Have LinkedIn and Medium Killed the Old-Fashioned Blog? – HBR

Have LinkedIn and Medium Killed the Old-Fashioned Blog? – HBR.

Publishing exclusively on LinkedIn or Medium is indeed the right choice for some people, particular if you are a new or intermittent writer. If you’ve already invested time in building a LinkedIn network, you’re going to find an audience a lot more quickly than if you start a site from scratch. And unlike an independent blog, there’s no need to commit to a regular posting frequency on LinkedIn: you can write a post whenever you have something to share or say, and even if that’s only a few times a year, you’re extending your professional credibility and voice in a context where it can be discovered. It’s also a great way to try out posting without investing in setup or making a long-term commitment: you can write a few posts, develop your own voice, and then decide if you want to commit to running your own site.

David Allen – The Strategic Value of Clear Space

I got this email today and thought I’d pass it on.  Enjoy.

(BOLD copy are my highlights and not by the author)

The Strategic Value of Clear Space

How easily you can make a mess is how truly productive you can be. Maximum freedom to generate and play around in creative chaos is the optimal condition for constructive thinking and work.

This is true on a project, in the kitchen, in your office, and at your writing table—anywhere and anytime you want to get real work done.

I don’t usually work in a neat fashion. Whether I’m writing an essay, arranging flowers, or making guacamole, I wind up strewing stuff all over the place. If you were to walk into my office while I was working or thinking about something, you’d likely see notes, books, and files strewn around somewhat randomly; a mind-map on my computer screen; doodles and words scrawled on my whiteboard. When I really get involved in something and my creative juices start flowing, it’s likely to look like something exploded in the middle of it. I have a singular focus, but it doesn’t seem orderly until it’s done. My best work happens that way. Yours will too.

But if you’re already in a mess, you’re not free to make one. If you have a desk piled with unfinished, unclear work; if you’re trying to repair something in your garage with tools and incomplete projects strewn everywhere; if you’ve got a thousand unprocessed e-mails on your computer; or if you’ve just got a lot of issues and situations in your life and work on your mind; you’re going to be laboring under a serious handicap.

That’s why, when I’m not doing anything else, I’m cleaning up. I’m getting my in-boxes to zero, getting my desk in order, clearing off the kitchen counter. I’m also capturing, clarifying, and organizing stuff that’s pulling on my attention. There’s an event, a problem, an opportunity coming toward me I can’t see yet. Something will emerge I will need to focus and work on, coming from the outside or from my own inspiration. When that happens, I want to be ready. Things will get messy, but they will neither start nor end that way.

To tackle something most productively you must begin in clear space. Physically you need all your tools in order and an open space for spreading your raw elements and assembling structures. Psychically you need an empty head, clear of distractions and unfinished business holding your attention hostage. From this starting point you will have your best chances for creative thinking, optimal ability to deal with surprise, maximum flexibility to come up with work-arounds and innovative solutions. You’ll be able to take advantage of serendipitous, potentially valuable ideas.

If you have a problem to solve, limited resources to allocate, or an ambiguous situation to clarify, you’ll want to work from a clear deck. You are most productive when all of your available resources are present and accounted for, unencumbered with irrelevant pressures and dross, with an ability to apply relaxed but concentrated focus.

Zen practices refer to a “beginner’s mind.” The ready state for enlightenment is a consciousness devoid of preconceptions. Much of the training in the esoteric spiritual disciplines is concerned with de-conditioning the psyche, allowing the full experience and awareness of what’s fundamentally true in the present, without the illusory colorings brought on by interpretations from the past or projections into the future.

That’s the best place to come from—mentally, emotionally, and psychologically—if you’re developing the agenda for the staff meeting, formulating the best way to approach your boss about the delay in a major project, restructuring your board of directors, or planning the family vacation.

This is not a state from which most people live and work.

So, how do you get to that clear place? Can you only achieve it by dedicating years of disciplined asceticism on a Tibetan mountaintop? That’s one way, but there’s a nice shortcut.

In your physical space it’s pretty simple—just put stuff where it belongs.

In your psychic space it’s also pretty simple (though often quite subtle): you merely have to find out why things are on your mind, and eliminate the cause. Why are you distracted? What causes your mind to be unclear and inappropriately filled with unproductive thinking that makes no progress on what you’re focused on but which creates stress and disturbance that undermines your energy and focus? The basic cause is some decision you haven’t yet made and/or you haven’t parked the resulting contents into a trusted system.

“Mom” will only be on your mind if there’s something current going on in your relationship with her (her birthday? her health issue?) about which you haven’t clarified what outcome, exactly, you’re committed to achieve or what you’re specifically going to do about it as a next step to making that happen. And even if you’ve already clarified those points precisely, if you haven’t put the reminders of that outcome and that action step in places you know you will review at the right time, you’ll still have it impinging on your consciousness.

That’s going to be equally true about your son’s college choice, the status of your retirement account, your choice about hiring a new executive assistant, and your company’s strategic direction.

Decide the outcomes you’re committed to. Decide the next physical, visible actions required to move toward them. Place reminders of all of that where you know you’ll look at the right time. Keep everything in your life and work that way—clear, current, and complete. Discover the strategic value of clear space. Get ready to make a mess.

As Telecommuting Debate Rages, Aetna Sticks by Big At-Home Workforce – Insurance & Technology

In 2012, 63 percent of companies allowed employees to work some hours from home compared with 34 percent in 2005, according to the National Study of Employers, which was produced by the Society for Human Resource Management and the Families and Work Institute.

A 2010 survey by SHRM, the human resources industry’s largest trade group, said that providing flexible work arrangements such as telecommuting, part-time work and phased-in retirement was the best way to attract and retain the best workers. And 20 percent of companies allow workers to work full-time from home.

Of health insurer Aetna’s 35,000 employees, 14,500 do not have a desk at Aetna, a move that the company’s top executives, CEO Mark Bertolini and national business chief Joseph Zubretsky, have said helps cut costs in real estate.

via As Telecommuting Debate Rages, Aetna Sticks by Big At-Home Workforce – Insurance & Technology.

HT – Hank George

New Research: What Yahoo Should Know About Good Managers and Remote Workers – E. Glenn Dutcher – Harvard Business Review

We found that individual effort was highest in the 100%-in-house teams. The addition of remote workers reduced the in-house workers’ exertion.

And why did the in-house people reduce their effort when a teleworker was added to the team? Because they believed that the teleworkers were less productive. Which wasn’t true, by the way. We found no evidence that the teleworkers were shirking.

The implication is that teams containing teleworkers would benefit from knowing that remote members are working just as hard as everyone else. Managers can play a role in this, providing data about teleworkers’ productivity. Our research indicates that if team members know that all other members are working hard, the negative effect of including teleworkers in teams goes away.

So companies don’t have to get caught in a tug-of-war between letting their employees work remotely or forcing them to come to work and collaborate. Collaboration can happen even among in-house employees and teleworkers. It simply takes a different managerial skill set.

via New Research: What Yahoo Should Know About Good Managers and Remote Workers – E. Glenn Dutcher – Harvard Business Review.

5 Reasons To Pick Up The Curator Habit

One way to lighten your content writing load is by becoming a trusted curator. Instead of putting the burden on yourself to write the content, you can take advantage of the content others are creating (and you’re already reading) in your industry by sharing links, pointing your readers to third-party resources, and highlighting the smart things that others are saying.

via 5 Reasons To Pick Up The Curator Habit | Small Business Trends.

I’ve been doing this for years.  Now there is a name for what I’ve been doing – content curator.  Kind of sexy, is it not?

The Battered Incomes of the Self Employed | Small Business Trends

The 2010 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances – a triennial survey of a random sample of American households conducted for the Fed by a University of Chicago-based survey research group – shows the large drop in self-employment income that occurred during the recent economic downturn.

via The Battered Incomes of the Self Employed | Small Business Trends.

No place to hide in this Great Recession.