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Playing with LinkedIn's Answers feature - Goals, saying no, changing careers (part 2/2)

This is the second half of my answers to interesting LinkedIn Answers (I posted part one last week). Enjoy!

How do you reach your goals?

I am curious how do you guys reach your goals?

In these days both work and personal life gets more and more blended.
How do you reach the goals that you set for yourself both personal and professional?

Do you use certain methods, lists, use coaches or perhaps something completely different?
1) Get clear about what you want, and 2) make it happen, step-by-step. The catch: These days it's very difficult to get your head above water long enough to do 1), when you're being overloaded with requests, email, commitments, etc.

What I recommend to clients is the first get on top of all their day-to-day communications, commitments, and information, which gives them the clarity to ask the bigger questions. Luckily, once they're up and running with the system (I teach David Allen's "Getting Things Done"), it's straightforward to fast-track your goals by breaking them down into projects, and ultimately into concrete, specific actions.

Hope that helps!

How Do You Say, "No."?

"No" is one of the smallest words in English.

But, "No" is one of the most difficult words to master, whatever language you speak.

Yet, there is a time - an absolute time - when we are compelled to say, "No."

If you've ever said "no" to an invitation, a forwarding request, an endorsement, etc., how did you say it?

Did you say it so that you could preserve the contact for a prospective future relationship?

Or did your "no" include everything: No invitation, no forwarding, no endorsement, no future relationship?
I think it's difficult to *know* when to say no, unless you know everything you've committed to. Otherwise, you'll have no sense of whether the opportunity you're presented with is worth pursuing, and therefore worth giving something else up for.

If you've decided to say no, I find the most direct - but compassionate - approach is refreshing. It's still a no, but if I ask someone for something, and they come back with "I won't be able to help at this time because ____," I feel OK about it. This is *much* better (and clearer) than not answering at all, or putting off saying no by beating around the bush.

How do you stay motivated and productive... all the time?

I am not a lazy person. Perhaps quite the opposite. I prefer having more things to do than I can physically handle (more things get done), which has somewhat become my motivation to keep going. However, I must admit - this sort of schedule-based overload started to get to me. Sometimes it would take away my desire to do any work whatsoever, knowing that in the short-term it is unattainable no matter how hard/fast I try.

So I figured a change is in order. A new set of daily routine is up for adoption. So I come to you, managers, CEOs, project managers, executives, career advisers...

We all have rules that we live by (in our professional life). However, what keeps you motivated to stay productive? How do you keep yourself going 100% of the time, every day?
Great question, Artashes. First, I think it's natural for our motivation and creativity to vary - we're not machines, working constantly and steadily. That said, there are ways to monitor and adjust your motivation and productivity. Productivity is the easier one - it has to do with efficiency, and choosing what you work on. I use David Allen's "Getting Things Done" (AKA GTD) methodology to manage that. It's based partly on the notion of needing to have a complete inventory of your possible actions. Otherwise, how can you know what the most important one in the moment is? It's a radical approach, and very different from traditional ABC models.

Stepping up a level, motivation stems from values, and a lack of motivation can indicate a disconnect between what you care about, and what you're expected to do (your commitments). Going back to GTD, once you have every commitment listed in front of you, you can then then start asking questions about purpose and values. Often, however, we're so swamped with the day-to-day overload that we can't get enough air to even *ask* those questions...

I want to shift my career to game development field. What are the things i want to do for that?

I am a software professional working in a company as a developer. Now i want to shift to Gaming Industry
A few general approaches:
  • Learn who the leaders of the field are - individuals and companies - and become and expert in them. What the business is like, what changes are happening, etc. If you see an event that's relevant, send them a short "I noticed that ..." email. Keep it brief, and it's best if you can offer some insight that would be helpful to them. The point is to not ask for something, but to offer something of value instead.
  • Start your own "skunk works" project, maybe open source, to demonstrate your talent.
  • Buy copies of games that are like what you'd like to write. Become an expert in them, comment on user forums, find bugs, suggest improvements, create add-ons, etc. Let your passion and creativity shine!
  • If you're flexible, ask for an internship, even volunteer - maybe as a tester.

How do you work?

Time management is something I take seriously. When presented with opportunity, I study how other executives, CEOs and professional managers manage their daily time routine.

Could you please share how you spend your day and what set of rules make it the most efficient?
You'll find as many answers to your wonderful question as you desire, depending on how much time you're willing to invest in the search. There are many styles of self-management, and finding one that works for you may be a good goal.

I became fascinated with the question after adopting the methodology in the book "Getting Things Done" (AKA "GTD") by David Allen. The results blew me away, so much, in fact, that I'm now consulting in it. I think Allen's primary contribution is the realization of the role a full mind plays in our daily stress, and reduction in our ability to focus and re-focus during the day.

Another Allen contribution is identifying five phases that "stuff" has to go through in order to be transformed into "work," something many other books miss. For example, getting organized has to do with tools, but that's just one piece of the puzzle.

I think you've taken the first step toward improving your self-management - asking the question. Just by being *aware* that there's room for improvement, you've opened the door - good show!

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