Category Archives: Blog

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What Cowboys Know about Productivity

Growing up in the American Southwest, I have long been acquainted with a familiar parable about the young greenhorn (inexperienced rancher) attempting to brand cattle. What I never realised is how relevant the tale is to twenty-first-century knowledge work. The story goes that the greenhorn was paid to brand one hundred cattle in a day.

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Sound – and the Fury

  Lately I’ve been noticing that my ability to work productively is significantly impacted by the sounds in the environment that I’m working in. I can work very comfortably in a café with a ton of background noise, but I can be driven to distraction if there is a single conversation happening somewhere in earshot.

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Do You Hear Voices?

  “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” -William Morris The Japanese personal organiser Marie Kondo recommends thinking of one’s possessions as animate, and treating them with according respect. This Zen-inspired approach may seem like an anthropomorphic mind-game to some Westerners, but the truth

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You’re Already on the Journey

When it comes to making things happen, does your world look like this?  Things that need your attention arrive. Some are generated by other people and appear without any effort on your part, like email, or your friends’ Facebook posts. Other things that grab your attention come from your own thoughts, and emerge as you

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KO vs TKO – both win the fight

Back in the winter of 1976, a low-budget boxing movie came out of nowhere to take the world by storm and win the Academy Award for best picture. You’ll have guessed by now that it was ‘Rocky’, and for this 13 year-old boy it was huge. Epic. Transformational.  I pretty much immediately raided my meagre

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GTD and Behaviour Change

Fourteen years in to my GTD practice, I am still making new discoveries. Last week I attended our new second day public seminar. One of the points we make in this follow-on course is that people often “compartmentalise” their use of GTD to their detriment–applying it only to work, for example, instead of giving themselves

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Busy is out there. And it’s coming for you.

You’re being stalked right now. No, not by people in camouflage gear and woolly hats. It’s Busy. Busy is after you. When Busy catches you, it gets you to do things. Lots of things. (Doing things is good, though, surely?) Well, Busy has rules. You have to stay in motion. Inactivity is forbidden. And, crucially,

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Abraaaacadabraaaa – Now You See It, Now You Do It

When I was growing up, in our kitchen there was a chalkboard that had pride of place on the wall just beside the back door. My mum basically ran the family (with very little assistance from any of us) off of that chalkboard. With hindsight, it was basically a mish-mash of next actions, projects, and

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The Fine Art of Not Having it All

“Do few things but do them well.” -Donovan I overestimate myself. Turns out, I am not the only one. Early on in my career, I learned that if I expected everything to go according to an ideal estimate, I would often end up with a mess. The “Pick Any Two” model of project management explains

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Doing Isn’t Everything

Most of us are back at work now after the summer break. Hands up now – anyone struggling to stay busy? Didn’t think so. Staying busy isn’t a problem. There are always things to be getting on with, in both our personal and professional lives. But just being busy at the coalface can be unsatisfying.

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