Blogging as a craft or pursuit is under pressure and being assailed from all sides. But writing will never go out of fashion, especially good writing, in business or in our personal lives. So it doesn’t matter what you call it and whether you believe blogging is dead, dying, or not. The point is to write well, whether for peoples entertainment or to make sense of the world as I do. And if in the process you share some of that sense making with the world for its benefit, so much the better.
All of which is to say that I have done a bit of tweaking with my blog in terms of the topics I cover and categories and tags I will be using. I used the following framework to help my thinking. I don’t need to say much more other than I hope this will sharpen up my focus and aid my writing and ultimately anyone who reads my posts and also writes, in the spirit with which I ended my last paragraph 😉
I’m about to share how I do what is described in the headline. That’s not to say it’s guaranteed to work for you. But I’ve been doing this for at least the last 5 years and its starting to stick and work better and better for me. Maybe it helps you too or you get some ideas.
First some screenshots of my phone screens and then some explanation.
The first thing to explain is that I manage this all on my iPhone because that is probably the thing that gets most of my attention day in and day out. The first screenshot above is of my Lock Screen and the other two are alternative views of my home screen. This nails my first approach on effective goal setting – visibility – but let me handle that and others separately.
So I’ve mostly covered this point in the last paragraph above. The only thing to add is that I cover different aspects in the different views. The Lock Screen is where I have tangible goals around my creative output. Of the other two, one is intended to change every month and guide that month’s intentions and the other every quarter for similar reasons.
There are a ton of articles (many based on good research) that describe why writing things down makes it more likely for what you wrote down to stick. This applies to goals. I use an app called Scribblet which allows you to add written notes to widgets – the second two screenshots above. For the Lock Screen I just used the Paper app.
Not all my goals, aspirations or intentions are as quantifiable and tangible as the ones you see on my Lock Screen but all are attainable. And you may argue my Q1 aspirations are too vague but I do have ideas behind each of them – I just didn’t want to take up screen space by writing them down in detail and also I’d prefer not to have them be seen.
I work in the business of dealing with customers questions on Microsoft 365 all the time (disclosure), either directly or indirectly. This is part of a series of posts where I share them if they can be of help to others. Where I can of course and naturally, not just the questions but the answers too. All questions and answers strive to respect both sides sensitivities (parts will have been redacted and/or anonymised) and the main topic is covered in each post title.
If the outdated and ironic view in the DanelDoodle above does not seem familiar to you, then you have probably been living under a rock, in your living room perhaps. Or under your desk in the office 😬
It’s no secret many leaders equate being in the office with being productive. This Harvard Business Review article which includes survey data on a related subject, nails it. But you will find many more with a simple search.
I struggle to believe that it is anything other than ironic, maybe even moronic, to think that the only time you can be productive is when you are in the same place and physically together with others.
That does not mean to say I don’t believe in the benefits of physical proximity to others. I’ve been writing about the middle way of hybrid work models repeatedly under the productivity tag.
And that is the point, to be balanced in your views – not blinded by the dogmatism of decades old management thinking. New tools and ways of working which favour virtual, asynchronous collaboration do work.
There has been a flurry of bad press for productivity recently, especially in relation to remote work, but in general too. This is not entirely a new thing – see this pre-pandemic post from a Global Government Forum on The productivity problem: causes, consequences and cures. Two recent discussions around productivity have spurred on this post.
I was thinking the other day about the times when I’m most productive at work. So much has been written about the subject and I work at a company and in a role where it’s one of the key functions of my job, i.e. to make people more productive through technology. There are a gazillion sites and services out there on how to be more productive. I think a lot of them miss the point.
Working at Yammer back in the day (2012 onwards), we were at the forefront of some cutting edge work practices that had been brewing a while. The advent of social technologies of which Yammer was a latest iteration and that I had also previously been involved in (more here: birth of enterprise social) were driving these new practices. At the time we came up with a concept that could probably be called a precursor to hybrid work in that it made the most of social technologies that enabled remote work yet also included in person work. We used to hold frequent get togethers including customers, employees, leading outside thinkers, etc. There is still a Facebook group and LinkedIn group that are semi active for organising things. The manifesto which is the featured image for this post describes the concept at its core and below are some additional notes penned at the time. Sharing here for posterity.
If you’ve been following anything I have written in the last few months around employee experience, you’ll see that it is equally as important and indeed crucial to customer experience but often lacks attention, although that is now changing. It’s similar to enterprise software which has often lagged behind end consumer software in terms of innovation and adoption. Likewise, internal communications is a vital ingredient in employee experience but I think its been missing a trick.
By hybrid work I mean a combination of remote and in-office work, virtual and physical, etc. The extremes have been tested. Before the pandemic it was mostly in-office work. With the pandemic its been all remote/virtual. Now many are coming to the conclusion that a balance is best, in other words, hybrid work. While the data tea leaves are still being sifted, I capture some of what I know on the subject, since I work in the space (disclosure), as well as from recent great articles.
This was more fun (to doodle) than anything else. But there is some data to back the ideas up, or at least sources I used to make my points. More than anything though, these 5 ideas are deep rooted feelings I have based on reading and experience over time. Anyway, here are some of my sources.
The way of the minimalist is to “remove until it breaks”. As Henry David Thoreau once said, “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify”. I subscribe to this philosophy 💯 although I don’t always live up to it. New research just out validates this view and especially when it comes to creative productivity.
This week, Microsoft announced the launch of a new product called Viva (disclosure). Actually it is far more than a new product in many ways. It is also an attempt at consolidating technologies in the employee experience category as well as creating the category. It is also a shrewd leverage of the Teams as a Platform strategy which I have written about severaltimes. Since Viva will be served exclusively through Teams, this is a perfect execution of the Teams as a Platform strategy. And it brings the new product and its functionalities into the Flow of Work.