iNoob – Chapter 2: Learning to be Productive

English: Product icon for MindView mind mappin...

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I’ve been in the crucible of work with my MacBook Air for nearly 3 months now.  I’m finding myself feeling more at ease with many of the differences between Windows 7 and OS X. There is still the need to have a mixed environment for me to be productive AND happy.  One thing I found that I just NEEDED to do was purchase a copy of Parallels for Mac so I could get to Windows software like Visio, Project and Mindjet MindManager (there is a version for Mac, but I already own a license for the Windows version….). The installation of Parallels, Windows 7 and the various programs I wanted (including Windows Live Writer with the Zemanta plug-in, which is still my favorite blogging tool) went flawlessly.  Windows even boots faster in the Parallels environment than on my quad-core at home!

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Coming up for air

Korg M3 Music Workstation Sampler

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It’s true…..this space has been as dead as a bag of hammers for a couple of months. I’ve switched companies and jobs, and that has made for a very exciting and immersive few weeks.

I’ve switched jobs before.  I worked for my previous employer for 14 years and had a number of positions, each a challenge and none of them easy.  Learning the ropes, discovering who were the go-to people on the team, what were the local processes for getting things done and re-jiggering my goals and deliverables for the new gig always took a bit of time, but the corporate culture was basically the same (there were actually some differences between business groups, but I learned early on that was the norm for my company).  I didn’t have to learn a new repository of information, a new information discovery tree or deal with a new way of thinking about what we did, as a company.

THAT has changed.

Boy Howdy….

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iNoob – Chapter 1: Jumping into the Pond

I just started a new job and decided that things weren’t going to be tumultuous enough, so, on the recommendation of my new manager, I signed up for a brand

English: New 11.6 MacBook Air

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spanking new MacBook Air as my work PC. This after working with nothing but Microsoft Windows since version 3.0 back in 1991.

Wow…lots of things to notice…

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Short and…….sweet?

Readers own scan of the PD document

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When I sit down to write, my first instinct is to spend time noodling on a topic I might have captured previously or something that I’m confronting or working through right now. I feel that somehow whatever I could come up with in a stream-of-consciousness sessions might resemble a walk through an unsightly neighborhood and not have much coherence. I need to give myself a break and realize that there is more coherence to following a path of thought than I give credit to the desire to write.

This is just such a post.

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Short and…….sweet?

Readers own scan of the PD document

Image via Wikipedia

When I sit down to write, my first instinct is to spend time noodling on a topic I might have captured previously or something that I’m confronting or working through right now. I feel that somehow whatever I could come up with in a stream-of-consciousness sessions might resemble a walk through an unsightly neighborhood and not have much coherence. I need to give myself a break and realize that there is more coherence to following a path of thought than I give credit to the desire to write.

This is just such a post.

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Movin’ on up…

Wheelbarrow

Image by wayne’s eye view via Flickr

My Dad had two primary refuges from work and my brother and me.  In the winter it was his shop in the garage and in the summer it was the yard and the garden.  He had apparently inherited the ability to grow almost anything from my grandmother.  She could take a fallen, brown leaf from a plant and nurture it into full health in the space of a year or two…..amazing.

One of the things I used to kid him about was his penchant for regularly moving shrubs, bushes and sometimes trees from one spot to another around our yard.  We used to joke that he was never happy with where God put them and was trying to improve the arrangement.  The moved item always seemed to thrive anew, regardless of where he planted it.  Now I see what he was doing in a different light.

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Movin’ on up…

Wheelbarrow

Image by wayne’s eye view via Flickr

My Dad had two primary refuges from work and my brother and me.  In the winter it was his shop in the garage and in the summer it was the yard and the garden.  He had apparently inherited the ability to grow almost anything from my grandmother.  She could take a fallen, brown leaf from a plant and nurture it into full health in the space of a year or two…..amazing.

One of the things I used to kid him about was his penchant for regularly moving shrubs, bushes and sometimes trees from one spot to another around our yard.  We used to joke that he was never happy with where God put them and was trying to improve the arrangement.  The moved item always seemed to thrive anew, regardless of where he planted it.  Now I see what he was doing in a different light.

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The horse race

Animated sequence of a race horse galloping. P...

Animated sequence of a race horse galloping. Photos taken by Eadweard Muybridge (died 1904), first published in 1887 at Philadelphia (Animal Locomotion). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was recently discussing the pros and cons of various personnel review and commitment systems/styles with a close colleague of mine. She was saying something like, “It’s just like a horse race.  One year you put your all into the race and win.  The next year you put just as much effort and work into the race as the year before, if not more, and nine others finish ahead of you.”  The implication is that this gives the folks putting on the race the impetus to……what? Give last year’s horse sugar for running a great race? Trying the horse at different races? Retiring the horse to pasture?

It seems that the climate in many organizations implies a future involving a glue factory.  Why is this?

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It’s never just business

You’ve heard it before…

You’re in a meeting and someone is presenting an idea or proposal that they’ve placed an enormous amount of time and effort into.  This is their BABY. It’s obvious they’ve done some research, talked to some experts and influencers.  They got the data, did the analysis and did all the right things.  There are some gaps, maybe…..perhaps a blind sport or two.  Then it happens:

What about XXX!?” (XXX = name of gap or blind spot goes here)

“That’s just obvious!” “How could you miss that?!” “Well, that’s no good…” “You’ll have to do better than that to convince me!” “We just need smarter people on this, apparently!” [Yes, I’ve heard that in meetings…]

“Don’t take it personally….it’s just business.”

I’m sorry, no.  It’s never just business.

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Open the Box – a towel

A blue towel featuring a large red 42 (the ans...

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Today I opened the box and found a towel. My thoughts almost immediately raced to Douglas Adams‘ book "The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy" the the assertion that a towel is the most mind-bogglingly useful thing one can have.  It has comforting properties, has innumerable uses and is still fairly non-exceptional in presentation. I tried moving away from these qualities (if only because the book has so many other enticements for my imagination that I might likely get permanently derailed). The more I thought about these things, though, the more they made sense for what I’m considering.

In this analogy, what does a towel represent?  Good question.  It could be a member of your team. It might be a tool or set of tools you use everyday that has become second nature and integral to your productivity. It might be a set of principles you work or live by.  I could be a methodology you use or set of habits you  have developed to get stuff done.  It could be a best friend or mentor that you rely upon (and who relies on you, too).

Take some time today.  Discover what your towel is and reaffirm that it is, indeed, amazing.  Don’t take it for granted.

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