Displaying All Posts from April, 2010

Getting “Prosonal”

One of the things that can have a strong impact on how awesome your work is—or becomes—is how you handle yourself both personally and professionally. As I’ve said before, it’s a tricky balance. So tricky, in fact, that it may not even be worth challenging. I mean, trying to shift between how you act and react on a professional level versus how you do so on a personal level is as daunting as it sounds. You’ve got be constantly aware of where you’re at, what you’re doing—you have to mind you p’s and q’s all the time. With that in mind, I’m going to propose something radical to you.

Don’t.

You shouldn’t even bother trying. What’s the point of distilling the personal from the professional? It’s an exercise in futility—I tried it for years. It just doesn’t work.

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Don’t Increase Your Willpower — Reduce Your Options

A little over a year ago, I started going on a low information diet. Rather than just reduce the number of feeds in my RSS reader, I dumped them all in one shot. I knew myself well enough to realize that I would open up the reader the moment I felt the need to postpone taking action on something important. So I still found myself opening the reader, but there was nothing in it that would serve as a tool for procrastination. Rather than just limiting my email consumption to one or two scheduled sessions per day, I added Gmail.com to Leechblock, a Firefox extension that blocks your access to designated sites for designated time periods.

The principle is simple: it’s easier to increase our concentration by controlling our environment than controlling our attention. By setting the conditions in which we operate on the front end, we spare ourselves the order of having to make moment-to-moment decisions for staying on task. I kept trying to open GReader and Gmail, despite my conscious commitment to the low information diet. The problem isn’t changing a behavior, it’s changing a habit, and a habit is much more deep-seated and has more momentum than a single action.

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Reading Blogs Like Books

In my last post, I talked about how I gave up reading blogs for a while by dumping all of my feeds from Google Reader. Initially I still found myself opening GReader, but since it was devoid of content, the habit died much more quickly than if I would have just tried to restrain myself from opening GReader.

A couple of months later, when I felt that I had the habit under control, I started adding a feed or two — or six or eight — to the reader, until I realized that I was back where I started. Whenever I was bored or anxious, feed reading was my crutch activity. So I dumped the feeds again and recovered.

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Get Promoted Without Working Any Harder

This isn’t a get-rich quick scheme. There’s no trickery or deception involved. Believe it or not, promotions and raises are usually made based on perceived competence—the important word being perceived. These tips are not meant to hide incompetence (if that’s your problem you need a whole different article!). These are here to help you show your boss and coworkers how competent you are, and to keep you from accidentally convincing people you aren’t. Click Here to Read Article …

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Memo:Random #31

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How to Concatenate Multiple CSV Files in Excel

Do you have a bunch of similarly formatted Excel spreadsheets piling up in your Documents folder? I don’t know about you, but I’d rather see one large worksheet than see the same collection of data spread out over dozens of worksheets. Let’s roll them all up into one. Click Here to Read Article …

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So You Think You’re Ready For Management? Think Again.

So a great management position has just come your way and you’d love that new title — not to mention the salary bump. But, before you rush to submit your application think long and hard about whether you have not only the right skills, but also the right personality for the job — especially if the managerial position you’re interested in includes supervising others.

No matter how good that pay increase may sound or how impressive the title may be, understand that not everyone is cut out for management. Sure, you may have been with at the company for several years now and you may have mastered the skill set required for your current position. But that still doesn’t necessarily qualify you for management. Being an effective manager requires a set of interpersonal skills and personality traits that may not be required for your current position.

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Stop Being Nervous About Public Speaking

I need you to give a presentation on our reorganization plan to the rest of the group. This is your baby, so there’s no one more qualified than you to explain it.

Why are you hiding under the desk? Stop sobbing. It’s only 30 people. Sure the big boss will be there. But this is your chance to show everyone what you got.

And you’re afraid to show everyone you have a severe case of stage fright.

You need to relax. You can do this. Even if you’re a certified introvert. Let me tell you how I get through these presentations.

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What Goes in Your Mouth Comes out in Your Reports

Many people don’t take into account the importance of a balanced diet let alone when it’s related to work. Employees often put work before health, drinking multiple cups of coffee or skipping lunch or dinner in exchange for more time to do those reports, never wondering about the effects these habits have on their health. I turned to an expert for advice.

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Memo:Random #30

 

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Be the Wheat, Not the Chaff

Photo by Armando Maynez.

I’m a fan of beer, especially wheat beer. Light and flavourful, and it’s about the time of year where one can really enjoy it. We’re coming into that time of year, and as I sit here enjoying a frosty cold beverage I can’t help but think of what led me to this point in my work/life balance.

You guessed it – I’m not here to write about beer.

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If You Want to Quit Your Job, Get a Plan in Place

I quit my job last month. After 15 years working for a newspaper company – most of it blogging and creating online content – I decided it was time to become my own boss.

Actually I decided almost a year ago. But the timing wasn’t right so I prepared carefully for the day I could make a clean break. In that time, I took several steps to put me in a good position to start a freelance career.

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