How Analog Rituals Can Amp Your Productivity

As a society, we are engaged in a constant pursuit to be more productive. For the most part, this is a good thing. We want to work smarter. We crave efficiency. Time is our most precious commodity, and productivity tools help us spend it more wisely. Over the past few years, I have observed all sorts of methods for productivity. One consistent surprise is the role of monotonous rituals and what could be described as “analog drudgery” among the especially productive. For such accomplished people, I am shocked by the apparent lack of efficiency in their daily routines.

At one point during my research for Making Ideas Happen, I interviewed Bob Greenberg, the legendary CEO of the digital agency R/GA. With high-flying clients like Nike and other household names, Greenberg is overseeing a tremendous number of heavyweight projects at any point in time. He’s a busy guy and he’s been leading his industry for decades.

One consistent surprise is the role of monotonous rituals and what could be described as ‘analog drudgery’ among the especially productive.

Despite his digital interests, Greenberg’s productivity tools are entirely analog. He uses a paper agenda with a series of lists written at the top that he writes every single day. In the morning, Greenberg will manually bump uncompleted tasks from the previous day to the current day. He also re-writes the names of key clients and other areas of focus; often transcribing the same names again and again, daily, for weeks if not months or years.

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As a society, we are engaged in a constant pursuit to be more productive. For the most part, this is a good thing. We want to work smarter. We crave efficiency. Time is our most precious commodity, and productivity tools help us spend it more wisely. Over the past few years, I have observed all sorts of methods for productivity. One consistent surprise is the role of monotonous rituals and what could be described as “analog drudgery” among the especially productive. For such accomplished people, I am shocked by the apparent lack of efficiency in their daily routines.

At one point during my research for Making Ideas Happen, I interviewed Bob Greenberg, the legendary CEO of the digital agency R/GA. With high-flying clients like Nike and other household names, Greenberg is overseeing a tremendous number of heavyweight projects at any point in time. He’s a busy guy and he’s been leading his industry for decades.

One consistent surprise is the role of monotonous rituals and what could be described as ‘analog drudgery’ among the especially productive.

Despite his digital interests, Greenberg’s productivity tools are entirely analog. He uses a paper agenda with a series of lists written at the top that he writes every single day. In the morning, Greenberg will manually bump uncompleted tasks from the previous day to the current day. He also re-writes the names of key clients and other areas of focus; often transcribing the same names again and again, daily, for weeks if not months or years. Leer más “How Analog Rituals Can Amp Your Productivity”

Micro vs Macro: Using “Success Factors” To Manage Your Team

Every creative leader faces the challenge of building and managing a team. Finding the right folks is half the battle. After you find them, it is your responsibility to manage the team. Great management happens on both a
“micro” level and a “macro” level. Micro-management – not the notoriously negative “micromanagement,” but rather what I call the MICRO aspect of management – is all about the day-to-day management that keeps the team on track.


by Scott Belsky | //the99percent.com

Every creative leader faces the challenge of building and managing a team. Finding the right folks is half the battle. After you find them, it is your responsibility to manage the team. Great management happens on both a
micro” level and a “macro” level. Micro-management – not the notoriously negative “micromanagement,” but rather what I call the MICRO aspect of management – is all about the day-to-day management that keeps the team on track.

A great MICRO manager asks questions like:

  • What are the deadlines for a particular project?
  • How do we measure progress (and are we making progress)?
  • Is there sufficient feedback exchange?
  • How do we promote more accountability within the team?

But what about the MACRO part of management? Beyond your day-to-day role as a manager, you must also consider each person’s career trajectory. Leer más “Micro vs Macro: Using “Success Factors” To Manage Your Team”

The Five Levels of Communication in a Connected World

In the digital world in which we live, it has become too easy to send emails, ping people via instant message, text, tweet, etc. Upon reflection, I think I’ve been too haphazard about how I communicate with my colleagues, clients, friends, and family. Oftentimes, an email about a problem should have been a phone call. And sometimes a phone call should have been an in-person meeting.
Knowing what to say and when to say it is not enough. In the modern day, we must decide HOW to communicate.

Consider the five levels of communication:

Level 1: Message into the Ether
Snail mail and email have a few things in common: They can be of any length, and they are not conversational. Emails and letters are sent out, and then new messages are composed and returned. Sometimes it takes days or weeks before a response arrives. Since emails and letters are not conversational (they lump all points together rather than go point, counterpoint, point, etc…), there is a HIGH LEVEL of misunderstanding with this medium of communication. As many of us know, little issues can escalate over email…


In the digital world in which we live, it has become too easy to send emails, ping people via instant message, text, tweet, etc. Upon reflection, I think I’ve been too haphazard about how I communicate with my colleagues, clients, friends, and family. Oftentimes, an email about a problem should have been a phone call. And sometimes a phone call should have been an in-person meeting.
Knowing what to say and when to say it is not enough. In the modern day, we must decide HOW to communicate.

Consider the five levels of communication:
Level 1: Message into the Ether
Snail mail and email have a few things in common: They can be of any length, and they are not conversational. Emails and letters are sent out, and then new messages are composed and returned. Sometimes it takes days or weeks before a response arrives. Since emails and letters are not conversational (they lump all points together rather than go point, counterpoint, point, etc…), there is a HIGH LEVEL of misunderstanding with this medium of communication. As many of us know, little issues can escalate over email… Leer más “The Five Levels of Communication in a Connected World”