Prioritizing work is like making a sandwich; everyone does it slightly differently and everyone thinks they know best. If your go-to strategy hasn’t been working recently or you’ve never settled on a way to prioritize the multitude of things you have to do in a day, you should try the 1-3-5 rule.
The basic idea is that you pick 1 “big” task, 3 “medium” tasks, and 5 “little” tasks to accomplish in a day. One of the biggest causes of work stress is dealing with long-term projects that suddenly end up behind schedule because they were never urgent enough to get on your radar. By prioritizing ahead of time and making sure some of those long-term projects that just love to go forgotten get on the list you can make major strides in reducing your stress at work.
At the very least, you’ll know what to work on each day and 9 tasks a day, every day, is a whole lotta forward progress.
Turns out the best way to get the most from your creativity is by maintaining high levels of the feel-good chemicals serotonin. Coffee helps too. Shiv explains:
“The path [to higher serotonin] begins with proper rest. A minimum of 30 minutes — but ideally up to 2 hours — of deep sleep reduces cortisol levels and boosts serotonin.…Diet matters, too. A high-protein breakfast is easily converted into serotonin and dopamine, while caffeine is a physiological arouser, meaning it will amplify whatever emotions one is already feeling….Cardiovascular exercise is also critical. When the heart muscles pump faster, they release a peptide believed to help produce serotonin. That means considering a brisk walk before an afternoon meeting — or better yet, walk and talk.”
Read the full article here.
Previously (on serotonin): Simon Sinek: Leadership Is Not a Rank, It’s a Decision.
David Hieatt of Hiut Denim Co. has advice for the makers of the world (or even those just interested in business models). His company brought back the jean making industry that had died in Cardigan, UK years prior. They founded Hiut with the mission of producing the finest quality jeans, though they knew that alone wouldn’t lead to success.
Here’s one of our favorite parts:
IV) No one goes to bed at night and dreams of quality.
We make one of the best pair of jeans on the planet. And we are very proud of that. But that doesn’t mean that is the best way of selling it.
Quality is what we make. It’s what we stand for. It’s what we believe in. But it is not how we will sell our jeans. People have desires and dreams and you have to learn how to make your product fit into them.
People buy a lifestyle, an image, a purpose, a superiority, part of a small elite club, rejection of the norm. Part of your job will be to understand their desires, and make sure what you make appeals to them.
Your customers go to bed each night and dream their dreams. They dream about changing the world, they dream about starting an amazing company, they dream about all sorts of crazy stuff. But they rarely dream about quality.
Don’t ever compromise on quality. But sell the dream.
Read the rest over at The Holborn.
Every office has a person racing from desk to desk, talking loud and fast, checking and replying on their mobile; always on the go. They look important, they feel important, but actually, they are stressing out of their coworkers. As the Wall Street Journal explains:
Ray Hollinger was known for years among colleagues in a previous job as a sales-training executive as “Mr. Busy,” he says. In his quest to be a top performer, he says, he often thought, “If all this stuff just keeps coming at me, I will take it on. I will take it all on,” says Mr. Hollinger, founder of More Time More Sales, a Phoenixville, Pa., training firm.
He says he wasn’t aware that his constant motion sometimes made others feel uncomfortable—until a co-worker pointed it out. She told him that when she tried to talk with him, ” ‘your volume goes up, your pace of speaking goes up, and you’re not fully in the conversation,’ ” he says.
It’s even worse in open offices.
When the boss has a view of the entire office, “no one wants to be seen as the slowest moving object in the solar system. You have to keep up with the Joneses—literally,” says Ben Jacobson, co-founder of Conifer Research, Chicago, which conducts behavioral and cultural research for companies.
Gawker has a long form piece up about the cultural shift of attitude against snark (for example, Buzzfeed recently announced their refusal to post book critiques that are anything less than positive). Writer Tom Scocca warns that this shift has opened the field up to an even worse “quick schema of superiority,” something called “smarm.”
Smarm is a kind of performance—an assumption of the forms of seriousness, of virtue, of constructiveness, without the substance. Smarm is concerned with appropriateness and with tone. Smarm disapproves.
This kind of reaction against critics is a new way of avoiding taking responsibility and of invalidating the critic. It’s an exaggeration of the “haters gonna hate” mentality; where any kind of criticism is blown off or dismissed because it merely isn’t more praise. While not all negative comments should be taken to heart, they should be given the time to be acknowledged and evaluated. They may have some kind of point you hadn’t thought of before
The evasion of disputes is a defining tactic of smarm. Smarm, whether political or literary, insists that the audience accept the priors it has been given. Debate begins where the important parts of the debate have ended.
Read the rest of Scocca’s piece for a more detailed explanation.
It’s the ultimate life-dream: To be taken under the wing of a benevolent, all-knowing, paternal mentor, who will surface your strengths and open the doors for you into success. While mentors are a real thing, the rest of life doesn’t always work that way. Mentors have their own lives to tend outside of their protégés; their own separate goals, motivations, and perspectives. In a new piece up by Robert Sutton at the Harvard Business Review, even Sheryl Sandberg warned against taking mentor’s advice without a strong dose of salt.
Here’s a few of the points Sutton says you need to keep in mind:
Are you straying from the path that your mentor has taken? Piles of research on “social similarity” or “similarity-attraction” effects suggest that most mentors will have a positive reaction to paths you take that are reminiscent of their own and a negative reaction to paths that clash with their past choices. So if your mentor spent a year working in, say, China as part of his or her career and you are about to turn down a similar opportunity, don’t be surprised if he or she sees it as a mistake. . .
Do your peers — and those you lead or mentor — know more about you than your mentor does? There is a structural problem with many mentor-mentee relationships that I have implied in past writings: A large body of research shows that, in pecking orders of any kind, the people (and in, fact, animals) who have less power attended more closely to and understand those with more power than the other way around (see here and here). This so called “asymmetry of attention” means that you probably know a lot more about your mentor (who is likely more powerful than you) than your mentor knows about you. Consider some implications. You may be overestimating how well your mentor knows and understands you as a result (and thus putting too much faith in his or her advice). Such asymmetry also suggests that your peers, our better yet, the people who you lead and mentor, may give you the best advice.
As we do every Friday, we’ve collected our most-shared Twitter links for your weekend reading pleasure.
From the web: