D.A. Carson on Productivity

D.A. Carson with three points on productivity:

  1. Learn to fill in the little empty periods that clutter each day.
  2. Don’t fritter. When you work, work hard; when you are not working, quit entirely.
  3. Discover how different aspects of your work can leverage other aspects of your work. For example, choosing your reading to feed into things that you’ll be preparing over the next six or nine months adds to godly efficiency.

Read the rest here.

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Seth Godin: pitch a meeting about your project not an idea

Elevator pitches – pitches during the journey of a trip in a lift – are a great way to condense a complex idea into a small amount of time so you can get the idea in front of someone who matters. Author Seth Godin recommends you pitch for a meeting, not the idea itself.

Essentially, the idea is to use that brief amount of time when you’re in front of the powers-that-be to get a meeting so you can really pitch your project in full. Godin explains:

The best elevator pitch doesn’t pitch your project. It pitches the meeting about your project. The best elevator pitch is true, stunning, brief and it leaves the listener eager (no, desperate) to hear the rest of it. It’s not a practiced, polished turd of prose that pleases everyone on the board and your marketing team, it’s a little fractal of the entire story, something real.

Of course, the elevator pitch isn’t exclusive to elevators. It’s useful when you need to pitch an idea—any idea—to anyone you want to work with. Godin’s suggestion is that when you compress that idea into a two minute overview, the idea only loses a bit in the process. It also makes it a lot easier for someone to say “no.” When you pitch the meeting, you’re ensuring you get the idea in front of people who matter, and it becomes a real conversation as opposed to an announcement.

Seth Godin on missed opportunities vs. poor execution

Loved Seth Godin’s post today on missed opportunities vs. poor execution:

When you think back to the last ten years of your career or your company’s history, how much of what you haven’t achieved is due to missed opportunities (the product you didn’t launch, the service you didn’t choose to do, the effort you didn’t extend, the stock you didn’t buy) and how much is the result of doing your assigned tasks poorly?

____ % missed   vs.  ____ % incompetence

Now, compare those percentages to where you spend your time, your focus and your anxiety.

The 7Ps from Nicholas Bate

Nicholas Bate wrote a great little blog post:

  1. Persistent. Try, try and try again. You will get what you want.
  2. PatientSometimes it takes time. You will get what you want
  3. ParetoDo 20%, get 80%. You will get what you want.
  4. PastaComplex carbohydrates for great long-term energyYou will get what you want.
  5. PoliteBuild the relationship. You will get what you want.
  6. ProbingAsk one more question. You will get what you want.
  7. Possibilities. Keep an open mind. You will get what you want.

How not be on call 24 hours a day

I was interested to read an article by Forbes on Are You The Perfect Always-On Employee? No Problem. Here’s How To Fake It.

I thought some of the tips in the article were useful, many of us are expected to be available at any time, even during our time off.  The article in Forbes suggested some ways to fake that you were available and/or interested without being constantly attached to your device.  My favourite suggestion was to put an emphasis on people ringing you out of hours if they need to make contact with you, which really makes them think twice before trying to get hold of you:

I particularly like the approach espoused by Claire Robinson, our editorial operations manager. If someone tries to engage her by email after hours, she ups the ante and puts the onus on the other party. “I put my mobile number in my e-mail signature and emphasize it in my away message,” she says. “If it’s that important, call me. Most of the time, people will not abuse this. I of course check mail periodically during off-hours, but your brain needs a break. I’d rather be interrupted by a call alerting me to something truly important than checking mail constantly just in case.”

But in my experience I felt that the tips didn’t go far enough.  Having worked in ministry for 8 years and spent 6 months working as a Recruiter in the City of London there are very few people who aren’t okay with you not checking email on your mobile phone etc., when you’re out of work.

As soon as we start to respond to messages late at night or on our day off people think that it is okay to message us and raise their expectations of us.  The reverse is true, if they know you will answer the phone if it is incredibly urgent and important but the rest of the time you’re with your family and friends, they don’t send as many messages themselves, which in turn lowers the strain on yourself.

In the secular world it is much more common for your workplace to have a policy and to provide you with a work device which can, at times, be turned off.  In the faith sector, often employers don’t provide that device, so whilst it can be useful to get messages as you’re out and about during the day moving from school to youth group to meetings I’d really encourage people to think carefully before putting their work email on their mobile device.

How do you ensure you’re not on call 24 hours a day?

Seth Godin on “How to Succeed”

I loved Seth Godin’s blog post on How to succeed, here’s a little clip:

You don’t need all of these, and some are mutually exclusive (while others are not). And most don’t work, don’t scale or can’t be arranged:

  • Be very focused on your goal and work on it daily
  • Practice every day
  • Quietly do your job day in and day out until someone notices you and gives you the promotion you deserve
  • Do the emotional labor of working on things that others fear
  • Notice things, turn them into insights and then relentlessly turn those insights into projects that resonate
  • Redefine your version of success as: whatever I have right now
  • Contribute more than is expected
  • Give credit to others
  • Take responsibility
  • Never hesitate to share a kind word when it’s deserved
  • Persist, always surviving to ship something tomorrow
  • Have the ability to work harder and more directly than anyone else when the situation demands it