Trick Yourself Into Working Better

No one tricks a trickster, right? Well, that may not always necessarily be true, even when the trickster in question is actually yourself. While you probably can’t actually convince your brain to believe something you know perfectly well to be untrue, experience has proven that people can, in fact, effectively lie to themselves in order to promote better, more efficient working habits and practices. Read More about Trick Yourself Into Working Better

4 Tips for Holiday Season Stress Reduction

As we move into another holiday season, I’m already noticing an increase in my stress levels. During the holidays, we all face additional expectations on our time. We still have our regular work to do, but we also have holiday shopping, additional expenses, extra cooking, family gatherings, holiday parties and other activities that seem to take up more time than we have available in a regular 24-hour day.

Most of us also try to take a few days off around the holidays, which can create additional time and budget constraints. For freelancers, no one actually pays you for those days off, and you still need to meet client expectations. Telecommuters and other workers still have about the same amount of work to complete with fewer days to accomplish it. Regardless of your work situation, this still means more stress during the holidays. I have a few suggestions to help you manage your stress and come out of the holidays at least as healthy and happy as you were before the holiday season. Read More about 4 Tips for Holiday Season Stress Reduction

Overcoming the Isolation of Remote Work

solitudeWe’ve all read the news stories that identify social implications of a world increasingly conducted electronically, rather than in person. It seems that in an environment where individuals and organizations can manufacture themselves new personas, and nothing’s real until we broadcast it across a network of contacts, many web workers are feeling increasingly isolated. Read More about Overcoming the Isolation of Remote Work

Traits of a Successful Web Worker

laptop-outsideWe talk a lot here on WWD about the benefits of being a web worker. But not everyone is suited to it, and not everyone likes it, despite the fact that the freedom and comfort of working from home can sound like nirvana. In “7 Signs That You’re Not (Yet) Cut Out For Teleworking,” Celine outlines seven traits that mean that web working could be hard for you. Maybe you see yourself in Celine’s seven signs, or you hesitate to describe yourself as outgoing and organized. Yet you still aspire to a web working career. What do you do?
After spending a few years as a self-employed web worker, I’ve assembled a list of a few traits that should be part of the optimal web worker personality. And there is good news, because they are traits that can be acquired through discipline and practice. Read More about Traits of a Successful Web Worker

Collaboration Technologies and Organizational Change

It’s not unusual for web workers to get pulled into various efforts to get more people using a particular online collaboration tool. Maybe your company is implementing some collaboration software (wikis, blogs, forums) that employees are expected to use, or you are helping clients to use social networking software. In these situations, the software is always the easy part. Getting the people to actually use it is the hard part. Read More about Collaboration Technologies and Organizational Change

The Future Of Work: Will Right-Brained Workers Own the 21st Century?

A Whole New MindLast month — courtesy of Nokia (s nok) — I had the privilege of attending one of the most exciting conferences in the technology calendar, TEDGlobal 2009. Though TED is invitation-only — and monstrously expensive at $4,500 — it succeeds in bringing together an extraordinarily diverse range of speakers and delegates…plus, everyone gets a really, really cool gift bag!
The final session of the week-long conference opened with Daniel Pink, a former speechwriter for Al Gore, now a “career analyst” investigating and examining the changing patterns of work around the world.
Pink has been the subject of much attention lately, with his assertions that “right-brainers will rule this century,” as well as high-profile appearances at TED and a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey. These assertions offer some intriguing insights into “the future of work in a post-broadband world” — notably the patterns of work, business relationships, structures and skills that we’ll perhaps require in the future. Read More about The Future Of Work: Will Right-Brained Workers Own the 21st Century?

Singletasking Tip: Work Like You’re on Vacation

vacationI have a singletasking tip for you, and it’s an important one: Work like you’re on vacation. Before you type up the smart-aleck response, “You mean don’t work at all?” let me explain. I mean work like you’re taking a working vacation. If you’re a full-time remote worker, you probably know the kind of focused working vacation I mean. Sometimes, you can pull one off without your employer even being aware that you’ve taken a vacation at all, if you’re experienced in the art.

The key to a successful working holiday? Good time management and prioritization skills. Having fun and distracting things, settings and activities all around you has a way of throwing what needs doing and what can be put off into sharp relief. The result, for me at least, is a kind of highly motivated tunnel vision that has me blowing through high-priority tasks in half the time I would normally take.

Since you’re not actually always on vacation, how do you replicate the effect in order to trigger task triage? The solution is to bring back the motivation, if not the exotic locales. Read More about Singletasking Tip: Work Like You’re on Vacation

How I Beat the Remote Working Blues

Are you having a good day today? Remote working can be great, but it can also prove a lonely proposition; some days it can seem like you never leave the house, or as if no one knows or cares whether you’re working or not. For many, remote working actually means remote: the workplace of your employer is hours away; friends and/or other colleagues aren’t much closer. And sometimes it can seem as if the people who are supposed to be working with you are too busy with what’s going on in the office to actually give you what you need to do your job.

That sense of disconnection can be significant, it can be cruel, and it can be very difficult to overcome. If you’ve never had a day like this, lucky you! I’ve had my fair share, and though I’m no psychologist, I thought I’d outline my tactics for shaking off the remote working blues, just in case you ever face the same problem.

Is Competition a Numbers Game?

I read about a study over the weekend that suggests the number of competitors can impact our motivation to compete. The researchers found that with a small number of competitors, people had increased motivation to compete, but even with equal chances of success, our motivation can drop when we are faced with large numbers of competitors.

“The simple act of comparing yourself against someone else can stoke the fires of competition. When there are just a few competitors around, making such comparisons is easy but they become more difficult when challengers are plentiful. As a result, the presence of extra contenders, far from spurring us on by adding extra challenge, can actually have the opposite effect. Garcia and Avishalom call this the “N-effect” and they demonstrated it through a number of experiments.” – Ed Yong

Read More about Is Competition a Numbers Game?