Archive for the ‘Productivity’ Category

Process-focused

At work, I try to focus on the big picture, looking at the process by which we accomplish work. Sure, you can ram any given project through, but how sustainable is the process? Is it solid or flimsy? Is it constant or ever-changing? Is it even documented? Do the affected parties even know what it is?

I think an important part of succeeding in any setting is not caring as much about the results, although you should care (your boss will),  but to really focus on how work gets done. Write it down. Talk about it with everyone involved. Does it make sense? Are there unnecessary bottlenecks? Any opportunities to eliminate steps?

Once you do that, you have the chance to scale up your work. You can fly through projects much faster with a solid, consensus-built process.

Lawn Guru

After my great experience with instacart, I wondered if there was a similar service for lawn mowing. I did some googling and found Lawn Guru. They send you a quote by text message by looking at the footprint of your lawn by Google map images.

The price is not unreasonable and I may try it. First, though, I want to get another quote from someone who already mows nearby to see if they are close in price.

Burnout

I read an article yesterday about how burnout is not what you think it is. It’s not overwork with no vacation. In fact, the article stated that a vacation to solve burnout is like taking a painkiller to cure a brain tumor.

Burnout, according to the author, is the result of job-induced depression. – whether you feel ineffective at your job, like it’s not going anywhere or the purpose of your work has been blurred.

Burnout is the opposite of grit. Grit is hunkering down and busting out the work, despite how much you don’t want to. Burnout is checking out because the work seems to have no purpose or goal.

I thought this was interesting because I’ve always thought of it as overwork or being tired, where a vacation or a few days rest would fix the issue. I don’t think people realize the problem runs deeper, it runs inside your perception of your personal work motivation.

What are we supposed to do?

I am about 10 years into my professional life and I am still wondering if there is a such thing as “what we are supposed to do”. The narrative you are told is that you are destined to do something meaningful with your life and you won’t be happy until you figure out what it is. And most people never figure out what it is, slog away at their J-O-B and die unhappy. Read On…

Survival Mode

I can tell that a lot of my good habits and routines fell by the wayside following our move. Our kids aren’t used to sleeping in the new house yet and Cece is especially bad at it, maybe because her teeth are coming in. With a lack of sleep and the stress of moving, I dropped my early morning meditation and running and the 3x per week lifting I was doing. It’s something I can tell I miss a lot.

Now that we have been moved in for a month, I am picking them all back up, starting with waking up early and sitting in silence for some time. It was something I felt guilty about before, like it was a luxury, not a necessity. But I can tell it’s necessary to maintain my focus at work and to keep my energy up too. Sitting in silence in the morning helps to focus my thoughts, eliminate the chatter and be able to be effective as an employee, a parent and a husband all day long.

High Intention, Low Attachment

I know I’ve talked about this before, but it’s important for me to remember. Many of the big things in life, new jobs, new houses, exciting new projects, all come down to someone else’s decision. When we made an offer on the house we missed out on before this one, we couldn’t have done anything differently, but we missed out by 5 minutes. We were bummed, but we ended up with the same house, in the same neighborhood in a better location.  We were sad for awhile, but knew that we couldn’t affect the outcome. Read On…

Asking for Help

I was pretty proud of myself for fixing the toilet the other day – turns out I had only made more problems. I did fix the issue with the bolts connecting the tank to the bowl, but I made an issue with the valve and supply line.

We actually have an issue with two toilets and one sink in the house (I’m not quite sure how the previous owners lived in this house…). We decided we should call a pro to get it all fixed up right and not waste anymore time on it.

The important lesson here is to know when to ask for help. My pride and checkbook tell me I can probably do it myself, but I realize I need to check my ego and admit that I’d rather spend time with family then pulling toilets and sinks apart.

Small Wins

I have realized it’s important for me to have wins, however small, on any given day. I really don’t like not having the parts or the skill to finish a task I started – it feels unsatisfying.

Now that we’ve moved into a new house, I encounter that problem dozens of times per day! When I find something I can finish and look at as an accomplishment, it’s a relief to have gotten something done.

Luckily, the hardware store and most other stores I could ever need are only 5 minutes away, whereas at our old house, they were about 15 minutes away.

Yesterday I repaired a non-functioning toilet, collected some useful items we left at the old house and hung the key holder that we use in the front closet. They are small, but they add up.

I also have to learn to accept when something can’t be finished by me or on that particular day.

Your Environment

It’s amazing how much the environment you live and work in affects what you do. If I put my running shoes next to my bed, I tend to run more often in the morning. If I leave my keys by the door, I tend to not forget them in the morning.

Right now, my treadmill isn’t in the right spot in the basement, so that tends to discourage me from running in the morning. It seems silly – I should just move it. These tiny, tiny obstacles can be huge and can impede lots of forward activity.

To be maximally productive, I need a workspace that has the information that I need nearby with not a lot of effort to obtain it, otherwise it can be slow down or even halt my progress on certain projects.

Using Words

My son can now walk around and ask for specific things from us and we can understand him. He woke up this morning and asked me to wash his pacifier, and then asked me for water. Both requests were easy to understand and he was pleased with the result. He then got into my bed and said “Dad, sit”. I told him I had to go to work and he said “Dad, bus stop”, since I take the bus to work.

I can’t express the joy I find in seeing him learn about communicating and to actually make his way in the world. It’s so interesting and gratifying – it must be ingrained in our DNA to take pleasure in seeing our kids learn and thrive.

We drive by the YMCA, on the side we don’t normally enter and he says “swimming” because that’s what we do there on Tuesday nights. It’s amazing.