On Procrastination

My airplane listening (hey, it was a long flight!) was a series of podcasts by Merlin Mann at 43folders with David Allen, the personal productivity guru and one of my heros. I stumbled across David’s email newsletter back in 2001, and printed/saved them until his best seller Getting Things Done came out in print. Heck, GTD was my first Amazon book purchase, OK? So getting to hear the maestro for 90 minutes while cramped in a ‘regional carrier’ was a thrill indeed.

OK, ok, ok. Enough Dave love. What did he have to say about procrastination? Lots, actually. I was just getting around to telling you…

We (you? I?) procrastinate for three reasons: it’s not worth doing anymore but I haven’t conciously killed it yet; I don’t know what the next action is (so I need to figure that out to get unstuck); or I don’t feel confident that I can engage [on the item] with control and success. Zowie! That last one hit me like a ton of firebrick!

Wait! There’s more! He quoted another book [War of Art], (he couldn’t remember the author but he remembered the quote) “the thing that is closest to your soul is the thing that you avoid the most.” Not much you can do about this one, says Dave, other than be aware of it, recognize it and give yourself permission to deal with it anyway.

Taken together, this helped me out quite a bit. The toughest thing about building my brick oven was ordering materials from suppliers who knew everything about their products but nothing about ovens. I could write a whole post just about finding fireclay. In those cases it was my lack of confidence in having a successful conversation with the supplier that caused delays. The thought of being treated like a goof caused huge anxiety. In hindsight, there was more I could’ve done to ensure ‘control and success’ when interacting with suppliers.

Lately however, I’ve been avoiding doing more to get the bakery going. Things like taking two weeks to spend an hour re-assembling the mixer, never chopping wood, etc. In these cases the actual task is easy. So why the delay? I think it’s the last bit — ‘the closest to my soul.’ I’ve still got a ‘fear of something’ with regard to the bakery which I haven’t identified yet. So quit trying to identify it; just recognize that I’ll be nervous about it, and get going anyway.

(Meanwhile, back at home, Cindy just rolled her eyes. Karma. She gets this in her genes. I’m good at other stuff.)

The Problem of Anonymity

My airplane reading this for this trip is a book I’ve wanted to read for a few months now: Small is the New Big by Seth Godin. It’s a collection of ‘the best’ of his blog posts over the past 3-4 years. While I spend a lot of time reading online I still appreciate holding some paper in my hands.

He riffs on the troubles associated with anonymity on the internet. Seth’s against it. Says it causes a ton of problems, not least of which are spam, flame wars, trolls and general bitchiness. My favorite line:”anonymity is the enemy of civility.”

You know, I completely agree. When I started this blog I thought about writing under a pseudonym or leaving my blog completely anonymous. But within a week of my first post I read two blogs by people I know in Regina and i was appalled by how cranky the blogs were. Not really the tone [not my style, but that’s OK], but more that they didn’t have the guts to put their name behind what they were writing.

My question: who do you respect/admire more, someone who anonymously puts up a web page criticizing local government, or some kids who recorded a song criticizing local government [click ‘ode to Pasquala’] and perform it live on stage all over the city no matter who attends?

Business Travel Essentials

I arrived in San Diego late Sunday afternoon and have checked in at the lovely La Avenida Inn on Coronado Island. It’s a very comfortable (and affordable) little motel which is the perfect place for my psyche. They have friendly staff, clean and spacious rooms and a top notch cable TV selection. I’ve never really felt comfortable at the ‘five star’ accomodations where one usually stays during business travel. I’ve had my fill of Pan Pacifics in Vancouver, Fairmonts in San Francisco or even Marriotts in Minneapolis; lovely buildings with a lobby to match their high pricetag, but no real soul.

La Avenida Inn is exactly the type of hotel I would stay in if I were travelling with my family. However there are two things missing that I now realize are Essentals when I’m travelling on business. The first is an iron in the room. I don’t pack very well so my shirts are creased up pretty good, but a quick steam in the bathroom should fix them well enough. The second missing item is internet access. I’ve grown used to free wireless internet, but I thought every hotel in the planet at least had a for-money broadband service available. La Avenida has neither. So I’ll get to spend part of each day at one of the nearby coffee shops posting to the blog. Not as ‘live’ as I originally planned but I’m adaptable!

For me, it’s worth checking in advance for irons + internet before I book my next hotel.

[Posted at Cafe 1134 in Coronado — worth walking to!]

Heading South

I’ve acquired a slight head cold so that can mean only one thing — I’m heading off on an airplane! Yep, I leave Sunday for the Stellent Crescendo conference. I’ll be meeting with some of our hosting customers, the Stellent sales / partner crew and hopefully learn some more about content management too.

The only downside (other than the massive sinus pain I will indoubtably suffer) is that I’ll miss most of the Super Bowl. I’m loading up on pre-game hype instead. My motto is the same as NFL network — everything but the game!

I’ll blog as much as I can from the conference, but I’ll have to split between internal stuff and what I can share publically. Hopefully you’ll get more than descriptions of the beaches and palm trees.

Some extra links: The conference is at the lovely Hotel Del Coronado

I’ll be staying at the even more wonderful (for me) La Avenida Inn across the street. To be honest, I’m not one for ultra-swanky accomodations and this is a great little hotel I discovered when I was here back in 2000. Clean rooms, great location and friendly staff. That’s all I could ever want!

Have you heard of this iPhone thingy?

Not sure if it made the local paper but those kooky funsters at Apple have announced a new cellphony/music player/web surfer thingy. It got a little bit of press on cable.

Honestly, I was worried that I would end up as the only blogger who didn’t post about the iPhone announcement. But then I couldn’t figure out how to market the fact that I didn’t post about iPhone without posting about iPhone. It started to make my head hurt. I’m glad that’s finally been resolved.

What I found most interesting was how the CEO of Cingular got skewered for being such a poor presenter. I guess style matters, at least when you’re on the stage with the Grand Master himself, Steve Jobs. I’ll be watching my own executive’s performances with a new set of filters from here on out.

Some links:

iPhone announcement [Apple.com]

Steve Jobs is a Great Presenter [Presentation Zen]

And the Cingular CEO isn’t

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