Sunday, February 28, 2021

Four Things I've Missed

Late last year I gave a talk to some colleagues about a number of topics. One of the topics that I addressed was things that I missed—things that I was not able to pursue or participate in given the stay-at-home orders, working from home, and the pandemic. So as I think about goals and dreams for 2021, a large part of my thinking is based on wanting to return to these things by the end of the year.

There are four things that I miss terribly but I hope to be able to return to and participate in again at some point in 2021. 

Friday, February 26, 2021

How to Get My Job

When I was in college, I used to get really irritated when I or a fellow student asked a visiting professional or journalist how they got where they were in their chosen career—and they answered that we probably couldn’t get where they had gotten following the same path any more. They’d tell their career path story, sure, but that caveat always seemed to cheapen and weaken the career advice in terms of its perceived applicability, and it felt like a cop out. It used to annoy me greatly.

Now that I’ve been working for several decades and I’ve had as many jobs in as many organizations as I have—even having changed careers and industries, for gosh sake—I can tell you this: That caveat is not at all a cop out and usually is not offered as a hedge or a dodge; it is 100 percent true and reasonable.

So when people I coach and mentor ask me how I got started in my industry or career, similar to those professionals who exasperated me in college, I know how I got here… kind of… but I’m not sure you’ll be able to follow the same path. My path will not be your path. My path then would not—most likely could not even—be my path now. I’m actually not really sure how helpful or useful my career path is as a model. Regardless, here are some ideas and lessons for folks just starting their careers that might be applicable for you, too, even now.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Pay Attention to How You Spend Your Time

Shortly into the pandemic and stay-at-home orders, the amount of screen time I was spending concerned me. (My teenage son’s screen time concerned me, too, but that’s another story.) Between my expanded workday without commute time on the laptop, active use of my mobile phone for messaging and social media throughout the day, watching TV and movies with family—and alone, while folding laundry—purely leisure use just to fill and kill time at the end of the day (ahem, TikTok and doom scrolling), and a brand new iPad, my screen time had radically increased… and I wasn’t really even sure to what extent.

So I needed to assess that and audit it—oh, researchers...—so I could be fully aware of how much time I was wasting, if I was, and how much of it I could chalk up to reasonable use in a time of relative stress and concern. Luckily, I had a good start already—and some longitudinal data I could include in the audit.

Since January 2019, I’ve used a mobile app called SaveMyTime to keep track of how I spend my time. I log every action, including going to the restroom (AKA “ablutions”) and feeding the cat (AKA “Spooner”). Here’s how the last two years have broken down, excluding items accounting for less than 3% of my time:

Monday, February 22, 2021

Seven Business Books Worth a Look

Any business leader or marketer worth their salt should be reading frequently—heck, constantly—be it local business news, trade magazines, academic journals, practitioner blogs, or business, personal and professional development books.

Brian Tracy suggests that you read at least 30 minutes a day for personal or professional development. Garrett J. White proposes that you should read until you get an idea or an insight—and then immediately document how you can apply it in your life. And Peter Voogd recommends that you continue reading and exploring a given text until you have mastered it fully… in practice.

With the ongoing pandemic and stay-at-home orders, you might have found yourself traveling less for work—and spending less time browsing airport bookstores, which are sometimes the best and most convenient places to learn about new business, sales, and marketing books. So, what to read?

Because health-related travel restrictions might continue well into this year, I offer Media Dieticians this short list of business and related books that I recommend. Some are new, some are old. All are recommended.