Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Time to Come Clean… Again.

You can’t have everything.

…where would you put it?

By the same token, you can’t do everything either.

If you notice the dates on my posts you might think that this blog is dead (which is why I might just take them off), but you’d only be partially right.

I like to call it, ‘hibernation’.

When an animal is hibernating, they are taking care of themselves, refueling, resting, so when they come out of hibernation they are even better than before, ready to take on the world.

Well, I’m getting ready.

Plus, I’ve been doing stuff over at The Rex Blog lately.  Check it out for fun.

Thanks for sticking around.

Buy a Book, Save a Life

Problem:

1.  Every 45 seconds a child dies from malaria.

2.  You don’t get a chance to save a child’s life.

Solution:

Buy this book, End Malaria, and your $20 will go to buy some mosquito nets, which I guess they don’t have enough of in Africa.  Seems simple enough.

The thing is, they know for a fact that mosquito nets will protect children and others from the mosquitoes that carry malaria.  It’s a simply preventable disease that no one should have to endure.  Especially when a lot of us could skip a lunch for $20 and help those less fortunate.

And if you do it today, you’ll be a part of End Malaria Day, where the book will reach #1 on Amazon and save 4 million lives.

Here’s Seth Godin’s message from the Domino Project.

You may be only one person, but you count.

P.S.  Oh, and the book is good too.

Audio Post


Entertain with Video

Problem:

There’s not enough fun and entertainment in your work environment.

Solution:

Create an entertaining video that people will talk about.

Now, I’m not talking about something with song and dance in it (although that might not be a bad idea), I’m just saying that you need to be a little creative in assembling a good video.  It’s amazing how hard it is for us to create an entertaining video when we’ve all grown up watching them on TV.  There must be some kind of deception factor that lulls us into the TV and we think that is just real life or something.  It’s actually probably the skill of the producers.

Sure, footage on TV is done by a whole crew, with top notch equipment, writers, directors, and the works, but that shouldn’t stop us from learning what we can from what we see.

The next time you watch a commercial, instead of getting drawn into the message or story, try to step back and observe all the pieces of the production – the different camera angles, the short clips, the music, the script, storyline, transitions, etc.  And see if you can add a few of those concepts to your videos.  Those pieces make it entertaining.

It’s nice to have nice equipment, but you’ll have more creating something unexpected and entertaining that helps people remember you or your message.

P.S. I do have more videos in the works, but I’m going on vacation next week, so you’ll have to wait. (I just had an idea: VACATION Videos!  No doubt I’ll have some interesting footage I can share.)

Ricky’s Big Toe

Problem:

Everything’s the same.  You live in monotony, sameness, and routine.

Solution:

Do something completely out of the ordinary.  Write a poem. Wear unmatching socks. Sing at a group meeting.  Create some excitement and variety in your life while practicing the skill of fighting the status quo.

Our minds cling to reason and sensibility, which is good for many reasons, but sometimes it keeps us from pushing the boundaries, from exploring the edge of what is possible.  It keeps us from doing things that are remarkable because it’s safer to fit in, not stand out.

Creativity has the power to solve all your problems.  But you’ve got to exercise that muscle.

And watch out for Ricky’s big toe…

Create a Library

Problem:

Most people in your group don’t know all the cool stuff you know or haven’t read the latest books.

Solution:

Sometimes it’s hard to have a meaningful conversation with your co-workers because they can’t relate to all the things you’re learning.  So make it as easy as possible for them to gain the same knowledge as you, create a library at your desk.

Some people are very protective of their books (I know I can be, especially the signed ones) but ideas that spread, win, so we should do our part to spread the good ones.

Bring in a handful of your favorite business books, create some kind of a check-out sheet so you know who has it and for how long, and spread the word(s).

At first, they may not all be scrambling to check out your books, so you might have to bring up the ideas in conversations a little more, or apply them in your work and tell people the source.  Then mention, “By the way, I have a copy of that book right at my desk you could check out for a while.”

With a very low barrier for them to get their hands on the actual source, you’ll make the spread of ideas easy.  And you’ll be a source of learning, the person people go to to find the latest thinking.

Plus, if you get a few people to read a book, you’ll have something in common and interesting to talk about.  It’ll bond you as a group in a different way.  You might even be able to start a small movement to implement the things you’ve learned.

That’s good grootship.  That’s being a Linchpin.

Write Poetry

Problem:

People get too many emails every day that are just boring.  The same old thing, somebody wants some information, or to have a meeting, there’s an announcement about a charity fundraiser, a broadcast message that the parking lot will be under construction, you know what I mean.

Solution:

If you’re going to write so much every day in emails, why not make them interesting? Write in poetry or prose.  You’ll really catch someone off guard and maybe even spread a trend.  You’ll find other closet poets emerge sending you their masterpieces and you get to know who has much of a right brain or sense of humor in your office.

If you need to send a short message or give a quick reply, just try putting a little rhythm and rhyme to it and see what happens.  If your note needs to be longer, just throw in a little poem at the end

Granted, it will take you a little longer to put the words together, but you’ll have created something worth reading, and will have injected a little fun into someone’s day.  It’s something to talk about.

It doesn’t take much

Just an arrangement of words

In a familiar form

So they all get heard.

See, it’s as simple as that.  Try it.  It’s good for your brain.

Hold a Contest

Problem:

There’s no excitement in your office.  There’s nothing interesting for people to talk about.

Solution:

Hold a contest.  It doesn’t matter what for, how you set it up, or what the prize is, just have one, and make it something people will talk about.

You don’t need to ask permission, just make it sound like some big company contest and no one will ever know.  Or just keep it within your organization, it’s up to you.

Put up flyers, send out mass emails, post it on your blog, in your newsletter, or set up a sign on your desk.  However you want to spread the word, make it sound like a big deal.  And just go buy a nice prize if you want to, a gift card, dinner for two, or free massage.

I’m sure you can think of your own creative ideas for things to do, but here are a few off the top of my head.  The winner is the person who:

  • can solve this puzzle first
  • writes the best quote of the day
  • draws the best cartoon of the CEO
  • comes  up with the best idea for a contest
  • designs the coolest logo
  • has the funniest true company story
  • knows the answer to this trivia question
  • can guess correctly the exact weight of the receptionist this object
  • has the best new product idea
  • has the best idea for saving the company $millions$

Now wouldn’t that be something people would talk about?  It may even produce something valuable to the company.  In fact, I know it will,  because it will be something for people to get excited about, to try their hand at winning, a reason to connect with each other, a reason to pay attention when you announce the winner, it’ll be something different, something remarkable. 

That value is worth more than money because it’s taking a risk, shaking up the status quo, and making a difference.  It’s grootship!

Take a Power Nap

Post by  Eric, Third Degree Enigma

Problem:

You get a little drowsy in the afternoon and have a hard time being productive.  Your mind gets fuzzy.

Solution:

Research has shown that taking a 20 minute nap in the middle of the day resets the learning centers of the brain and significantly improves learning during afternoon activities.   As a developer, it is not uncommon for me to get very drowsy around 1pm-2pm and be unable to write any decent code for several hours afterward.  Unless, of course, I can get a power nap. 

Napping at work has been problematic for eons.  Your body is screaming at you for a few minutes of brain reorganization and everyone else at work is prone to take a narrow view of your somnolence.   Besides the career-limiting potential that an open nap can have, it is also naturally difficult to get a good nap if you know other people are aware of it.   This is your caveman instinct protecting you from hostile males and predators taking advantage of your lack of consciousness.

Well, I’ve been powernapping successfully as part of my work for many years now.  I find short naps to be an indispensible part of having work-life balance and I’ve figured out a few things to make naps easier and more effective.  Here are some things I have learned: 

  • Take a nap when you are sleepy.  Once your body tells you to nap,  you have 20 minute window to get it.
  • It is critical that you actually go unconscious.  If you stay awake and just rest for a few minutes, you won’t get the benefit. 
  • 20 minutes is plenty.  I set a timer for the 20 minutes, but I almost always wake up before it goes off.  I often find that I have had a little dream, which is my signal that I had a good nap.
  • If you can nap in a semi-private location (such as a closed office), most people, even bosses, don’t particularly care.  They will even be apologetic about  disturbing you.   Napping in the open, however, makes people feel uncomfortable.
  • An office with a door that closes is great, but it is still important to put out a sign to keep people from barging in.   My favorite sign is “email only, please”.
  • If you don’t have a private office for sacking out, try any of the following:  Your car, a nearby park, a forgotten corner of the building, underneath the stairs at the bottom of a deep stairwell, or an unassigned office or cubicle.
  • Put your sleeping supplies (blanket, small pillow, earplugs) in a sports bag so that people don’t question why you are headed out of your office with a blanket and a pillow.   

Sweet dreams!

-Eric, Third Degree Enigma

Always Have a Side Project

Problem:

The work you do doesn’t seem interesting or lend itself to “making a difference.”

Solution:

That’s okay.  The trash still needs to be taken out, those TPS reports still need to be checked for accuracy, and someone needs to process those expense reports.  I know, there are whole groups or even large organizations created solely to do routine work that some people might not find too interesting. 

Sure, you should definitely follow your passion, do something you love and all that, but right now, at this moment, if you don’t see yourself jumping ship to start a blogging career as you travel the world, then try starting with something a little bit smaller.  Create a side project.

What this means is that you have a little idea or effort you’d like to move forward.  It could be an idea for a new product, or an improvement to your process, or a meeting of like minded individuals, or even organizing a pot luck or fun event for your group.  It could be anything.  It just needs to be something that gives you a little extra juice, something you look forward to, that would make you happy to see happen.

And you don’t even have to tell anybody about it until it’s ready.  I’m not suggesting you neglect your other work and responsibilities, I’m just saying use those small free times that are available.  Maybe it’s during lunch or a break, or maybe you’ll have to put in a little extra hours.  It’ll be worth it. 

If it’s really relevant to your work you’ll probably be allowed to spend some regular work hours on it.  That’s the goal.  First get it ready to present to your boss or whoever needs to hear about it.  Gather the data, create a compelling case, write the story.  Then toss it out there.  If it gets rejected, so what?  Try again with something else, or a approach it from a different angle.

The bottom line is, those who are able to go beyond the call of duty, to do more than expected, to step out and take a risk, usually create more opportunities for themselves.  So think about what would really get you jazzed, and just go out and do it.  Your boss really does want creative people who make things better.

You can make a difference by doing something small and different.  That’s all there is to it.  So do it.  Get through it.  Just move it.

And don’t use silly rhymes (unless that’s something small and different.  Hey, it is.  See how easy that was?)

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