The paper block is just that, a block of scratch paper that you can terror off. Like a 3M sticky note, but no sticky side. Just paper. The paper block has become a key part of my GTD dump process. Someone storms into my office with something for me to do while I am already working on a project. I jott it down on my paper block, rip of the page and put it in my inbox. Then continue on what I was originally working on. Someone calls while I am in the middle of an office memo e-mail, I write it down on my paper block, rip it off and put it in my inbox.
I find it so much better then using sticky notes. It’s so simple and easy.
I believe that for day-to-day getting things done, print is a better form of handwriting then cursive. Print is easier to read and I think when you see notes or directions in a format that is easier to read your less intimidated by them. It is so frustrating to be given hand written cursive notes and spending the next half hour trying to interpret them. People write down notes in cursive so fast that the end result is illegible.
If people slow down just a little bit to make sure their writing is legible to anyone who reads it, there is less of a chance of miss understanding notes and directions. The same could be said of cursive hand writing. Slow down and anyone can read it. But my argument is more related to the fact that Print is easier to read then cursive.
This also lead me to think about fonts used on a computer. By default there are very few (if any) cursive style fonts on computers. Can you imagine how strained your eyes would be if the Macintosh Finder or the Windows start menu used cursive fonts instead of print fonts?
Cursive has it’s place in society. I just think it’s home is in typography art.
This is why Google Reader is so awesome. Because people like my friend Kanske, can read about (or in this case watch) a cool story on cognitive surplus, and share it out so friends on his contact list can learn about it too.
That is exactly how I came across a post by Jeremy Zawodny on “Explaining the Cognitive Surplus” that had a very cool video of Clay Shirky‘s talk on Cognitive Surplus at the Web 2.0 Expo last week. I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did. It’s a real eye opener in explaining that watching T.V. should no longer be the default spare time activity.
I think my current and most active hobby has become productivity in general. Something about learning new ways to be come more efficient at what I do at the office excites me. I share this hobby with people I work with and friends. I do this because it might improve their productivity as well. The process of talking with people about my ideas can also lead to new ideas that can improve productivity even more.
Interruption is the most detrimental thing to productivity. It doesn’t matter what is going on. If you ask a coworker a question, that person has to switch gears to answer your question, and then switch back to address the task they where originally working on. To me that is just bad edict. Especially when the question does not need to be answered right that second.
The next time your at the office and you have a question for one of your coworkers you should ask yourself the following:
“Do I need an answer to this right this second?”
In my experience the answer to that question most of the time is “no”. What you should do is write the question down in an e-mail, send it off, and then move on to the next task. Your coworker will address the question the next time he or she is focused on their e-mail. You will then have the answer for your question during an appropriate time you can deal with it. This kind of work flow really does make one much more productive.
But to approach someone or to call out their name from across the office will interfere and affect their work flow. Sometimes it is just unavoidable. Nothing much can be done about that. However, most of the time it is avoidable. Not everything you are working on requires an instant response. So rather then interrupting a person, no matter what they are doing at the time, send your question in an e-mail. If someone writes you with a question, respond to them in that e-mail rather then verbally interrupting them. This process will save you so much time in the long run.
CNNMoney.com has a good news story on Disney’s CEO Bob Iger and how he works. This news story peeked my interest because it fits in the whole Getting Things Done methodology that I’m really into. A methodology that has made me very productive at work.
Among other things Bob Iger says:
I get up at 4:30 in the morning, seven days a week, no matter where I am in the world. It’s a time of day when I can be very productive without too much interruption. I ride a bike and use aerobic equipment twice a week, and work out with a trainer, lifting weights. It’s a good time to think. I believe that exercise relieves stress and contributes to an improvement in stamina, which in a job like this you absolutely need.