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Human At Work (HighEdWeb 2014 "Best of Conference" winner)


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I was so honored to have this presentation selected as Best in Track and Best of Conference at the 2014 HighEdWeb Association Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon.

Please check out my blog post with for full details at

Where does our time go? Somewhere in the middle of our overlapping project deadlines, meetings, and daily emails, we are all just trying to do good work, but it's hard to keep up. We do our best to stay organized with productivity apps and calendars and "lifehacks" but in the end we are humans and easily distracted by funny videos of cats — how can we be expected to actually get stuff done each day? It all comes down to habits. The way we check our email, where and when we have lunch, how we take notes in meetings — understanding and changing our work habits is the key to unlocking our productivity, and finding a better work-life balance. I struggled with managing my own workload for years until I started analyzing my personal productivity habits and researching ways I could improve. I found that small changes in the way that I use email, schedule my time, and manage my tasks, not only made me more productive but also led to improved communication and productivity for my team. I'll show you how some simple changes in the structure of my days and a new approach my work have helped me start replacing bad habits with good ones, and get better at my job. And I'll teach you how to evaluate your own habits, make focused productivity part of every day, and become a healthier, happier, and way-less-stressed human with way more time for enjoying all those cat videos you crave.

Published in: Self Improvement

Human At Work (HighEdWeb 2014 "Best of Conference" winner)

  1. 1. HUMAN AT WORK Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Get Better at My Job 2014 HighEdWeb Annual Conference October 19-22 — Portland, OR #HEWEB14 #MPD9
  2. 2. I IV U Hello O
  3. 3. @DaveCameron
  4. 4. A Case Study of Myself
  5. 5. Challenges I’ve struggled with since I started in Higher Ed Goals for changing my habits and improving my productivity Tools and tactics I have been exploring to achieve those goals Lessons learned along the way
  6. 6. This is not a talk about "Work Hacks"
  7. 7. How to be an imperfect human who gets stuff done
  8. 8. "In the Before time… in the Long, Long Ago…"
  9. 9. September 1992
  10. 10.
  11. 11. September 1992
  12. 12. June 2010
  13. 13. This is most of my job
  14. 14. And sometimes also this: +
  15. 15. I understood how websites work. I didn’t know how mar-com offices work.
  16. 16. Stuff I wasn’t prepared for • Shifting responsibilities • Staffing turnovers • Changes in strategic priorities • Planning for what is consistent • Preparing for the unexpected
  17. 17. I couldn’t see the road AND I was drowning
  18. 18. Books
  19. 19. Utilities
  20. 20. Task Managers
  21. 21. Then I remembered…
  22. 22. Goals Before Tools
  23. 23. What specific goals will help me get better at my job?
  24. 24. Cognitive Overload
  25. 25.
  26. 26. "Our problem isn’t information overload; it’s potential meaning overload." - David Allen
  27. 27. How I learned to stop worrying about all the things and get better at my job.
  28. 28. Goals Tools Habits
  29. 29. Goal: wake up in the morning Tool: an alarm clock Habit: set the alarm for 6:00 am
  30. 30. Goals Tools Habits
  31. 31. Five Goals for Being a Productive Human
  32. 32. Goal #1: BE HONEST
  33. 33. Honest with YOURSELF
  34. 34. Subjectively Honest Objectively Honest
  35. 35. Subjective Honesty • what you know in your gut to be true • the stuff we lie to ourselves about • internalized priorities • accuracy when interpreting our performance
  36. 36. Objective Honesty • measuring and capturing data • developing reports from that data • analyzing progress over time • maintaining a record
  37. 37.
  38. 38.
  39. 39. Honest With OTHERS
  40. 40. (within reason)
  41. 41. Honest with others • don’t exaggerate your abilities or bandwidth • admit when you don't understand something • admit to your mistakes • give the feedback you would want to hear
  42. 42. Goal #2: BE UNAFRAID
  43. 43. Mistakes are how we learn.
  44. 44. "I have no idea what I’m doing, but I know I’m doing it really, really well." - Andy Dwyer
  45. 45. CONFIDENCE
  46. 46. Don’t be intimidated by those rock stars.
  47. 47. Let Go of Irrational Fears • Change and the unfamiliar • New Tools • Gossip and rumor • Ebola
  48. 48. Don’t be overwhelmed by complexity
  49. 49. U/Aatto 4-WHEN LOST IN ThE WOODS A CLEAR HEAD WILL FIND ITSF. If everyone remwbered this, there would be fewer reports of persons lost in the mountain and forests, according to United States Forest Service rangers. Merely being out of sight of others in a strange forest gives ny a man the creeps- a natural feeling but a dangerous ore. Never yield to it. In the mountains the grip of panic is too often the grip of death. "Firilirig oneself then lost is the test of a man," says a vete ran of the Forest Service who s seen n, n and even child-ren save themselves by sheer pluck and preserte of mind. Loss of ntal control is more serious than lack of food, water, clothing or possible proximity of wild animals. The man 'io keeps his head has t best ch arx e to ce through in safety. The following helpful rules are worth rmbering:- Stop, sit down and try to figure out ithere you are. Use your head, not your legs. If caught by night, fog, or a storm, stop at otice and make camp in a sheltered spot. Build a fire in a safe place. Gather plenty of dry el. Don't wander about. Travel only down hill. If injured, choose a clear spot ona prcontory and .ke a signal smoke. Don't yell, don't run, n't worry, and above all, don't quit. If caught out toward nightfall, the traveler is urged to tind a shelter quickly- a ledge, a Large houlder or a fa1li tree- clear a sp*ce of ground arii build a fire. If without a bla.nk., he may build his fire in a deep hole, cover six incks of hot coaLs with six Inches of earth and sleep on this. Failing fire, cme shoild use leaves and branches to shelter himself as best he can. A boy (over)
  50. 50. Goal #3: BE MINDFUL
  51. 51. via
  52. 52. Focus Your Time and Attention
  53. 53. TOOLS
  54. 54. Use your tools, don’t let them use you.
  55. 55. Use good habits to keep your tools sharp and ready
  56. 56. OUR PRIMARY TOOLS: Email Tasks Calendars Meetings
  57. 57. APPLE USER BIAS (Not Yet)
  58. 58. EMAIL
  59. 59. The average office worker spends 28% of their day reading, writing, or responding to email. - McKinsey & Company, 2012
  60. 60. My Email Use in September 2014 RescueTime reported email = 22% DeskTime reported email = 23%
  61. 61. EMAIL IS AWESOME FOR: • Communicating information and ideas to individuals or groups • Documenting and archiving information • Sending assets and files • Viral sharing
  62. 62. EMAIL IS NOT: • A telephone • Instant messenger • A project management system • The boss of you
  63. 63. Turn off those inbox notification icons. Fetch email, don’t push. (if something is truly urgent, there are better options than email for letting me know)
  64. 64. #MakingFetchHappen Thank you @nagmay!
  65. 65. Create an email habit.
  66. 66. This is mine: 1. Decide if this needs to be acted on now or later. 2. If it takes less than 2 min. then do it now. 3. Get what I need for other work, send what I need to send. 4. Be quick but thorough. Pay attention to details. 5. Quit mail app until ready for it again.
  67. 67. Use Rules to Filter and Focus
  68. 68. Use keyboard shortcuts System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts -> App Shortcuts
  69. 69.
  70. 70. Be thoughtful
  71. 71. TASKS
  72. 72. “The most difficult thing you can do, and the most helpful thing, is to pick one thing.” –Merlin Mann
  73. 73. Task Habits • Capture and get them out of your head • Organize them with project milestones and deadlines • Review and update regularly • Seriously, review and update your tasks weekly if you can
  74. 74. Task Managers
  75. 75. Social Media is a task for me.
  76. 76. Social Media • Too distracting if it’s always there • Block time when I need to use it as part of my job. • Use for personal Twitter content @DaveCameron
  77. 77. CALENDARS
  78. 78. Calendar Habits • Schedule focused work periods • Schedule break periods • Review and update regularly • Communicate
  79. 79. No-Meeting Mondays
  80. 80. "Fix-It" Fridays
  81. 81. MEETINGS
  82. 82. Meeting Habits • Be in the meeting, not on your phone • Capture decisions and next actions • Report and share • Use Email & Tasks & Calendar to be sure you follow through
  83. 83. Two Notepads • Large notebook just for capturing meeting notes and doodles. • Small yellow pad for random other stuff triggered by meetings.
  84. 84. Use Checklists
  85. 85. Goal #4: BE ACTIVE
  86. 86. Our Bodies, Our Routines
  87. 87. How do our daily routines affect us? Disrupt them and you’ll feel it.
  88. 88. Goals Tools Habits
  89. 89. Goals Tools Habits Routines
  90. 90. Goal: wake up in the morning Tool: an alarm clock Habits: • set the alarm for 6:00 am • hit snooze when it wakes me • finally turn off alarm • head to the shower…
  91. 91. My Routine Used to Be
  92. 92.
  93. 93. My Routine Today
  94. 94. Start with a card trick (seriously)
  95. 95. An Ideal Day
  96. 96. An Ideal Day
  97. 97. "Everything In Its Place"
  98. 98. “Un-complicate yourself.” – Marcus Aurelius
  99. 99. Give Yourself The Gift of Fewer Decisions
  100. 100. Habit Minder Apps Learning New Skills by Building New Habits
  101. 101. WORKSPACE
  102. 102. My office in February
  103. 103. My office in October
  104. 104. Whiteboard!
  105. 105. Sit or Stand
  106. 106. THESE are my HEADPHONES ! There Are Many Like Them, But THESE Are Mine.
  107. 107. Music & Sound Collaborative Playlists Human at Work: Focus !! Human at Work: Boost
  108. 108. Goal #5: BE NICE
  109. 109. Be Nice to Your Fellow Humans
  110. 110. Be a Proud Member of Your Team • Support your co-workers • Give a heads-up when you can • Take ownership of your role • Don’t cheat • Be at least a little bit social
  111. 111. Communicate This is where "Push" can be better than "Fetch"
  112. 112. @AustinKleon
  113. 113. Take a Real Vacation
  114. 114. Get some sleep
  115. 115. (unless you’re at HighEdWeb)
  116. 116. “No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.” –Regina Brett
  117. 117. (But please don’t come to the office if you’re actually sick.)
  118. 118. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
  119. 119. Goals Tools Habits
  123. 123. H UMAN
  124. 124. H U M A N
  125. 125. HUMAN
  126. 126. 1OO% HUMAN
  127. 127. "There’s only one thing that I know how to do well And I've often been told that you only can do What you know how to do well And that's be you, Be what you're like, Be like yourself…" –They Might Be Giants "Whistling in the Dark"
  128. 128. 1OO% HUMAN
  129. 129. 1OO% HUMAN
  130. 130. OM UIVI
  131. 131. OMU IVI
  132. 132. O IMVI U
  133. 133. O IV U M I Hooray!
  134. 134. RESOURCES
  135. 135. Don’t miss this the slides from another presentation that bookended this one very nicely at HighEdWeb 2014: @JesseLavery
  136. 136. @KarlynMB Karlyn gave another amazing presentation from our conference track that you must check out:
  137. 137. Apps
  138. 138. Podcasts @HigherEdLive "2014 Work Hacks" (05/22/14) - "Work Hacks and Getting Stuff Done" (01/24/13) Episode #185 - with Merlin Mann & Dan Benjamin discussion of email Episode #219 - with David Allen, author of "Getting Things Done"
  139. 139. Books
  140. 140. @DaveCameron Sketch Rockwell by Artill Fonts