Welcome to another edition of the Weekender! We've been saving up lots of stuff to share with you this week, so here you go:
What if you wanted to get better at something, and decided to work just a little bit on it everyday for a year? Bob Ewing did just that and shares his progress from days 1-365.
A better brainstorming method from Google that we've been playing with for a while. It really works better with introverts and in rooms with high status differentials: Note and Vote. Here's how it works:
Note: Distribute paper and pens to each person. Set a timer for five minutes to 10 minutes. Everyone writes down as many ideas as they can. Individually. Quietly. This list won’t be shared with the group, so nobody has to worry about writing down dumb ideas.
Self-Edit: Set the timer for two minutes. Each person reviews his or her own list and picks one or two favorites. Individually. Quietly.
Share and Capture: One at a time, each person shares his or her top idea(s). No sales pitch. Just say what you wrote and move on. As you go, one person writes everybody’s ideas on the whiteboard.
Vote: Set the timer for five minutes. Each person chooses a favorite from the ideas on the whiteboard. Individually. Quietly. You must commit your vote to paper.
Share and Capture (2): One at a time, each person says their vote. A short sales pitch may be permissible, but no changing your vote! Say what you wrote. Write the votes on the whiteboard. Dots work well.
Decide: Who is the decider? She should make the final call — not the group. She can choose to respect the votes or not. This is less awkward than it sounds: instead of dancing around people’s opinions and feelings, you’ve made the mechanics plain. Everyone’s voice was heard.
Why might this work? Because in most meetings, three people are doing 70% of the talking.
This video for Dropbox makes me realize everyone should have their own muppet at work:
Hate networking? Here's a great way to think about it from Joanna Goddard:
Network up and down. Many people get turned off by the term “networking” (read: a bunch of suited-up people at happy hour) but I just think of it as a fancy word for making friends in your industry. When you email someone about a project, ask about their dog. Tell them about your vacation. Send a card when they have a baby. Be real with them. Help people. Stay in touch. Tell friends about job openings. Meet for breakfast, or send a short note saying you loved their recent article or project.
If it's not networking that keeps you up at night, but rather just plain old-fashioned insomnia, don't worry: there's an app for that.
Overwhelmed when you don't seem to get to anything on your to-do list? Try a To-Done List instead:
Dubbed the "Anti-To-Do List" by Buffer's Joel Gascoigne, this approach reportedly gives you an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and spurs productivity throughout the week. According to Gascoigne, by writing a separate list of tasks you have accomplished, including ones that weren't originally on your to-do list, you prevent yourself from feeling "knocked down" by the fact that you're doing something not on your original list.
Speaking of productivity, I really like this productivity tip from Nate Green:
Don’t create and consume at the same time.
You should either be creating something or consuming something. Not both at the same time.
When you’re creating, you’re fully engaged on what you’re doing. There should be no distractions, no “I’ll just check something real quick and then come back to this…”
Focusing on one thing without interruption is how you get meaningful work done.
When you’re consuming, you’re open to anything and everything. You get taken wherever the wind takes you, and it’s all groovy. What’s this article? Who’s that dude? This restaurant seems legit. You think they’re open for dinner? Lemme check Yelp…
"I have never, ever met someone really successful who's late," Kelvin says. "It is so disrespectful of other peoples' time."
Want to get more out of conferences and events? Here's a great tip:
Before you leave to the conference there’s two things you need to do. One, is schedule a 30 minutes meeting with your team for the very first day when you arrive back in the office. The second is schedule a one hour slot for yourself either on the very first day or the very next day when you get back.
When you return, you already have a meeting scheduled with your team. Is 30 minutes long, so all those emails and fires can wait 30 mins for you to brief the team. That’s right, you’ll use that time to talk to them about the conference, the good, the bad, etc. And you will also show them your notes and give them an overview of what you’ve learned and what’s coming (action items) to each of them. This serves two purposes. First, with the conference still fresh in your mind you can accurately tell your staff what happened at the show and prepare them for what’s going to come their way, and second it helps you solidify what you learned during the show.
When you get to the second meeting you scheduled prior to leaving the office for that conference, you will then stop whatever you are doing and get all your notes out. Since all of them have an “action items” section at the bottom you can quickly go through your list and start identifying what needs to get done, prioritizing the tasks, and assigning them to appropriate team members (or to yourself).
Ever wonder what it would be like to be a judge for the Guinness Book of World Records?
"Like a visiting emperor, I have the power to confirm or destroy dreams with a thumbs up or down," she says. "I don't deserve this elevation. It's my clipboard, suit and the Guinness logo."
Love Sriracha (or "Rooster") sauce? An unknown street artist in Vietnam drew the iconic logo.
Mike Monteiro has eight great tips for working with a designer. Chief among them (and true for every profession):
A designer should never make you feel stupid for not understanding their craft.
Looking to hire someone for a bold initiative, find someone who's failed before, because they're the only ones likely to succeed.
Finally, something to add to your Christmas list:
See you again soon! We've got some great Kendeo news coming next week.