We All Fall Down

August 23, 2012

Most of you are familiar with the children’s rhyme, “Ring-around-the-rosey! A pocket full of posies? Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!” You hold hands while going around in a circle, then tumble to the ground in laugther. As a kid, falling down is what you do. Daughter’s bruises from camp and the adventures she had there are proof that it is so.

Somehow as we grow into adults, we grow to believe we are no longer allowed to fall down, or fall apart for that matter.

In a recent post entitled “Holding it Together is Overrated,” Renee Trudeau inspired me to write about this topic as she recently reflected on her own challenges to admit when she needs help. As the oldest child of seven, she has always been considered the go-to person for simply everything.

I have several hyper-competent women friends who secretly complain about not always wanting to have to be so strong. I include myself in that group. With so many people relying on us, it’s as if falling apart isn’t an option. Besides, we always have the answer to things. Right?

But I’ve got news. Sometimes falling down is the best thing you can do for yourself.

You might think crying it out to be a waste of time. But it is time well-spent if it means you are cleansing yourself of draining experiences.

Deepak Chopra recently lamented about the positive thinking movement. No one thinks positive thoughts all the time. It’s not natural. “There is nothing more attractive than somebody who radiates simple unaffected humanity,” he said.

So if you need to fall down, just do it. You might get bruised like Daughter’s knees, but you will have experienced life in its fullest richness with an unmatchable authenticity that makes you YOU.

And there is beauty to be seen there too.

By the year 2016 it is estimated that 43 percent of all US workers will work from home. That’s good news for the morning commute. But what about workplace productivity? Will we become even more isolated without all that watercooler chat?

Human beings are social animals. We need each other. So if it’s via Skype instead of via Starbucks at lunch, I’m wondering if we’ll build other types of home-based communities to fulfill that need. What about the National Association for the At-Home Worker? NAAHW! Or is that a ‘yes’?

Cisco’s stats speak for themselves. Enjoy!

The Mobile Workforce

 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics issues an annual report called the American Time Use Survey that relies on self-reporting from a pool of respondents as to where all their time goes.

Compared to 2007, we are now reading even less, watching more TV and playing more video games.

US Leisure Time 2007

And now? Although we have even more leisure time than ever, we read less and play video games more. What will do you do with your time?

US Leisure Time 2010

Top Five Time Wasters

January 10, 2012

If you’re like me, you like to start out the New Year with a great sense of purpose, vision and commitment. But somewhere along the way, we become, well, wayward, in our thinking and actions.

If you missed the 2012 Productivity Revolution Telesummit talk I gave on the Top Five Time Wasters, I’ll offer you them in a super tight nutshell.

#1 Multitasking

I’ve blogged about this ad naseum, but the truth is slow is faster and fast is merely exhausting.

#2 Bad data management

Information overload is a myth, according to Clay Shirky. What’s really going on is our lack of filters. Get them. Use them. Live by them!

#3 Lack of Tools & Techniques

By now you might be saying “Are you crazy? We’re more plugged in that ever. I need fewer tools, not more!” I’m not talking about dashing out to the nearest Apple Store for yet another gadget. Tabula rasa, baby. Not tablet. What we need is to use our tools more smartly. That includes turning them off. Or on less. It’s about gadget control, people.

#4 Unclear Prioritization

Ene, mene, mine, mo…ever started your Monday out like that? How far did you get? Use a chalkboard or whiteboard with magnetized cards that allow you to shift your priorities as they do. It’s empowering. And it works!

#5 Miscommunication

A biggie, especially around the holidays. Be clear in your communication. And remember to listen. Relationships are a give and take.

Have any others? I’m all ears!

PS You can still download the recordings to all the fabulous talks here!

Is it Wednesday again? Well, you know what it’s time for, then! This week’s Wednesday Wait a Minute examines strategic speed and how going fast isn’t always, well, faster.

HuffPost’s Russell Bishop embraces the slow in his new book, Workarounds that Work. Baseline magazine did a nifty slide show (I just love their slide shows!) to illustrate the points below.

1.       Tangible results come from setting clearly defined goals.

2.       Prioritize. Ask yourself: Will this task make for my team or organization?

3.       Examine how much time you spend working around things versus accomplishing them. Eliminate any beating around the bush.

4.       Fix it, then move on. Complaining is a top time waster!

5.       Those who seek to please are a time drain because they value everyone’s happiness over action. Avoid consensus seekers.

6.       Don’t procrastinate. Approach undesirable tasks as you would a great workout. Remember how good you’ll feel when it’s over!

7.       Only have meetings with those directly involved. Eliminate external voices that only add white noise to the conversation.

8.       Focus during meetings ~ gadget-free!

9.       Close your inbox. Email shouldn’t disrupt, but inform.

10.   Read the latest email thread while eliminating the ‘repeats. Email begets email so don’t respond when no response is needed.

A man after my own slow heart!

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Jurgen Wolff knows about alter egos. As a London-based screenwriter for TV and film, he assures you there is a place for creativity. But there is also a place for your technical thinking (such as when you’re pitching your show idea to a BlackBerry-thumbing T.V. producer with the attention span of a two-year-old).

He and I sat down for a chat about how to focus. In his book, Focus: Use the Power of Targeted Thinking to Get More Done, he reveals his alter ego strategy to assume the right personality for the job. Sound psychotic? It’s not. Listen here!

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If you like what you hear, don’t forget to right-click, save, then place your Power of Slow badge of honor anywhere in your social media universe. We appreciate you spreading the word that slow is faster and that fast is merely exhausting!


Admittedly, I was zooming through town a tad too fast. Fueled by my excitment at landing a new PR account (based in the juicy slow land of Bullerbü ~yes, Sweden!), I almost overlooked a family of ducks walking pompously across the road. They didn’t waddle. No, no. They strutted in web-footed fashion. They weren’t eager to cross to the other side either. They walked like they owned the place.

It’s happened on that corner of the street before. I should have known they might be out for their daily country jaunt. Luckily, I slowed fast enough for them to carry out their mission undeterred.

The family of birds reminded me of a long-forgotten book I used to read to the kids when we lived in Boston: Make Way for Ducklings, a true story about a policeman who ushered a family of ducks across the street on a frequent basis. We can learn from stories and experiences such as these. Slowing our pace, despite our distraction about this or that, can bring us into present time, the only real time we have.

What will you do to make way for ducklings in our life today? Do tell!

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Laura Brady Saade of GiveMe10.info shares her insights into living your dreams ten minutes at a time along with some cool slow tips for fostering creativity in our 24/7 world.

To listen to this week’s Focus Fridays podcast, click here for Laura!

If you like what you hear, don’t forget to right-click, save, then place your Power of Slow badge of honor anywhere in your social media universe. We appreciate you spreading the word that slow is faster and that fast is merely exhausting!

In The Power of Slow, I talk a lot about the importance of communication. Today I’d like to do two things: tell a story and offer advice.

The Story

I always know when my husband is less than interested in what I have to say. He literally turns on his heal to exit the room while I’m in mid-sentence. In his defense he rarely gets in a word edge-wise. I am a talker ~ and a passionate one at that. Sometimes his only method of ending the conversation is to physically remove himself from the premises.  My husband is a pensive communicator. You ask him a question, and he pauses for a long time before answering. Sometimes he won’t even say a word of acknowledgement that he has heard you, which can be irritating for the individual who learned turn-taking in isochronous beats. But his body says, “I am thinking. Give me a minute. I’ll be back in a few with a thoughtful response.” His posture continues to communicate, even if his mouth has checked out altogether.

Body language speaks volumes, even if you don’t. Actors rely on body language to convey information on a few yards of celluloid. You can say a lot about a character just by the way she moves and how she peers out at the world.

They say the eyes are the window to the soul. If you avert them while talking to someone, it signals to the other person that you do not trust them or that you have something to hide. In some cultures eye contact is considered rude. But where I come from, if you don’t offer the eyes, you won’t be offered the ear of the person you’re trying to reach.

The Advice

Skype is a great, free tool for eye contact communication (www.Skype.com).  With a web cam, headset and Internet access, you can chat with people face-to-face, even if they reside half way across the world. A lot of times, people will look at the screen when they video-conference. When you do so, it appears you are not looking at your communication partner at all.

Slow tip: When engaging in a video conference, look into the camera, not at the screen.

It may feel odd at first because you aren’t actually looking at the person you are talking to. Occasionally, glance at the screen to reconnect with the person, but remember how it occurs to them: as if you are darting your eyes elsewhere.

The other great thing about Skype is it forces you to stay still. In our wireless, cordless, mobile world, we are often on the move. Skype harnesses you to one location, thereby slowing your pace, if only for a little while. If I were to Skype with my husband, he wouldn’t be able to leave the room as he does on occasion. To me that’s worth the price of a headset any day!

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