Important, non-urgent tasks are the usual victim of my procrastination. For so long, there’s this one item that I’ve been dreading to do: updating our company profile. Every time I check my daily to-dos, it would sit right on top — highlighted in red — staring, begging at me to cross her off my list. I would coyly pretend that I don’t see it and skip right to the next item. On some days, I would stare at it, try to summon strength to actually do it then back down at the last minute.
This goes on for a while: 233 days to be exact. Then last week, a client asked for our portfolio. I pulled out our portfolio and prepare to send it. Then it hit me: all of the portfolios listed are dated and now irrelevant. I was trapped, it was the point of no return. I have to do it now.
Few hours and 3 cups of coffee later, I was happy to cross it off my list. Sometimes push is not enough. Sometimes you need to be trapped that the only way of getting out is to deal with it.
MG Siegler agreeing with this New York Times article:
Just in time for the Labor Day holiday in the United States, Clive Thompson dives into the thing that will ruin the holiday for so many:
Why would less email mean better productivity? Because, as Ms. Deal found in her research, endless email is an enabler. It often masks terrible management practices.
When employees shoot out a fusillade of miniature questions via email, or “cc” every team member about each niggling little decision, it’s because they don’t feel confident to make a decision on their own. Often, Ms. Deal found, they’re worried about getting in trouble or downsized if they mess up.
This seems exactly right. I’d venture to guess that most email that is sent in the work environment doesn’t need to be sent. But it is as a way to cover one’s own ass.
In my experience, this goes beyond email. This happens on a daily basis and in all form of office communications (IMs, meetings, etc.). Some employees have a bad habit of including everyone or someone who has authority on the loop to sidestep blame or to at least “reduce” the blame on them. They think they are off the hook by asking someone’s approval before making the decision. By doing so, they can say, “hey, didn’t I asked you about this?”
Brent Simmons on being wrong in the internet:
But to do that means thinking a little bit differently than you may be used to. Instead of taking feedback as criticism or correction, take it to mean that the process is working. If you learn something or change your thinking, then that’s great. That’s the point.
I couldn’t agree more. The stigma of being wrong is such a huge impediment to self-improvement. Which reminds of this:
xkcd: Duty Calls
The hardest thing for me to do is sitting still, so when I have a chance to do so, I do. When planning my first (real & no-work, no-computer) vacation, I promised myself — I will learn to just sit still.
I feel his pain. Every time we plan for a vacation, the thought of getting off the grid would briefly play with my mind. Then my senses would come around and take it back.