Tag Archives: Change

Recognising your addictions

Recognising your addictions

A good friend sent me a link to a 90-minute video on becoming super productive that essentially boils down to this: focus only on the things that matter and stop doing the million other things that don’t.

That’s not the rocket science thankfully, it’s the separating what matters from what doesn’t, and the speaker, Darren Hardy, talks about the things that to him don’t matter—like playing golf, following sports, and being the handyman around the house. He literally won’t spend any time doing things that he’s not exceptionally good at, and he’s become exceptionally good at those things because he won’t give his time to anything else.

But we’re not like that.  We give up our time and attention easily. The “Do you have a moment?”, or “Do you have a minute?” (I call the DYHMs), or “Is now a good time?” (INGTs) are almost never met with “No!” or, “No, I’m doing stuff that really matters,” and then there are the “requests” from superiors (hate that word),

  • “Can you come to a meeting?”
  • “Will you be on the call?”
  • “Can you double-check this report John did, before I send it?”
  • “The CEO said … today and I thought you’d be just the person to get on that.”

These “requests” pull you away from the commitments you already made to this same bozo, who complained about your “productivity” and “time-management skills” in your last performance review.

Been there? I have. But what’s interesting is our tendency to deal with the stress from these “requests” and our unwillingness to say no, with more diversions like social media, YouTube videos, and the News. We make the situation even worse by giving away our limited time to stupid distractions.

But what’s interesting is our tendency to deal with the stress from these “requests” (and our unwillingness to say no), with more diversions like social media, YouTube videos, and the News. We make the situation even worse by giving away our limited time to stupid distractions.

For many it’s social media: twenty, thirty, ninety minutes a day searching through news feeds and chasing links, posting stuff you hope at least thirty of your closest five-hundred friends will “like”, and feeling hurt when they don’t.

For some, it’s sports, others it’s reality TV, or binge-watching The Walking Dead. For me, it’s the news. I can’t seem to help checking what’s happening internationally and I also have this morbid fascination with Trump. I know I’m not alone and I haven’t discerned why, but I get a strange entertainment in getting fresh updates on his rants, ramblings and twitter torpedoes into truth, decency, morality, justice, science, common sense, respect and integrity.

While he was running, the possibility of a popcorn presidency grew increasingly entertaining as unlikelihood became a real probability; and now as a reality, I’m sure I would really be reaching for popcorn if his weekly or even daily disasters could be contained and released in one evening segment.

But no, we keep getting distracted with the insanities as they happen; we get daily drips of him and everything else that’s happening in the world, and 99% of it is bad. And each drip pulls our attention away from what really matters to us e.g. building our relationships, increasing our skills, or fulfilling our ambitions.

The news organizations learned a long time ago that our brains are wired to pay attention to disaster. We want to know who died and from what, we slow down to watch the wreck on the other side of the highway, and we will consume any news that shows, death, disaster, war, famine, crime, horrible crime, corruption, and fall from grace.

We can’t get enough of it.

My girlfriend reminds me of this all the time, and while I have reduced my intake from the local newspapers, I can’t wean myself from Trump. Not yet, but I think I’m getting better.

At least I’ve taken the first of the twelve steps. I acknowledge I’m addicted to Trump news and that’s at least 50% of the battle. If you can’t acknowledge that you have a problem you can’t do anything about it.

Darren is right, if you want to be more productive you need to focus on what really matters, and even if you don’t yet know, you can recognize the distractions you’re addicted to and get rid of them.

What distractions are you addicted to?

The video’s below and it’s called “Insane Productivity”.


The one thing to manage when the going gets tough

The one thing to manage when the going gets tough

Throughout history, people have overcome incredible hardship and prevailed against overwhelming odds. Churchill, Gandhi, Luther King, Mandela, and Malala come easily to mind. It’s easy to attribute their success to something rare and superior to the rest of us, but that would be a mistake. You can prevail as well, but only if you manageContinue Reading

Why we fail at making people change

Why we fail at making people change

People always seem to do or believe things that are destructive, inconsiderate, inefficient, ineffective, short-sighted, annoying, exasperating, etc., etc. Those of us who know better (ahem),… would like them to stop. But annoyingly, our efforts to cause change don’t work. Why won’t they change dammit! We make people wrong Because we make people feel stupid,badContinue Reading

Knowing is not enough

In the last few weeks of Oprah’s show, I heard her say several times, “When you know better, you do better.” Catchy, makes sense, yet I couldn’t help thinking, “So what’s my problem?  “Why do I keep eating these cheese balls, and watching stupid movies I’ve seen before?  Why do I find myself doing thingsContinue Reading

“Can’t you see I’m eating?”

Here’s a reportedly true story that both asserts the state of the work ethic in Trinidad and demonstrates the deft use of a sense of humor in a maddening situation. A woman – let’s call her Rachel – went into a public service office on her lunch hour to take care of a pressing matter.Continue Reading

3 Noteworthy Developments to the Practice of Your Career

Here are three noteworthy developments that are relevant to your practice of career and/or your practice for adapting to/anticipating change. Game Crush What it is Online Video Game meets Online Dating meets Porn GamesBeat reported on a new online service called GameCrush that offers young hard-core video-game-playing males, the opportunity to indulge their addiction withoutContinue Reading

Re-learning to type – the DVORAK Typing System

Let’s see … what could I do to make it even more difficult to get things done.  Oh, I know.  I could work with one hand tied behind my back, or I could switch over to the Dvorak system.   In case you hadn’t heard, the QWERTY system was designed to slow down typing speedsContinue Reading

What we can learn from Bing vs. Google

I was reading an article recently about Bing vs. Google Search by David Pogue where he gives a very clear summary of how Bing is better.  Bing by the way is Microsoft’s answer to Google search which has become the closest connection most of us have to God. You can get an answer, or ratherContinue Reading

News at the speed of light

“My dad didn’t wake up this morning. I’m sure you’ll all hear about it. It hasn’t yet hit me but it’s about to.” This was a tweet from Billy Mays’ Jr. breaking the news of the death of his father, legendary pitch man Billy Mays on Sunday June 28th 2009. Just to get a senseContinue Reading

Move over email and Twitter, Google Wave is coming

Recently, I was reading “Why Twitter Will Soon Become Obsolete” by Jason Clark .  Very well written and insightful piece that was another reminder of how rapidly change is coming at us. Jason makes the case that while micro-blogging – the 140 character limit of posts (tweets) that Twitter pioneered – is here to stay,Continue Reading

Mexican Music

Mexican Music

I’m standing in a subway car heading to midtown Manhattan.  The train is crowded and at a stop, I become aware of two short guys wearing cowboy hats, one with a guitar and the other with an accordion get on.   I’ve seen this before, these guys work the trains for money.  They play aboutContinue Reading