Email is Not Your Work

Time Management Ninja:

There are many types of office games. However, in today’s world, the favorite seems to be “Email Ping-Pong.”

(Some offices have official leagues…)

People love to send volleys of emails back and forth. Some like to see how quickly they can do it. Others like to see how far they can send their message.

The problem is that email sport wastes a lot of time. The back-and-forth is counterproductive. Email was intended to help get work done, but it usually gets in the way of productivity.

Follow the link to see what Ping-Pong league you are in.

Never Stop Learning

We’re living in an odd time. We have access to gigantic heaps of information, but tend to live among the trash. If we’re going to keep growing, maturing, and developing in our skills, we need to learn how to self-educate. Not self medicate.

Paul Jun at 99U:

But how do we foster this desire to learn? Don’t we all want to learn? Who ever says, “I really hate learning new things?” Yet, in the midst of searching for security and comfort, I think we often lose sight of what’s important and enter a sort of tunnel vision that can lead to stagnation. After a long day at work, Netflix sounds more seductive than spending one or two hours diving into a book that challenges you to think deeply about what you do and who you are.

That said, complacency does not beget success. In today’s networked age, companies and jobs rise and fall in a matter of months. That thing you do? There’s now an app for that, for free. Or there will be soon. That job title of yours could change next week. When thinking about our careers, no one is safe.

It’s time to self-educate, what are you doing to grow? Check out the linked post to find several ways to sustain a passion for learning. (click the arrow on the title)

The West Wing and Productivity

You are more likely to finish something you actually start. Hello procrastinators, I’m talking to you. Those projects you have sitting on a list somewhere gathering dust will probably keep gathering dust until you do the very first step towards completion.

It’s an odd truth, but just think about this for a second… You have always wanted to watch The West Wing, you just keep putting it off. One night, you sit with your spouse and kick off episode one. The project has started. Now, it won’t be long until each episode of every season has been completed. You’ll be coming to work with three or four episodes under your belt per night, worn out and tired (true story). Good news? Job complete!

The very act of doing the first step presses you to complete the project and keeps you from procrastination.

This is called the Zeingarnik effect:

In the mid 1920s, [Bluma] Zeigarnik conducted an experiment that would quickly become a significant contribution to Gestalt psychology. Under Lewin’s supervision, Zeigarnik began to investigate an individual’s memory for incomplete or interrupted tasks. She found that tasks that were interrupted and therefore incomplete were remembered more clearly than tasks that had been successfully completed. When this study was repeated with a sample of children, it was discovered that children could often only recall the incomplete tasks, forgetting finished tasks altogether. This phenomenon has been termed the Zeigarnik effect.

Kick start some projects today by taking step number one, you’ll be surprised how quickly steps two through completion will happen.

Using Hobbies and Side Projects to Inspire Productivity

When I’m struggling to be creative and motivated at work, I turn to side projects and hobbies. Seems crazy to fill an already busy life with things like photography, board games, or distance running. I think that’s exactly the thing we need to clear our minds and jumpstart creativity.

Kevan Lee at Fast Company:

San Francisco State psychology professor Dr. Kevin Eschleman and his colleagues measured the effect of creative hobbies on over 400 employees. In two separate groups–one rated by coworkers and one self-rated–those with a creative hobby were more likely to be helpful, collaborative, and creative with their job performance.

As an added bonus, outside of work those with hobbies felt more relaxed and in control.

Sabotaging Your Long Term Goals

Great thoughts on moral licensing via Elizabeth Grace Saunders at 99U:

Have you ever had an awesomely productive day where you ripped through projects, knocked items off your to-do list, and overall felt like a productivity rock star — only to lose the rest of your week when you decided to reward yourself with anything other than work?

Dare I admit that it’s very easy for me to resemble that remark?

If you don’t typically click through to the actual linked posts in my titles, you should start today. This linked article was a game changer for me.

How Do You Procrastinate?

Hey, you guys, quit procrastinating. We’ve got work to do. Do any of these ways of procrastinating resonate with you?

  • You avoid projects because the fear of failing is so great. You’d rather have nothing done than to have the project done incorrectly and be seen as a failure.
  • Maybe you’re indecisive so you ask a ton of questions via email and hope you don’t get replies. That way it’s not on you, you did your due diligence. Blame shifting becomes easy. I can relate to this one.
  • You procrastinate because you love the adrenaline rush of finishing a project at the last minute. Hitting SEND on that email one minute before its due just feels great to you.
  • Sometimes you are so focused on excellence that you restart and restart and restart the project until you get it just right. Yep, another form of procrastination.
  • How about just being too busy. You never reach the end of your to-do list or the bottom of your email inbox so everything is in a constant state of being delayed.

We are a people who typically finish what we start. To get real work done, we have to sort out how we procrastinate, fight it, and take those baby steps towards work completion.

A Sleep Guide to Wellness

Daily Infographic says it’s time for us to get some sleep:

Sleep deprivation can have severe effects on an adults health, which includes: weight fluctuation, memory loss, heart disease, weak immune system, and high blood pressure. In order to avoid any sort of illness provoked by sleep deprivation, adults need approximately 7.5-9 hours of sleep. I know, those are some pretty ambitious sleep hours. I bet not even half of us are able to sleep that much on a weekend. However, do not be discouraged, today’s infographic details some helpful tips for us to be able to successfully fall asleep, and stay asleep for the rest of the night. Read on for a restful slumber!

Hoboken Coffee Roasters Gets It

Hoboken Coffee Roasters is one of my favorite coffee shops in the world. I love making that 40 minute trip up the highway to this friendly shop with some dang good coffee. I also love that this is a business that gets it. They understand that rest is crucial to providing sustained excellence.

Hoboken on why they are shutting down for a week:

Long before we opened the doors to Hoboken we always talked about giving ourselves two vacations in the course of a year. Once in the Winter/Spring and once in the Summer. We committed to closing the store and not just letting employees operate the cafe while we rest. We wanted everyone and everything to take a break including owners, employees, and equipment. These breaks will re-energize our staff and give us a fresh perspective on how to serve and create better.

What do you need to stop doing for a short time to gain perspective and energy for the remainder of the year?