March Challenge Update

The challenge I had given myself for March was to read and become more productive. While there is still a lot of work to do and a lot of progress I can make I did come a ways.

Typically I would read maybe one book a month, and this month I was able to read three. Each one was a recommendation and they lived up to them. With the help of the books I have been able to increase my productivity especially in this last week.

Managing Humans was the first book I read through. I’m not sure how I’ve made it this far without at least reading Rands blog previously let alone his books. This book has a lot of ideas and concepts which I believe I will help me as I look to move into a leadership role in the future. It also gave me new insights to the way I think myself. As it turns out I believe I really am a nerd.

The way I think and get into a project is really put well into words by Rands in this book. It helped make some of these things clearer while at the same time allowing me to gain perspective on how I come across to others. Both things will serve me well going forward.

The next book I read was Game Storming. This was introduced to me last year on my teams meetup by co-worker Simon Ouderkirk, who if you are interested in support or remote work you should certainly be reading his site. He led our team meetup project last year and used Game Storming to do it. At my upcoming team meetup I’m going to facilitate a similar type of activity to help our team build a road map for where we should go in the coming months.

With Simon’s help and this book I’m feeling confident that I’ll be able to help run this and get some meaningful work done with our team. The concepts of using games to brainstorm hard problems and come up with creative solutions is really interesting. Seeing it first hand last year not only did we come up with a good road map, I think it helped bring us together as a team. Hopefully we can duplicate that this time.

The last book I finished is the Effective Executive. Don’t let the title fool you though this book I believe can be a benefit to almost anyone who wants to be more effective in their life or job. My co-worker Andrea Badgley recently read it as well and wrote a great review and the part that stuck with her most.

The part that stuck with me the most was a bit different than Andrea though. One of the instant things I was able to take away and put into effect is to know my time. The author Peter F. Drucker says this of time.

Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed. The analysis of one’s time, more over, is the one easily accessible and yet systematic way to analyze one’s work and to think through what really matters in it.

Thinking about this I took a look at my time. I didn’t go super deep or keep records of what I spent time doing, but I looked at my schedule for a typical day and then restructured things and to hide things that could be a distraction. In the past I’ve noticed, and had co-workers say, that adjusting their schedule helps them be more productive. This book helped me realize why this is and the importance of revisiting your time frequently.

If you adjust your schedule it forces you to think about your time. Just the act of doing this has helped me get more focused work in this past week which has helped me get more done. I’m now going to be more purposeful about revisiting often where my time goes and how I can organize my day for the best results.

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