This is one blog I follow because of it’s simplicity and insightfulness. The archives have exceptional advice leadership principles.
The manager tools hall of fame podcasts give managers and individual contributors tools and step-by-step guidance on all areas of management in the workplace.
Maybe it is my general curiosity for learning. Maybe it is the fact that Dan is a leader in shaping Mathematics education for future generations. Maybe it is just that I like Math. Dan’s posts are more than math, they are thought provoking articles designed for the reader to discover by asking questions, rather than just read the answers. Here is a specific blog on personalized learning.
Perception – You Are What Other People See
Probably the biggest battle I fight is one of perception with other people. Why is this a battle? Mostly because I let my selfish side take over my actions, instead of being mindful of how my actions affect others. I make excuses about this behavior to appease my ego, pride, and sense of accomplishment. No excuses justify my actions of self-preservation. I need to rely on the Creator to give me grace and mercy when I fail.
those who never read the Bible will read our lives, so it is by doing good that we put to silence the ignorance of foolish men – David Guzik (1 Peter 2 Commentary
I heard this quote in Sunday’s sermon and spent some time in introspection. Working with teams, coaching and mentoring, I often talk about the value of introspection. As Christians, this is a habit that we must cultivate for several reasons:
- People see how we behave every day. We are representatives of the Kingdom. If we live “ordinary” and “worldly” lives, the witness does not match our faith. Remember one day ordinary will be eternity in heaven worshipping our Lord.
- I look backwards to understand how I can create opportunities to share Christ’s love through me going forward.
- As Christians, if we are growing, we are changing. Change brings about character through perseverance, especially during struggles. Look back on the struggle and share the lessons of maturing in Christ.
- Are you lukewarm? Who would people rather hang around with, the milk toast or the magnet. Christians are a peculiar people. I have gone from being a person might only give a passing comment so as not to be looked at funny to being a fan of my Master interjecting the good news intentionally in my actions. I am finding that the differing attitudes, principles, and foundation in Christ draws people near.
I am excited to see other people now looking at me differently. I am not ashamed of being gracious, loving, caring, humble, meek and having a servant’s heart. The perception is changing and it is on the right path. My hope is that people see Christ in me so that they can also establish an eternal relationship.
Today I thought I would focus on some productivity tools and tips I use with Outlook.
I have taken an approach where my task list is separated from my email. Wunderlist includes a great add-in that will turn any email into a task. In addition, you can subscribe to your task list feed as a calendar list and see what tasks you said were going to be do on any day.
This is perhaps my favorite part of Outlook for productivity. Quick steps enable me to quick do repetitive actions and assign them to shortcut keys. For example, I have a folder where I put reference emails. The quick step has been configured to move the selected item to my “Reference” folder. I then bind that quick step to CTL+SHFT+1 and voila, I can get through my inbox to zero real quick.
Unlike quick steps, rules allow you to manage emails before you even see them in your inbox, or process after you send an email. For instance, you can create a rule that delays sending by 1 minute. I currently have over 20 rules that apply to my inbox before email even comes in. My favorite: Moving all of my meeting requests to a special folder for processing.
Code reviews are one of the most important tools that can be used to improve quality and productivity for a development team. One of the keys to completing a review well is to know what the goals of the review actually are. There are two goals I would ask you to set: Team Goals and Individual Review Goals.
Two Outcomes of Fear
Today on a podcast of Design Matters, Seth Godin was talking about the reason so many people are blocked from moving forward is because of fear. I started thinking about the fear in my life and how it is very selfish and created because I want people to have a certain perception of me. Going a little deeper, I believe there actually two outcomes of fear:
- Fear of something creates a healthy reverence and respect.
- Fear creates moments or even seasons of paralysis.
In the season of life I am in, I often see the second outcome, paralysis. I fear changing my job role, stability for my family, not leaving a legacy for others, etc. Then I realized as long I fear the Lord with whole hearted reverence and respect, I have the best advocate for helping me out of those moments when I am frozen in place by indecision, doubt, and selfishness.
This is a great interview on the importance of recognition in the workplace. What I was impressed with is the smallest of details that are important, such as numbered recognition awards and photographs plastering every wall in Mr. Novak’s office, including the ceiling! What is your rubber chicken award?
The things I’m the most worried about when it comes to ethical and moral issues are ones most people are not thinking about
This podcast has really made me ponder about some of the morality and ethics in the technology field I am in.
This podcast has real meat to it, from racial discussions, political commentary, technology, and much more.
In a few weeks I am going to give a presentation on doing great code reviews. Here is a piece that I wrote 5 years ago that captured the 5 W’s. There are a few changes that I felt were appropriate to make as an update. Most importantly, the guidance below doesn’t just apply to code reviews, but any review that you may do.
Do you know a leader who says yes to everything? Their team just finished a significant and stressful month to get an “urgent” marketing experience out the door and the leader agreed to deliver something else urgent on a compressed timeline. Where was the boundary between the finish and start of the next project. It never materialized. Take a more concrete example. Do you ever block time off on your calendar to get work done and people just schedule right over that without any care or thought? Is it ok to get a meeting scheduled for the same day? As leaders, we have a responsibility to set boundaries to protect our team and as employees we have a responsibility to protect ourselves.
Today has been erratic, my heart was not at ease, and my behaviors and thoughts with each interaction have not been grace and mercy, but rather frustration and contempt. That all changed when I saw a post in a Christian group in Yammer. It was nothing grandiose, just asking to consider donating to a young woman’s fight to go back to school in the fall. I see many requests like this all the time. There is always some cause, the pursuit of something greater, or even just a random kind act popping up on your radar frequently. But today I was convicted to help and here is why:
- The cups of coffee I have in the morning can pay for my donation.
- This group of 50+ individuals can probably all afford a small donation, why not start the ball rolling.
- I needed to change my mental state for the day.
- 5 minutes is all it took to invest in a future
Is there someone you don’t even know you can invest in. It doesn’t have to be money, it can be:
- Time. Find a way to give a person more time, they will be blessed by that in the end.
- Knowledge. Be a mentor. Share your experiences
- Attitude. This can go a long ways to giving hope, charity, and grace to others.
It is a pretty true statement of what your treasures are, so you heart and mind are. I am personally not one to have lavish goods, however, there are days when I wish for them to be like others, to entertain for selfish reasons, or to just show that I made it. These are all selfish interests.
My Personal Treasures
- Family. I consider my family a treasure that the Lord has given to me which is precious and that I want to care for diligently. My family is growing up, my children are becoming independent. I cherish walks with my wife. I couldn’t have said that 10 years ago. This is because I am investing in the relationship, and seeing the fruits of that investment.
- Knowledge and learning are other treasures as long as I can give them away. What good does it do me if I learn but don’t share. I am now starting to see mentoring opportunities everywhere. Solomon, the wisest man, became that way because he asked for it.
- Doing for others just to see a smile, a hint of gratitude, or smidge of happiness. The more I live by example in humility, letting God be in control, and letting go, the more I will let His light shine for others to find the way. These are the riches on earth that everyone can get a hold of.
We only have so many days allotted to us. I don’t know when that number starts to take a serious meaning, it is different for everyone. Our mortality in this life is a reminder that we need to spend each day focused on eternity and the gift of love and life that Jesus has bestowed on each of us.