FastCompany Magazine

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If you’re putting something off over and over, there’s probably a good reason for that.
Over the years, I have become quite a student of anti-procrastination techniques. There’s the work-on-something else method (I’m writing this article because I don’t feel like editing a different project). There’s bribery (I can read a magazine afterwards!) Then there’s my favorite method: starting in the middle. I write an easy paragraph, then write a little bit above, and a little bit below, and so on, until, miraculously, I have a draft.
Sometimes these work. But sometimes, there’s a deeper message in procrastination. If you pay attention, these lessons can not only advance your career, they can help you finish the task that’s stymying you right now.
A key insight is that most of us don’t procrastinate everything. Much of the stuff we grumble about we get to eventually. So if you find yourself resisting something again and again, step back from your usual crutches (email, web surfing) and spend some time asking why.
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If you’re putting something off over and over, there’s probably a good reason for that.

Over the years, I have become quite a student of anti-procrastination techniques. There’s the work-on-something else method (I’m writing this article because I don’t feel like editing a different project). There’s bribery (I can read a magazine afterwards!) Then there’s my favorite method: starting in the middle. I write an easy paragraph, then write a little bit above, and a little bit below, and so on, until, miraculously, I have a draft.

Sometimes these work. But sometimes, there’s a deeper message in procrastination. If you pay attention, these lessons can not only advance your career, they can help you finish the task that’s stymying you right now.

A key insight is that most of us don’t procrastinate everything. Much of the stuff we grumble about we get to eventually. So if you find yourself resisting something again and again, step back from your usual crutches (email, web surfing) and spend some time asking why.

Read More>

Business leaders pay a great deal of attention to communication. Mastering what you need to say and how you need to say it are important factors if you’re going to be an effective communicator. However, one element of spoken communication is often overlooked—the way you speak.
We’ve all heard people whose voices are too grating, soft, or fake. Some people’s speech is so unpleasant that they undermine the speaker’s message entirely. However, you can take steps to improve the quality, tone, and expression of your voice, and how you express yourself vocally. It just takes a little know-how and practice.
Read More>

Business leaders pay a great deal of attention to communication. Mastering what you need to say and how you need to say it are important factors if you’re going to be an effective communicator. However, one element of spoken communication is often overlooked—the way you speak.

We’ve all heard people whose voices are too grating, soft, or fake. Some people’s speech is so unpleasant that they undermine the speaker’s message entirely. However, you can take steps to improve the quality, tone, and expression of your voice, and how you express yourself vocally. It just takes a little know-how and practice.

Read More>

If you don’t want to slam the brakes on your next brainstorming session, avoid these idea-killing phrases.
Ideas are fragile—they’re easily shattered by snubs, smirks, and scorn. And brainstorms are equally delicate. The wrong words at the wrong time bring brainstorming to a screeching halt.
The function of brainstorming has received its share of badmouthing in recent years, often for good cause. And many of those problems stem from statements made before or during brainstorming sessions.
For healthy brainstorming and bountiful ideas, always steer clear of these seven sentences:
Read More>

If you don’t want to slam the brakes on your next brainstorming session, avoid these idea-killing phrases.

Ideas are fragile—they’re easily shattered by snubs, smirks, and scorn. And brainstorms are equally delicate. The wrong words at the wrong time bring brainstorming to a screeching halt.

The function of brainstorming has received its share of badmouthing in recent years, often for good cause. And many of those problems stem from statements made before or during brainstorming sessions.

For healthy brainstorming and bountiful ideas, always steer clear of these seven sentences:

Read More>

When your days already feel jam-packed, how can you afford to experiment with productivity? Get to the bottom of time-wasting habits.
It’s classic productivity advice: Match your most important work to your most productive hours. If you do that, you’ll get a lot more done.
But this advice assumes you know when your most productive hours are. Many people don’t, says Daniel Gold, a productivity specialist and author of Evernote: The Unofficial Guide to Capturing Everything and Getting Things Done, among other life management books. “We’re too often stuck without thinking about the bigger picture,” he says. If you’re constantly in reactive mode, or your life features irregular hours or travel, you may not be familiar with your own internal rhythms. Getting there is “really just about taking that uncomfortable step inwards,” he says. Here are strategies for paying attention.
Read More>

When your days already feel jam-packed, how can you afford to experiment with productivity? Get to the bottom of time-wasting habits.

It’s classic productivity advice: Match your most important work to your most productive hours. If you do that, you’ll get a lot more done.

But this advice assumes you know when your most productive hours are. Many people don’t, says Daniel Gold, a productivity specialist and author of Evernote: The Unofficial Guide to Capturing Everything and Getting Things Done, among other life management books. “We’re too often stuck without thinking about the bigger picture,” he says. If you’re constantly in reactive mode, or your life features irregular hours or travel, you may not be familiar with your own internal rhythms. Getting there is “really just about taking that uncomfortable step inwards,” he says. Here are strategies for paying attention.

Read More>

Ignoring an in-office conflict won’t make it go away. Here’s how to get things back on track.
You’ve had an interaction with a coworker during which you felt hurt, angry, misunderstood, and wronged—clearly it was an upsetting and difficult situation.
As you regroup, you review what happened, what you heard and experienced. Replaying the conversation is painful and you begin to plan what you’d like to say as a follow-up. Of course the other person is taking stock and regrouping too, and he or she likely has a very different take on what happened.
Revisiting and repairing a difficult interaction in the workplace is a complex process. Here’s how to get started:
Read More>

Ignoring an in-office conflict won’t make it go away. Here’s how to get things back on track.

You’ve had an interaction with a coworker during which you felt hurt, angry, misunderstood, and wronged—clearly it was an upsetting and difficult situation.

As you regroup, you review what happened, what you heard and experienced. Replaying the conversation is painful and you begin to plan what you’d like to say as a follow-up. Of course the other person is taking stock and regrouping too, and he or she likely has a very different take on what happened.

Revisiting and repairing a difficult interaction in the workplace is a complex process. Here’s how to get started:

Read More>