Archives for the month of: March, 2010

This is not your father’s digital world. I grew up with Atari and Commodore 64. I played a handheld football game that consisted of tiny red dots blipping across the screen. I once held the high score on Asteroids at the bowling alley arcade! I ruled the digital world of yesteryear!!! So, what happened? Did I lose my electronic hipness?

I don’t think so (or at least I refuse to admit it.) I’m the master of my digital domain. I’ve got this blog, I can work my way through a wiki, I’m connected 24/7 via my Blackberry, I shop almost exclusively online and I’m LinkedIn and Facebooked.

Here’s my problem, I’m starting to feel anxiety about all the virtual places I “need”, “should”, “can” and “want” to visit online. Remember visiting the great amusement parks as a kid? You got through the entrance and there before you was a heart-pounding, eye-widening display of attractions. You were paralyzed with indecision asking yourself – “Where do I start?” That’s how I feel sometimes. To add to the chest-tightening worry, I also grow concerned about what I am missing.

Well, here’s the solution (at least my solution) – Stop the madness. Just like when you order the “bottomless” popcorn bucket at the movies – you have to set limits for yourself. Here are some suggestions (modify as you see fit):

  1. Check email 4 times a day
  2. Subscribe to 4 blogs and 5 podcasts
  3. Read news from 1 online news source
  4. Use a single search engine
  5. Redirect all mail to a single email account
  6. Designate “disconnect” times (kid’s ball game, movies, romantic encounters, funerals, etc.)
  7. Read a book
  8. Don’t multitask (really, don’t)

Got your own suggestions? Let’s hear them.

Many of us like to receive grades, scores, evaluations. It is an external validation of how others think we are doing. But, how often do we give ourselves a grade? When and how do we measure our own performance?

Think about this self-evaluation process:

  1. Determine what your values are. What do you find most important in life? What do you care about? What do you want in life? Break it down among work, family, spirituality, romance, and any other category.
  2. Now, think about where you are in living to these values? What are the gaps? Do you have everything you want in your career? In your love life? In your friendships? Give it a score – 1 (disaster) to 10 (perfect)
  3. Most of us have room to grow in these areas, things we still want to achieve, improvements to be made. What goals can you set for yourself? I call these MPGs – Most Purposeful Goals. This isn’t about reducing costs in production or hitting a sales goal. This is about you…what is it you value most and what do you need to do to live up to those values.
  4. Write down your goals. Write them in a place you’ll see them everyday. They will be a constant reminder for you. They act like the gas (petro) gauge, speedometer, and GPS for your life. Are you going too fast\too slow? Do you need to refuel? Are you on the right path?
  5. Take time every month to review, rewrite and reorient. Schedule time to reflect on how you are performing against your MPGs. Have your values shifted at all? If so, you may want to rewrite one or more of your goals.
  6. Take action. Last, put specific tasks on your to do list that move you towards your MPGs.

What (or who) is taking up most of your time?  And, more importantly, is it the best investment of this valuable asset?

We all fall victim at one point or another in being sucked into some sort of black hole of semi-comatose attention draining activity. This could be a virtual experience (gaming, social networking, news), television, work activity, or friends and family. There are times when this escape is welcome and beneficial. Other times it can be damaging and wasteful.

Think about what is taking up most of your time and ask the question – “Is this the right place to spend my time?” If the answer is “no” then it is time to break the hold and move on.