Think Small: The Surprisingly Simple Ways to Reach Big Goals, by Owain Service, Rury Gallagher

1 Aug 2019


These are my reading notes & a quick summary.  If we’re aiming for big things, it’s easier to succeed if we get the small details right.

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Working Day which works like clockwork

31 Dec 2012


Today I’ve been thinking about time-management, working from home, and I’ve ended up outlining my standard working day.

This is very much a platonic ideal, or a working mean – the normal deviates from the standard in almost every way. Times are moveable, I don’t go to the gym every day (if only), I don’t always start (or stop) at the same time, weekends often turn into work days, I have more or less personal time than I put down, I’m out visiting clients. But this is a rough outline of how I’d like the day to go.

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Emails and productivity

7 Jan 2011

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Towards the tag end of last year I was talking to someone about email and productivity, and he was describing his methodology and how he organised emails at work.  It was interesting.  We were tramping along a muddy canal bank at the time we had this conversation, so I couldn’t ask for a demonstration.

My acquaintance has a desktop folder for each project he is involved in, and wants to store the emails with the project files.  So he:

  1. prints out the email
  2. scans it with his desktop scanner
  3. saves the scanned image as a pdf
  4. puts the pdf into the appropriate project folder
  5. is happy

I didn’t try to argue or explain or know better in any way; I just said “Oh, that’s really interesting and well organised” and we carried on down the canal path.  I’ll say now that this is a man who is in his late thirties, is a qualified civil engineer, is reasonably competent, does his job well and is not noticeably maladjusted.  And I am pretty sure that I did not misunderstand him in any way.

Truly amazing what people will do with technology.

Children, don’t try this at home

7 Jun 2007


Advice on personal productivity from Marc Andreessen (co-founder of Netscape):

… don’t keep a schedule … By not keeping a schedule, I mean: refuse to commit to meetings, appointments, or activities at any set time in any future day.

When someone emails or calls to say, “Let’s meet on Tuesday at 3”, the appropriate response is: “I’m not keeping a schedule for 2007, so I can’t commit to that, but give me a call on Tuesday at 2:45 and if I’m available, I’ll meet with you.”

Of course, this advice comes with lots of caveats, and apparently it doesn’t work for everyone (you don’t say), although it does work for that well-known guru of business productivity, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I’m still boggling.