The Impact Of Multitasking: A Challenge
Geoffrey Canada is the CEO of Harlem Children's Zone, you might recognize him from the documentary Waiting for Superman. He recently sat down with The New York Times to talk about management, innovation and getting things done within large groups.
You have to drive folks to innovate. The tendency in lots of large organizations is to try and find a comfortable place where you think you can get measured rewards for measured work. In other words, they say to themselves, “I know how much I’m going to get if I do this much, and then my life is in balance.” I just don’t think you get a lot of innovation under those circumstances. You want people to figure out how to do things better, to figure out a smarter way. When that’s a constant process, you start seeing things innovate. It’s not because someone comes up with some brand-new idea where you say, “Oh, no one’s ever thought about this before.”
Check out the whole article on Geoffrey Canada.
The first thing we noticed was a drop in traffic. Then other symptoms that seemed unrelated at the time were also being reported like search not working. it wasn't until we got a notice from Google Webmaster that we realized we'd been hacked. Again.
After taking the site down for the second time in two weeks, it dawned on me, if we are to continue we’d better learn to fail.
It’s simple, a website with our set -up running a popular content management system on a public facing website might be compromised. It could happen for a variety reasons both in and out of our control. The important thing then is getting the site back to a point where it is safe as soon as possible while being 99% sure that whatever compromised the site in the first place has been removed.
This is a great article: The Big Question: Are You Better Than Yesterday?
I really like the notion behind this article. It focuses on small non-intimidating things that are problems of larger projects. Folks in the comments criticized it as not being analytical enough, but some things like weight or personal projects have to be taken day by day and cannot be measured or to time consuming to measure.
It’s a simply question, any answer will only inspire you to do more the next day.
So. Did you?
Posted on Sunday, February 28, 2010 in Productivity
A wonderful on article on planning fallacy:
People tend to generate their predictions by thinking about the particular, unique features of the task at hand, and constructing a scenario for how they intend to complete the task - which is just what we usually think of as planning. When you want to get something done, you have to plan out where, when, how; figure out how much time and how much resource is required; visualize the steps from beginning to successful conclusion. All this is the "inside view", and it doesn't take into account unexpected delays and unforeseen catastrophes. As we saw before, asking people to visualize the "worst case" still isn't enough to counteract their optimism - they don't visualize enough Murphyness.But all is not lost:
So there is a fairly reliable way to fix the planning fallacy, if you’re doing something broadly similar to a reference class of previous projects. Just ask how long similar projects have taken in the past, without considering any of the special properties of this project. Better yet, ask an experienced outsider how long similar projects have taken.
Lately, I’ve been trying to take the outsider view and planning realistically, although I’m finding I may not doing well enough. For example I should be working on a website project that I’d like to finish by Friday. However, we’ve been struck with server problems most of the day, which pretty much kills any ideas of getting to bed early tonight if I want to even try to get this thing done.
Lucky for me there are plenty of other projects that have over estimated timelines that I can work on.
At any rate. Read the rest of this fascinating article and adjust accordingly.
Posted on Monday, February 08, 2010 in Productivity
She then gave me what I came to call the 20-10 assignment. It goes like this: Suppose you woke up tomorrow and received two phone calls. The first phone call tells you that you have inherited $20 million, no strings attached. The second tells you that you have an incurable and terminal disease, and you have no more than 10 years to live. What would you do differently, and, in particular, what would you stop doing?
That assignment became a turning point in my life, and the "stop doing" list became an enduring cornerstone of my annual New Year resolutions — a mechanism for disciplined thought about how to allocate the most precious of all resources: time.
What are you going to stop this year?
Posted on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 in Productivity
I'm trying something new. It's called the 2 and 2. I believe that no project should last for more than 2 weeks, and a task that takes more than 2 hours is probably a project that can be broken down into smaller steps.
The 2 weeks thing I lifted from 37signals. They state that projects start to wane after two weeks and enthusiasm starts to fall. Anything longer than two weeks need to be re-thought. It’s made me think of very large projects into smaller discreet projects with an eye on the whole.
Conversely, any task that takes more than two hours is too long for one task and can probably be parceled out into smaller task, and that larger ‘task’ is actually a project. Especially if it’s not getting done.
This has cause me to have a lot more projects on my plate, but I actually find that I am getting a lot more completed.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
Posted on Thursday, August 20, 2009 in Productivity
As suggested the only way to store something is to keep it moving. I'm busy archiving files from CD's I created as archives several years ago to assorted cloud services such as flickr, scribd etc., in addition to running across loads of bad poetry from my misspent youth, I came across this little gem, some mandates I'd written for myself.
Most of these things I’ve internalized, but it’s interesting to see again. I plan on putting this up again as a daily reminder.
Posted on Tuesday, June 23, 2009 in Productivity
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