Edmund Wilson, recipient of both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal for Literature, was one of the most prominent social and literary critics of the 20th century.
He realized, like most uber-productive people, that, while there were many behaviors needed to guarantee high output, there was one single behavior guaranteed to prevent all output:
Trying to please everyone.
He had a low tolerance for distraction and shunned undue public acclaim. To almost all inquiries, he would respond with the following list, putting a check mark next to what had been requested… Read More
The following is an e-mail I received from Paul Colligan, which inspired me to finally take the leap and get Facebook under control. To tame the beast and use it, instead of having it use me. I hope you find it useful, or at least entertaining.
Paul, if you mind me putting this up, please do let me know.
Moving to a “Fan Page” model at Facebook to make more sense of things. Would love you as a “Fan” here –
When I joined Facebook, I didn’t think it all the way through.
And now I have to do something drastic …
(and it’s going to take a couple of weeks)
By mixing business and personal in the same account, here on Facebook. I was no good to anybody. Here’s a few highlights:
* Personal friends and family who weren’t interested in my business found themselves with lots of marketing messages. I’m amazed at anyone who ’stayed a friend” – but that’s another note all together.
* Business partners, associates, etc., got a bunch of confusing personal updates when they were trying to get work done. So much for “Market to Message Match.”
* I couldn’t “use” Facebook like a normal person (with 4000+ “friends”) and here I am trying to figure out what Facebook means and how normal people use it …
So, here’s what I’ve done about it:
* I’ve asked my assistant to unfriend EVERYBODY in Facebook and send them this note. The best man in my wedding is on this list – so please don’t feel offended.
(I did figure I wouldn’t unfriend Heidi – too many implications there)
* I’ve sent you all this note.
* I plan on “refriending” my friends and engaging in active business dialog at the “page” discussed below – I think it will turn out to be the best of both worlds.
You have three options:
I’ve set up a “page” at Facebook where I’ll be focussing on the “Business” and “New Media” side of Paul. You can see it here (please click to become a “Fan”). It should be a fun place to meet up and chat.
Samurai and Seneca agreed: comfort with death brings better living. (Photo: Kalandrakas)
“We don’t beat the Reaper by living longer. We beat the Reaper by living well.”
-Randy Pausch (1960-2008), The Last Lecture at Carnegie Mellon
This week, one of my friends died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was in his early 30′s.
Several hours after I learned of his passing, I received an e-mail from my parents: the 10-year old daughter of a dear high school coach had been diagnosed with liver cancer. The Reaper does not discriminate. Too often, we spend time focusing on the trivial with people who contribute nothing but their own self-interest.
How do we balance protecting time with protecting relationships? How do we conquer guilt and do what is truly most important?
I often read “On The Shortness of Life,” one of Lucius Seneca‘s most famous letters, whenever I succumb to social pressure to treat time as less valuable than income, or whenever I find myself agreeing to help those who make unreasonable requests and get upset otherwise.
Seneca’s masterful diatribe hit me like a much-needed sledgehammer, and I’ve included it below. He soon became my favorite Stoic philosopher, and this will help you understand why… Read More
Last week, Ramit Sethi and I recorded a private videocast for a select group of readers. The three short videos below, all 2-8 minutes in length, describe our blogging tips and techniques, as well as an examination of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing.
He and I have both had the privilege and tactical experience of:
1) Building highly-trafficked blogs in a crowded blogosphere of more than 120 million blogs. More important, both of our blogs are well-known for action-oriented readers (For data on this blog’s readers — that’s you! — check this out).
2) Publishing books that reached The New York Times bestseller lists. Ramit’s experience is fresh and most up-to-date from his last three weeks with I Will Teach You To Be Rich, while I wrote The 4-Hour Workweek, which has been on the New York Times business bestseller list continually for 23 months, since its publication in April of 2007.
Here are some of the topics we cover in the a la carte videos:
Currencies Besides Royalties and Direct Income
Google Juice and SEO Misuse
Choosing Post Topics: From Google Keyword Tool to Stumble Upon
Post Length and Publishing Time
Tactical Redating of Posts
Regarding the plug-in I mention for keeping your best content on your homepage, the very smart Lloyd Budd at Automattic explains:
This is continued from Part 1 of my exclusive first blog interview with the co-developers of Best Buy’s results-only work environment, which has increased output at headquarters 41% and decreased quitting up to 90% in some divisions.
When you take care of your life, do you develop overcomplicated processes for getting things done? Do you spend your free time coming up with systems and programs for buying birthday presents or making dinner or feeding the dog? Do you have regular family meetings to discuss whether or not people are doing heir chores, what the status of those chores is, and what kind of outcomes those chores are expected to achieve?
Why do we spend so much of our business life talking about the business we need to take care of rather than simply taking care of it?
-From “Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It”
Some converts argue ROWE is a “simple change”. What’s simple about it?
The change isn’t easy, but the change is simple because it’s based on common sense. To show you what we’re talking about, here are some ROWE conversation starters: Read More
Managers often ask me how to use 4HWW within corporate environments.
I now have a new recommendation to add to the previous list: read the new in-depth description of Best Buy’s Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE).
How did a Fortune 100 company increase productivity at headquarters 41% while decreasing voluntary turnover (corporate speak for quitting) as much as 90%?
I’ve been fascinated by this unusual experiment since reading about it in 2005. The best part? It began with a 24-year old new hire named Cali Ressler, not a top-down decision from the CEO.
Cali is now co-author of a new book with ROWE co-developer Jody Thompson, which details how it all happened — and how others can replicate (or at least emulate) its success. Here is an excerpt, followed by a exclusive first blog interview: Read More
This fireside chat at Google in London was also simulcast to their offices in Ireland, Sweden, and Moscow. It was a blast.
It covered tons of topics never discussed on the blog before: proposed improvements to Gmail (please!), the real original book title, using telephone vs. e-mail, principles and case studies, metrics (including exercise), analysis vs. intuition, the declining dollar and personal outsourcing & geoarbitrage, and much more.
If you’re bored at work, you can listen to the audio while you browse Facebook My collection of 55 odd videos on YouTube can be found here if you want more semi-productive distraction before 5pm.
Here are some excellent tenets of self-interested (not self-centered) lifestyle design from The Notebooks of Lazarus Long by the inimitable Robert Heinlein:
Do not confuse “duty” with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect.
But there is no reward at all for doing what other people expect of you, and to do so is not merely difficult, but impossible. It is easier to deal with a footpad [a thief] than it is to deal with a leech who wants “just a few minutes of your time, please – this won’t take long”… Read More
I was interviewed recently from Uruguay by Marco della Cava of USA Today for a cover story that appeared yesterday titled “Speeding Up the Mad Dash”. It’s a quick read and good food for thought:
If you’re reading these words, the chocolates and flowers are on their way. Because given the gazillion draws of modern life — the cellphone, the BlackBerry, the boss, the kids, the TiVo, the dog — it’s a small miracle this sentence has made it into your day.
Our fast society is only getting faster, putting inordinate demands on our time and prompting the people and companies that service our lives to come up with ways to help us reclaim some of it.
Don’t have time to read all those magazines you subscribe to?
Not a problem. A new website called Brijit offers one-paragraph summaries of even the most complex and deeply researched tomes. “It’s like drinking from a fire hose these days,” says founder Jeremy Brosowsky. “There’s more good stuff than ever, but the problem is consuming it day to day”… Read More
[Editor's Note: This is a guest post from Anne Zelenka, who serves as Editor at Large for Web Worker Daily.]
If you are so passionate about your work that you border on obsessed, you might find it near impossible to turn work off.
This is especially so in the web age, when you can stay connected no matter where you are, who you’re with, or what you’re doing. What do you do when suggestions like “work only during certain hours” and “don’t check email on evenings and weekends” just don’t seem to be enough?
Here are five more powerful tricks for keeping work in its place… Read More