If you only read one thing this week…

Multi-tasking: is it making us less productive? by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
January 28, 2008, 5:02 pm
Filed under: Articles, If you only have 15 mins, Management, Time management

“Multitasking, a definition: ‘The attempt by human beings to operate like computers, often done with the assistance of computers’ “.

Most of the reports I have read about multi-tasking recently focus on asserting that it is something that women are more likely to be good at than men. This article  in the Atlantic is a rant against multi-tasking in any form. It is a highly personal account by Walter Kirn of his own struggles with it, backed by interesting quotations and scientific facts.


Work life balance and Blackberries. by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
December 12, 2007, 6:05 pm
Filed under: If you only have 15 mins, Time management

PC World is running an article on a revolt by Australian government staff who do not want to be issues Blackberries. It seems that some people are worried that constant access, and the expectation of constant attention to the devices, erodes the work / life balance to a degree that they are unwilling to accept. Read the article here, and tell us whether you are troubled or delighted by your CrackBerry

Surveys…. and Monkeys! by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
October 12, 2007, 3:28 pm
Filed under: If you have 30 mins, Management, organizational learning, Time management

Some of us groan when a survey monkey link turns up in our inboxes. Others of us like the distraction! For me, it really depends on the quality of the questions – are they relevant, easy to understand AND easy to answer? The advantage of tools like survey monkey is that they make it possible for anyone to send a survey. The disadvantage of these tools is that they make it possible for anyone to send a survey!!  Too many surveys are put together without thinking about how the questions are worded and are also never tested. This is frustrating for anyone trying to respond but even more frustrating for the people who are doing the survey when they get misleading or un-useful information back. Help is at hand though from the “Monkey Team” at survey monkey. They have put together a set of guidelines on Smart Survey Design I recommend it for anyone when they next come to put a survey together.

Feeling overwhelmed by email? Declare bankruptcy! by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
May 30, 2007, 4:38 pm
Filed under: If you only have 15 mins, Time management

The Washington Post is running an article here about people who have gotten so far behind, and so overwhelmed by the volume of email that they get that they have erased it all and either started over, or sworn off email altogether.

“Last month, venture capitalist Fred Wilson … declared a 21st century kind of bankruptcy. In a posting on his blog … Wilson announced he was giving up on responding to all the e-mail piled up in his inbox.

“I am so far behind on e-mail that I am declaring bankruptcy,” he wrote. “If you’ve sent me an e-mail (and you aren’t my wife, partner, or colleague), you might want to send it again. I am starting over.”

Stanford University technology professor Lawrence Lessig publicly declared e-mail bankruptcy [a while back] after being deluged by thousands of e-mails. “I eventually got to be so far behind that I was either going to spend all my time answering e-mails or I was going to do my job,”

“I’d get to work and start answering e-mail — three hours later, I’d say, “Oh, what was I supposed to do today?” Knuth said that he has no regrets.

Of course, if you don’t want the public shame of bankruptcy, you could always declare a hard-drive crash!

Multi tasking will slow you down by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
April 12, 2007, 6:39 pm
Filed under: If you only have 15 mins, Time management

Multi-taskers beware! That’s the take home from a New York Times article that summarises a range of research on brain effectiveness while trying to do more than one thing. The bottom line?

Multitasking is going to slow you down, increasing the chances of mistakes,” said David E. Meyer, a cognitive scientist and director of the Brain, Cognition and Action Laboratory at the University of Michigan. “Disruptions and interruptions are a bad deal from the standpoint of our ability to process information.

Read the whole article here.

More effective meetings by ifyouonlyreadonethingthisweek
May 14, 2006, 10:03 pm
Filed under: Articles, If you only have 15 mins, Time management

A lot of us spend a LOT of our time in meetings – some more productive than others! I, for one, often 'multi-task' in meetings, even though I know that nothing then gets 100% of my attention and this is inefficient. This article is clearly written by someone who has experienced a lot of the same pain and has some useful suggestions for how all of us could get more out of the time that we sit in meetings. The link will take you to the article.