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Pimp Your Work

October 7th, 2007

Symptoms of productivity phobia

Spiders, rats, vampires, seeing your grandmother naked - these are all valid phobias. However, there’s also such a thing as fear of productivity. Yes, it’s entirely possible that you have it even if you’re reading a blog like this. If you want to get your own diagnosis, here is a list of 5 symptoms of productivity fear:

1. You’re afraid to read this article. True, it may be because you’re afraid of what grammatical horrors I might commit, but maybe you’re also afraid that you’ll have some or all of the symptoms listed. The truth is, everyone is fearful of changing unproductive habits. Take comfort in the fact that productivity and organization is a lifelong learning process.

2. Procrastination. Some of you are probably reading this blog post to avoid working. I know that I’m writing it to avoid completing a more difficult article that’s been sitting in my hard drive for days. Everyone goes through procrastination, but some people live and die by it. How do you know if you procrastinate?

  • If you spend more time than you’re supposed to on mindless tasks
  • If you keep “resting” every 5 minutes.
  • If you say “Hmm… I have enough time for that later.”
  • If an hour has gone by and you’re still reading this article

3. You get annoyed when authority figures call you on unfinished tasks. Whether it’s your boss, spouse, or your labrador, if you hear the phrase “Aren’t you supposed to be finished with that by now?” you usually get mad and start stomping around. A lot like those cartoon characters with storm clouds and lightning appearing over their heads. If you’re offended, it means there’s an element of truth in it.

4. You dont have deadlines for tasks, or you have deadlines but you keep missing them. If you have a to-do list, sometimes specific tasks don’t get done at all. Until 5 months, years, or decades go by and you still haven’t ticked the item off your list.

5. You watch too much TV. That tube is costing you more than electricity - it costs time. Some of us sit for hours watching shows we don’t even like, shows you’ve seen a thousand times, and even infomercials. Why? If you want to get entertainment (no matter how mindless it is) put it on scheduled, moderated time. Watch DVDs instead or check out YouTube clips. Some TV stations even let you watch shows from their website. Sitting in front of the TV just makes you susceptible to eyestrain and subliminal marketing messages.

By Celine -- 4 comments

August 3rd, 2007

Work with your IT folks, not against them

Doing a little testing here for the tech crew at b5. We’ve got some kick-ass coders and server admins at b5 who work to keep the lights on here. They’re using PYW here as a test bed for some upcoming code changes, and asked me to test ‘er out. Which then reminded me…

IT is not evil. Really IT has a hard job, when something goes wrong it’s all their fault, when something is working … you think someone even buys them a coffee? Nope. Having done tech support and been an IT Manager I really appreciate the job. Here’s a tip … befriend your IT person. Buy him/her a coffee or a beer. Cut them some slack. Educate yourself. Try to understand their perspective a bit. Believe me, it will pay off in spades when you need a favour.

By Tris Hussey -- 3 comments

March 16th, 2007

Work rules to keep your geek happy

Nomadishere had this awesome post (lots diggs and comments) with 8 “rules” to keep geeks happy and a follow up that he didn’t mean to say geeks are elitists:

#1. Let them work when they want

#2. Let them work where they want

#3. Let them control their lighting

#4. Let them wear headphones

#5. Do not expect them to wear a suit

#6. Do not make them participate in company events (unless you are sure it is geek-friendly)

#7. Do not hold a lot of arbitrary meetings that could have otherwise been handled through email or IM

#8. Do not make them do anything other than work 
Hat tip to 901am

These points give you some real insight into what makes geeks tick.  Like #3, lighting.  My eyes are very sensitive to light.  In my case it comes from frying my eye staring into a microscope for two years, but staring at a computer all day (and night) doesn’t help.  When I get a headache/migraine I can’t stand light and I know when to quit because I can’t stand to look at even a computer or TV (I’m borderline right now and pushing to finish this post).

One key point to understand about geeks is that many of us (myself included) have ADD.  This is a good thing in reality.  See it’s ADD that often makes us good at what we do.  It let’s us:

  • multitask
  • hyper-focus (I know this seems contradictory, but it’s true)
  • juggle complex stuff in our heads

Unfortunately it also tends to make us a tad oblivious, scatterbrained, and messy.  Hey, you have to take the good with the bad.  This is one big reason I listen to music while I work.  Music keeps the right-side of my brain distracted and happy while the left side can focus.  When I really need hyperfocus, the headphones come out.  I’ve even done this in a meeting when I needed to use a whiteboard to rough out some thoughts and idea.  Yeah a bit strange and anti-social, but you know you pay me for my brains so let me unleash it how I need to!

If you manage geeks or are a geek, read the tips/rules over. Maybe post them on your cube wall (the outside … like read these before entering).

Doing what we can to help you pimp you work man!


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By Tris Hussey -- 3 comments

February 26th, 2007

Change Your Perspective to Pimp Your Work

Here’s a great one from Kevin Eikenberry in his post “What Could I Stop Doing?” -

I met with a new friend today. He is the Vice President for Business Development at a bank. He told me he made a decision about six months ago. His decision?

“I decided to stop selling banking solutions.”

He isn’t a slacker - he hasn’t stopped working or drawing a paycheck. But rather than trying to sell a banking solution he has been trying to connect and help people - to build relationships.

His results?

Production was double of the first six months of the year and he topped his annual target by 25%.

Changing your perspective about what you do (internal) to what you do to help your customers (external) can really Pimp Your Work.

By Scot Herrick -- 0 comments

February 23rd, 2007

Three Minute Management Course (humour)

Thanks to Lorraine and her mum for these:

Three Minute Management Course

Lesson 1:

A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings. The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next-door neighbor. Before she says a word, Bob says, “I’ll give you $800 to drop that towel.” After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob. After a few seconds, Bob hands her $800 and leaves. The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs.  When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, “Who was that?” “It was Bob th e next door neighbor,” she replies. “Great!” the husband says, “did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?”.
Moral of the story: If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.

Lesson 2:

A priest offered a Nun a lift. She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to reveal a leg. The priest nearly had an accident. After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg. The nun said, “Father, remember Psalm 129?” The priest removed his hand. But, changing gears, he let his hand slide up her leg again. The nun once again said, “Father, remember Psalm 129?” The priest apologized. “Sorry sister but the flesh is weak.” Arriving at the convent, the nun sighed heavily and went on her way. On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up Psalm 129. It said, “Go forth and seek, further up, you will find glory.
“Moral of the story: If you are not well informed in your job, you might miss a great opportunity.

Lesson 3:

A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out. The Genie says, “I’ll give each of you just one wish.” “Me first! Me first!” says the admin clerk. “I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world.” Puff! She’s gone. “Me next! Me next!” says the sales rep. “I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas and the love of my life.” Puff! He’s gone. “OK, you’re up,” the Genie says to the manager. The manager says, “I want those two back in the office after lunch.”
Moral of the story: Always let your boss have the first say.

Lesson 4:

An eagle was sitting on a tree resting, doing nothing. A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him, “Can I also sit like you and do nothing?” The eagle answered: “Sure, why not.” So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.
Moral of the story: To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.

Lesson 5:

A turkey was chatting with a bull. “I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree,” sighed the turkey, “but I haven’t got the energy.” “Well, why don’t you nibble on some of my droppings?” replied the bull. “They’re packed with nutrients.” The turkey peck ed at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree. He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.
Moral of the story: BS might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there!

Lesson 6:

A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field. While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him. As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was. The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat hear d the bird singing and came to investigate. Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.
Moral of the story: (1) Not everyone who sh*ts on you is your enemy; (2) Not everyone who gets you out of the sh*t is your friend; (3) And when you’re in deep sh*t, it’s best to keep your mouth shut!

This ends the 3-minute management course.

By Tris Hussey -- 0 comments

February 23rd, 2007

Seven reminders that will Pimp Your Work

The following was provided by one of my coworkers with attribution to an unknown company. It is seven reminders that will help you frame your work on a day-to-day basis. Pimpalicious tips on career strategy, if you will.

Here they are:

Have a passion for excellence and hate bureaucracy.

Be unyielding on accountability and commitment.

Have the self-confidence to involve anyone and behave in a boundary-less fashion.

Be open to ideas from anywhere.

Stretch. Set aggressive goals. Reward progress.

Live quality. Drive cost and speed for competitive advantage.

See change as an opportunity, not a threat.

These are very logical — but hard to implement. But, I think, worth the effort to implement to make our work life better.

By Scot Herrick -- 0 comments

February 21st, 2007

Let this be a reminder, check ALL the cables when something isn’t working

Got this from Chris Pirillo today:


Oh I have so been there.  I’ve done it myself, I’ve seen tons of other people do it.  Sometimes the cable looks like it’s in, but just isn’t seated all the way.  So, take it from Chris and I, check all the cables.  Then check them again.

By Tris Hussey -- 0 comments

February 21st, 2007

Good and Great

There is an interesting saying out there: the enemy of great is good.

I don’t know about you, but I had a hard time with that saying for a long time. After all, there are few things that anyone can be great at, but quite a few things that each of us can be good at.

And our work asks us to be good at a lot of different things. We even have to pretend to be able to multi-task.

But the enemy of great is good.

I’m writing this on a plane returning from Costa Rica, after spending ten days out of the country, disconnected from work, and totally connected with everything else. It was an opportunity to gain perspective.

One of the perspectives gained was that the enemy of great is good. I can be good at many things, but great at few. To help maximize the opportunity to be great at what I want to do, I determined that I need to say no to some of the good things that I am doing at both work and play.

Saying no to some of the good things I do will help maximize my opportunity to be great at a couple of things I want to get done.

If you take a look at things you are good at, what things could you say no to that would improve your work to great?

By Scot Herrick -- 0 comments

February 17th, 2007

Just a little Blackberry humour for your Saturday

Yes, I love my CrackBlackberry.  I have checked e-mails at family gatherings.  I’ve been known to just zone out reading something, thought not while walking (or driving).  But for those who can’t resist walking and Berry-ing at the same time, Rick Mercer has the solution for you:

Hat tip to Mark


By Tris Hussey -- 1 comment

February 16th, 2007

Updates, get your updates here…

One of the most important things you can do to keep your computer, and applications, safe and happy is to keep it updated.  Back in the day, when the Internet was young and I was doing tech support, finding updates wasn’t fun or easy.  We pretty much had to do a lot of the work ourselves making sure we had the latest updates installed and available on hand.  The concept of “automatic updates” hadn’t caught on.

Fast forward to today and life is a lot easier.  Both OS X and Windows have nice automatic update checking, downloading, and installing.  Now I don’t know how it works in OS X, since I don’t have a Mac and the Mac faerries haven’t left one on my doorstep, so I’ll just focus on Windows for the moment.

First, make sure that automatic updates are turned on.  If you’re running XP or Vista, you’re going to be nagged until you do turn them on.  Just to be sure, check the Security Center (both versions of Windows) and make sure they are.  Okay, done.  Great.  The next thing that you should know is that often Microsoft Update (I use this over the stock Windows update because it catches updates to all the MSFT stuff on my machine) doesn’t show you important updates when you just use the “Express” option.

About once a month, or more often if you’re running Vista, you should do the “Custom” option and check to make sure there aren’t any goodies you need (like WiFi drivers, extra patches, etc).  It looks like Vista has really improved things in this respect, the “Custom” option is gone replaced by “just check and tell me you moron” (speaking to the computer of course).

Now for your apps.  Lots of my favourite apps check all by themselves.  Nice touch I think.  For those that don’t there is often a “Check for Updates” option on one of the menus (sometimes Help, sometimes Tools…it just depends on the app).  If neither of these are there, wander over to the app’s site once and a while and give a peek, see if anything is new.

I also subscribe to a feed for software updates that tends to be pretty good, but not 100%.  I also suggest VersionTracker.  This was a cornerstone of my update hunt when I was a Mac guy.  They expanded to cover Windows too a while back (note to self, add VT feed to Google Reader).

Yeah, I know checking for updates can be a drag.  Really, though, it’s an easy thing to do and it helps you keep that computer safe and happy.


By Tris Hussey -- 0 comments

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