The next (small) step

In the face of too much to do (which there always will be), too little time (there is never enough), lack of clear information about the present (let alone the future), and uncertainty about what’s going to work (probably the bit that makes your work interesting and important) and how best to do it, what should you do? One answer…

While the tea is hot

Here’s a workflow for the next time you can’t face a mundane / boring / difficult task: Prepare your workspace / turn on your computer Make a cup of tea Commit to doing the job for as long as the tea lasts, or as long as it’s hot You’ll probably stay longer than you think. See also: James Clear’s Temptation…

Deirdre McCloskey on liberty and human flourishing

The real ability of the poorest to buy goods and services rose, 1800 to the present, by 3,000 percent. Literally. A factor of thirty. … I take it you value human liberty and human flourishing. (If you do not, we have nothing to discuss, and can go straight to fighting it out in the streets.) You will know that the…

Malcolm Gladwell on creativity, quality and quantity

This is from a great New Yorker article – I recommend checking out the whole thing. He refers to the researchers at Xerox Parc (often credited as the inventors of the computer mouse, graphical internet, ethernet and laser printing) as Wild geysers of creative energy The psychologist Dean Simonton argues that this fecundity [of ideas] is often at the heart…

Ahead of the day

It’s a wonderful feeling to be ahead of the day. Up early, time to spare, space to think, an open road ahead where you’ll get stuff done with clear-headed poise. And yet… There’s a danger here: In how quickly twenty minutes early becomes ten minutes late; In how the couple of things you can just fit in spill over and…

Close to hand

It is far, far easier to use a tool that you’re in the way of using regularly, that you can just pick up and do a job. We have no trouble just picking up our phones to look something up, sending a message, use a map. We use email services, favourite apps and websites almost without thinking. If you’ve ever…

Buzzy (Bee to Bee)

… is great when you’re working on your own, bashing through emails or making something. It’s less good when you’re making important decisions, working with groups of people or dealing with situations that require listening, sensitivity and thoughtfulness. Whether it’s caffeine or adrenaline, try to buzz at the right times… Or to do the right kind of work when you…

Questions of the day (leverage)

What is the biggest contribution that I can make to this team or organisation? What does it mean for me to be good at my job? What would be happening around me if I was good at my job? How would I feel? How would the people around me feel? What’s getting in the way? What do I have to…

Bottleneck: little jobs and emotional friction

Thanks to JG. A particularly troublesome breed of little job are things left undone that hold up the work of other people – a decision that needs your input (or for you to decide), a design that needs your approval, feedback to your team from a key meeting, or a training you need to hold before your team starts a…

Little jobs

There’s a lot to be said for batching – saving up similar jobs and then working through them efficiently in one go. But doing little jobs in free moments – in checking-the-news moments, social media moments, junky youtube moments – has its benefits too: Doing little jobs can act like a form of mental keepy-uppy, keeping your head in the…