Saturday Links of the Week — March 8, 2008 — The Time Management Edition

simon's cat
If you don’t have time to check out all of the links below, at least check out the first two :-)

The Virtue of Getting Less Done: William Tozier of the Notional Slurry blog writes a brilliant, liberating response (two days before I wrote it) to my recent worry about always being behind, by suggesting that, for those of us meant to be generalists and not specialists, it is not our business to get things done — for us there is only the journey, the learning, the understanding, and the passing along of what we’ve managed, for now, to figure out. Just go read it. Every word. And, if you’re like me, the next time someone asks “what do you do?” tell them: I……..this. Thanks to Todd Suomela for the link.

Stress Costs Us Time: In another article that appeared just after I worried aloud about not Getting Things Done (synchronicity?), Stefan Klein, in an excerpt from his new book The Secret Pulse of Time: Making Sense of Life’s Scarcest Commodity, suggests that it is not a lack of time that causes us stress, but the other way around. Excerpt:

Believing time is money to lose, we perceive our shortage of time as stressful. Thus, our fight-or-flight instinct is engaged, and the regions of the brain we use to calmly and sensibly plan our time get switched off. We become fidgety, erratic and rash.

Tasks take longer. We make mistakes ’Äî which take still more time to iron out. Who among us has not been locked out of an apartment or lost a wallet when in a great hurry? The perceived lack of time becomes real: We are not stressed because we have no time, but rather, we have no time because we are stressed.

Studies have shown the alarming extent of the problem: office workers are no longer able to stay focused on one specific task for more than about three minutes, which means a great loss of productivity. The misguided notion that time is money actually costs us money.

And it costs us time. People in industrial nations lose more years from disability and premature death due to stress-related illnesses like heart disease and depression than from other ailments. In scrambling to use time to the hilt, we wind up with less of it.

How Our Brains Trick Us to Want More Than We Need: Nate Hagens explains how we get addicted to consumption. Thanks to Steve Hinton for the link.

Experience Makes Us Less Competent: Anders Ericsson argues that experience doing what we do well can actually make us sloppy and complacent. It is practice dealing with the unexpected and getting better at what we’re not great at that leads to high performance. Thanks to Barbara Dieu for the link.

Improv Everywhere: A group in NYC have blended Improv with Performance Art and are making quite a splash.

Getting Ready for the Worst: The Solari site proffers investment advice for those preparing for the collapse of the US dollar (thanks to Don Dwiggins for the link):

  • Pick the economic and political scenarios you think most likely and think through their consequences
  • Eliminate debt, interest rate risk and $US currency risk
  • Reposition your portfolio away from investments dependent on corpocracy, oligopoly and government subsidy (invest in things that have real, sustainable value in their own right)
  • Reduce dependence on centralized systems — invest in home self-sufficiency (water, food, energy, etc.)
  • Reduce monthly expenses and consumption

Canada Reintroduces Film Censorship: Thanks to effective lobbying by an extreme right-wing religious group with a long and tawdry history of harassing the champions of free speech, Canada’s film tax credit system now includes a review by a government body that will deny credits if they deem a film “not in the public interest”. The struggle never ends.

An Alternative to Second Life: There are three main gripes about the virtual world of Second Life, that are blocking it from realizing its potential to be the next big thing in social networking (and learning): The unreliability of the technology, the challenging learning curve to operate effectively in the world, and the high monthly cost of ‘owning’ virtual land. Now, there’s an Open Source alternative that is grappling with all three issues. Thanks to my friend Martin for the link.

Another Wisdom of Crowds App: Kluster is the latest and most celebrated tool to try to gather not just wise consensus from the ‘crowd’, but also ideas. I’ve argued that ideation and innovation are among the few things crowds are not well suited to, but this is an intriguing approach.

Just For Fun: Ms. Amanda links us to the newest installment of Simon’s Cat (that’s him in the image above). If you’ve ever had a pet who alwayswants to be in when he’s out, and vice versa, you’ll love this. The previous installment is great too.

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4 Responses to Saturday Links of the Week — March 8, 2008 — The Time Management Edition

  1. Paul says:

    Broken link: “Now, there’s an Open Source alternative [to Second Life] that is grappling with all three issues.”

  2. Dave, thanks ever so much for steering me to that essay by William Tozier. It’s absolute genius. I’m a generalist, always have been. “I will be finished when I’m dead.” So true.

  3. Paul says:

    Yes, thanks for the essay by William Tozier. It’s quite easy to become caught up in a passion to change the world–which I think he might label a sort of “specialization”: we choose to be an activist, environmentalist, organizer, teacher, scholar, etc. That brings with it agendas, rules, standards, goals, methodologies, leaders, and all the rest of what is required to be “effective” and have a “purpose” in life. All very good for practical purposes, but it forces us into a utilitarian mindset that seems so easily to destroy the spirit and lead us to using people/nature rather than loving them.I get caught in that point of view so easily. Tozier and many others point to freedom in the other direction. Somehow I have to try it!

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