Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Inspirations: An Archived Collection to Motivate & Bring Peace of Mind

Beyond Project Teams:
A Collection of Inspirations for Everyone

This month I've begun working in earnest toward the goal I set nearly 5 years ago with the birth of this website, WORTH SHARING. I've begun the formal archiving of all my legacy websites.

First to be wrapped up: my Inspired Project Teams collection. The podcasts and matching exercises presented at this site were always a bit too expansive for their nominal use as tools for project teams. While they certainly support project teams, they are also well-suited to encouraging the personal growth and peace of mind of any individual. Drawing on the wisdom of so many great philosophers and psychologists, it's inevitable that this collection would transcend the practical, team-based performance tools that I typically create.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Overwhelmed by Angst? “Spit on Your Hands & Get Busy!” (Including a Quick Start Guide to Banishing Angst)

An increasingly hostile planetary climate, political insanity and gridlock, random acts of violence and terrorism, economic uncertainty, the threat of nuclear conflict… There are plenty of real-life demons loose in our world to generate that immobilizing feeling of deep anxiety or dread that the German’s call angst. And we’re all likely to experience it from time to time.

But here’s the question: Will you be frozen in place and succumb to this angst or will you reach inside yourself and connect with your passion to meet the angst head-on and defeat it?
It’s my purpose here to motivate you, through the wisdom shared by a few great minds, to take action — and, through this action, to pull yourself out of your musty ol’ funk. In the process, you might just make the world a better place!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Quick-Reference PDF: A Dozen Free Google Apps to Keep Your Family or Team Organized

Okay. I admit it. I crammed my previous two articles (A Dozen Free Google Apps…) with a ton of info!  And I suspect that after you read all that stuff, your next step might be to go back and sort through the apps to figure out which would be most useful for your family or team. To help you keep them all straight, I’ve created a quick-reference summary you can use and maybe share and discuss with your group. Click here to get PDF.* Enjoy!
Click here to download the 5-page Summary PDF! *

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A Dozen Free Google Apps to Keep Your Family or Team Organized [Part 2 of 2]*

Does your family or team have documents, photos,
plans & maps scattered all over the place?
Google’s free apps help you consolidate, share & get organized!

In Part 1 of this two-part series we described how your family or team might use Google’s Gmail, Calendar, Keep, Photos, Photo Scan, and Maps.  In this Part we’ll take a closer look at Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, and Contacts, as well as five bonus Google apps or services you might want to check out. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

A Dozen Free Google Apps to Keep Your Family or Team Organized [Part 1 of 2]

Does your family or team have documents, photos,
plans & maps scattered all over the place?
Google’s free apps help you consolidate, share & get organized!
Whether you’re trying to coordinate a virtual team or a far-flung family, you can easily reach the point where the “wisdom of the group” is scattered all over the place. One person has that photo everyone is looking for, while somebody else has the schedule in her calendar and other people have the invitations to the event and maps with directions to the venue. In short, working together or sharing family records and events can result in digital files and critical documents scattered all over the place!
The best way to bring order to this chaos is to get everyone connected with a common set of apps that allows the entire group to create, store and share their image files and documents using any device. And that’s exactly what the dozen free Google apps below are designed to do.

Friday, February 16, 2018

5 Things You Can Do to Get Positive Political Results in a Soul-Numbing, Negative Media World (w/ links to tools & resources)

Get your mind right, your facts straight… then get active!
It’s exasperating. All day, every day we’re pummeled with negative news story after negative news story. Then talking heads analyze and dissect these stories and project them into bleak, conflicting doom-and-gloom scenarios. Seeking refuge among friends on Facebook we are soon buried in their provocative memes and rants. And if we’re not careful, our phone calls and in-person meetings with friends and family slip into pointless stirring of a pot full of second-hand, media-inspired arguments.  Eventually all this this negativity can cast a shadow over both our waking and sleeping moments, leaving us feeling like helpless, defeated victims of elected representatives and political processes that we can’t begin to control. 
Now even though I’ve written much on techniques for finding peace of mind and taking positive action, I still struggle to practice what I preach. So I’ve decided to force myself, by writing this, to review some specific actions that we can all take to step out of the negative shadows and into the positive light.  May this review help us all move from helpless anxiety and anger to enthusiastic, rabble-rousing activism!

5 Specific Actions You Can Take to Rise Above the Negative and Get Positive Political Results

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Searching for a Picture: How a Camera in Your Hands Can Improve Your Vision*

“If you change the way you look at things,
the things you look at change.”
 – Wayne Dyer
Years ago I realized that the best thing about carrying a camera is that it helps me see the world as a series of zoomed-in, artfully-framed images. There’s something about that device in my pocket, with all its lens settings and editing tools and pixel-power, that keeps nagging at me. It keeps asking, “Now what do you see? What’s out there that’s amazing? … that’s beautiful?”  So instead of just walking along passively spaced out, I’m studying the landscape, squinting at the high branches of trees and peering into the corners of gardens and shorelines. I’m on a quest to discover soon-to-evaporate tableaus or strange objects or flowers or critters or fellow humans that deserve to be captured, immortalized and shared.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Ten Podcasts that Can Challenge You, Irritate You & Deepen Your Understanding of Current Events

The Trouble with The Truth

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” — Gloria Steinem
Yes, the truth can most certainly piss you off. And, according to my experience, it can do so in two very different ways. First, and most painfully, the truth that you finally discover isn’t always what you had hoped to find. Sometimes that hero you admire or that deeply held belief turns out, upon further research, to be fraudulent or incorrect. Then you’re forced to make that most difficult of shifts: You have to admit you have been wrong. Aaarrgh!
The second way the truth can piss you off is that it is often time-consuming and difficult to pursue! Let’s face it: Paying attention to long, drawn-out discussions of complex issues can be challenging or even downright irritating. But here’s what your head knows and your heart despises: Truth sometimes comes wrapped in complexity. It shows up as a messy amalgam of nuanced cause-effect chains, educated guesses, bits of evidence, collections of dimly recalled events and seemingly unrelated threads that have to be fastidiously plucked and traced and squinted at until your patience is strained to the max. But despite what the sound-byte-driven politicians and cable news ranters try to tell us, there is frequently no “simple truth!” There is, instead, only a deeply layered conceptual lasagna that takes time to assemble, bake, consume and digest.

Who’s Got the Time to Search for Truth?

And who has the time to search for ingredients and then assemble and bake those layers of that truth-as-lasagna? Researching the truth, in all its nuanced glory, can be a full-time job. The good news is that there are some big-brained, highly-trained and patient journalists and investigative reporters who are willing and eager to put in the hours for us. They dig up, sift through and distill disparate facts into well-supported sets of conclusions. All we have to do is find these people and connect with their work. And that’s what the podcasts listed below can help you do.

Ten Podcasts for Truth Seekers

Friday, February 9, 2018

5 Enablers of Team Success: A Universal Set of Minimum Project Requirements*

Ever wonder what separates successful project teams from those that struggle or even fail outright? It’s a lot more than simply talent, energy and creativity. Without a solid enabling project infrastructure, even the best people can fail… or, at best, work needlessly hard in a project environment that fights them and saps them of their strength.
If you want to get the most out of your project team with the least amount of effort and frustration, you need five key enablers in place:
  • A specific target
  • A shared vision
  • A mutually acceptable process
  • Real team empowerment
  • Dynamic connections
And while your organization’s PM approach du jour may vary (i.e., Agile, Waterfall, Kanban, Scrum, Prince II, yatta-yatta…) these five enablers of success are universal. If they are in place, you’ll have a much greater likelihood of a happy, productive team that produces solid results. Let’s take a closer look at each.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

How to Get Comfortable Doing Nothing: 3 Simple Strategies*

Here I am practicing the fine art of doing nothing. No phone, no tablet, no chores!

Recently I came across this quote from Robert Louis Stevenson:
“… ‘something to do’ is a great enemy to joy; it is a way out of it; you wreak your high spirits on some cut-and-dry employment, and behold them gone!” from Stevenson’s Across the Plains
And then, while processing that bit of 19th century wisdom, my brain served up this mantra repeated by Dory, the little blue fish voiced by Ellen DeGeneres in Finding Nemo:
“Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.”
From Dory’s perspective, movement — any movement — whether or not it makes sense or is productive, brings the illusion of progress and, in turn, provides a sense of meaning.

Monday, February 5, 2018

24 Must-Have, Everyday Workhorse Apps*

Top 24 apps (logos shown clockwise from 7 o’clock): Timely, Accuweather, Gmail, Podcast Addict, Google Voice, Google Hangouts Dialer, Hiya Caller ID & Block, Google Keep, SimpleMind, MindMeister, Floating Stickies, Google Docs/Sheets/Slides, Wunderlist, Google Maps, Feedly, Puffin, Xodo PDF, FBReader, Pocket, Google Photos, Fast for Facebook, Twilight, Atmosphere

If you’re like me, your mobile device (phone, tablet, etc.) is loaded with apps. In fact, I’ve just checked and discovered that I’ve got hundreds installed! And that left me wondering, “How many of these things do I need? Which of these do I depend on every day?”
After some reflection, I came up with a list of my “24 must-have, everyday workhorse apps.” Since I get so much value out of these, I decided they were worth sharing with you. They’re listed in the order that I typically use them throughout the day.

My Must-Have, Everyday Workhorse Apps

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Five Questions Every Team Must Answer and a Tool to Help*

Don't stumble all over each other!
Figure out who's doing what & to what degree they're doing it.

Five Key Questions for Any Project Team

Whenever a group of people get together to get something done, there are five role-related questions that should be asked immediately to focus their efforts and avoid wasting anyone's time:

1. Who's participating (helping) to get the job done?

2. Who's ultimately accountable for this? (i.e., Whose job is it to make certain that the work is completed?)

3. Who's reviewing the work to help make sure it meets technical, market, or other specifications?

4. Who's providing unique input or expertise at critical points in the project?

5. Who will be signing off on the intermediate and finished products to certify that the deliverables have been satisfactorily completed? (i.e., Who can tell us when we're finally, officially finished?)

Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Truth Finder: 3 Questions & Lots of Links to Help You Distinguish Fact from Fiction

Are you tired of trying to figure out what's true and what's a clever distortion or (worse!) an outright lie? I've put together a PDF to help you find the truth by asking 3 broad questions.  It includes links to some of the most reputable fact-checking websites and suggests ways you can construct your own custom-tailored truth-seeking web searches.  Enjoy!

Download the PDF!

===== Related Articles ===== 

Friday, February 2, 2018

Got Thinkus Interruptus? Here are 5 specific actions to clean up your cluttered consciousness.

The Problem: Fractured Consciousness From Interruptions Can Ruin Your Work & Your Relationships.

In his article in Fast Company, Edward Brown identified these hidden costs and morale-crushing consequences when people are repeatedly interrupted while working:
  • Productive time lost: 40%-60% (3 to 5 hours every day!)
  • Frustration from losing momentum and having to re-start work & "rebuild pathways... reassemble resources, thoughts, and readiness..."
  • Loss of energy, enthusiasm and work enjoyment
  • More errors, quality problems and time spent in re-work 
  • Distress and irritability from time lost and pressure to get back up to speed and on schedule
Worse, if you accept or respond to interruptions during family time or quality time with your significant other, you are essentially sending them this message: "The person interrupting me right now is more important that you are. This time we are spending together is not as valuable as this incoming message."

The Solution: Take Charge of Your Own Consciousness!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Trouble sleeping? Twilight (Android) or Night Shift (iOS) can help!*

It's this simple: If you spend your evening hours looking at that beautiful bright screen on your tablet or smart phone, you're probably not getting the sleep you need. This summary from the Wikipedia article Effects of Blue Lights Technology explains:
"Natural exposure to blue light during the daylight hours boosts people's energy, alertness and mood, and elongated exposure to the waves transmitted through screen devices during the evening disrupts our circadian rhythms and sleep patterns and increases our risk for cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Scientists believe that the underlying cause may be linked to a decrease in the bodies’ production of melatonin."
So does this mean we have to stop using our devices after dark or risk serious health consequences? Not necessarily. We simply need to dim the screen and shift the light emitted to warmer, redder tones. I like to think of it as moving close to a cozy campfire after the sun goes down.

There Are Apps for That!