Gilad"s shared items

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Taking productivity to the next level

Originally uploaded by rachelluttrell

"Self development" literature tends to focus on the "self".

How to set goals, manage your time and tasks. Building information management systems, being organized. How to stay in focus and be motivated. Having healthy and intimate relationships.

Self-growth is a hard and never ending mission, which I struggle with every day.

Albert Einstein once said:

"No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it."

The same is true with the problem of personal growth.

In The The 8th Habit, Stephan Covey, talks about taking growth to the next level. How? Find your Voice & Inspire Others to find Theirs. Become a leader.

Leadership by Covey does not depend on your on your formal position, it is an attitude. What ever is your position is in an organization, you can always take the "personal-growth" ideas and implement them on the team/group/community/organization level.

The framework for growth focus on all 4 sides of being human:

  • Body:
    Personal - exercise, be healthy, control your impulses, develop good habits and work to eliminate bad habits.
    Team /Organization - build good routines and information flow systems, keep the organization healthy by making sure it meets the needs for survival (i.e. economic growth, members satisfaction).

  • Mind:
    Personal - Learn all the time, expend your skills and responsibilities. Visualise yourself in a year from now, 3 years, 20 years. Set goals and plan to achieve them.
    Team/Organization - Develop a mission statement, a vision. Plan for the long term goals.

  • Heart:
    Personal - Learn to recognize your emotions and to control them. Develop heart-full relationships in your family, with friends and colleagues.
    Team/Organization - Trust (verb and noun) your team members, be a trustworthy person. Develop relationships inside the group and with other groups. Empower team members by beliveing in them and helping them in a significant way(for them).

  • Spirit:
    Personal - Live by principles and values. Contribute to make the world a better place.
    Team/Organization - Act according to pricipels and values. Meet a genuine need in the world. "Don't be evil".

Questions to ask on a daily basis
(team = team/organization/group)

  • Do I identify with my team values?
  • How are my goals meet the goals of my team?
  • How can my team grow and improve?
  • How can I help my team members?
  • How can I become a leader and a force of growth in my team?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

"All the good ideas I ever had came to me while I was milking a cow", Grant Wood

Having a personal organization system is vital for achieving a state of flow in your life. It releases your mind for creativity and growth.

I'm using remember the milk as my task manager.


  • It is simple, clean, streaming and have a zen like feeling to its design. No clutter, everything is clear, and easy to maintain.

  • Great keyboard interface. almost everything can be done from the keyboard. adding tasks, tagging them, prioritizing, updating, adding links/notes/due dates. even batch editing (use the 'm'ulti-mode).

  • used as a module in my personal management system. It has great gadgets for your mobile phone, personalized homepage, calender, maps, dashboard, email, and with the new Google gears feature you don't have to be connected to have your list.

  • using tags and smart lists you can customize the way you using RTM. you can tag task by project, context, location, status, and then have specialized lists using the tags.

  • Sharing tasks is great for project management, family messages and shopping lists.
Here is how I use RTM:
  • I have only few lists:
    • Inbox - for fast insertion of tasks, that i can process later.
    • tagged - all processed tasks
    • projects - list projects and for every project i have and Outcome, progress, and reference notes.
    • goals - prioritized by: short term(few months), medium term (1-3 years), long term (3-20 years)
  • I tag every task by project, location, context, and any other tag that come into mind. On my weekly review I go over my tag cloud instead of on lists.
  • I use smartlists to have a list of tasks i use. Then I have a RTM gadget on my iGoogle page, in addition to the main RTM gadget that I use as my "hard landscape", that i change to watch the list I want at any given depending on what I work on.
  • Get Things Done - on my weekly review I tag tasks I want to complete this week as 'thisweek', then I go over the list and give a due date for each task on the list. I make sure that I have an action for every project I'm working on. This way I know I'm going to make progress on all my projects.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Focus, Focus, Focus

Originally uploaded by bocavermelha-l.b.

Want to be productive - you must get focused

One of the key concepts of getting into a mode of flow in your work is control over the conscience and the ordering of it. When you are in the flow, your creativity appear, you are "in the zone", you can solve any problem. When you are not focused, you can think only in short bursts, you are preoccupied with other things, your brain is submerged in noise. Therefore you feel obliged to take a break and recharge your energy, but when you get back to your desk, this all process start again.

How do I break the cycle and get focused?

  • Clear your head, the most basic principle of GTD, take it out of your head and into your organization system. Anything that pops into your head, just take it out of there a soon as possible.

  • Time boxes, eliminate all distractions - email, phone, people, news feeds for a short defined period of time (30-60 mins). Nothing will break during this time, that is why you don't need to worry about the things you are not doing.

  • Script it, select the next 3 most important tasks (MIT) and actively think only on them, all others tasks does not exist now. Visualise yourself doing the tasks and the outcomes of completing the tasks

  • Do the task for its own sake - this was the key for me, similar to the Jewish tradition that you learn the holy texts "LiSh'ma" (for its own name) not for achieving knowledge, not for achieving reward, not because this is your religious obligation, but because you want to learn. You do somthing beacuse you want to do it.

    But why should this work? we are attracted to doing stuff that gives us fast feedback. You want to get feedback and reinforcment for your actions as fast as possible, why wait for a week to see the results of preparing to a meeting a week from now, when you can read a 100 more posts from your very important news feeds, and see your list of "to-read" get shrinked by a 100. So how do we break this habit. We do a task beacuse we want to do it. we visualise us doing the task and having the doing as the reward.

    "The Journey is the Destination" when you act by this motto you always have feedback and reward in your actions - if you are focused and actualy do what you planned of doing. when you actually complete the task, your reward is doubbled. with a doubble reward you will make the habit of being in focus even stronger.

So choose your next task, visualise yourself doing it, focus on the doing as your reward and actually GET THINGS DONE

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Freedom Writers

I just finished watching the amazing Freedom Writers movie. The story is similar to other teacher movies which are based on true stories,Coach Carter for example. But the acting in this movie is superb as is the real story.

It is unbelievable what one person can achieve with when he/she really believe in the value of its own work, and how empowering it can be if you set up a system of trust and believing in the unique voice of each individual in the group.

The environment created in that class room by this "novice" teacher, should be a model for every team and group of people working together. And the teacher's attitude of no obstacles just opportunities, should be a model for my own attitude.

Lessons from the Freedom Writers can be learned on so many levels: motivation, power of commitment to change and growth, blame-everybody vs. you can make a change, leadership, education and parenting, overcoming obstacles and so more.

I'm still owed by this story, go now and watch the movie or read the book.

Go Freedom Writers

Saturday, June 2, 2007

The best way to learn a new set of skills requires two steps

The best way to learn a new set of skills requires two steps:

  • Doing it
  • Teaching it

Doing it
Michel Jordan once said:
I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

You cannot be good in something if you have not practiced it. You want to be a good speaker; grab any opportunity you have of presenting something to a big audience, try Toastmasters. Sure you will suck at the beginning but after 1000 presentations you will be a great speaker. To develop any skill be it mental, emotional or physical you have to train yourself. Before you can run a marathon you need to train and run 5 miles. You want to own your own business, first be a leader in your own job - do your job to perfection, help colleagues as best as you can , be proactive and make a change in your organizational environment.

To help you do what you want to do, commit yourself publicly to your goals. Tell to all your friends what your goal is, write about it in your blog. The public commitment well help you stay focused on your goal in the first steep steps of the learning curve.

Teaching it
To really understand a subject deeply, the best way it to teach it to someone. When you teach you must reorganize your knowledge of the subject and connect it to other parts of your memory and associations. When you don't teach the material will probably stay in your memory in the same format it was presented to you and only few connections will be made with your full knowledge and skills.

This are the main reasons way I write a blog. I wanted to improve my writing and what a better way then committing to write a few posts a week. I want to develop myself and the blog is a place to publicly commit to my goals. And one of the best ways to make knowledge be an integral part of the way I think is to try and teach it to others, it using the blog platform I can receive continuous feedback from my readers on how am I doing and have a place to return and tap my knowledge about personal growth.