Matt\’s Cuppa

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Archive for the ‘Productivity’ Category

To Meet Big Challenges By Doing Small Things

Posted by telecommatt on January 2, 2008

It’s tradition that each year about this time, I go online with renewed vigor in a quest to find the best productivity tools to support me in my initiative to organize and document my life better in the new year than I did in the last. I’ve already squandered precious hours in double digits in my pursuit. So much for productivity!

While productivity doesn’t seem to be my forte so far this year, there are a handful of other commitments I’ve made to myself that I feel more confident about. There is one resolution I have made that I feel will make the biggest impact on nearly every area of my life. That is, to handle things when they are small.

I know, it sounds sort of anti-climatic. Believe me when I say that it is not! Simply put, this means that I’ve committed myself to taking care of problems when they are not yet problems. My wife is happy because it means that I pick up my socks as I take them off instead of picking them up by the arm load at the end of the week. This has ramifications in the business world as well, aside from just keeping your desk clean.

I’ll take an instance from my current work environment as an example. There is a very capable member of the administrative staff who will be leaving our office later this month. She is currently training her replacement. If I begin building a working relationship with my new coworker now, before she is on her own, it is most likely that my productivity will not be adversely affected by the transition.

If that example seems too utilitarian, (which it really is not) try this. Start your meeting notes before the meeting starts. Really. You’d be surprised at how much important information is present before anyone actually begins speaking! Get in the habit of doing this and your notes will get neater, more concise, more accurate, and more uniform little effort on your part.

Like nearly everything, there are two sides to my commitment to handle things when they are small. The obvious I’ve already covered. That is, to tackle problems before they have a chance to become big problems. The more subtle message here is that big problems must not be avoided. On the contrary, I’ve committed myself to some large challenges this year.

Handling big challenges when they are already big is daunting. That is why I decided to handle my biggies when they get small again. Large tasks are almost always made up of smaller ones, just like projects are made up of actionable items. In order to face some of the looming challenges in my life, I’ve decided to simplify them by breaking them down into smaller challenges.

One example that comes to mind is a broad commitment to living more sustainably. That’s a pretty nebulous goal. But what if I could start turning on one less lightbulb as I got ready for work in the morning?

I guess that all this started to make sense to me as I sat thinking about the ebb and flow of one year into the next. Small problems have potential to turn into big problems, but we have the potential to meet huge challenges by turning them into small ones. It’s just a question of where we choose to fight our battles.
There is a line in the Tao Te Ching, which I know I’m mis-quoting, and which I’ve always been fascinated by. In it, Lao Tzu basically says that the sage accomplishes great things with no effort. I always took this to be the meaning, to meet big challenges by doing small things.

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Posted in Productivity, Success, Zen | Leave a Comment »

Jooce Personal Desktop Is Your Computer Everywhere

Posted by telecommatt on December 17, 2007

Jooce: online desktop & computer replacement – Download Squad

Here’s something that’ll help you organize your computing experience no matter what computer you use: Jooce, the online desktop.

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Why Planning Your Day The Night Before Helps You Accomplish More

Posted by telecommatt on December 11, 2007

Mind Hacks: Why You Should Plan Your Day the Night Before

put your subconscious mind to work all night while you sleep on your plan.

Jack Canfield explains how looking planning your day the night before not only helps you be prepared ahead of time, but lets your brain start working on stuff while you sleep.

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How To Take Notes That Rule And Rule Your Notes

Posted by telecommatt on December 11, 2007

How to Take Notes Like an Alpha-Geek | The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss

I take notes like some people take drugs.

[via Lifehacker]

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A Cure For Piles

Posted by telecommatt on December 2, 2007

How to Cure PackRat-itis | ThinkSimpleNow.com

If you can barely type over the pile of stuff on your desk, then hopefully you’ll find inspiration in the words below.

Random thought of the day: Blogging was totally meant to be done on a tablet PC.

I thought this was a good article to post right now, since many of us are beginning to think about New Year’s resolutions. I won’t go as far as to say that I’m a pack rat, but I have a tendency to create piles all over the house. In a sense, piling is a fairly straight forward method of organization. It’s very chronological. If I’m looking for an article I printed last month, I know it has to be in the same pile as others I printed near the same time. Still, there are probably better methods out there. Like the one in this post: Give everything a place. If every item has a place where it is supposed to be, and you don’t have to sit and think about where that is, you are much more likely to put it away properly the first time. This actually fits in quite well with David Allen’s GTD methodology, which, as you’ve probably figured out, I’m a huge fan of.

[via Lifehacker]

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The Webworkers Toolbox To End All Toolboxes

Posted by telecommatt on November 30, 2007

The Toolbox Toolbox: 100-Plus In-Depth Resource Collections for Web Workers – HR World

Web workers have a unique advantage over traditional workers: the ability to rely on the Internet to get the job done.

This is the toolbox to end all toolboxes! HR World put together this huge list of resources that includes everything from Firefox plugins to mind-mapping tools. It’d definitely another quality post from HR World.

Thanks, Amy, for sending this my way!

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How To Carve Your Bird Like A Pro

Posted by telecommatt on November 22, 2007

Butcher’s Method Takes Carving Off the Table – New York Times

BEFORE breakfast on Thanksgiving, as the first Americans rise to preheat the oven, the question of who is going to carve the bird starts to ripple anxiously across the land.

NYT has some great online content! Here’s a video tutorial on carving the Thanksgiving turkey (or any turkey, for that matter).

[via Lifehacker]

Posted in Food, Productivity | 3 Comments »

Chris Brogan On Successfully Being You

Posted by telecommatt on November 15, 2007

Elements of a Personal Brand : [chrisbrogan.com]

When I finally woke up from the realization that I didn’t want to be a corporate worker drone (robots are evil), I realized that I didn’t know the first thing about what to do to change

Good afternoon reading. Chris Brogan is consistently a good writer, and a powerful addition to anyone’s RSS feeds.

Also, be sure to read the comments below the post. There are some wise things said there as well.

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SuTree Shows You How To Do “Stuff”

Posted by telecommatt on November 14, 2007

SuTree instructional video site adds courses, widgets and other new features – Download Squad

For the past six months, SuTree has been collecting user-generated videos that show you how to do stuff.

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Punctuation Codes Help Control Your Ums and Ahs

Posted by telecommatt on November 12, 2007

Public Speaking: Get Rid of the Um’s and Ah’s With Punctuation Codes

Productivity blog Lifehack.org has come up with an intriguing way to get rid of those awkward um’s and ah’s we are all susceptible to when speaking in public

Don’t forget that public speaking isn’t just making speeches. Any time you’re conducting a meeting, talking to a client over the phone, introducing yourself to someone, etc., you’re committing an act of public speaking. We all forget that it’s okay to not say anything for a moment or so. As the article above points out, there is a time lag between when a listener hears your words and when the meaning actually registers in their brain. Umming and ahhing and blurring your sentences together does more then just sound awkward. You may actually be interrupting the process of turning those sounds you just uttered into meaningful information.

Posted in Productivity | 3 Comments »