dayone_image

Starting a journal

Scott Kuperus Jobs, Life Leave a Comment

It’s well known that keeping a journal can improve your emotional well-being and even personal success. Despite many influential people keeping diaries and numerous articles saying why you should keep a journal, I’ve had a few false starts and never managed to stay the course. I’m going to give it another go but from a different angle and with new tools.

I’m regularly frustrated at work but people who can say, “Well, on the 13th of January there was a phone call…..”. I’ve never had a good memory for such time markers and more of a detail and concept type. To this end I will focus my journal as a professional effort to try and compensate this weakness. Secondly, I will use the Day One app. This is now on my computers but more importantly, on my phone so I can make additions as they happen. The Day One app is also very elegant and hopefully will be a pleasure to write in.

All this needs discipline and similar to what Katie Floyd says, I will be applying this journalling into my GTD practices. I will report back my findings on journalling and if well, the Day One app. Any thoughts or tips, let me know in the comments.

Scott KuperusStarting a journal

Work in progress

Scott Kuperus News Leave a Comment

Work in ProgressAs you can see (if you’ve been here before!) that the appearance is somewhat different. Well, I am in process of redesigning the who feel of this site. Now I know that good practice should be to complete the redesign before going live but I am going to make this a work in progress otherwise it would never happen as I get overly critical.

I had hoped to complete this rather discreetly over a couple of days but it will be longer than that due to other commitments, hence this post asking for a little patience. This site will always be a work in progress but I hope that this major upgrade will be a new start and have lots of shiny new bells and whistles. So, in the meantime there will be a few visual and structural changes as we go and the usual functionality will come back – with improvements.

Keep coming back to this page where the posts (hopefully more regular) will still appear in some format and I will post once the major changes are complete and you can make comment.

See you on the other side!

Scott KuperusWork in progress

First Kiss

Scott Kuperus Video Leave a Comment

This a beautiful short film by Tatia Pilieva where she took 20 strangers and asked them to kiss. Simple. There is a bit of a discussion surrounding the authenticity of the strangers but don’t study it too much, just enjoy the beautiful awkward charm of it.

Scott KuperusFirst Kiss

Be more productive with your email

Scott Kuperus Uncategorized Leave a Comment

This is a slightly amended guide to mastering your email, I wrote for some colleagues. I hope you find it useful and there is a link to a PDF version at the end of the post.

email2

Email is the double-edged sword of office productivity, it empowers us yet overwhelms us too. It requires discipline and rules to ensure that is doesn’t rule our workday.

The way we use email in our workplaces goes towards breeding certain behaviours and it’s influence can be seen in the way many of us speak at work. How many times have you heard references to email and its handling in meetings, in the corridor or when we ‘bump our gums’ aimlessly? Yet, email is just another communication tool albeit a powerful one. So, like a superhero with super powers we must yield it wisely or it will control our day, our behaviour and how we interact with others.

These are the guidelines I try to follow as I believe it is all to easy to become less productive, off-target and ineffective as managers because of email. And on a personal level, I believe that some of the email behaviours we follow at work are not reflective of our own personal values which should remain our over-arching guide.

1. Turn off notifications

More for Blackberries but just as applicable to desktop use. Unless you are running a nuclear facility you don’t need real-time email notifications to distract your working routine. Set up a more realistic approach such as every 30 minutes or so but importantly it fits into your work routine.

2. Delete it

There are a couple of facets to this for me. Firstly, we use email at the work for proof. Why? Do we keep all our phone calls with people? Is it really living our values if we need to keep emails as proof of doing something. Conversely, I refuse to send emails just to confirm what I have spoken about to someone so that they can keep it for the the same reason.

Secondly, we need to be honest with ourselves. If we are not going to do something with an email, will we honestly feel guilt ridden in a month and do so if it has sat in our inbox staring at us? Be honest, ditch it!

Keep any emails for reference in that project/personnel/audit etc file rather than in our email client.

3. Highlight important messages

Outlook has a great feature to highlight with a colour any messages directly to you. Switch it on! Other email clients have similar. It is likely that emails directly to you require your attention and this feature will stand them out from the CC noise. You can also use colour in your calendar to identify meeting categories so that you can apply personal rules such as ones where deputies can go, regular meetings etc.

4. Tweet it!

Twitter forces its users to be concise by constraining its messages to 140 characters. Why shouldn’t we follow a similar approach to email. Generally, anything more than a few lines should be communicated face-to-face or over the phone as it is open to misinterpretation or is just too complex for a simple typed message. It also invites emails back in the form of questions or people feeling the need to reflect the length of your message with one of similar length.

For very short messages such as a thanks or a quick notice, use the subject line. This means the recipient doesn’t need to open it but just glance at his inbox and delete it. Just be sure to end it with [EOM] to show that there is nothing in the body of the email.

email1

5. Use rules

I mentioned above highlighting important emails but this can be taken further with rules. Use the rules in Outlook to automate lots of tasks depending on your workflow practices. For example, I have a rule that automatically sends IT Helpdesk confirmations to my “@waiting for” folder. That way I don’t need to process them and I can do all my chasing up from my “@waiting for” folder according to my workflow. Be creative. Use rules to flag, action or delete messages.

Think about what messages do you really need to see, what can be forwarded, what can be grouped for later actioning and what can be deleted and set up rules around this.

6. Maintain an empty inbox

Maintain an empty inbox. Your inbox is a temporary landing-pad for all different types of inputs. How many times do we say that we ‘check’ our email? Lots. And how much of that ‘checked’ email is still in your inbox. What a waste of time. Your time is finite yet what is being asked of you will always be infinite so a better way of handling your inbox and maintaining the landing pad is to ‘process’ your email.

I have one inbox on my desk and one email inbox and I treat all that comes into it in the same way. My system is based on David Allen’s Getting Things Done1. Simply put my processes are;

  • Delete it (or archive)
  • Delegate it
  • Defer it (to a calendar or other system to be done at a planned point – not languishing in the inbox)
  • Do it (if less than 2 mins, do it or respond now)

With these processes it is much easier to maintain an empty inbox which is a list of items you still have to deal with and not a confused overwhelming list of things to delete, maybe get back to or waiting for some more information.

It is worth pointing out here that your archive should be one folder. Only one. It is common for people to have lots of folders as their email archive; people, areas of responsibility, factories but this is the 21st century and we should be using the search facilities within Outlook which is actually far more effectual than any manual filing system.

1. Allen, David. Getting Things Done. Paitkus 2002

You can download a PDF fact-sheet of this post here.

Scott KuperusBe more productive with your email

Why I’m leaving Facebook…… Sort of.

Scott Kuperus Social Leave a Comment

Facebook is the undisputed king of the social sites. There are many princes and pretenders, some of which are better looking, more effective, more fun, but through all the concerns of privacy and time-sucking effects of Facebook, it remains king. And for good reason, but that is not for here. I have decided to leave it, and what I mean exactly I'll explain, but not because it's king. Not because of privacy. Not because of some principled cause, but because it's boring and I'm getting used to that.

Firstly, I'll explain what I mean by leaving as some of you may be reading this on Facebook or have come to this from my Facebook profile and wondering what's going on. I will still have a profile and friends will still see posts, but they won't originate there. They will be posts from my blog or Twitter or Instagram. Maybe some others. This maybe sounds a little pedantic but if you bear with me and I explain the 'why' then perhaps you'll see my reasoning.

When I unlock my phone, FB is there front and centre. When I start my browser, my home tabs are; Gmail, Feedly and Facebook. Now, I know this is how I set it, but it's symptomatic of how FB was becoming the basis of my online time. After staying away from Facebook for a few weeks, I found my online experience was much more satisfying. I was reading material I enjoyed; having proper interactions with friends rather that trawling through rafts of pictures of an old school-buddy's night out; and really felt as if I wasn't wasting time (although some of my Twitter followers may disagree!). Now, I am not saying that all that goes on on Facebook is worthless, but for me I plan to shift my focus to creating what I want on my blog, Twitter and so on and work from there and use Facebook as just another avenue to get comments on what I do elsewhere.

My time online is much more rewarding this way and seeing Facebook in this way is making it more enjoyable for me. So really this is more of a shift in focus rather than abandonment and I have some very good friends on here that I truly enjoying seeing what they are up to and hopefully my renewal of vows with Facebook will allow me to really enjoy that and what Facebook offers.

So after all that, I'm not leaving, I'm just refocusing – God, I sound like some business trainer from The Office! So the drivel from me continues but in a slightly different but important way. And if you see the way my profile looks, don't read too much into it beyond what I've written here.

 

Scott KuperusWhy I’m leaving Facebook…… Sort of.