The Content of the Weekly Review and Planning

The Content of the Weekly Review and Planning

Howto, Self-help
I've kept the habit of the Weekly Review and Planning for a good while now and for the most part have not changed it that much. It's a solid habit from which I've benefited greatly. If you haven't started this habit I highly recommend that you consider it for yourself. The content hasn't so much changed for me as it has matured.  The basic idea here is taking 15 to 30 minutes to step back from the work and consider the impact you're having. Did you accomplish what you set out to do this week?  Were you effective in communicating with your team?  Do you need to make any adjustments next week?  Do you need to seize the opportunity to reach out and tell someone thanks for a great job?…
Read More
Crank Your Workday Enthusiasm up to Eleven

Crank Your Workday Enthusiasm up to Eleven

Self-help
One key element that consistently adds to the success and enjoyment of a workday is having positive interactions with coworkers.  Anytime we encounter a person who has an upbeat attitude with a cheerful manner we tend to contribute more to the conversation and walk away from it feeling energized. The Habit I say BE THAT PERSON with the upbeat attitude and cheerful manner. While you may not naturally beam sunshine everywhere you go, there are a few simple things you can add to your day to increase the amount of fun you have, which will improve your interactions with others.  Anytime we can improve the days of those we meet we pave the way for better relationships, more opportunity, and in the process increase our sense of self-worth. The Method…
Read More
Get It Right EVERY TIME (not just the first time)

Get It Right EVERY TIME (not just the first time)

Technology
This post is part of the series The Best Tools and Techniques for Winning at Business and Life One of the cool things about working with developers, sysadmins, and customers is that the environment is changing constantly. The Habit We technical folks often fall into one of two mindsets when we're working through a problem.  We either get laser focused on the end goal -- forsaking any and all incremental improvements along the way in favor of that sweet victory that waits for us in the end, or we revel in the flow of the technical process itself until we are surprised -- if not a little let down -- in the end when we've implemented an elegant solution.  This is natural.  It's why we're good at what we do. But if…
Read More
Complete Work Faster and Better With Scrum

Complete Work Faster and Better With Scrum

Technology
This post is part of the series The Best Tools and Techniques for Winning at Business and Life I'll go ahead and assume you know what Scrum is.  If not, look it up - there are tons of people who can provide a far better and more complete explanation than I.  My team is technically too small for Scrum, but we use it in the best way we can, and have really seen amazing results with it. The parts of scrum that have proven most revolutionary for me: Understanding how to assess the priority of work Being able to accurately estimate the amount of effort and time required to complete the work Scrum provides the team with a level of self awareness that helps us confidently accept new work, and to recommend alternatives when…
Read More
Darren’s Guide – The Best Tools and Techniques For Winning at Business and Life

Darren’s Guide – The Best Tools and Techniques For Winning at Business and Life

Products I Love
We owe it to ourselves to bring out best every single moment of every single day.  Why would anyone want to waste time being less than the best human he or she could be?  When it comes to getting the most from myself and my day, I'm ALL IN. Introduction In my 20 years in technology business I’ve seen and used a lot of tools. This guide is aimed at anyone who wants to make effective use of the Internet in daily life, whether it’s in business or in personal life. These tools are equally helpful regardless of whether you’re trying to run a business across multiple time zones or just trying to stay in touch with family and friends and keep your life moving in the right direction. I…
Read More
Keep Email in its Box with Inbox Zero

Keep Email in its Box with Inbox Zero

Self-help, Technology
This post is part of the series The Best Tools and Techniques for Winning at Business and Life We all have a love/hate relationship with email, except maybe without the love. Yes, email is terrible, but it’s part of life so we may as well deal with it in this guide. I recommend looking at email at least once per day and no more often than three or four times per day, depending on the length of your work day. If you’re an eight-to-fiver, twice is plenty. If you run from five am to midnight, you may need to deal with email as many as four times a day. The Habit Check sometime in the morning. Schedule it AROUND your big rocks. Give it anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes and…
Read More
Online Meetings and Collaboration

Online Meetings and Collaboration

Products I Love, Technology
This post is part of the series The Best Tools and Techniques for Winning at Business and Life The Habit Online meetings can be just as productive as a meeting held in person, provided everyone remembers that the meeting is still a meeting. Turn your camera on.  It seems weird at first but it doesn't take very long before it feels normal, and makes a huge difference in the quality of the conversations you can have. Especially in larger meetings and when some attendees are present via phone only, announce who you are when you're talking.  It takes no extra time to do, and brings refreshing clarity to the call.  Not only is it courteous to other attendees, others can focus more clearly on your comments and questions when they're not trying…
Read More
Capturing Meeting Action Items and Notes with OneNote

Capturing Meeting Action Items and Notes with OneNote

Products I Love
This post is part of the series The Best Tools and Techniques for Winning at Business and Life Free If you had the previous version of this guide, you’ll notice that Microsoft OneNote has replaced Evernote in my list of recommended tools. In truth, either is a fine choice; you can probably be effective with either tool. OneNote integrates so naturally with Microsoft Outlook that it brings a host of useful features that in my opinion cannot be found anywhere else. Meeting Notes and Todos While I don’t recommend having your nose stuck in a computer during meetings, it can be helpful to use a computer to capture the deliverable to-do items at the end or after the meeting. OneNote is a great tool for this. With simple keyboard shortcuts and…
Read More

Why I Think Mind Mapping Isn’t Crazy (And The Tool I Use)

Products I Love
This post is part of the series The Best Tools and Techniques for Winning at Business and Life Xmind.net: Free with Professional version available Don’t write this off. Just don’t. I know that “mind mapping” sounds like a weird, touchy-feely thing that people do right before they go off to yoga class and never do anything productive with their day. Not so. If you will learn to effectively map out your goals you’ll be much better at actually achieving them. If you’re still resistant to trying out this tool, do yourself a favor and get some 3x5 index cards out and put your goals there. If you’re not willing to do that, I can’t help you. Once you’ve done that and seen the benefit, come back to this guide and…
Read More
Why I Keep My Files in Dropbox

Why I Keep My Files in Dropbox

Products I Love, Technology
This post is part of the series The Best Tools and Techniques for Winning at Business and Life Dropbox for File Sharing Free with paid version available for home users with large amounts of data enhanced collaboration features for business Dropbox makes it a breeze to sync files between multiple computers and multiple people. It is simply a must-have application for anyone who needs access to files from multiple places. Even more than that, if you need to share files with business associates, Dropbox makes this task a breeze. You simply set up your files in your own folder structure and share only the specific files and folders you need to share. You have complete control over who has access to the files, and you get notifications anytime someone updates them.…
Read More