Building a Second Brain – The Podcast!

Just a quick post to share news about a new podcast from a thinker who has been featured on the Efficient Librarian. Tiago Forte has created a podcast series based on his signature work, Building a Second Brain. In the podcast, Tiago summarizes and explains important aspects of his work. Even better, the episodes are purposefully kept short for easy listening.

Here’s the official description:

Overwhelmed by consumption? The Building a Second Brain Podcast gives you the tools to thrive in the Information Age. Tiago Forte teaches you how to turn your notes, bookmarks and unread articles into completed creative works. Learn how to build your own “Second Brain” – a trusted place outside your head where you can collect your most important ideas and insights, and use them to do your best work. You’ll discover why many myths about the creative process hold us back, and how replacing them with a modern approach can unlock our true creative potential. You’ll be amazed at what you can create with the right frame of mind.

Listen to the Building a Second Brain podcast by downloading it on your favorite device.

Productivity Guilt

I have come to realize that this is a pandemic is a strange time to evaluate productivity. Our society is in a weird space were many people are over worked due to the essential nature of their jobs. Conversely, many people are now under worked due to being laid off or furloughed. It is the very few whose work continues unaffected by the disaster.

No matter where your work lies on this continuum, the changes in the world around us have an impact on our mental state. With so much of the future unknown a new definition of productive is needed. With this in mind I came across an article by Scott Young titled, “What is Productivity Guilt? (And How Can You Prevent It?)” In the piece he provides advice on how to be easier on yourself to avoid productivity guilt. For example:

Accept that you’ll always be imperfect. That’s okay. Everyone is. Nobody, including me, does everything perfectly all the time. … I go through phases where my habits evolve. Old ideas I wrote about get replaced with new ones. Not always because the new is better than the old, but because I’m always changing (as will you). If you see, instead, that everything I’ve written about is a static and permanent part of who I am, when you sum it all up, you’ll get to something that’s probably unmanageable as a whole.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Young goes on to provide the following advice when facing the specter of productivity guilt:

The real source of the guilt, however, isn’t because the standards imposed are too unrealistic or even undesirable, but because there’s always a gap between how we see ourselves and how we would like to be. The right move to make is always one that pushes you a little, but takes where you are as a starting point. That also includes your psychological strengths and weaknesses.

The rest of the article is available here.

Minimalism ≠ Tidying Up

Here is a question: is tidying up your home simply about getting rid of all your unneeded belongings so that you can live with as little as possible? This approach to living is defined as minimalism.

Marie Kondo is often asked if her approach to tidying up is simply a form of minimalism. On her blog, Marie recently explained the difference between her KonMari Method and minimalism.

“Many people have equated my tidying method with minimalism, but it’s quite different. Minimalism advocates living with less; the KonMari Method™ encourages living among items you truly cherish.

The first step in my tidying method is to imagine your ideal lifestyle. For some, this vision might be to surround yourself with the bare essentials; for others, it could mean living in a home teeming with beloved art, books, collections and heirlooms.

“Joy is personal. Each individual’s ideal life – and space – will look different from the next. If minimalism is a lifestyle that sparks joy for someone, I encourage that; in the same way, if someone has determined that many items in their life spark joy, that’s okay, too!”

Marie Kondo

Read the rest of the post on the KonMari web site.

The Culture Secret – Legos!

Did you play with Legos as a kid?  I grew up with those multi-colored blocks carelessly scattered around as my siblings and I took them from room to room in our endless youthful play times.  Those plastic building block toys have been entertaining children for generations.  

However, did you know that Legos hold the secret to understanding why some organizations develop strong dynamic cultures while the majority of others flounder?

For my final Write of Passage assignment, I prepared a short article based on my research on how to build a strong culture at work.  Read the article to learn how Legos provide a vital clue to creating a motivated organizational culture.

When you are finished reading, you might be inspired to build one of the biggest Lego sets available – the Millennium Falcon!

Let’s Be Frank – Leadership Is Not For Everyone

Do you think anyone can be a leader?

A trend I see across leadership courses and books is the assumption that anyone can become a leader if they want to be one.  I concede that everyone should at least be good enough to lead their own lives.  However, leading other people is a skill that perhaps some people will never master.

For the next assignment in the Write of Passage course, we were asked to write an article that challenged conventional wisdom.  So I decided to take on what I consider a flawed  core assumption of many leadership courses.  As I wrote:

“The core flawed assumption may best be expressed with a quote from John Maxwell:

“If you want to be a leader, the good news is that you can do it. Everyone has the potential, but it isn’t accomplished overnight. It requires perseverance.” John C. Maxwell

My two questions are these: Why do we assume that everyone can be a leader?  Also, why are the psychological burdens of leadership rarely discussed?”

boring meeting

Read the rest of the article here, and feel free to share your thoughts on the topic in the comment section.

Criticize with CRIBS

Have you ever been asked to edit someone’s written work?  For most of us, it is hard to provide constructive feedback to a writer beyond noting spelling errors or grammatical issues.  However, what every writer needs to be successful is honest criticism and sharp editting that can push their writing to the next level.

person holding orange click pen writing on notebook

I am taking an online course called Write of Passage, and in the last class the instructor David Perell, shared a simple approach that anyone can use to provide quick, helpful criticism.  It is titled with the acronym of CRIBS. As an editor moves through a written piece, they use the following five items to provide useful feedback:

  • Confusing – The section reviewed doesn’t make much sense
  • Repeated – The information was shared earlier and nothing much was added this time
  • Insightful – This section provided valuable, engaging information
  • Boring – This section doesn’t hold the reader’s attention
  • Surprising – The information was unexpected and thought provoking

I’m going to use CRIBS myself in the future whenever I am asked to edit someone’s work.  I invite you to try it yourself and let me know what you think.

Tidying for Guests

mariekondoWith stores now selling Christmas decorations in the middle of summer, I don’t need to remind you that the holiday season is upon us.  Aside from shopping for gifts, the holidays also bring guests to our door.  And since these friends may not visit often, many a host wants to make a good impression.

In the spirit of the season, Marie Kondo has provided on her blog some quick tips to ensure that your house is looking its best for invited (or uninvited) guests.  For example, she suggests the following:

Do a “Joy Check”

We become so accustomed to living in our space that it is difficult to see it objectively. Start by walking through the front door as if you were a guest. Move through each room, looking at it with fresh eyes. Perhaps you’ve stuffed things in a closet or piled items you’re feeling unsure about. Take this opportunity to ask yourself if these things really spark joy. If they don’t, thank them and let them go.

Explore the rest of her quick tidy tips on the Konmari web site.

10 Minute Tidy Up

If you studied science in high school, you may be familiar with the “Second Law of Thermodynamics”.  It states in a nutshell that “entropy increases.”  In layman’s terms it means that all systems move towards a state of disorder.  You don’t have to be a scientist to see how this plays out in life.  Just take a moment to look around and see how quickly personal and work spaces becomes cluttered.  It is amazing how quickly our spaces become disorganized, and equally demoralizing to consider the hours it will take to restore them.

claire-tompkinsIt need not come to this state.  To keep our spaces clean and orderly on an ongoing basis, a simple approach works best.  One method is the 10 minute tidy up, suggested by Claire Tompkins, aka the Clutter Coach, in her book 52 Simple Ways to Get Organized.  She describes the technique on page 11:

“Just as it is better to wipe up a spill right away, the ten-minute tidy up will keep your space organized with much less effort than spending half of a Saturday on it.  If you do this daily, ten minutes should be plenty.”

She suggests tidying up at transition times, such as before leaving the house or immediately after dinner.  If you are interested in trying it out, she suggests making a list of three spots to tidy today before bed.

Small actions can reverse the weight of entropy in your home.  Why not try a 10 minute tidy today!

Forte Labs & Public Libraries

This year, ForteLabs stars Tiago and Lauren came to Florida to work directly with Palm Beach County Library staff to help them build their own second brains.  Working in person and remotely, library staff got to explore the latest techniques in the science and art of digital note taking.

Tiago Forte just released an insightful summary of the experience working with us on his Praxis blog.  His post neatly captured the character of modern day librarianship and the opportunities the profession has to be a leader in spreading productivity practices.  He also gained a deeper appreciation of the mission of public libraries.

“Far from being a dusty, stale institution stuck in the past, what we saw on our tour was a vibrant, dynamic, quickly evolving organization full of people who care deeply about accessibility for everyone. Lauren and I were blown away by the breadth of the library system’s programs and services, and all of them offered for free to anyone. We came away with the sense that the library was an absolutely vital part of the community, especially for those with the fewest resources.”

Read the blog post on the Palm Beach County Building a Second Brain project here.  As an added bonus, you can read Tiago’s second posting on the role of public libraries as social infrastructure here.  Thank you Tiago and Lauren!

pbcls-basb