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Thursday, October 24, 2013

#037 - Your Fifteen Minutes of ... Productivity?

Fifteen minutes of Fame - we all seem to want it, and according to some we are all due our fifteen minutes in the limelight. Well, maybe, or maybe not. I am sure that the law of averages has something to say about that, and more likely some celebrity out there is using up a whole lot of other people's 15 minutes. I am sure mine has already been used up somewhere, maybe yours too. Who knows?

We all day-dream about what might be. However, instead of making the dreams a reality, we often squander countless minutes musing about a possible future - while instead we could have been doing something more productive towards that (or any other) goal. 

Other times, we are either delaying work on an unpleasant task, trying to put off the inevitable, or simply waiting until we "have enough time" to get the task done.

The truth is that it is far more rewarding (and practical) to apply those extra minutes towards the things that you need to get done. Even better, apply the time towards the things you need to get done, and you will find you have more time to do the things you want to do.

For some, this seems hard to do, particularly if the task is difficult or unpleasant, or you are simply procrastinating. We all procrastinate - some more than others, and I will admit I have had my fair share over the years. Usually, it just takes some butt-in-seat glue to stay and get focused on the task, and it gradually starts to take shape - and soon enough you find the task completed.

Listen to the podcast or read the full article on Gazza's Corner Blog.   

Monday, October 14, 2013

#036 - Roadside Checkup: How Clear is your Project Vision?

When I was fifteen, I spent the summer visiting my relatives in Alberta. Nothing unusual about that, as we did that most summers. We would usually drive the nearly 14 hours to Calgary and then spend a few very enjoyable weeks visiting the grandparents, exploring the farmyard and visiting our many aunts, uncles, cousins and other relatives in the area.

What was different about that summer is that our family divided up the visits, allowing us kids to each spend more time with our relatives, one-on-one. I spent a few days with my grandparents, and then one of my Aunts came to pick me up and drive me up to their farm an hour and a half to the north. My parents were going to pick me up later in the week to take me to the next relative.

It was a hot, dry summer, which was not uncommon in the prairies. Her car was brown. Actually, it might not have been brown, it was just coated in so much dust you couldn't see the colour underneath. My grandparents waved from the front steps of the farmhouse as we rumbled away down the gravel driveway, dust rising high behind the car. It was a little hard to see, but I didn't think too much of it. Everything was dusty that summer.

As we drove down the main gravel road and onto the stretch of pavement before we reached the main highway, my Aunt said she needed to stop and get some gas. We pulled into a little gas station and the attendant started to pump the fuel. 

"Just need to clean the windshield," she said as she hopped out of the car and grabbed a squeegee from the bucket beside the gas pump. I remained seated in the car.

She dragged the wet spongy side across the top of the window, and rivulets of mud tracked down the glass. She re-wet the squeegee several times as she progressively sponged and cleared the dust and mud off the outside of the window. 

She looked at the window, frowned, and then leaned into the car to have a look out of the windshield. "You might want to get out," she said as she walked back around the car towards the squeegee bucket. 

I unbuckled myself and got out of the car just as she stepped forward and proceeded to drag the wet squeegee across the inside of the windshield. It, too was covered in dust, and trickles of mud ran down the glass and dripped onto the dashboard. Slightly flustered, she quickly cleaned the inside of the window, paid the attendant and then we got back into the car.

As we drove down the dust-free highway, windows still down but now able to see ahead of us more clearly, I asked her why the car was so dusty on the inside. She replied that the car did not have air conditioning, so naturally driving with the windows down was a good substitute.

However, living on a farm (with no air conditioning), you had to keep the windows down to cool off, but of course that let the dust in. With the manual window winders and only one person in the car, it was hard to put the windows up and down as you regularly went from asphalt to dirt or gravel - so she mostly left them down.

Thus the coating of dust throughout the car, inside and out.

Driving with clear visibility in front of you is obviously important - that is why my Aunt cleaned the window once we were off the dusty road. But ask yourself this - how many of us truck on ahead with our projects, "just getting the work done", but with no clear vision of where we are going or what is up ahead?

It might just be time to pull off the road and check those windows.

 Listen to the podcast or read the full article on Gazza's Corner Blog.