jerryking + attention   16

Work smarter, not harder. Here’s how
July 29, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by KIRA VERMOND, SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL.

Suzanne Andrew, a freelance writer in Vancouver, took stock of her growing number of deadlines. One client wanted her to complete 26 profiles – articles that describe an individual or organization – in one month.

“I love writing profiles, but when I looked at the amount of work, it felt crushing,” she says.

Rather than brace herself for 18-hour days, all-nighters and inevitable burnout, Ms. Andrew took a different approach. She paused and then came up with a game plan.

“I’d worked as a project manager in the past and found that what worked best when managing other people was to create work-back schedules and milestone deadlines,” she says. “As a freelancer I was used to simply working to deadline, but realized I could make things easier and less stressful if I acted as my own project manager.”.....Ms. Andrew created a work-back schedule that outlined exactly how many interviews she had to conduct, plus a daily writing quota to meet the overall deadline. Once she met her daily target, she could stop work for the day and rest.

Here are a few pointers.....

1. WORK WITH YOUR ATTENTION LEVELS
Not every moment of the day is created equal when it comes to feeling sharp and productive. Our brains can only handle so much focused work time. Everyone has three levels of attention: proactive, active and inactive.

Feeling proactive? You’re in the zone: Take advantage of those times each day. Active times are best spent on less focused tasks like addressing emails or making a phone call.

And those inactive times? “Your brain is cooked,” You should probably be taking a mental break, going for a walk or getting a cup of coffee. Even just doing low-priority, repetitive work like filing is a good idea.”
Work with your brain’s energy levels. Don’t fight them and push yourself through those inactive times.

2. PLAN THE NIGHT BEFORE
Don’t allow your inbox become your to-do list. Instead, take 10 minutes at the end of the workday and create tomorrow’s action plan. What’s most important? What must get done? The next morning, look at that list and work on the most vital tasks before even thinking about firing up e-mail.

3. THINK LIKE A SMOKER
Pay attention to the way smokers take their breaks: They leave the building, go outside and even socialize.
“I’m a big believer in quality breaks,” she says. “How you take your break is as important as [taking] a break.”Get up. Move. Take in some fresh air and talk to people. You’ll come back more refreshed and proactive.

4. TRY THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE
....a productivity method, developed by a business consultant named Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. (Pomodoro means “tomato” in Italian, a nod to old-school, plastic timers shaped like tomatoes.) The method dictates that you set a timer for a short amount of time – say, 25 or 30 minutes – and then focus on one task without interruption. Once the timer goes off, take a short break. Then, if needed, you do it again. Commit to going deep for 25 - 90 minutes (jk: sustained inquiry),” “It’s amazing when we consciously choose to do one thing, and one thing only, how much we get done.”
action_plans  attention  attention_spans  best_practices  focus  lists  monotasking  Pomodoro  preparation  priorities  productivity  project_management  slack_time  sustained_inquiry  thinking_backwards  thinking_deliberatively  timeouts  timing  to-do  work-back_schedules  work_smarter 
11 weeks ago by jerryking
You’re Not Paying Attention, but You Really Should Be
July 14, 2019 | The New York Times | By Tim Herrera.

I called up Rob Walker, author of “The Art of Noticing.” In his book, Mr. Walker writes: “To stay eager, to connect, to find interest in the everyday, to notice what everybody else overlooks — these are vital skills and noble goals. They speak between looking and seeing, between hearing and listening, between accepting what the world presents and noticing what matters to you.”.... it’s just about trying to carve out and give yourself permission to have this time where you’re tuning into things, listening to your own curiosity and seeing where that leads you,”......Record 10 metaphor-free observations about the world this week. This is deceptively simplistic: Who couldn’t look at 10 things this week and write them down? The trick is the no metaphors hook. You’re just noticing, not comparing, analyzing or referencing. You’re forced to slow down and truly contemplate the world around you, rather than passively breezing through it.

Remember: It’s looking vs. seeing. Hearing vs. listening. Accepting what the world presents vs. noticing what matters to you.

“There’s nothing more important than the stuff you notice that no one else does,” Mr. Walker said. “That’s where every single innovation begins; that’s where all creativity begins. It’s honoring what you notice, what you tune into and what you care about.”
attention  books  focus  listening  mindfulness  overstimulation  pay-attention  noticing  Slow_Movement 
july 2019 by jerryking
Productivity Isn’t About Time Management. It’s About Attention Management.
March 28, 2019| The New York Times | By Adam Grant.

The better option is attention management: Prioritize the people and projects that matter, and it won’t matter how long anything takes.

Attention management is the art of focusing on getting things done for the right reasons, in the right places and at the right moments........E.B. White once wrote: “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” But in my research, I’ve found that productive people don’t agonize about which desire to pursue. They go after both simultaneously, gravitating toward projects that are personally interesting and socially meaningful........instead of focusing on how quickly I wanted to finish this article, I asked why I agreed to write it in the first place: I might learn something new when synthesizing the research; I’d finally have somewhere to point people when they ask about productivity; and it might help some of those people......productivity struggles are caused not by a lack of efficiency, but a lack of motivation. Productivity isn’t a virtue. It’s a means to an end. It’s only virtuous if the end is worthy. If productivity is your goal, you have to rely on willpower to push yourself to get a task done. If you pay attention to why you’re excited about the project and who will benefit from it, you’ll be naturally pulled into it by intrinsic motivation.

But how do I stay on task if I’m not worried about time?
Attention management also involves noticing where you get things done.....a series of studies led by Julia Lee (now at Michigan) show that bad weather is good for productivity because we’re less likely to be distracted by the thought of going outside....My favorite part of attention management is the when. Most of our productivity challenges are with tasks that we don’t want to do but that we need to do. ....there's something called attention residue: Your mind keeps wandering back to the interesting task, disrupting your focus on the boring task. ...if you’re trying to power through a boring task, do it after a moderately interesting one, and save your most exciting task as a reward for afterward. It’s not about time; it’s about timing.

Of makers and managers
If the goal is not just to be more productive — but also to be creative, then the stumbling block is that productivity and creativity demand opposite attention management strategies. Productivity is fueled by raising attentional filters to keep unrelated or distracting thoughts out. But creativity is fueled by lowering attentional filters to let those thoughts in.

How do you get the best of both worlds? In his book “When,” Dan Pink cites your circadian rhythm as help to schedule the right time to do your productive and creative work. If you’re a morning person, do your analytical work early when you’re at peak alertness; your routine tasks around lunchtime in your trough; and your creative work in the late afternoon or evening when you’re more likely to do nonlinear thinking. If you’re more of a night owl, you might be better off flipping creative projects to your fuzzy mornings and analytical tasks to your clearest-eyed late afternoon and evening moments. It’s not time management, because you might spend the same amount of time on the tasks even after you rearrange your schedule. It’s attention management: You’re noticing the order of tasks that works for you and adjusting accordingly
Adam_Grant  attention  attention_spans  circadian_rhythms  creativity  Dan_Pink  filtering  intrinsically_motivated  motivations  priorities  productivity  sequencing  time-management  timing  willpower 
march 2019 by jerryking
Why Deep Work Matters in a Distracted World
Posted by Taylor Pipes on 23 Feb 2017

Work accomplished = (time spent) x (intensity)

How to create meaningful work
Deep work does not have to be tedious. In fact, it can be enjoyable, creative, meditative, and thought-provoking. Here are some tactics to integrate the principles of deep work into your schedule:

Work deeply. It takes great patience and practice to get to the point where you can integrate long stretches of deep work into your schedule. Newport created an equation to explain the intensity required of deep work and compared it to students who pulled all-nighters in college.
Work accomplished = (time spent) x (intensity)

Work at a high level with dynamic and intense intervals that increase over time to produce a desirable outcome. Get in the zone for at least 90 minutes and build up to periods that last anywhere from two to four hours, or more.

Protect your time. Maintain a set of rituals and routines to ease deep work into your day more easily. Try implementing scheduling tactics into your workflow like:
Tallies – Keep a tally of the hours you spend working, or when you reach important milestones like pages read or words written.

Deep scheduling – Try scheduling deep work hours well in advance on a calendar, like two or four weeks ahead of time.

Scheduling and tracking time has a huge benefit of giving time back. Many academics, authors, and scientists have been able to produce ample amount of work while working normal hours and having time for personal pursuits or family on evenings and weekends.

Train your brain to do nothing. Try for a moment, to sit still and do nothing. How long do you find it takes until the social stimuli and buzzing signals of your mobile device prove too much? If you can embrace sitting quietly meditating or thinking, or even staring into space, then you can train your brain to spend more time in deeper work.
Quit swimming upstream. Decide for yourself what restrictions you can place on email and social media by removing it from your work week altogether, or by logging out and staying off for an entire day. Evaluate your personal and professional life and experiment where social fits and where it doesn’t. Your result may be a month-long digital detox, or completely cutting the cord on social.
Cut the shallow work. Endless meeting requests and instant email responses are turning knowledge workers into ‘human routers’ that create the shallow work that defines many of workplaces. We’ve been groomed to reply and respond because it feels like we’re accomplishing something, when in reality, we’re not.
attention  attention_spans  Cal_Newport  distractions  focus  GTD  hard_work  knowledge_workers  personal_accomplishments  productivity  sustained_inquiry  thinking_deliberatively 
july 2017 by jerryking
How to manage your time like a president - The Globe and Mail
COLLEEN FRANCIS
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, May. 22 2015

time is a non-renewable resource.

“The Eisenhower Matrix” – is that all business problems can be grouped into one of four categories:

Urgent and important: a very short list of items where you must act immediately;
Urgent but less important: a short list of tasks where you would be better served to delegate right away;
Non urgent but important: a longer list of tasks that you must act on, but later;
Non urgent and unimportant: matters that don’t require your attention.

The key to managing your time in the Eisenhower Matrix is to be merciless and choosy about what deserves your time and focus right away. That needs to remain a very short list of tasks. If it isn’t, you need to reevaluate how you and your organization makes a distinction between urgent and non-urgent issues.

Just as important, know the value of your time and outsource anything that can be done for less than your time is worth.

Doing this, you avoid the trap of being too reactive or overwhelmed by a relentless inbox demanding decisions from you on issues both large and small.
attention  attention_spans  discernment  Dwight_Eisenhower  focus  overreaction  overwhelmed  priorities  relentlessness  self-discipline  time-management  urgency  worthiness  mercilessness 
june 2015 by jerryking
Ten habits of the world’s best connection makers - The Globe and Mail
Scott Dinsmore

Young Entrepreneur Council

Published Friday, Jan. 10 2014,

1. Smile.
2. See friends, not strangers.
3. Make friends. This is the foundation. Making genuine connections is nothing more than making friends.
4. Be genuine. If you’re connecting just because you want to get yourself further up the ladder, then you’ve already lost. There is only one type of connection — one you genuinely care about.
5. Contribute. Meeting people is about making their lives better. Whether that’s by giving them a smile, a new job or anything in between — there is a way to help everyone. Give like crazy, embrace generosity and make others more successful.
6. Pay attention. The easiest way to be interesting is to be interested.
7. Make people a priority.
8. Be open to conversation.
9. Know who you are and who you want in your life.
10. Be uniquely YOU.
attention  authenticity  Communicating_&_Connecting  conversations  friendships  habits  networking  pay_attention  self-awareness  serving_others 
january 2014 by jerryking
Staying Focused
December 2013 | Harvard Business Review | by Adi Ignatius.

In “The Focused Leader” Daniel Goleman posits that a primary task for leaders is to “direct attention” toward what matters—so it’s imperative that they stay focused themselves. Building on neuroscience research, he argues that “focus” isn’t about filtering out distractions as much as it is about cultivating awareness of what truly matters. The executive’s goal should be to develop three things: an inward focus, a focus on others, and a focus on the wider world. The first two help to build emotional intelligence, while the third can help in devising strategy, innovating, and managing.
attention  distractions  editorials  emotional_intelligence  filtering  focus  HBR  incisiveness  inward-looking  leaders  people_skills  self-awareness  serving_others  strategy  the_big_picture  think_threes  what_really_matters 
december 2013 by jerryking
Tech Wealth and Ideas Are Heading Into News
October 20, 2013 |- NYTimes.com | By DAVID CARR

Silicon Valley and its various power brokers — some who had roles in putting the news business in harm’s way to begin with — are suddenly investing significant sums of money in preserving news capacity and quality. ... Next-generation news companies including Vice, Vox Media, BuzzFeed and Business Insider have all recently received significant investment. (In addition, Jeff Skoll, another eBay alum, backed Participant Media and now the TV channel Pivot, to make “socially relevant” films and television.)

The list goes on, but the trend is clear: quality news has become, if not sexy, suddenly attractive to smart digital money.....It does not take an M.B.A. to understand that the ability to capture consumers’ attention and move them around a platform, all the while extracting value, might come in handy in the media business. ITunes used cheap, uniformly priced content to animate the sales of devices like the iPod; Amazon used cheap devices like the Kindle to push lucrative content sales. EBay reduced the friction and suspicion between buyers and sellers of all kinds of goods. ...The willingness to answer bedeviling old questions in new ways does not ensure success, but it creates remarkable possibilities. “Both Jeff Bezos and Pierre Omidyar have a hacker’s ethos, a willingness to engage in lateral thinking to solve problems in a nonconventional way, to reject what has been taken for granted and MacGyver their way to solutions (aka mental_dexterity),” suggested Shane Snow, a founder of Contently, a marketplace for content creators.

Consider Amazon’s ability to lead consumers through a highly personalized array of choices.

“If you have a story that is read by a million people, that’s great, but how do you get those million people to read another story?” said Henry Blodget of Business Insider. “Amazon is extraordinary at customizing its site for every visitor. They do endless testing and understand stickiness and relevance in a way few media companies do.”

One of the secrets of Amazon (and Netflix) is that it never offered one site, but millions of customized sites. It is not hard to envision a carefully measured invitation at the bottom of a highly trafficked news article: “People who read this story are also reading ...” .
news  Silicon_Valley  moguls  entrepreneur  David_Carr  digital_media  Amazon  Second_Acts  disruption  Pierre_Omidyar  Jeff_Bezos  websites  personalization  Netflix  customization  testing  experimentation  growth_hacking  stickiness  relevance  newspapers  content  problem_solving  unconventional_thinking  smart_people  attention  Henry_Blodget  Contently  content_creators  power_brokers 
october 2013 by jerryking
Why Listening Is So Much More Than Hearing - NYTimes.com
By SETH S. HOROWITZ
Published: November 9, 2012

The difference between the sense of hearing and the skill of listening is attention.

Hearing is a vastly underrated sense.... hearing is a quantitatively fast sense. While it might take you a full second to notice something out of the corner of your eye, turn your head toward it, recognize it and respond to it, the same reaction to a new or sudden sound happens at least 10 times as fast.

This is because hearing has evolved as our alarm system — it operates out of line of sight and works even while you are asleep. And because there is no place in the universe that is totally silent, your auditory system has evolved a complex and automatic “volume control,” fine-tuned by development and experience, to keep most sounds off your cognitive radar unless they might be of use as a signal that something dangerous or wonderful is somewhere within the kilometer or so that your ears can detect.

This is where attention kicks in.

Attention is not some monolithic brain process. There are different types of attention, and they use different parts of the brain. The sudden loud noise that makes you jump activates the simplest type: the startle. A chain of five neurons from your ears to your spine takes that noise and converts it into a defensive response in a mere tenth of a second — elevating your heart rate, hunching your shoulders and making you cast around to see if whatever you heard is going to pounce and eat you. This simplest form of attention requires almost no brains at all and has been observed in every studied vertebrate.

More complex attention kicks in when you hear your name called from across a room or hear an unexpected birdcall from inside a subway station. This stimulus-directed attention is controlled by pathways through the temporoparietal and inferior frontal cortex regions, mostly in the right hemisphere — areas that process the raw, sensory input, but don’t concern themselves with what you should make of that sound. (Neuroscientists call this a “bottom-up” response.)

But when you actually pay attention to something you’re listening to, whether it is your favorite song or the cat meowing at dinnertime, a separate “top-down” pathway comes into play. Here, the signals are conveyed through a dorsal pathway in your cortex, part of the brain that does more computation, which lets you actively focus on what you’re hearing and tune out sights and sounds that aren’t as immediately important.

In this case, your brain works like a set of noise-suppressing headphones, with the bottom-up pathways acting as a switch to interrupt if something more urgent — say, an airplane engine dropping through your bathroom ceiling — grabs your attention.

Hearing, in short, is easy. You and every other vertebrate that hasn’t suffered some genetic, developmental or environmental accident have been doing it for hundreds of millions of years. It’s your life line, your alarm system, your way to escape danger and pass on your genes. But listening, really listening, is hard when potential distractions are leaping into your ears every fifty-thousandth of a second — and pathways in your brain are just waiting to interrupt your focus to warn you of any potential dangers.

Listening is a skill that we’re in danger of losing in a world of digital distraction and information overload.

And yet we dare not lose it. Because listening tunes our brain to the patterns of our environment faster than any other sense, and paying attention to the nonvisual parts of our world feeds into everything from our intellectual sharpness to our dance skills.

Luckily, we can train our listening just as with any other skill.
10x  listening  attention  hearing  senses  information_overload  distractions  perception  empathy  signals  physiological_response  bottom-up  top-down  pay_attention 
november 2012 by jerryking
Excerpt: Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down
October 8, 2010 | BusinessWeek | In an edited excerpt from
their new book, John Kotter and Lorne Whitehead introduce a
counterintuitive approach to turning skeptics into advocates for your
new idea, plan, or proposal....The true buying-in of a new idea is about
winning over hearts and minds--it is an emotional commitment. The
single biggest challenge faced when obtaining buy-in for a good idea is
getting people's attention. Don't try to overcome attacks with tons of
data or logic. Instead, do what might seem to be the opposite. Keep
responses short and above all, RESPECTFUL. Goal is to "win" the thoughts
and feelings of the majority, not the 1 or 2 critics so watch the crowd
very carefully. Don't try to wing it, even if you know all the facts
thoroughly, even if the idea seems bulletproof, and even if you expect a
friendly audience. Preparation can significantly build confidence and
reduce anxiety.
excerpts  HBS  persuasion  John_Kotter  howto  ideas  books  Communicating_&_Connecting  pitches  life_skills  Managing_Your_Career  attention  attention_spans  preparation  emotional_commitment  self-confidence  buy-in  counterintuitive  skeptics  the_single_most_important 
march 2011 by jerryking
Gaining and holding attention in a cluttered world
Jun 2007 | Public Relations Tactics. New York: Vol. 14, Iss.
6; pg. 6, 1 pgs | by John Guiniven. In their breakthrough book "The
Attention Economy," Thomas Davenport and John Beck said an important
distinction exists between awareness and attention."We are aware of many
things, but not paying attention to them,' ' they wrote.When we focus
on a particular item, we become engaged, attentive, and we move to a
decision phase, which leads to the sought-after and repeat
behaviors....Finally, evaluation, often ignored in awareness campaigns,
needs to be incorporated into attention campaigns. Was the message
source - the spokesperson or the organization itself- seen as
trustworthy and credible? Was the message context related to a concern
of the audience?Was the message content engaging to the point of
audience involvement? Did the audience consider the substance of the
message?
attention  public_relations  ProQuest  Thomas_Davenport  analytics  attention_spans  awareness  attention_economy  Communicating_&_Connecting  messaging  pay_attention 
march 2010 by jerryking
Corner Office - Tachi Yamada and the Importance of Undivided Attention - Question - NYTimes.com
Feb. 27, 2010 | NYT | Adam Bryant's interview of Tachi Yamada,
M.D., president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global
Health Program.
* Don’t micromanage, but have microinterests.
* Every moment counts, be 100 % in the moment.
* Intelligence = complex abstract thinking = human relationships. Look
for people who’ve moved.
* Humour, is an underestimated and important value.
* Leadership, in order to connect with groups of people, requires giving
of yourself.
* Turn battleships by making directional commitments and staying the
course,
* In giving feedback, the positive messages get lost in the one negative
message, and the negative message gets garbled.
* Figure out what your North Star is.
* Be open to new challenges.
* If there are 10 tasks in an overall project, identify the most
critical task among those 10. What is the one thing that everything
else hinges on (i.e. the linchpin)? Invest time in understanding that one thing. Then,
if/when the problem occurs, it usually occurs there.
billgates  philanthropy  CEOs  linchpins  Managing_Your_Career  career  feedback  hiring  leadership  focus  slight_edge  rate-limiting_steps  affirmations  humour  commitments  priorities  bottlenecks  abstractions  moments  attention  North_Star  monotasking  mindfulness  living_in_the_moment 
march 2010 by jerryking
A high-tech sports revolution
Jan. 09, 2010 | The Globe and Mail | by Stephen Brunt. The
boomers and their buying power are heading toward the sunset, and the
talk in the sports business now is about how to attract and hold a
different generation, with a different, diminished attention span,
accustomed to having the whole world laid out for them, every minute of
every day, literally at their fingertips.

Getting them out of their homes and into the building or into the
ballpark, getting their eyes to linger for more than a few seconds as a
game flickers across a screen – not to mention the advertising that pays
the freight – has become the core challenge.
sports  consumption  Stephen_Brunt  revolution  arenas  future  challenges  LBMA  sports_marketing  baby_boomers  millennials  attention  advertising  buying_power  stadiums  attention_spans 
january 2010 by jerryking
Hal Varian on how the Web challenges managers
January 2009 | The McKinsey Quarterly | interview with Hal
Varian . We have to look at today’s economy and say, “What is it that’s
really scarce in the Internet economy?” And the answer is attention.
[Psychologist] Herb Simon recognized this many years ago. He said, “A
wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” So being able to
capture someone’s attention at the right time is a very valuable asset.
And Google really has built an entire business around this, because
we’re capturing your attention when you’re doing a search for something
you’re interested in. That’s the ideal time to show you an advertisement
for a product that may be related or complimentary to what your search
is all about.
management  strategy  innovation  McKinsey  psychologists  attention_spans  Information_Rules  Google  Hal_Varian  digital_economy  scarcity  attention  intentionality  information_overload 
july 2009 by jerryking
Top entrepreneurs talk about how to keep your customers, and find opportunities, in tough economic times
MAY 11, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | 5-person panel discussion
moderated by Gwendolyn Bounds. Wendy questions the group of
entrepreneurs under the theme "What’s the secret of being an
entrepreneur in these hard economic times?"....trying to stand out from the crowd. I think the best one we did, which we launched when it was about six degrees outside, was a marketing campaign that says, what this town could really use right now is a good bowl of chicken soup.

Chicken soup is one of the great comfort foods in every single culture, and we think that we need to be selling comfort right now. And chicken soup also is a way to define the restaurant. .....people are always looking for joy. They’re always looking to be connected. They’re always looking to feel generous. So Danny’s insight, which is so brilliant, is for the cost of a bowl of chicken soup, you get to feel generous. You get to feel connected. You get to feel part of the community. That story is easy to tell because we all have a memory of chicken soup growing up.......Marketing is not this blank check that lets you sell whatever you want. The challenge that we’re facing, as we enter this serious recession, is not how do we stop doing everything. It’s how do we create experiences and stories, interactions, that don’t necessarily cost a lot of money, but create value for everyone concerned.......I think that for an entrepreneur who is interested and passionate about creating something in the technology space, whether it’s a device or a service or a platform, this is an extraordinary time, because there’s an enormous lull in the Fortune 1000 with respect to innovation and new ideation. ........on the equity side, where they don’t have these types of opportunities, we look for innovative companies that actually create a disruption. The simple thing is, if you can offer the environment where we can lower your costs and improve quality, it’s a no-brainer.

But in general, we have to make certain that these entrepreneurs really know the industry, they know the customers, they know the competition and most importantly, they know thyself, they know what they can and cannot do.

So it’s interesting when you play across the capital structure, how you bifurcate this, and I think it all has to do with innovation and creating something that doesn’t exist, that fits a pent-up need.
disruption  self-awareness  Gwendolyn_Bounds  Seth_Godin  Danny_Meyer  entrepreneur  economic_downturn  hard_times  attention  innovation  ideation  ideas  underwriting  geographic_ingredient_branding  Buy_American  craftsmanship  soups  marketing  storytelling  lingerie  intimate_apparel  idea_generation  emotional_connections  small_batch  generosity  joy 
may 2009 by jerryking

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