Choiceology

Hands up if you are a human?  Okay that is everyone except you Google bots!  Well if you are human, guess what, you are liable to fall for mental fallacies.

What is a fallacy?  A fallacy is invalid or faulty reasoning that can lead to a wrong decision.  Let’s look at a simple example.  It is easy to judge a decision based on its results. However, is it always true that a good outcome resulted from a good decision?  After all, a person might get home safely one night while driving drunk, but he would be a fool to think that being intoxicated made him a better driver.

To learn more about our fallacies and how to counteract them, I highly suggest listening to the podcast Choiceology.  As described on their site:

“Can we learn to make smarter choices? Listen in as host Katy Milkman shares stories of irrational decision making—from historical blunders to the kinds of everyday errors that could affect your future. Choiceology, an original podcast from Charles Schwab, explores the lessons of behavioral economics, exposing the psychological traps that lead to expensive mistakes.”

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There are three seasons of Choicology episodes available, so why not give it a listen?  I think it would be a good decision.

 

 

Go For It! Advice from Public Library Directors

“WHAT DO LIBRARY DIRECTORS DO? The answer to this question may seem self-evident, but it is actually a lot more complicated than it first appears.”

public-lib-coverI’m happy to share that Public Libraries Magazine has published my newest article titled, Go For It! Advice from Library DirectorsFor over a year’s time I interviewed 50 public library leaders to learn more about how they interpret their job and to solicit their insights. This diverse group of directors shared their thoughts on challenges, trends, what they wish they had known before starting as a director, and advice for aspiring directors.

Here are samples of their wisdom for those considering a career in library directorship:

“This is an exciting job, no two days are the same. You must like change and have agility to go with the flow of any given day. ”

“New directors need to come in and take risks. Don’t be afraid to make changes and do new things.”

“Kindness and coming from a place of love are critical. A director should be courageous enough to fail and willing to accept that failure and grow from that.”

“Don’t be afraid to challenge assumptions. Explore and push the boundaries about what a public library can do.”

“If you have any inclination, you should state it with confidence by talking to as many directors as possible and get as much advice as you can. There are very few failures, but there are some great people who never launch because they didn’t put themselves out there.”

I want to thank all 50 directors who participated in the interviews and send a special thank you to editor Kathleen Hughes for accepting my third article for publication.  The full article is now available online at Public Libraries magazine.

The Office Martial Art – GTD!

For many years I was yoga teacher at a local studio in West Palm Beach, FL.  I was drawn to yoga for the exercise and the peace of mind that came from this meditative practice.  Later on, when I discovered GTD and related productivity principles, I saw them as the yoga of office work.  That is, skills and techniques that would provide calm in the face of workplace stress.

David Allen as long used a similar metaphor for GTD in his talks.  He views it as the martial art of work and in a recent blog post, offered ten ways that GTD and karate were similar.

1. There are no beginner’s moves.
You begin in karate learning moves that you will practice as a third-degree black belt. A roundhouse kick or knife-hand block is the same, whether you are just learning it or you are a sensei. Being responsible for your internal commitments, deciding what next physical action is required on something you want to do or change, clarifying your intention and vision—those are true from beginning to end, no matter how mature you are in life or its process. There’s no elementary way to process your inbox to zero.

2. It feels counter-intuitive and unnatural when you start.
Trying to stand and move gracefully in a karate “front stance” feels initially like one of the more unnatural things the body has ever attempted. It’s almost as weird as writing everything down that you commit to do something about, as it occurs to you. Or spending valuable time cleaning up non-critical open loops on the front end. Weird science.”

Read the remaining eight similarities at the Getting Things Done blog.

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Not What, but Where to Discard?

mariekondoDo you have something you want to throw away, but don’t want to simply put it in the trash? Our belongings are varied and the method of sending them along to a new destination can be as well.  Some things may be worthy of resale, others might be suitable to give away, or perhaps you are uncertain if it can be recycled?  A little block like this in the process of clearing a space can cause the discard project to stall.

Organizational expert Marie Kondo is well aware of this obstacle.  So, she recently placed a resource guide on her web site to help with the process of discarding.  For example, under clothing she identifies three different categories for discard: donate, resale, and recycle, along with actual organizations you can contact for each type.

One amazing fact shared in the guide is that the average American uses seven trees a year in paper, wood, and other products. This amounts to about 2,000,000,000 trees per year for the entire country!

Check out the rest of the categories on her web site.

Can a Second Brain be Built in a Day?

basbWe all know that Rome was not built in a day, but can a second brain be built in a seven hour workshop?

On Tuesday May 21, Tiago and Lauren from Forte Labs came to the Palm Beach County Library System to lead their signature course Building a Second Brain (BASB) for thirty five library staff.  Participants were recruited from across the library system, with many members coming from the Productivity Committee and the User Experience (UX) Committee.  All of them were excited about the benefits an electronic second brain had to offer.  Prior to the workshop, participants had a homework assignment to identify their “12 Favorite Problems” and to start capturing electronic items, such as articles, photos, news clips, etc.,  in Microsoft OneNote.  They also had access to an online version of BASB specially designed for the library staff.

At the start, the BASB workshop laid out the core tenants of the second brain philosophy: Capture, Connect, Create.  The morning was spent with a review of capture and then moved on to PARA which clarified the difference between projects, areas, resources, and archives.  Following lunch, the seminar moved to the theory and practice of Progressive Summarization.  Students then explored the concept of project packets that lead to the “Just In Time” project delivery system.  Finally, Tiago shared his view of the future of knowledge work in relation to personal knowledge management.

Library staff left the workshop energized and excited about the possibilities from mastering personal knowledge management.  So in the end, we learned that building a second brain is not a one time exercise, but an ongoing approach to curate the streams of information that flow around us.

Thank you Tiago and Lauren from all of us at PBCLS!

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An Award and the PKM Experts

I am proud to share two news items.

First, this past week at the Florida Library Association conference, my article “Efficient Librarianship: A New Path for the Profession” received the award for Outstanding Scholarly Contribution.  I am humbled that the Association choose to recognize it with these words:flaaward

“Douglas Crane’s article, “Efficient Librarianship:  A New Path for the Profession” (Public Libraries Magazine, Nov/Dec 2017) explores the intersection between personal productivity and knowledge management practices within the field of librarianship.  The article examines how librarians are uniquely suited to be excellent knowledge workers through the combination of librarian skill sets with best productivity and efficiency practices.  It further argues that through these skills and practices, the “Efficient Librarian” becomes a powerful consultant and decision maker.  In addition to this article, Doug Crane blogs on his “Efficient Librarian” website and conducts related training.”

Second, this week the Palm Beach County Library System is proud to host Tiago and Lauren from Forte Labs who will be sharing their expertise on Personal Knowledge Management (PKM).  This is the first time that Forte Labs has presented their signature workshop on Building a Second Brain to a room full of library staff.  It should be awesome!

I’ll blog more on the training later this week.

Does Technology=Productivity?

DA-SmallWill a new iPhone make you more productive?  Perhaps the latest app can keep you on track to complete projects?  Is a digital calendar more effective than an old fashioned paper one?  With the constant cycle of technology there is always a new tool or software version coming out that promises to improve our efficiency and make life easier.  However, is this promise simply untenable?

In a recent blog post, David Allen addresses the intersection between technology and productivity.  He starts with a nuanced approach to the topic.

“Despite my thirty-five years of consulting, coaching, and training in hundreds of organizations, I don’t have an easy answer to that question. The digital tools we need and like require more intensive labor than they should. It would be great to have a digital dashboard that integrated all apps, allowed you to manipulate information in a single location, and then sent the revised data back to its original location. And all upgrades would happen automatically! Doubtful, in my lifetime.”

Despite this conflicted opening, David goes on to offer some straightforward advice on the topic.  Read the rest of the post on the Getting Things Done web site.