Archives for the month of: September, 2009
  • Private RSS feed – check
  • Corporate RSS feed – check
  • Gmail account – check
  • Corporate  email – check
  • Twitter feed – check
  • Calendar – check
  • Texts on blackberry – check
  • Office voicemail – check
  • Mobile voicemail – check
  • Work place announcements – check
  • and so on

It just keeps coming and coming. What you ask?  Information!! It flows from all different streams and then gathers as a raging river of data with class 5 rapids.  It is hard NOT to fall behind.

We all deal with this deluge each day.  It can become overwhelming when we are unable to stem the flow due to being in meetings, out on holiday or just working on other things.  When we return to the source we find that things look bad – 100 news items, 50 twitter updates, 75 blog entries, 80 emails, etc.  It can be overwhelming.  What can you do?

  1. Put things in perspective – Information will continue to grow and flow even if you are not paying attention to it. The river will continue to run. You need to understand that it is okay to walk away and let some of it just flow on by.  You can then come back, dip your foot in, and then walk away again.  Nothing serious will occur if you miss the 20 Tweets from TweetsforTreats – breaking news for candy lovers! Pay attention to information that you find valuable (see #3 below.)
  2. Women and children first – Prioritize. Have a system for processing the info you choose to pay attention to.  Before you just jump in, ask yourself a few questions:  Is it short and you can read it\do it now? Is it something you need to do more work on and goes into a @work folder?  Is it something you think you may want to read later, but is not important now and you can file it under @read?  Or do you just delete it because it has no importance to you at all?
  3. Create a dam – Over the years you have probably accumulated a number of RSS feeds, email newsletters, and twitter followings. Take the time now to review them and determine which ones are valuable to you today.  Which ones are dead or dying?   If it doesn’t provide you value – shut it down!

You don’t need to feel like you are drowning in data. Take the steps above and live a happy life!


What motivates you to get a task done?  What is preventing you from doing certain tasks?  These are important questions that can fuel your proficiency in getting things done.

I recently went through a quarterly review with my line manager.  Overall, I got good feedback, but there was one objective that I was not quite meeting.  While discussing the “why” it came to the forefront that I was just not motivated to reach excellence on this objective.  Something about it – what it was, how it was presented, what it meant to me – prevented me from doing my best work on it.

So, what do I do?

  1. Clarify the objective – First I needed to fully understand what was important about the objective – to the team, to my company, to me, to my manager. This means asking questions of my line manager and myself.
  2. Break it down – Next I needed to break the objective down into smaller chunks.  The smaller actions make it easier to digest.  Completing the smaller actions will give me a sense of accomplishment and hopefully fuel my motivation.
  3. Make it meaningful and exciting – I do my best work when something is meaningful (see #1 above) and exciting to me.  I had to “spin” this objective in my mind to tie it to my passions and interests – while still meeting the goal of the objective.
  4. Dedicate the time – Since this objective was challenging to me I need to set aside dedicated time to focus on it. Put it on my calendar, eliminate distractions, and get it done.

Is something blocking you from doing your best work?  Follow the 4 Step approach above and get ‘er done!