Way back in April, I posted about how I was going to find a personal assistant to list on Amazon all the old books I wanted to get rid of. The basic idea was to test out this whole personal outsourcing idea with a task that was easy to do, but time consuming for me. I hoped it would at least pay for itself and perhaps make a little bit of cash. I supplied the ISBN’s of a set of old books I wanted to get rid of, and asked for whoever was to do the job to find the books on Amazon and list my books 5% cheaper than the going rate for a used copy already listed.
Since then I have put up the details of the task on several websites, such as Your Man in India, Get Friday and DoMyStuff, all to no avail The sites either never got back to me, or the task is still listed with no takers for the job. Undeterred, I found another site called Guru.com where I posted the task again. The very next day I had close to 50 people bidding to do the work! The bids ranged from $20 to $200(!?), coming from places like the US, India, the Philippines, and Canada. Read the rest of this entry »
Commuting to work; most of us have done it or know people that do. Traveling mid to long distances to work either each day to a work location or staying over for the week and traveling back home again for the weekend. This has become so prevalent that it’s given rise to a new phenomena - the relationship commute, or the telepartner. This is where you spend the majority of your time at your work location and commute back to your partner at specific times - e.g. the weekend. In the US, apparently more the 3.5 million couples live like this, double the figure taken in 1990.
You would think this would be a tough challenge for most relationships, and yet the figures given by the Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships (and who knew that existed!) show that such couples are no more likely to break up than couples who spend the majority of their time living together. Indeed, such couples are likely to be no less satisfied in their relationships or more likely to cheat.
You hear a lot these days about work/life balance. About how it’s becoming more important for people to integrate their lives better with their work. It’s a big buzzword in corporate life, and many large companies stress their commitment to helping their employees pursue it.
Jazz Up Your Life
If you’ve been thinking about work/life balance lately, forget it! It’s wrong headed thinking. The balance analogy implies a win/lose relationship between the two - a pair of scales where as one goes up the other goes down. I prefer the approach of Dr. Stewart Friedman presented at T4HWW. He argues that a much better analogy is to think of our lives like a jazz band, where the aim is to be a tight, integrated musical masterclass - think Miles Davis and John Coltrane:
In some cases less really is more. As you all no doubt are very much aware, there is a glut of data out there and the question is no longer how do I get the right information, but rather when do I stop looking at the data so that I can act? In my days as a grad student I remember spending months reading around my subject looking for an angle that would give me my thesis topic. The trouble was there was just too much to cover, and every article led to five more. I felt I never had enough information to make a decision about where to put my stake in the ground and formulate my thesis topic. This went on through most of the first year until my supervisor took me aside and told me to stop reading and start thinking! It was the right advice. Read the rest of this entry »
A tale of one man’s heroic attempts to open a spreadsheet
“Joe is heading into work on a grey and rainy Monday morning. He’s had a great weekend; but now it’s Monday, and there’s a mountain of stuff to get through at work. Joe thinks about the tasks he has today and by the time he reaches the office he’s ready to hit the ground running. Joe’s to-do list is longer than Gisele’s over-insured legs, so he really has to get moving and start ticking off the tasks one-by-one. Joe logs in on his office workstation and is ready to go… But wait! Someone has just IM’d him. That little orange rectangle at the bottom of Joe’s screen is flashing furiously, demanding Joe’s attention. So he clicks on it…It’s Bill, with a question about some work they did last week. Joe answers Bill and waits a few seconds to see if Bill is going to reply….It appears not, so Joe closes the chat screen and goes to open Excel. But wait! The little orange rectangle is back again. Joe’s peripheral vision has been hijacked and all he can do is click it open again. Read the rest of this entry »
I love books and I tend to buy a lot of them. Looking back over my last four months of Amazon purchases for books, I see that I have bought 15 books. Add to this the ones I buy when shopping at the weekends and your looking at around 25 books in the last 4 months alone! That’s a lot of reading. In fact, in my garage I must have around 60-70 books stored away in bags and boxes. However, this is only a small fraction of the books I have ever owned. I have lost count of the number of books I have jettisoned over the years, usually when I’m about to move house or apartment - books are heavy!
In the past I would always just take the books down to the local Oxfam shop, but I think next time I am going to try something different! Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Steve Munroe | Under Life, Work
Sunday Apr 27, 2008
It might seem odd to write a post about photographing trees on a lifestyle innovation blog. But I want to share with you some thoughts I had today while out walking along the edge of the New Forest. While walking I was thinking about the nature of enjoyment and what it meant to be really able to be in the moment. Most of us spend our days at work and struggle with the tasks we have to perform. I know that when a new work item comes along, I often catch myself mentally groaning and complaining along the lines of “Oh, crap! more work” or”How the hell am I supposed to do this?” or “This is going to take ages” and so on and on.
In other words, my daily work activities are often accompanied by an internal monologue that winges and whines at all the stuff I am called to do. This depletes my energy and does not Read the rest of this entry »