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On Productivity

First Things First, And Nothing Else

First Things First
On Productivity First Things First has become my mantra as I try to quiet the noise that comes from too many things that are critical, first priority, get done or else. And then I just do the first thing first. I don’t prioritize it. I don’t schedule it. I don’t put it on a list. I just do it (thanks to Nike and Seth Godin for the inspiration). Do it without thinking about what com...

Taking Notes By Hand Versus On A Laptop

taking notes
In a recent article on learning, Joseph Stromberg, a science reporter for Vox.com, wrote about studies that showed that taking notes by hand is superior to taking notes on a laptop. The studies were done in an academic setting, but there are unmistakable parallels to business meetings and workshops everywhere. Stromberg says students are “using the computers to take notes so they better remembe...

The Case For Building A Better Box

In a strip from the beloved comic ‘Calvin and Hobbes’, Calvin is working on a crossword puzzle and tells Hobbes, “Number three across says ‘bird’”. While Hobbes is thinking, Calvin exclaims, “I’ve got it! Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker!” Hobbes points out that “there are only five boxes” to which Calvin responds, “I know. These idiots make you write real small.” Proving once again that a picture is wort...

Whatever It Takes To Get The Job Done

Whatever It Takes To Get The Job Done
“We do whatever it takes to get the job done” is a work ethic spoken with pride in many organizations declaring their commitment to agility, creativity and independent thinkers.   It is largely a positive philosophy with huge upsides, not the least of which is the sense of ownership among team members and loyalty to the team. There is, however, a downside to this work ethic.  As an example, whe...