Posts Tagged ‘productivity’

Intelligent Distraction

Recently many people have asked me questions such as: “How did you get into this stuff on the internet?”, “Why don’t you play video games?”, or “How did your learn about startups?”.

The best way I know how to encourage continuous curiosity is through intelligent distraction. I read blogs for at least an hour daily, I contribute to online tech communities, I read editorial magazines, and I browse twitter. I don’t play video games, and I rarely watch TV. And my preferred sporting activity is rowing.

To summarize, reading is my distraction and that’s how I learn. I stay curious by discussing or writing about the things I read daily. Two groups at Wake Forest have been valuable to me for facilitating intelligent discussions. First, the Arch Society meets weekly to discuss a high-level issue facing the world and we talk openly about our opinions on the subject. The debate often dabbles into many viewpoints, depending on the background of each participant. Second, the Masterminds group is an unofficial group led by seniors who have taken a special interest discussing social science and psychology. We most recently discussed body language, and how it can invoke positive judgement or actions in others.

It’s these few but precious hours throughout the week that are so critical to me. Take a break from the gossip and TV. Read something cool, and share your thoughts with others.


11 2011

Productivity Meets Portability

For over a decade now it has been possible to work offline with various portable tools. Thanks to the recent development in 3G infrastructure and 3G enabled mobile devices, it’s now extremely easy to work on things online when you are on the go. For example, I am now much mote productive because I can spend my down time doing time eating tasks such as checking my Facebook, reading news headlines, and much more. Then when I get home I can spend more time on proactive tasks rather than reactive tasks such as gasping in awe at a full inbox. This blog post was written entirely an NJ Transit train on my commute home from New York City.


08 2010

Increasing Productivity and Efficiency

Internet usage among all age groups and professions is increasing each year, along with activities that distract you from getting things done online. This past summer I have been learning a lot about increasing efficiency participating in a work lifestyle that maximizes your ability to focus on making things happen. My guide has been the book Getting Things Done by David Allen and the Action Method by Behance. Getting  Things Done makes an attempt to change the way you work and deal with your “stuff”. Meanwhile, the Action Method aims to change the way you manage and execute your ideas. Both examine two vital parts of your work, with the intentions that by practicing the methods, your productivity and efficiency will be maximized.

We always have “stuff” to do. David analyzes what all of this “stuff” really is to us, and how we can work through it:

Here’s how I define “stuff:” anything you have allowed into your psychological or physical world that doesn’t belong where it is, but for which you haven’t yet determined the desired outcome and the next action step. [pg. 17]

In short, the method helps you turn “stuff” into tasks that you can take action on, or get rid of. One part of Getting Things Done that I liked in particular is David’s idea of scheduled times to review and re-examine what you have gotten done and what needs to get done. I think this is very important to maintain the confidence that you are on top of things, or if  not you can prioritize to catch up. Throughout the book David identifies how we can manage our stuff and get rid of our stuff. In other words from, David explains how to “do your stuff in a way that honors your time, your energy, and the context of any given moment”.

I believe that good ideas are a dime a dozen. What I value is the ability to take the idea you have and execute it. The Action Method helps people take a big idea that when thought about seems complicated, and turns it into simple actionable steps. This way the big idea is not the focus, but instead the critical small steps to get there are the primary focus. They have both an online version and a physical book version, both simple and easy to use. I think the best use for the Action Method is right after a brain storming session, when you are thinking big and have an idea, and then you need to figure out how to execute the big idea.

These two productivity and efficiency tools should reduce the stress when you work, and eventually allowing you to take more action and get more things done!


09 2009