As a sort of follow-up to my Getting Things To Stay Done post, here's a mental checklist to elevate yourself from the utter grayness of corporate boredom.
- If what you're doing isn't particularly rewarding, interesting, or both, get it done and out of the way ASAP - but get it done right, and make sure you don't leave any loose ends. That way you can spend more time investigating the things that: a) interest you b) require real mental effort c) will turn out to be more valuable in the long run - knowledge is that much more useful when you have the time to learn it properly.
- Spend some of that time you gained anticipating future demands - there is a pattern and consequence for every interaction you have with other people, and most of it is both predictable and manageable. Organize your extra working time around those - even if things don't happen the way you predict, you will know more about the issues at hand.
- Remember that the firm isn't there to bolster your ego - you're there to bolster the company's performance, and ego trips are a sideline best left to those who fawn over the latest fad, market trend or vendor trinket.
- Use as much new technology (or business methods, or processes) as you can, but get rid of it as soon as you figure out its pros and cons. With time, your ability to understand new material will take up less and less of your time, and you will find it easier to separate the wheat from the chaff.
- Recognition is hard earned, and most of the time you won't get anything else - but whatever you do, make sure there's enough substance in your work for piling other things on top.
- Make hard decisions - don't push them to other people and don't try to break them into lots of small, easy ones.
- Be tenacious - don't give up on things. If you can't achieve all of your goals, sacrifice some and focus on the rest, but make sure those are what you want and that there is some sort of return on your commitment.
Alas, it is not always so simple: witness the Peter Principle.
The PC Mini
My take on it? It was about bloody time.
PCs are huge, noisy power-sucking monsters with massive heatsinks big enough to be used to douse solar flares, and I hope this sort of thing catches on and forces manufacturers (and CPU manufacturers) to re-think the way they design machines (although, realistically, the testosterone-filled gaming crowd will still want theirs to be the biggest).
I, for one, can't wait until this becomes the new standard form factor for desktop computers, provided that Apple doesn't sue them to the ground first.