This is my effort to provide a little signal by curating some of the best/most interesting posts I encountered during the month of May 2015. I recommend identifying and diving into 2-3 that resonate with you. Focus less on the dopamine rush you get from hopping from article to article and more on how you apply the wisdom in these posts to your own life.
Please use the comments section to recommend and share other posts you’ve recently found useful and/or your best posts of late.
The commentary below the link is typically the author’s own words that I’ve extracted as a key takeaway; however, sometimes I add my own commentary and make connections as well.
[Blog Posts/News Articles]:
There’s Enough Time in Your Life for Everything Important – Ariana Huffington
If I could go back in time, I’d introduce my 22-year-old self to a quotation by the writer Brian Andreas: “Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.”
Our culture is obsessed with time. It is our personal deficit crisis. We always think we’re saving time, and yet we feel like we never have enough of it. In order to manage time — or what we delude ourselves into thinking of as managing time — we rigidly schedule ourselves, rushing from meeting to meeting, event to event, constantly trying to save a bit of time here, a bit there.
According to a 2008 Pew report, when asked what was important to them, 68 percent of Americans replied “having free time.” It ranked even higher than having children and a successful career. Yet the way many of us choose to live doesn’t reflect those priorities.
As long as success is defined by who works the longest hours, who goes the longest without a vacation, who sleeps the least, who responds to an email at midnight or five in the morning — in essence, who is suffering from the biggest time famine — we’re never going to be able to enjoy the benefits of time affluence.
Being a Go-Getter is No Fun – Bourree Lam
New research suggests that competent employees are assigned more work than their peers. The problem?
- Their peers often get the same rewards, while coasting along with less work and lower expectations.
- Not only do bosses assign more tasks to the go-getters—but they underestimated how much work it would take to get the job done.
“If someone is doing more than his fair share, compensate him for it. If not, he may ultimately leave and seek recognition elsewhere.
Great Thoughts on Being a Boss vs. Being a Leader – Rohan Rajiv
Your only job as a leader is to create an environment for everyone on your team to be their best selves. At every step, you work for them. True leadership stems from what you do and how you do it. And, a big part of what you do is to help everyone working with you.
Things that help this cause are consistently playing janitor, cleaning up, never being the bottleneck and just being helpful. Things that don’t are a continuous propensity to show authority or take credit.
Here’s a great infographic from Michael Keating on the difference between a boss and a leader.
Millennials in the Workplace – Ben Casnocha
By talking openly about the fact that an employee might leave, you actually increase the likelihood that he or she will stay on. Employers should make clear that if it makes more sense for you to leave [than stay], that’s OK.
Toby Murdock, CEO of Kapost, a Boulder, Colo. marketing-software firm, said he has adopted that mind-set. “It is a very fluid marketplace for young people,” said Mr. Murdock, 41. “Let’s be honest about that instead of trying to deny it.”
He wants young workers to consider his company a career accelerator, rather than a parking lot. That attitude has given Kapost a reputation as a career launchpad, Mr. Murdock said, and helps the company attract a stream of ambitious young candidates.
[Scroll down to the videos section of this post to watch Brigid Schulte, author of the wonderful book Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, discussing how Boomer bosses don’t understand Millennials.]
11 Things Ultra-Productive People do Differently – Dr. Travis Bradbury
When it comes to productivity, we all face the same challenge—there are only 24 hours in a day. Yet some people seem to have twice the time; they have an uncanny ability to get things done. Even when juggling multiple projects, they reach their goals without fail. How?
- They do the least appetizing, most dreaded item on their to-do list before they do anything else. After that, they’re freed up to tackle the stuff that excites and inspires them.
- They fight the tyranny of the urgent, the tendency to do little things that have to be done right now (put out fires) than do the work that really matters.
- They avoid the biggest time waster there is, meetings. If they have to attend, they stick to the schedule.
- They say no. Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them.
- They do not multitask. Research confirms over and over again, multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance.
Ellen highlights lessons she learned from each of the (10) core classes (finance, leadership, marketing, strategy, etc.) — and the case that showed it most clearly for her.
I especially appreciated her insights from her Leadership and Organizational Behavior class on understanding your worse self. Unfortunately, things won’t always go well in your career. And, as a leader, how you react and recover impacts everyone around you. As a result, it’s important to answer these two questions honestly:
(1). What is my worst self?
(2). When does my worst self come out?
Neil deGrasse Tyson on Space, Fame, and the Future of the Human Species – Joseph Stromberg
*Note: This was actually published near the end of April, but I didn’t get around to reading it until May.
Most people reading this want to be more informed, get better, advance their career, and live a better life. To do that, you need to understand what top performers do. Neil deGrasse Tyson is the epitome of a top performer.
Read the article above to understand:
- How he prepares for an interview with Jon Stewart so that he comes off as a “natural.”
- How understanding the basics/core tenets of your field is so important to establishing consensus with real evidence.
- Why space exploration is important to our future.
And finally, Neil’s thoughts on the long-time future of our species:
“I think our extinction is assured, unless we have a more enlightened approach to our relationship with Earth. In the end, it will require some combination of science and technology to save us from ourselves.”
It may sound like a tiresome complaint, but a new study of nearly 10,000 workers in eight countries has found that baby boomers’ attitudes toward work-life balance are having real-life consequences for younger workers.
Most baby boomers in leadership positions have their spouse at home, but in 80% of millennial relationships, both members work full time. That’s created an empathy gap between older workers who have someone else to take care of the home front and millennials struggling to do it all. Most boomers also equate a butt in a seat to getting work done and do not understand the value telecommuting.
IBM Vision 2015 – Ben Casnocha
- What it takes to succeed and get ahead requires very different skills than it used to. Study what entrepreneurs do (risk taking, change, competition, uncertainty).
- Machines or humans…intuition vs. analysis… the answer usually is both. Networked literacy is critical.
- Great question to ask others/build relationships = “What is something you’ve learned in the month/year?”
- One of the interesting puzzles of interesting people are what they’re willing to sacrifice… things we know contribute to happiness for *one* more accomplishment. Once you win, how does it feel? Is it worth being so ambitious?
- How do we create an instinct for life-long learning?
- Read, take notes, write about what you read = one of the most efficient ways to learn.
- There is rarely universal advice that applies to everyone, but take incremental risks inching towards your dreams. You cannot accomplish big dreams alone. Life is a team sport. Who are you surrounding yourself with? Who are your mentors?
[Thoughts I’m Chewing On]:
- The only validation that ultimately means a thing is the satisfaction of knowing that you did the best you could on something that matters.
- If we spent more time worrying about what would be said in our eulogy vs the bullet points on our resume, the world would be a better place.
“Self-awareness is the lubricant to all social friction.” —
“Ultimately we are the sum of our experiences and not the sum of our belongings.” —
“School is about dealing with certainties. Life is about the ability to handle the maximal amount of uncertainty.“ —
“Most people don’t schedule their work. They schedule the interruptions that prevent their work from happening.” —
“We are more interested in making others believe we are happy than in trying to be happy ourselves.“ — La Rochefoucauld
If you made it this far and found this post valuable in any way, please let me know in the comments which of these reads caught your attention. Better yet, why don’t you share something you’ve read recently that you think I’d find interesting.