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by EveD

I know that I need to improve how I stay organized and productive in my work and personal life. My current system is just not serving me well, and I feel the repercussions of its shortcomings in all areas of my life. Usually the need for improvement makes itself apparent at a time when I can dedicate the least amount of time to developing it: when I am most busy, most frustrated by my lack of organisation, and most tired. Any decisions made under such conditions will be rash, poorly thought out, overly ambitious.

And so here I am with that well known deja vu feeling. The end of the year is here, and I find myself once again promising myself that in this downtime of late December (when all work in South Africa comes to a standstill) I will find a system of productivity that will serve me reliably in 2021. It is, after all, the best and quietest time to do this.

Since I have more time and less pressure to do other things, I have spent a considerable amount of time analysing where I keep going wrong in my quest to get organised. I now realise that in the past I started from the wrong end of the problem. I would find a tool, and I would try to adapt my lifestyle (or workstyle) to fit the tool. Or I would try to mimic someone else’s process. These are  mistakes. Yes, of course I can change my workflow, and I can introduce healthy productivity habits, but these should be gradual, organic processes. Expecting myself to completely change the way I work, or read, or curate information on Day One of a new MySystem is unrealistic, and just leads to endless frustration, and ultimate abandonment of that MySystem. I’m not making that mistake again.

So my  first step was to figure out what my actual problems are, and translate those problems into goals. I took pen and paper (literally) and started jotting down all the “problems” in my life I wanted to fix. Things like:
– I can never find an article I read two weeks ago but need to reference today
– I am always searching for the same document over and over again (like my proof of residence, for example)
– I don’t know what digital assets I own (vector images, stock images, fonts, icons, elements, plugins, themes etc)
– I can’t remember 10% of what I read etc etc. 
It was very quickly apparent that although all aspects of my life have definite room for improvement, the part that very clearly required the most attention is how I curate, collate and retrieve information. If I can nail that over the next week or two, I think I will have a far more productive and smoother 2021.

After much research, the MySystem 2021 Stack will start off with:
– Google Drive and the xxx system
– Evernote
– Readwise

Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash

It’s been said that people don’t quit jobs; they quit managers. Often the problem stems from a leader’s poor people skills. While many companies today are recruiting for strong soft skills, that doesn’t solve the problem of managers already in the workplace who lack these attributes.

Part of the challenge was the recent talent shortage, says Tony Lee, vice president of editorial for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). “Companies were promoting at a faster pace because they needed to fill positions and many of these people were first-time managers,” he says. “Just because someone was good in their role doesn’t mean they’d be good managing people. It requires different skills, and few were given training and guidance on how to manage others.”

Unfortunately, employees pay the price. A recent survey by SHRM found that 84% of workers blame a bad manager for creating unnecessary stress. The survey also collected feedback about a supervisor’s ability to manage people, and these are the top five skills employees wish their managers would improve:


The most requested skill on the survey is the ability to communicate effectively, with 41% of employees saying their manager could improve in this area.

Relaxing and beautiful. In the era of technology and clever things happening when virtual buttons are pressed on apps, it is refreshing and encouraging to see that humans can still be motivated to create beautiful handmade works of unusual art.

The melody is Bach’s Cantana 147, and the sound is made by a rubber ball travelling along a giant xylophone, elevated throughout a Japanese forest. Visitors to the forest can buy their own rubber ball to send down the xylophone.

Have you heard of this? It is utterly bizarre. In the words of the author of the article I am linking to:

The McGurk effect is mind-blowing. It involves showing a person’s lips making the shape of one sound—like “bah”—while the audio is actually the person saying “fah.” What’s interesting is that your brain changes what you “hear” based on what you see. It’s “bah” all the way through, but when we see “bah” our minds transform “bah” into “fah.”

To really appreciate what is going on here, I suggest you re-watch the relevant bit with your eyes closed.

This is extraordinary because you can’t switch off the effect, even if you know what is happening. That’s rather disconcerting, especially in the age of fake news and fake videos. If our brains are fooled so easily even when we know what is going on, what hope do we have of protecting ourselves from unknown tricks?