The Productivity Manifesto Checklist

 
I was talking with my sister over the XMAS holidays and somehow we landed on the subject of being MORE productive in the coming year and started comparing "time management" systems, tips, and tricks.

What started as a simple email the next day grew into a "The Productivity Manifesto Checklist". It was a list of the most powerful and useful tools that made a difference to me.

FULL DISCLAIMER: I'm a just a normal dude, not a certified project manager. I'm a DevOps at heart and thus constantly tweaking things in my own life to make it better. There are a few affiliate links to fund my site and ongoing ventures. 

Dear Red,
In continuing our conversation about “systems” and “time management” last night here’s the best ideas and tools I know to jump start your new year:

 

1. Fill up the day using a “Zero Based Calendar” or an “Unschedule Calendar”
The Zero Based Calendar is something I stumbled on at VideoFruit who posted a great video sharing his method.  He references Stephen Covey's great Big Rocks story.

An Unschedule Calendar on the other hand is great way to get some clarity (or scare the hell of yourself) by actually seeing how your time is set up.

Essentially you take a regular calendar and fill it up with EVERYTHING (e.g. sleep, meals, commuting, etc) and then identify your true free blocks of time.

Unsched
As you can see from my work week my only free blocks of time (the green blocks) is first thing in the morning and in the evenings.

I will do an Unschedule from time to time to see if it actually makes sense and whether it works still.

 

2. Watch Randy Pausch’s Lecture: Time Management

Randy Pausch's lecture "Time Management" is a must watch.  (PDF of slides)

BONUS: If you want some serious inspiration watch his "Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams".

You may cry BTW… just saying)

 

3. Try Pomotodo

I just started using Pomotodo and I LOVE it!

It's both a iPhone app and web application. With either I can track my time usage on very specific projects and aim to always bump up my stats.

pomotodo

When I’m really a rock star at work I have my headphones in, email minimized with notifications off, phone ringer off, and I listen to something in the background while running this app also in the background.

It will sound when your “25 min” sprint is done.  A "5 min" break.  Then you do another sprint.

 

4. Eben Pagan’s: Wakeup Productive Course

I purchased this program a few years ago and I’m ready to start it again. It's by far THE craziest program to get your shit together! I'm not going to lie, it's not cheap. But how much would you pay to get your life on track?

It’s basically a 12 week program to increase productivity. You listen to a track a week and slowly implement the changes.

Here’s a new video from Eben Pagan that explains the 1 most important key to increasing your productivity, success and profit in your business and personal life (just opt-in to watch it free):

Free Video: The Key To Higher Productivity

Make sure to get the PDF download, and the 1-page summary sheet download as well, and do the exercise to identify the ultra high-value “money making activities” in your business.

In the video, Eben explains how he transformed and dramatically increased his productivity with one simple mindset and action change.

This video is about 18 minutes long, and will change the way you think about time management and productivity.

The best part is that you can watch it for free, by just opting-in.

 

5. Read or listen to the following books… one day.

Maybe you’ve already read these, if not you have to one day! This should be mandatory reading for every office worker.

The 4-Hour Workweek”, Tim Ferriss

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Stephen Covey

Getting Things Done”, David Allen

And I’ve just started reading this book …

The Power of Full Engagement", Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz:

 

BONUS: Transcendental Mediation (?!)

I've heard now from several places, notably from interviews on Tim Ferriss' podcast, that several superstars practice using TM (Transcendental Meditation).

Although I have nothing to report or expand upon as I just started dabbling with meditation as part of my morning ritual...it has given me a little more calming energy. Very unusual.

Jerry Seinfeld does a great job promoting its benefits.

 

I hope some of these ideas help you out in the new year Red!

Experiment with abandonment!

-pauly

43Things no more!

As you can guess from the previous posts, I'm quite fond of setting goals then finding ways to monitor my progress to completion. It's become something of an obsession to setup my life so I accomplish things automatically by putting the right "systems" in place.

Well it's usually this time of year that I set my New Year Resolutions, SMART(er) goals, etc. I have loved playing with a free social site called 43things.com

Unfortunately they're pulling the plug. :(

43things

I have to say I did see trouble when ads were polluting the site and making it a fraction of its once greatness...I hate it when I'm right.

At least they were decent enough to let their users export their goals. Here's mine for those that care: paulywill's 43things

A little searching did reveal some scandal or finger pointing to the fact 43things was connected to Amazon.

Meh...I found it useful once upon a time.

Thanks again 43things!

SMART GOALS or SMARTER GOALS for 2014 Review

A little past the half way mark to review my SMART Goals (or SMARTer Goals - Specific; Measurable; Attainable; Relevant; Time-specific; Evaluate; Revise. ).

Yes, my plate is full!

Despite that I still seem to have plenty of time to sit on my ass and watch Netflix 😛

SMARTER_2014_JUL

 

Some of my remaining SMART Goals for 2014:

□ Get Married (seemed appropriate to add to the list and deserving attention)

□ Honeymoon in San Fran (tickets booked…very little planned thus far)

□ Credit Card paid off (aggressive payment and careful monitoring of usage)

PYOP in production (75-80% complete…received REAL feedback from actual customers)

□ 170-175 lbs; < 9% BF (Monitoring weight daily and tracking with dashboard chart; still need to re-test BF more precisely…perhaps with calipers)

□ 100 pushups (Weekly attempt and chart; Utilize 100 Pushups iPhone app)

LingQ: 14,000 known words in French ( I will systematically create a daily study ritual)

□ Canadian Sports Parachuting Association Coach 2 Rating Certified (I have several coaching contacts to complete)

□ Complete my Competent Leader for Toastmasters (Not certain the remaining items...but I will print out and review before EVERY TM meeting)

 

Completed SMART Goals for 2014:

■ Passed my DELF B1 (French Intermediate fluency test)

■ Completed 20 Chin-ups

■ LingQ: Listened to 75 hours of French

■ Canadian Sports Parachuting Association Ground Control Instructor Rating Certified

■ Completed my Competent Communicator for Toastmasters

 

Windows .BAT Scripts for Uploading files to z/OS Mainframe

.BAT Coding for z/OS Uploading

As mentioned on Millennial Mainframer.

Here's some glorious nerdry I've been laboring at work to make my and others' lives easier creating Windows .BAT scripts for uploading files to z/OS mainframe.  Before this all this all the declarations for z/OS allocations were manually done and very time consuming.

The code is pretty straight forward once you start playing with it.

Some irritations you'll find with Windows batch files (we're still using XP regretfully) is that while it's not CASE sensitive...there's some strict syntax and limitations.

For example I was struggling with IF ELSE statements which require a strict format; spacing when outputting to a textfile; and using global and local variables within the script which ended up with me creating multiple procedures as a workaround.

Since Batch files in Windows are pretty limited I would have LOVED to use PowerShell.
However I knew that a simple .BAT would at least guarantee to work on our secure workstations.

(Note: The following code below works as presented with spacing and format.)

Continue reading Windows .BAT Scripts for Uploading files to z/OS Mainframe

Satisficers dot com

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lolololori/2838109022/sizes/l/in/photolist-5jN3Wb-5shkue-5shEKg-5tomXj-5uBNvs-5Cs4y2-5FN4ET-5Sz3qJ-5WYM4r-671JE6-6cLcB6-6emS8d-6zRvWS-6UsvV4-6UESay-717Wbe-72XRkY-756BjR-784scU-7954jb-7g5jZD-7k4JML-fN9Pzh-8S4XtH-dQTGbC-7znkBU-aqbc3e-8WcU6F-b33xk8-csaQAq-csaQny-csaQbL-csaPVf-csaQ55-csaQuu-7FU8gK-fKEupV-9sgehf-8iSCeD-8iSC9n-8iVQLo-eRdb1N-fF216G-8ehHAy-8t9Ws7-8t9WAC-8t6VT4-7NT5Yv-82B6a1-8t6VEe-8tmBoj/

Yet another blog/website I've kept on the back burner for quite some time is Satisficers.com

I stumbled on the concept of "satisficing" almost by mistake and have since LOVED applying the concept to my life.

Originally I heard about the idea from my mentor, author, and informational product guru Eben Pagan.  The concept is that rather than make yourself miserable in life by trying to "Optimize" every decision in life, including purchasing decision, you "Satisfice" .

Satisfy your needs, Sacrifice confusion (or maybe not getting every bell and whistle).

The great example that Eben Pagan gives, is that rather than spending months and years reaching which laptop to purchase, you go out buy the one that will meet your needs and be done with it.

Optimizers will do the opposite.  They're research and research and then they'll FINALLY make a decision and end having buyers remorse because they believed there's something better out there (which there always will be if you search for it).  This leads to a feeling of never satisfied with ANYTHING in life.

In my own life I'm making more decisions quickly and satisficing for my needs rather than measure things to misery.

Make a decision and move on to the next one.

Therefore rather than posting an endless list of things that fall under this category I thought it would be neato to create a separate website for such a following of people that vibe with that same philosophy (or parking that URL sonofabitch ).

I will carry forward relevant content.  Please follow and check in periodically to Satisficers.com for biased advice and propaganda.

“The Art Of Entrepreneurial Productivity”

Eben Pagan has just released a new report and video teaching the 5 steps to increase your productivity as an entrepreneur.

Always amazing free content, I highly recommend that you read it and watch the video if you want to learn how to increase the results and profit in your business.

You can download the report and watch the video for free by opting-in here:

5 Steps To Increase Business Productivity & Profit

Productivity for us entrepreneurs is about doing the things that increase the growth and profit of our businesses, so we can increase our income.

Eben walks through five powerful steps:

  1. See the hidden obstacles that get in the way of
    business productivity and profit (many of these are
    actually emotional, so we don’t even notice them)
  2. Identify the specific actions inside of your own
    business that result in growth and profit
  3. Create an environment that puts you into the “flow”
    state and almost forces you to do the things that
    result in making higher income
  4. Inspire and motivate yourself emotionally, to focus
    all of your energy on doing those things that grow
    your business and the money you get from it
  5. Productivity is a bigger and bigger challenge -
    especially for entrepreneurs who work in a connected
    world.

This report and video lesson will show you how to really increase your business productivity, your growth, and your profit.

Again, you can get the report and video for free by just opting-in here:

 5 Steps To Increase Business Productivity & Profit

A quick tip: Read the report and then print out the two exercises that go along with it before you watch the video - because the video walks you through the steps in the exercises, and it will save you some time if you already have them printed out.

:p

The Plan-Do-Check-Act Model and Melting Ass Fat

PDCA-Cycle
image credit: Karn-b - Karn G. Bulsuk

It's been awhile since I've dove (white bird?)  into the joy of creating insightful content to be ignored by the masses.

I had originally created a blog in college, before they were called blogs, and loved re-posting random dark and tasteless humour I'd stumble across on the web.  It ran in the domain called Barks.ca (just a lovely bot site now).

As like most website owners I spent more time dedicated to making a niffy banner (oh that impressive Flash class put to good use) and rarely did anything result from my efforts on the content front.

The difference with this blog?

I will be playing with Dr W. Edwards Deming's Plan, Do, Check, Act. (Hat tip to Tony Robbins for bringing this academic and management concept to the masses.)  The model is something we do unconsciously already in a half ass clumsy manner.

Plan:

Make a plan.  My evil plan here is to share my unusual learning adventures of enhancing my life with others.

Do:

Ahh shit...the tough part.  Actually doing that plan you just made.  I am more better at the planning of things and making delightful flow charts.  Do you find this to be the same with you?  I have a whole checklist and "open loops" and ambitious goals.  Well this is where I start putting accountability and testify and use all that neat social leverage and messed up approval seeking.

Check:

Check your results and analyze.  Hmmm...I guess I check the audience I'm attracting here or the results. This is important step here people. If you declare to lose 30 lbs and 30 years later you're on new medication...you might've missed this step or just plain distracted yourself with entertainment and comfort food.  Frequent checking and creating useful dashboards is the daily ritual.

Re-focus...checking is important.

Act:

Adjust things in accordance to that checking step. Then back to Plan.

 

This model is applicable to anything in life:

  1. Make a new PLAN
  2. Start DOing it
  3. CHECK results
  4. ACT (or STUDY) in accordance and make adjustments
  5. Repeat the cycle

 

Case Study

Plan:

In the last few months I was aiming to lose the infamous "last 10 lbs".

Do:

I exercised 2-3 times a week and followed The SCD (ref: Tim Ferris). I would weight myself in the morning in just my undies and put the the result in a simple Google Drive spreadsheet.

Check:

Despite my efforts doing poop loads of cardio and a careful diet (or so I thought) my last bit of weight was not coming off!

Act

Then walking through the local bookstore I came across The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet
(*disclaimer that's an evil affiliate link *). I read it in a few sittings and it was making a lot of sense. I'm slightly biased as I'm big into evolutionary psychology.

I remembered the post on the 4HWW that introduced Robb Wolf and his book but it wasn't until recently that I bought the book.  I was doing all sorts of evil things to my own body and not even realizing it.  In fact I was giving myself inflammation and my body was responding with ass fat.

I made a new PLAN to follow the basic principles and WITHIN A WEEK (DO) I had people concerned because I was melting the weight off (CHECK). Not quite what I was aiming for, but the results were that drastic! I am maintaining the weight I'm at now (ACT) and will be adding some more strength training (PLAN).

(The short version of The Paleo Diet: stop getting crap like all grains, wheat, and things with gluten; no dairy; no sugar; lots of meat and fat; act like a cave person since your body was designed for that era not trans-fat couch surfing HDTV era; laugh at vegans and vegetarians.)

Boom skies,
:p