaries.
when some people use methods like these (e.g. “check your email once or twice a day instead of being always available” and “leave your work at work,” ) to improve their work/life balance, they’re seen as organized and productive. When women and workers of color do the same, they can be viewed seen as unmotivated, lazy, or disengaged......call out bias when you experience it,” Ms. Tulshyan said. “Again, it only works in environments where you have the psychological safety — which, sadly, is rare for employees of color — but I’ve taken managers aside in the past and said, ‘I’ve noticed you volunteered me for this committee again, but not my white male colleagues. Could we talk about that?’” The same tactic works in reverse. If you notice that your privileged colleagues are the only ones sent to conferences or given the opportunity to discuss the work your team is doing, mention it to your manager.

* Document everything: Data is your best friend.
keep a work diary of accomplishments and challenges.....look for allies,” “I’ve had a few more-privileged colleagues at my workplaces who would spread the word to our department on my behalf if I accomplished something noteworthy. The great thing is it seems to foster a lot more trust and celebration among the group than if you are always tooting your own horn.”....if you feel frustrated and marginalized, try to keep in mind why you do the work you do, and remember the people who are positively affected by it.
biases  disrespect  equality_of_opportunity  glamour_work  gut_feelings  HBR  managing_up  marginalization  note_taking  office_housework  power_dynamics  privilege  productivity  protect_boundaries  record-keeping  say_"no"  self-doubt  sounding_boards  stereotypes  work_smarter  workplaces 
october 2019 by jerryking
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
How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler
Reading alone isn't enough to improve your knowledge. Learning something insightful requires work. You have to read something above your current level. You need to find writers who are more knowledgeable on a particular subject than yourself. This is how you get smarter.

Reading for understanding narrows the gap between reader and writer.

The Four Levels of Reading
Mortimer Adler literally wrote the book on reading. In his book, How to Read a Book, he identifies four levels of reading:

Elementary
Inspectional
Analytical
Syntopical
The goal of reading determines how you read.

**********************************************
Become a Demanding Reader
Reading is all about asking the right questions in the right order and seeking answers.

There are four main questions you need to ask of every book:

What is this book about?
What is being said in detail and how?
Is this book true in whole or in part?
What of it?

If all of this sounds like hard work, you’re right. Most people won’t do it. That’s what sets you apart.
advice  asking_the_right_questions  books  critical_thinking  deep_learning  effectiveness  efficiencies  GTD  hard_work  howto  intentionality  metacognition  productivity  purpose  reading  smart_people  work_smarter 
may 2018 by jerryking
Getting smarter, knowing less
March 16, 2018 | FT | by Robert Armstrong.

The point is that for me, and perhaps most people, the main barrier to being smart is not what we do not know. It is the masses of things we know and mistakenly believe to be relevant.

My wife and I have been thinking about the next stage of our kids’ education. Being central-casting middle-class professional types, we hired an educational consultant to talk us through a range of state schools. She provided briefings about each school, crammed with facts about test scores, teacher turnover, class sizes, and so on.

Feeling slightly dizzy, I asked which bits I should pay attention to. She responded — with glorious honesty for someone being paid by the hour — that there was only one piece of information that really mattered: how many students are late or absent on a regular basis. If a school is the kind of place where almost everybody shows up and shows up on time, then it is the kind of place where kids and teachers can achieve a lot together. The rest is noise.

That comment made me smarter, not because it was a surprising revelation but because it allowed me to clear a lot of junk out of my head — and avoid putting a lot more junk into it. What we all need is the cognitive equivalent of decluttering guru Marie Kondo, who can help us to go into our own heads and throw out all the beliefs that have outlived their usefulness.
decluttering  problem_framing  signals  noise  information_overload  questions  smart_people  incisiveness  education  schools  pretense_of_knowledge  pay_attention  what_really_matters  work_smarter 
march 2018 by jerryking
8 Ways Evernote Can Help You Get More from Your Research in 2013, and a New Ambassador! | Evernote Blog Evernote Blog
In Work Smarter with Evernote, social media expert Alexandra Samuel demonstrates the most effective ways to use this popular (and free) web-based notebook system to:

• Capture the right notes, documents, images, ideas, and inspirations
• Keep the information you want always at your fingertips
• Enhance collaboration by sharing and publishing your notes
• Focus on the work that matters most to you and aligns best with your professional goals

The book also includes a 30-minute quick guide to setting up your Evernote system and notebooks for maximum utility and ease of navigation.
Evernote  howto  productivity  work_smarter 
november 2013 by jerryking

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