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The Age of Speed 114

Posted by samzenpus
from the hurry-up-and-hussle dept.
enactd writes "I feel life is a constant juggle, for every task in hand you have another to react to or let drop. The Age of Speed helps you chart your tasks to keep the important goals in sight while recognizing and reacting to distractions. Being a geek on the cutting edge of technology gets one acquainted with speed quickly, but being able to handle it is another matter and streamlining is an ongoing effort. The goal of the book is to help you decide what is important in your life and extract as much pleasure from those things while minimizing the time spent on the mundane." Keep reading for the rest of Chris's review.
The Age of Speed
author Vince Poscente
pages 215
publisher Bard Press
rating 8.5
reviewer Chris Alan
ISBN 978-1-885167-67-5
summary Tips on getting more done with the time you have.
The beginning of the book deals with shedding the guilt most people associate with getting things done quickly. We are lead to believe at an early age that shortcuts diminish the reward or the experience of a task. While there are some tasks where this holds true, overall it is a common myth one needs to overcome in the age of speed.

My favorite anecdote was a fresh look at the Tortoise and the Hare. The common moral one associates with this fable is "Slow and steady wins the race." But the story isn't a condemnation on speed, rather against stupidity. The Hare lost simply because he was dumb enough to take a nap in the middle of the race, in no way did his speed work against him.

One of the major sections of the book splits personalities up into four categories, Zeppelins, Balloons, Bottle Rockets and Jets. The tech world mostly consists of Bottle Rockets and Jets, as long as you don't include managers. The Jets run smoothly and routinely hit their targets while the Bottle Rockets follow pets.com off the cliff.

Whenever I'm behind the wheel and someone asks if I know where I'm going I reply, "Nope, but I'm going to get there quickly." While I'm usually joking, it perfectly sums up the attitude of a Bottle Rocket. While a Jet has a single target and maintains focus until it's task is complete, a Bottle Rocket constantly changes it's target and never seems to be able to hit it before being distracted by a new goal, leaving a wake of unfinished debris. Obviously one should strive to be a Jet.

I finished this book two weeks ago. I started writing the review immediately after finishing the book, but I wanted to see how applying the principles helped me out. My favorite section was titled Aerodynamics and led to an immediate change in how I approach working.

Sometimes I find myself falling into a black hole of needless distractions, constantly switching between email, Twitter, Slashdot and any other diversion I reward myself with throughout the day. If I have too many distractions in a short amount of time I'll fall into a pseudo trance of cycling through them endlessly. Afterward I'm at square one with getting back on task. Directly after reading the chapter An Exercise in Consciousness I turned off my email auto checker. This simple change transformed my work environment from an interruptive process to one I'm in control of. By removing the interruption I don't have the temptation to succumb to distractions and I've felt much more productive.

The only time the author had me rolling my eyes was the shameless self promotion of referencing the Age of Speed throughout the book. If I were reviewing this book for a more general audience I would have rated it a point higher, but people in the technology sector don't have the same speed hang ups as most people, negating some of the insights of the book. However, there are plenty of pointers for even the most hardcore tech geek. Surviving in an always on World is easy, the key is learning how to prosper.

You can purchase The Age of Speed from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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The Age of Speed

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  • by SirLoadALot (991302) on Monday March 23, 2009 @01:43PM (#27301065)
    And where does one get the time to read this book, exactly?
    • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Monday March 23, 2009 @02:04PM (#27301339) Journal

      If you don't make time for what is important, your life will continue to be dictated by others' whims.

      This book sounds like a rehash of Tyranny of the Urgent and Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Hard to tell from a summary, but that is my first impression. Both are must reads if you want to do important things and not just do a lot of things.

      Also 'Laws of Leadership' has its high points, and is worth at least a scan.

      • by RollingThunder (88952) on Monday March 23, 2009 @02:54PM (#27302009)

        I far prefer the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates. [wikipedia.org]

        • Me too, or as George Harrison put it what if we gained the world and lost our souls? Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to take a long walk in the woods, 100% "non productive," and it will make you feel more alive and free. Try it sometime and see... If you think the actual Buddha sat around and worried about how "productive" he was you are kidding yourself.
          Remember too boys and girls oh so "productive" bankster CEOs caused the American economy to collapse.

      • I believe people have no one to blame but themselves. They make their lives hectic on purpose, by taking-on projects that they could easily live without. Like running 3 different kids to 3 different sporting events. Then they complain they are always tired; well no wonder! Eliminate the sports, and you no longer have to run anywhere - you can enjoy a relaxing evening at home.

        Another example if my brother who runs across town to send mail, because he always procrastinates to the last minute. If he would

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And where does one get the time to read this book, exactly?

      After deciding that reading /. is less important than this book.

    • by n1ckml007 (683046)
      Wow that was a fast post, you must be adept in the "age of speed"!
    • by inKubus (199753)

      And where does one get the time to read this book, exactly?

      That's where the SPEED part comes in. You cut out sleep, you see.

  • by Shome (621324) on Monday March 23, 2009 @01:45PM (#27301081)
    Work like a tortoise and play like a rabbit - that sums it up!
    • Some of us can't afford the child support payments in this economy enough to "play like a rabbit." I'm going to crawl back in my shell.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 23, 2009 @01:47PM (#27301111)
    I read the entire review and I still don't know if the reviewer ever found out exactly how old speed is.
  • by Slightly Askew (638918) on Monday March 23, 2009 @01:51PM (#27301173) Journal

    Each thing I do I rush through so I can do
    something else. In such a way do the days pass -
    a blend of stock car racing and the never
    ending building of a gothic cathedral.
    Through the windows of my speeding car, I see
    all that I love falling away: books unread,
    jokes untold, landscapes unvisited. And why?
    What treasure do I expect in my future?
    Rather it is the confusion of childhood
    loping behind me, the chaos in the mind,
    the failure chipping away at each success.
    Glancing over my shoulder I see its shape
    and so move forward, as someone in the woods
    at night might hear the sound of approaching feet
    and stop to listen, then, instead of silence
    he hears some creature trying to be silent.
    What else can he do but run? Rushing blindly
    down the path, stumbling, struck in the face by sticks;
    the other ever closer, yet not really
    hurrying or out of breath, teasing its kill.

  • Humans were not meant to multitask.

    • a Farscape reference? :D
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So, you've never been a parent ...

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If God didn't want us to wield two guns at once, we wouldn't have two hands. ;-)

      • If God didn't want us to wield two guns at once, we wouldn't have two hands. ;-)

        Sure, that's all well and good... But, just try reloading them without an extra hand. :P

        • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Perhaps you missed the Matrix?

          Everyone knows you just throw them aside and grab two more from your trench coat ;-)

    • by MrKaos (858439)

      Humans were not meant to multitask.

      It's the context switching that kills you.

      • I was going to say something like, "the human brain only has so many interrupt request lines." ;)

  • A Good topic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TrippTDF (513419) <hiland.gmail@com> on Monday March 23, 2009 @01:55PM (#27301243)
    I'll probably pick up a copy of this- it's an important issue. Frankly, we're probably getting to a point that time management needs to be addressed in early education, because we all need some principles just to get through the day.
    • by rolfwind (528248)

      No.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7LOCg4uKAg [youtube.com]

      I never saw the problem as lack of time, but almost always the lack of prioritizing and also recognizing bullshit and avoiding/minimizing it. You can't do everything. Just pick a few important things.

      If kids have time management problems in their life, they're probably having over-achiever parents who live through them trying them to do way too much.

      • I never saw the problem as lack of time, but almost always the lack of prioritizing and also recognizing bullshit and avoiding/minimizing it. You can't do everything. Just pick a few important things.

        While it is not in the sense the OP meant, the answer is still early education. In order to effectively prioritize and/or recognize the bullshit in life, you need to be able to view and rationalize everything for what it really is. That capacity might as well be non-existent for most people in this day and age, especially among the younger generation (in which I am a part of).

        The less intelligent our children are, the higher the likelihood that they will allow their time to be consumed by useless activi

    • Re:A Good topic (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [esidarap.cram]> on Monday March 23, 2009 @03:55PM (#27302767) Homepage Journal
      When you're motivated to get a task done, you get it done. If it's something you don't want to do, you're posting on slashdot instead.

      This isn't time management, it's buckling down and doing what we have to do, so that we can do what we want to do.

      • by Ifandbut (1328775)

        But why do you do what you dont want to do? What is the point of life if you can not enjoy it?

        • But why do you do what you dont want to do? What is the point of life if you can not enjoy it?

          If you are so fortunate as to live a life wherein the only things you are required to do are those that you enjoy, cherish it.

  • by pileated (53605) on Monday March 23, 2009 @01:56PM (#27301263)

    I wonder if the author did an analysis of how the Age of Speed helped Wall St. to come to its fabulous current state.

    The reviewer says we "live in the age of speed." Maybe so. I see plenty of people doing things too quickly. But does that mean we live in the "age of speed?" How does it differ from the age of non-speed? Is it an improvement, an inevitability? Did we lose something? Would the financial disaster we're in right now have been better off without so much speed?

    Before reading more about how to cope with the age of speed, I'd prefer to see something explaining just what it is. Otherwise I'm sure not going to spend my valuable time reading it. Right now it just sounds like a buzz phrase.

    • by Slumdog (1460213)

      How does it differ from the age of non-speed?

      If you look at various activities, from filing your taxes to obtaining information or shopping for your favorite laptop, you can do them faster now than say, 20 years ago.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pileated (53605)

        That's true. There is much that can be done more quickly. And I for one won't argue with being able to do my taxes more quickly, or many of other such things.

        But I wonder what's been lost. For instance why has the Slow Food movement [slowfood.com] been so popular for so long. Why do I find blogs about slow painting? Why is there a Take Back Your Time day? As far as I'm concerned there's been a tremendous loss. And of course the poem by Stephen Dobyns in one of the first replies indicates this. We are all hurrying. But for

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by krou (1027572)

      I suggest you read Paul Virilio [wikipedia.org]. He has some rather interesting ideas regarding speed and its effect on society. He's particularly interested in the way speed limits or determines our perception of phenomena. He believes that societies have essentially viewed development in terms of ever increasing acceleration of both communication and transportation; progress is defined according the the acceleration brought about by some technological change. However, in the current age, we're reaching some sort of criti

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pileated (53605)

        Thanks for the link. I'm unfamiliar with him but did read, too speedily I have to say, his thoughts on the crash. Unfortunately, and I'm not trying to be obnoxious, they strike me as unproven theories at best, and more likely just nonsense.

        Perhaps due to my age I've lived through a number of movements, of life-changing, consciousness-changing events. Guess what? The changes were minor. Life didn't change, nor did human consciousness.


        Where did the current crisis stem from? the answer is: subprime mortgages;

    • I think you're posting in the wrong thread. This is not "The Age of Greed" thread. Thanks. ;-)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vertinox (846076)

      Would the financial disaster we're in right now have been better off without so much speed?

      No. Probably a lot far worse for small time investors just trying to save something for their retirement.

      I was thinking of how it was back in the day at least when my dad was introducing me to stocks in the late 80's early 90's. Basically, in the morning you would pick up newspaper with yesterday's closing quote and then call your broker at the end of the day ($50 commissions were cheap back then) and placed your orde

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pileated (53605)

        Actually I was thinking more along the lines of the speed with which CDOs and other structured financial investments were created and sold, without anyone SLOWING DOWN enough to say, you know this sounds like a lot of BS to me..............

        If you view Wall St. as nothing more than the ability to trade, then yes 'speed' has given more people the ability to trade quickly. But as a consequence it's also contributed to the substitution of speculation for investment (see John Bogle's new book, 'Enough'). Many pe

      • by slodan (1134883)
        Over-leveraging is certainly a problem, but it is a feature of every modern economy in the world. The only argument is how much leverage is appropriate, and that number is open to argument. A ratio of thirty seems too high in light of recent events, but no modern economist believes that there should be no leverage.

        I think the compensation structure of the large financial institutions is one of the primary root problems of the current economic disaster. Highly rewarding short-term strategies will resul
        • by pileated (53605)


          Highly rewarding short-term strategies will result in the negligence of long-term possibilities.

          I can't disagree with you on that. Financial Times had a lengthy article on this last summer I think, long before the real meltdown.

          But I do think that it's a mistake to say that this was just a matter of over-leveraging, or of compensation. I do partially blame it on speed.

          When you can do things quickly, whether the speed is through internet connectivity, computing power or whatever there is a tendency to blindl

    • by vertinox (846076)

      Before reading more about how to cope with the age of speed, I'd prefer to see something explaining just what it is. Otherwise I'm sure not going to spend my valuable time reading it. Right now it just sounds like a buzz phrase.

      Otherwise to answer your question more directly and to misuse a quote of a good movie:

      You may not believe in "Speed", but "Speed" believes in you.

      People could still read the newspaper to get their stock quotes, but that's a horribly inefficient way to do things. Anyone who uses the i

    • by johannesg (664142)

      I believe you are confusing "speed" with "greed". An understandable mistake, of course - the words do look very close.

  • Chapter 1 (Score:1, Redundant)

    Stop wasting your time reading slashdot.
  • My method (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Monday March 23, 2009 @01:59PM (#27301277) Journal
    I dealt with all the things I have to 'juggle' by dropping the biggest that I didn't particularly like: work. It's great because now I have so much more time. Of course it has the side effect of now I live on the street, but really that's so much better because I don't have to 'juggle' other things like wash the toilet, vacuum the floor, or even take a shower. My life is simple now.
  • Age of Speed? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday March 23, 2009 @02:00PM (#27301283)

    Prediction: It will be found in six months laying in the "nearly free" bin in the bookstore, along with "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", and "Change Your Underwear, Change Your Life."

    • Just from the Slashdot summary alone, I'm placing this book among the ranks of the useless "self improvement/self help" tripe out there.

      People are generally impatient when they want things. This is part of the human condition. Technology allows many things to happen more quickly. People, in their impatience, leverage these technologies - and by collectively doing so time and time again, it becomes the "norm" or "standard". People stop planning as far ahead for important things, assuming this "faster del

    • It pretty much explains exactly why the age of speed exists at all and why it's coming to an end Real Soon Now.

      http://www.chrismartenson.com/crashcourse [chrismartenson.com]

       

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Prediction: It will be found in six months laying in the "nearly free" bin in the bookstore, along with "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", and "Change Your Underwear, Change Your Life."

      Yeah, but not because it's stupid but because it's not about the book. Pretty much all self-help books I've peeked at basicly tell you back the obvious and more often than not have conflicting rules like "stay focued" but at the same time "don't throw good money after bad", "keep focus on the task at hand" and "don't lose sight of the long-term goal" and so forth. The actual insight is very low, it's mostly about making people that don't ever stop to consider what they're doing, and just think a bit on the

  • Managing Speed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by raijinsetsu (1148625) on Monday March 23, 2009 @02:00PM (#27301291)
    The best way to manage speed is not to abuse it. Too much leads to a coronary, and too little leads to not enough time in your day(having a day shorter than 28 hours leaves me with too much to do the next day).

    So, whether you inject, inhale, or ingest your speed, be sure do to so in moderation.
  • by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Monday March 23, 2009 @02:02PM (#27301317) Journal

    I care about getting them done effortlessly. We need to automate the mundane completely to leave us more time for our mindless distractions. In truth we probably need to maintain some stress in our lives to avoid becoming shapeless blobs.

    • by Hao Wu (652581)
      Much of the world has become so wealthy and fat that the only pain and tragedy comes from excessive pleasure, mainly in the forms of drug abuse and arrested psychological development.

      I'm not sure if this is better or worse than the world back when sloth and immaturity meant freezing or starving to death.
  • Start to prioritise the things that are important to you and dump the rest. Turn down requests (unless it's from the boss), Stop answering the phone and replying to email (again unless it's the boss) and focus on one thing at a time.

    Oh yes, leave the coffee. it does you no good, just increases anxiety. if you can't go a day without a fix, you need help, not more caffeine.

  • Wrong lesson (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday March 23, 2009 @02:10PM (#27301451) Homepage

    My favorite anecdote was a fresh look at the Tortoise and the Hare. The common moral one associates with this fable is "Slow and steady wins the race." But the story isn't a condemnation on speed, rather against stupidity. The Hare lost simply because he was dumb enough to take a nap in the middle of the race, in no way did his speed work against him.

    The lesson here wasn't "speed is bad" or that "the hare lost simply because he was dumb enough to take a nap." I've always read it more like: you can't let yourself get overly-confident in one of your particular strengths to the point where you take your superiority for granted and stop trying your hardest.

    You see it often enough that someone is good at doing something quickly, but they're sloppy about it. Or they're smart, but they don't think things through thoroughly. Being smart and fast are great additions to being a disciplined hard worker-- but they aren't good replacements.

  • by hellfire (86129) <deviladv.gmail@com> on Monday March 23, 2009 @02:12PM (#27301475) Homepage

    This review completely failed to sell me on the book. The user seems very excited by it, but the suggestions are in themselves, rather mundane. The assumptions and analysis in the beginning is flat out wrong. Here's my review of the review:

    The beginning of the book deals with shedding the guilt most people associate with getting things done quickly. We are lead to believe at an early age that shortcuts diminish the reward or the experience of a task. While there are some tasks where this holds true, overall it is a common myth one needs to overcome in the age of speed.

    Who exactly has guilt at getting things done quickly? Most people I know get things done too quickly, because they are lazy, and don't do it right the first time. The one or two people who take too long and don't use shortcuts are people who are either too lazy to change their routine, or are overthinking the problem. But now more than ever we are all about quick.

    My favorite anecdote was a fresh look at the Tortoise and the Hare. The common moral one associates with this fable is "Slow and steady wins the race." But the story isn't a condemnation on speed, rather against stupidity. The Hare lost simply because he was dumb enough to take a nap in the middle of the race, in no way did his speed work against him.

    The fable of the tortoise and the hare has never been a condemnation of speed. The author has created this false "reanalysis" to sell the book. We all get the fable, and know what it means, that's why it's timeless.

    Whenever I'm behind the wheel and someone asks if I know where I'm going I reply, "Nope, but I'm going to get there quickly." While I'm usually joking, it perfectly sums up the attitude of a Bottle Rocket. While a Jet has a single target and maintains focus until it's task is complete, a Bottle Rocket constantly changes it's target and never seems to be able to hit it before being distracted by a new goal, leaving a wake of unfinished debris. Obviously one should strive to be a Jet.

    From here out, the review basically describes something that doesn't take an entire book. Humans don't do well if they try to multitask too much. Multitasking doesn't make you more productive. Sometimes it's necessary (I have to take questions all day at my job while working on a specific task) but you are never more productive.

    So basically you are describing a self help book for teenagers and college students who haven't learned yet that all this blogging/twittering/emailing/chatting at the same time is not productive. When you are home enjoying yourself and relaxing, and you relax by having multiple inputs, that's great, but when you are working, shut it all off. Most hardcore geeks understand this, and if they don't, their friends, coworkers, or managers are telling them so. Outside the geek realm, you have your parents constantly telling you to get off the chat rooms if you expect to get your homework done.

    There I saved everyone the price of the book.

    • by vertinox (846076)

      Who exactly has guilt at getting things done quickly? Most people I know get things done too quickly, because they are lazy, and don't do it right the first time. The one or two people who take too long and don't use shortcuts are people who are either too lazy to change their routine, or are overthinking the problem. But now more than ever we are all about quick.

      You sir have never worked for or had to deal with government.

      Ever had to fill out a form to get permission to fill out a form?

      Well, I think that i

      • by hellfire (86129)

        You sir have never worked for or had to deal with government.

        I've worked with the government plenty sir. I know how frustratingly slow it can be, especially since I work for customer service for a software organization myself and customers expect nownownow! What's even funny is outside of support, the processes that occur in our company are as frustratingly slow as the government!

        Well, I think that is what he is talking about when he was talking about shortcuts.

        I don't. He's talking about individual prod

    • It's pretty doubtful that "we all know what it means." It's not a simple paradox, though it was insightfully lampooned by Bugs Bunny. It's basicaly about infinite division...and, as adequately pointed out by Bugs, this:

      "In a race, the quickest runner can never overtake the slowest, since the pursuer must first reach the point whence the pursued started, so that the slower must always hold a lead."

      --Aristotle, Physics VI

      It has nothing whatever to do with taking naps, though most people think it is and nothin

    • My review is on this review of the original review of the book. I found it to be a snarky piece that questions the worth of the original review and even the book it reviews. Its main argument is that the book and review only contain obvious points.

      There I saved everyone the time needed to read that 10 paragraph Review of the Review of the book.
  • To Faster [amazon.com] by Gleick

  • I think that multitasking often gets in the way of quality work. Fundamentally, human beings don't really multitask very well. For small things like talking ans walking at the same time, we can do it but for big things that require our full attention, we fail miserably. For things that require concentration, multitasking gets in the way of doing quality work. For those times, turn off the pager and the cell phone. The problem is that the boss often will not let us and bothers us with trivia.

  • by vlm (69642) on Monday March 23, 2009 @02:22PM (#27301621)

    Zeppelins, Balloons, Bottle Rockets and Jets

    So what is management, an anti-aircraft gun?

  • Back when I worked for a big corporation full of PHBs, my boss insisted that everyone maintain their schedule in Outlook. So I went in and marked 8 hours of every work day as "Working". This made it impossible for anyone to schedule me into a meeting unless they contacted me, explained the agenda and why it was important for me to attend, and had me clear a space on my schedule.

    Within a couple of years, I had made it to the top of the 'high performers' list, with all of the bonuses and perks that entailed.

  • Fast. Good. Cheap.

    Pick any two.

  • Fstr, a book by James Gleick (or Chaos fame)
    His book is more about making you reflect about the ever increasingly faster society than actually help you speed up, but it's an enlightening read never the less.
    http://www.amazon.com/Faster-Acceleration-Just-About-Everything/dp/067977548X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237833148&sr=8-5 [amazon.com]
    ^C
  • My favorite anecdote was a fresh look at the Tortoise and the Hare.

    Eh. I prefer the one with Bugs Bunny where the tortoise had rocket propulsion hidden in his shell. Moral of the story: bring a gun to a knife fight.

  • Somebody needs some Slack. [subgenius.com]

  • We are lead to believe at an early age that shortcuts diminish the reward or the experience of a task.

    Besides, proofing is overrated anyway...

    (It should be: "We are led to believe".)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    A more useful tool would be Tony Robbins' OPA / RPM (he renamed his own technology!) -- he developed some compelling time management techniques that involve prioritizing and focusing. Unfortunately this didn't seem to sell and is long gone, but fortunately bittorrent and other sources have MP3s of the original cassettes (warning: padded out mercilessly by rambling anecdotes) and you can glean the method from that. Sad to say, he never put this information in book form. But if you get the basic gist of the O

  • That helps me keep my Meth Fresh, I'm all for it.

  • I finished this book two weeks ago. I started writing the review immediately after finishing the book, but I wanted to see how applying the principles helped me out.

    Perhaps they didn't help you out at all, if it took you two weeks to finish an 8 paragraph review?

    Unfortunately, the review didn't give enough to go on as far as why the book was good. I'm gonna go ahead and file this away with the various other "time management" systems, right along with "GTD" and others: it very likely takes more time to follow the program than you lose by trying to do too many things at once.

    When somebody comes up with a good way to organize all of the /information/ that we deal with every day - and by good I mean "not requiring time or attention", give me a call.

  • I turned off my email auto checker. This simple change transformed my work environment from an interruptive process to one I'm in control of.

    Dunno, I have my auto-checker turned on, complete with annoying little sounds for mail from "important people." This saves me from having to check to see if I have new mail, unless there really is some from someone important. It's e-mail, if I'm busy, it will wait.

    Wish the same were true for the mobile spouse support line (cellphone).

  • Guilty as charged (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dripdry (1062282) on Monday March 23, 2009 @04:14PM (#27303033) Journal

    I am guilty of not doing things quickly. I have been ridiculed for years on how quickly I tie my shoes, for instance.
    I try to do it faster, but I don't see how it can be done much faster, frankly, and I make sure the things are tied well so that I do not have to do it again.

    Mindfulness seems to be slipping away. With twitter and facebook and god knows what else, it really feels like the soul has gone out of much of what we do each day.

    I see this all the time in my work: People want to have their finances done in a flash without thinking or answering any fundamental questions about their life. When we cave and make a recommendation because people "just want an answer" they will often come back angry later on because they have no idea what we actually did for them, or they see no value in what has been done for them. The advisors who seem to prosper are the ones who brush off doing any really solid work and explain/charm away any difficult issues with their clients. Those of us who may overthink it, but often bring very key issues to light as a result of it, seem to have been relegated to the role of dinosaur. If you're looking for what happened on Wallstreet, I'd say that's it right there.

    I am really sick of "The Age of Speed". We should strive for optimal mindfulness in each action we take, not slipshod whizzbang idiocy, which often seems to be called "clever" or "smart" by speed-freaks and know-it-alls.

    People can only do so much, but I'd really like to see other opinions on this.

    • by MavenW (839198)
      Are you really interested in tying your shoes faster? A couple of years ago, I came across http://www.shoe-lacing.com/shoelace/ianknot.htm [shoe-lacing.com] and was surprised that there could be so much analysis to what I thought was a simple concept.

      Now I use Ian's knot most of the time when I tie my own shoes. If I REALLY want them to stay tied, or when I tie my son's shoes, I use Ian's secure knot. It takes a little longer to tie, but I've never had it come undone prematurely.
  • Slow down and cut the crap out. Cut off from computer/internet/tv/gadgets on weekends. Just coffee and newspaper/magazine on the porch does it for me. If all the technological efficiencies do not give me more time to relax and enjoy life then they are not worth it.
  • by permaculture (567540) on Monday March 23, 2009 @04:33PM (#27303327) Homepage Journal

    As a juggler, it's a little annoying when people use juggling as an analogy and get it wrong. So here's an explanation of juggling and how to do it, whether it's clubs or tasks.

    It's all in the throw, not in the catch. If the throw is perfect, the catch happens without any corrections or concious thought.

    You may have two hands, but your two eyes can only look at one thing at a time. Jugglers just peep at the object as it arcs over and downwards, and that's enough to tell them where and when to stick out a hand and catch it. This has been confirmed experimentally using opaque glasses to block off the view of the objects except around about the top of the arc.

    Once you get beyond juggling three objects, you peep at the object but then you have to remember how it's falling while you peep at another, before you stick out your hand to catch the first object. So 1) consistency is hugely important and 2) you have to practise daily until it's completely automatic.

    The most important tool for juggling is gravity. That's how jugglers stack the objects and know where and when they'll fall. If gravity wavered, it'd bring the pattern down. You have to know what to expect. Remember in Firefly how something unexpected would happen, and it'd turn out they'd prepared for that contingency? Same thing, really.

    Now let's apply the theory of juggling to 'juggling' a bunch of tasks. You have to be able to give each task some impetus and then move on, knowing the point at which you'll have to return to that task. You have to have some method, equivalent to the way jugglers use gravity, that smoothly handles the tasks while your attention is elsewhere. Finally, you have to make it funny. Or perhaps that only applies to juggling? Well, analogies can only be stretched so far.

    • by rlseaman (1420667)

      I used juggling to make a different point once at a staff meeting. The soul of juggling is passing objects between two or more jugglers (I humbly assert). When we juggle (or work) in partnership, our actions must accommodate this simple mirroring in the workflow.

      It's all in the throw, not in the catch. If the throw is perfect, the catch happens without any corrections or concious thought.

      Rather, corrections happen all the time, both in juggling objects and in juggling time management tasks. A throw is

      • > The soul of juggling is passing objects between two or more jugglers (I humbly assert).

        Absolutely yes, amongst the juggling population in my vicinity this seems to be generally regarded as the ultimate expression of the art.

        Some jugglers like 4 count with tricks best, but there's a notable resurgence of interest in passing with both hands - 3 count and other such patterns.

        Nice to hear from another juggler here on Slashdot. :)

  • by Lord Grey (463613) * on Monday March 23, 2009 @04:44PM (#27303457)
    Aerodynamics are important! I plan on coming into work tomorrow dressed entirely in low-friction spandex, complete with a skull-fitting hood and matching boots. Googles, too. That way, everyone will recognize that I'm on the fast track, slowing down for nothing, not even air resistance.

    As a bonus, if my goggles are sufficiently dark, I can sleep through meetings as well.
  • Turning off new mail notification is buried deep inside Outlook 2003's options. I made a cheat sheet for those who are interested: How_to_turn_off_outlook_notification.png [imagehost.org]
  • My blog "Overthinking Man" http://overthinkingman.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] is a rebellious daily observation of my own defeat by living in the Age of Speed. A shameless self promotion- sorry.
  • Is technology leading to social change, specifically to give me more time. Let's have some technology that lets me work 35 hour work weeks, or have every other Friday off. i doubt the powers that be have any such interest. If we become more efficient, they'll just make us make more widgets in the same amount of time and fire some people. That's what they've done so far.

You can do more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word. - Al Capone

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