Commitment: their actual lives

This might be your life’s work. It might be a side project. But as you work – doing something to help, perhaps hiring people to work with you, apportioning your time and attention between competing people and priorities – remember that these are people’s actual lives. And yours. Be as clear as possible about your commitment and its costs, and…

I’d rather be

If you’d rather be doing something else, please go and do it. You are more useful there than here. But if you really would rather be, say, drinking beer, you probably could be. Which means that actually you’ve chosen to do this instead. So maybe you mean “Drinking beer is more immediately pleasurable than this, but instead I choose to…

Fewer inputs, greater output (1)

More than ever, we’re aware that our energy and attention are scarce resources. How are you stewarding yours? Rather than starting with the fear that you’re frittering your time away, it might help to remind yourself how valuable your attention is: valuable enough that other people are willing to go great lengths (making websites, movies, TV, articles – and adverts)…

The tortoise and the hare

I’ve been reminded that even for those of us who get off lightly, our current situation – lockdown in response to Covid-19 – is going to be a slog. A marathon is different in kind from a sprint, and an involuntary slog of indeterminate length is different in kind again. Sprints – single events, urgent work, tight deadlines, sudden crises…

Distractable vs Curious

We tell ourselves that we live in a distracted age, and blame our lack of focus on our phones, social media, and the pressures of the digital age. But I’m not sure we’re that much worse than we’ve ever been. Our phones might be the default channel, but I find I’m just as easily distracted from the task of the…

When not to speak

Here’s a flow to help me with my “helpful contribution” problem:Is the priority of (this part of) the meeting to discuss things exhaustively, or to cover the essentials? If the purpose of the meeting is exhaustive discussion and there’s still time and attention available – go ahead and share your point. If the purpose of the meeting is to cover…

A strategy of usefulness

Be 1) as useful as you can be,* 2) as often as you can be,** 3) to the people you want to be of use to.*** Application At DriverlessCroc, I post 1) something that might be useful,**** 2) daily,***** 3) for people interested in building effective and humane organisations for change.****** There aren’t usually this many footnotes. There will not…

Don’t miss a day

Not because they all add up mathematically and contribute equally to the sum of your work. Because they won’t. But because showing up today makes the other days – the days when you do your best work – more likely. Think of it as giving the muse a bigger surface area on which to strike.

Front foot (1)

It’s good to be on the front foot – to know where you’re going, to be moving things in the right direction, to be proactive, to be setting the terms. We sometimes find ourselves on the front foot due to luck and circumstance – but being there consistently and staying there takes thought and preparation. There’s the long term discipline…

Tim Ferriss on time management as priority management

This is a piece of advice from The Four Hour Work Week that I need to re-learn and re-apply on a regular basis: Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference. Being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. Being overwhelmed is often as unproductive as doing nothing, and is far more unpleasant.…