Friday, April 3, 2009 at 3:40PM
This week I'm experimenting with an IdeaLab variation called "The word is..." It's an excuse to share a mix of stimulating ideas related to a particular concept. This week, in honor of my cio.com blurb in Tips for CIOs: Marketing IT, Avoiding Jet Lag and Making a To-Do List, the word is stick*.
- In your research, stick with small problems. Solving them will lead to mastering larger ones. You and Your Research
- In On Using Post-It Notes For GTD Projects, Instead Of Lists I wrote about using sticky notes as a non-linear tool for GTD-like lists. My thinking was lists for the visually/spatially-oriented.
- How about sticky notes that get progressively stinkier as they age? Put them on videos or books that have a due date. Use Them for your Waiting For list! An End-of-the-year Idea Grab Bag: Smelly Videos, Photo Stickers, Dissolving Staples, And Darkening Ink For NAs
- From The Lure of Laziness:
"Instant reward is the default setting of the brain, but we like ourselves better when we tackle unpleasant tasks ... Write out your goals daily. We're more likely to stick to our plans if we monitor our progress toward a goal."
- Because clients hire me to give them a productivity overhaul, and because lasting changes like this are difficult, I'm always interested in ways to get the work to stick. A client likened this to Alcoholics Anonymous: the program is easy, but staying with it is hard. Agree? Related: Reader Question: Getting Personal Productivity Changes To Stick? and A Dozen Small Ways To Get Productivity Improvements To Stick In An Organization.
- From Are You Organized For Failure?
"Using digital communications tools allows you to try everything out and see what sticks. It allows you to embrace failure at minimal or zero cost. Technology enables you to open source parts of your business."Naturally I love this. It connects directly with my How Do You Treat Life As An Experiment? philosophy.
- In the life-as-experiment category, a psychologist I know suggested this overall procedure:
- Dream up options
- Try one
- Stick with it
- Evaluate results. Done?
- Dream up options
- From Daydream achiever:
"Many scientists argue that daydreaming is a crucial tool for creativity, a thought process that allows the brain to make new associations and connections. Instead of focusing on our immediate surroundings - such as the message of a church sermon - the daydreaming mind is free to engage in abstract thought and imaginative ramblings. As a result, we're able to imagine things that don't actually exist, like sticky yellow bookmarks."
- Via Put Your Money Where Your Girth Is, stickK is an accountability tool to "facilitate personal commitment contracts," including weight loss and other types of personal goals. If you don't live up to your end of the contract, StickK will give your money to charity or a person you designate.
- From Improvise Like a Jazz Musician:
The essence of improvisation is to churn out ideas and see what sticks.What's your wall look like? Sticky Spaghetti makes marks!
- Here's a mind blower: The brain can shift events forward or backward. Via Time Out of Mind (joystick is a stretch, I'll grant you):
Another ingenious bit of research, conducted in Germany, demonstrated that within a brief time frame the brain can shift events forward or backward. Subjects were asked to play a video game that involved steering airplanes, but the joystick was programmed to react only after a brief delay. After playing a while, the players stopped being aware of the time lag. But when the scientists eliminated the delay, the subjects suddenly felt as though they were staring into the future. It was as though the airplanes were moving on their own before the subjects had directed them to do so.
- From the master Nicholas Bate on Productivity101:
30. And seven that can reduce productivity ... 35. (5) Yellow stickies. Everywhere.
- From The Hamster Revolution:
...email is both slippery and sticky. It slithers and squirms into the oddest places and it sticks around forever. When it's unprofessional, it points a giant flashing spotlight back on you.
- From Little Red Book of Selling:
Principle 12.5: Resign your position as General Manager of the Universe. Don't stick your nose in someone else's business.
- Me on email processing:
Remember that email messages are sticky. Think flypaper - you touch it, you handle it - it doesn't go back. Also, it's a little poisonous, so be quick! (2 minute rule).
-  The asterisk (AKA splat - see Know Your Keyboard: Bang, Splat, Whack!) is from my programming background. It's a special character used as a wildcard, esp. for matching file names. For example, "stick*" would match "stick," "sticks," and "sticky." More general is the idea of regular expressions, one of the most powerful and (for me) complicated tool I've encountered. A productivity spin: Look for positive patterns in your work and life, and turn them into habits. For work, "compile" them into automated checklists or delegated work.