Monthly Archives: October 2012

Is Email Really a Productivity Tool?

Are you overwhelmed by your inbox? Physical or electronic, the issues are the same. What I often wonder is why anyone would waste their time checking their email WITHOUT a calendar close by?

I understand that in a management position, glancing at the subject headings of messages that you are copied on as they scroll by on your Blackberrry can be a useful way of monitoring your team or your operations, but that is not what I am talking about. I’m referring to the time spent reading and re-reading the same things every day when those things represent tasks.

Back in 1998 I wrote a book on this. Your inbox is not a task list. There are 3 things that arrive in your inbox and here is how you should respond:

1. FYI messages- monitor and stay informed.
2. Meetings requested by others – decide quickly, schedule and move on.
3. Meetings to schedule with yourself – This includes files to review, tasks to perform and anything else that you requires a decision (time to decide).

If your inbox is swollen it is likely because you have been too optimistic about the number of tasks you can perform within a given time frame, and have chosen to keep that task list close by. If the tasks are low priority you have left them there to sit in your inbox. Why not prioritize and decide “real time” as you read them?

If it is a task, schedule it; delegate it; or delete it. Stop reviewing them everyday for the rest of your life.

I hope this helps. 


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Taking Care of Your Piece of The Pavement

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They’re back!

If you have been following my blog postings of the little otter community that has taken up residence along our waterfront, you might enjoy this video that my neighbor shot from his dock this week. 

Notice that while the plastic owl is quite effective in keeping the ducks away, the otters have adapted to it quite nicely.


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Process Improvement to Achieve High Value

Far too often I see misguided improvement attempts fail. I suppose if they were misguided in the first place it may be fortunate that they fail before damage is done, however too often the damage IS done, yet people pat each other on the backs and high five in the hallways on their way to picking up their bonuses.

Everyone raves about improved efficiency but often without fully understanding what the desired outcome is. I maintain that the fastest way to simply improve the speed of performing a tasks is to skip steps, but I don’t think that is the best way. Always begin with effectiveness first before making changes. What is the desired outcome? That is what matters most.


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Apple DNA – Remembering Steve Jobs

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You Otter Know…

In January 2012 I posted a blog entry regarding a mysterious trail left on the ice in our back yard after a sudden climate change.(Here is the link to the original post)

If you hadn’t determined what the creature was even after my clever clues, the picture below will provide the answer. This picture was taken on a neighbor’s dock this fall, just as the cooler fall weather was setting in. It appears that a mate was found this summer and that evolutional stability is continuing on with the next generation, and they are certainly not having any difficulty adapting to their surroundings.



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It’s Bubbly Time, Jerry – Seinfeld on process

An example of what I have been saying. 

This is Jerry Seinfeld in conversation with Michael Richards about preparing for a scene. This is not an episode from the Seinfeld show. It is a frank discussion between the two actors about their craft, and the advice is directly applicable regardless of industry. Taken in context, (watch the video) it make a great deal of sense.

” I don’t accept the judging of process. We are all trying to get to the same island. Whether you swim, fly, surf, or sky-dive in, it doesn’t matter. What matters is when the red light comes on.”

“Our job is not for us to enjoy it, our job is to make sure they enjoy it, and that is what we do.”

-Jerry Seinfeld

(At13:20 in this video )

A frank discussion about the craft of acting and comedy 

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