Meetings – A Necessary Evil

Meetings - A Necessary Evil

Meetings are seriously the worst. There’s nothing worse than being forced to spend your time on a call or in a room covering the same content you did last week. I struggle to understand why organisations, managers and teams schedule meeting after meeting when none of us really want or need to be there.

The way I see it, a meeting should be a last resort. They should only be held in serious situations or when it will be the most effective way of communicating and collaborating.

Not all meetings are bad of course. In fact, I actually have a pretty fantastic “meeting experience” at work compared to most people I know.

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Being too busy is a Myth

Header Image - Being too Busy is a Myth

I’m currently reading the 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. Groan if you must. I reckon it’s a pretty good book. The concepts he discusses are interesting enough to get you thinking about your own situation which I think is great. In my case it was his take on being busy that inspired me. In fact, within the span of a few days I had a few different resources discuss the concept of being too busy – it’s like the Universe was trying to tell me something!

What being too busy really means.

Being too busy is a myth. We all have stuff to do. What makes one person different to another in this regard? We all have the same amount of minutes in a day. All that differs is how we choose to spend those minutes.

If you’re too busy to do something, it just means that you haven’t made it a priority (yet).

This is why I love the concept of the 4 Hour Workweek. We all busy ourselves with fluff and time wasting activities such that when we go to bed we complain about how little time there was in the day or that we didn’t have enough time to do something we’d planned on doing.

 

Evaluation

The first thing you should do is evaluate the tasks that make up your day. You’ll probably find there are plenty of things you do on a daily basis that are essentially time sinks. You put aside the core, important tasks that will help you move forward, for tasks that are just fillers. These are tasks that may seem important, but really don’t get you anywhere.

Take email for example. How much time do you spend a day checking and responding to email? It’s a big part of most jobs but does it really help you in the long run? Is maintaining a watchful eye on your inbox going to get you that next pay rise? I don’t think so.

Actually doing the things that you don’t really want to do because they involve work or are a challenge, these are the things that will move you forward. Don’t bother with the rest.

When you start focusing your time on the important tasks, you’ll find that you’re no longer “too busy” in the traditional sense.

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A Morning Routine for the Rest of us

A Morning Routine for the Rest of us

If you’re on the productivity bandwagon you’ll undoubtedly have read or heard that having a solid morning routine is one of the key foundations to being productive and successful. Starting your day off correctly sets the mood for the rest of the day and ensures the right frame of mind.

BS!

Don’t get me wrong, I totally agree with starting the day on the right foot (or left!) but it’s just plain silly to promote to the masses a consistent morning routine of reading books while doing yoga on the roof at sunrise. It seems to me that the people promoting this notion don’t have children. If they do, who the heck takes care of them in the morning? Maybe their time management skills are just out of this world… something I don’t think I’ll ever comprehend!

After reading countless books and articles on productivity, to some success, I’ve been able to implement my own morning routine. Not so surprisingly, mornings with the kids completely differ from mornings without. I’ll cover what my productive morning routine is like at the end of the post (it’s not that exciting). For now, here’s:

 

A Morning Routine for the Rest of us

Thursday to Sunday (not super productive)

Let’s start with the days that the kids are at home (Mon – Wed they’re in day care).

6:00 – 7:00am: Somewhere in between this hour of death, the boys (obviously in cahoots with one another) decide to wake up. Our 3yr old will stand out in the living room yelling “DAAADDY” while the baby lies in his crib talking to himself at the top of his lungs (spoken in gibberish of course). Read more

Pomodoro and a Challenge

Pomodoro Technique

Pomodoro! Totally sounds like something I’d eat for dinner… mmmm pomodoro…

Quite the opposite! For those who haven’t heard of it, it’s a technique used to maximise your productivity. We’ve all heard of these things, especially if you work in the corporate world. (HR and management love to go on at length about some sort of productivity method sooner or later).

Pomodoro is one that actually speaks to me and was introduced to me by my good mate Bob. The gist of it is this:

  1. Note what tasks you want to accomplish in the day. (I write them down on my to-do list the morning of or the night before).
  2. Set aside a certain time block to go completely offline and work on one of those tasks.
  3. Set the timer, close off all distractions (email, text messages, phone calls, family, kids, facebook) and FOCUS on the task at hand.
  4. When the time is up, take a short break.
  5. Repeat.

The idea is that you’re going to go completely off grid for a specific amount of time and give 100% focus and attention to a task.

How awesome is that?

These days we’re constantly switched on. I even get bloody emails, texts and calls on my watch. I’m literally connected 24/7 so giving a task 100% of my attention becomes a feat in itself. This is probably why I’ve been pretty slack at blogging (being honest here!).

How Long do I Pomodoro?

You customise Pomodoro to suit you. Read more

Playing Around with Feedburner

Right now this post will have no content, aside from this sentence. Why? Because I’ve decided to try something new!

Until now I’ve been using SumoMe to manage email subscriptions to the blog. Unfortunately it wasn’t working out for me.

Enter FeedBurner! This is simply a test post that’ll remain on the site for about 30-40mins and will allow me to test the email newsletter functionality.

Let’s see how it goes!

Where Does the Time Go?

I can’t believe my last post was on September 6th 2015! That’s almost 2 months ago!

I’m pretty sure I mastered the art of procrastination during this hiatus. Every time I wanted to make a new post, something came up. It was pretty important stuff but still, where’s the dedication Julian?!

Over the past few weeks a LOT has happened. For the bulk of the time we had my wife’s parents visiting from the other side of the planet. Clearly no time for blogging!

Work also took over for a bit with me being added to a new project – fun but exhausting.

And one of my favourite things… I was able to work on and launch my new course on Udemy. Very happy about that! It’s the course I mentioned in my Secure Password Management post. I’ll have a post on the course later. Know that I’m super excited though!

Other than that, all spare time has been spent with my boys. It’s just incredible how quickly the little one is growing. He’s already 5 months old! Time is just flying! It’s the reason why I’ve decided not to stick to a regular posting schedule. I don’t want to sacrifice time with my boys for the blog. The blog will always be here, their baby/toddler years won’t.

I’m sure all you parents out there understand!

That said, posts are coming, so stay tuned!