December 30, 2013

CFO: Chief Fun Officer

This New York Times article by author Oliver Burkeman actually made me laugh out loud. It is a must-read for any self-described curmudgeon surviving this festive time of Ebenezer Scrooge, bad drivers and mall sales stampedes.  

Despite best intentions, inserting mandatory fun into the workplace does not always work out. It can be distracting, even demeaning, to staff working hard to meet deadlines before the end of the year. Case-in-point: the impossible task of scheduling our office Christmas party this year. (Long story short is that we never had one.)

Unlike Mr. Burkeman, I probably fall into the "Happiness Engineer" category. Like most everything that I come to realize as I age, there has to be a balance between productivity and levity. The idea of coming to the office solely to produce output sounds downright depressing. (Not to mention unmotivating!) But, after years of working solo from home, I look forward to seeing coworkers, contributing as a team and sharing my daily routine with others. While I might not meet the expectations of a Google-like Chief Fun Officer, I think my work-related resolution for 2014 will be to encourage, instigate and participate in more office camaraderie.  
Wishing you a happy new year and continued success in finding Sanity with a Paycheck!

NB: As a bonus laugh line for this holiday season, the following clip comes courtesy of the "Epic Battles of Rap History" series. If you are not yet familiar with this over-the-top internet series of mayhem, you should be.

December 3, 2013

Carrot vs. Stick

This piece produced by AsapSCIENCE has my name all over it. Creators Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown break down the precise reasons that workers humans take every chance they can get to procrastinate. (Chances are you are procrastinating right now!) 

See for yourself:

Thankfully, the video offers a great solution: the Pomodoro Technique. This time management strategy focuses on four major actions, all of which are ones I happen to think lead to Sanity with a Side of Paycheck
  1. Work with the time you have.
  2. Eliminate burnout.
  3. Manage distractions.
  4. Balance your life. 
While I don't follow the precise timing of Pomodoro, I do stick to a similar work-break-work schedule. Earlier this year, I purchased a Fitbit Flex. This personal health tracking device allows me to set a silent alarm (I schedule one every 45 minutes) to ensure that I take a break from what I am doing, get up and move around. I'll walk around the block, make tea or just shift gears from the project I'm working on to another. While Fitbit is definitely geared toward fitness, it also offers the benefit of shifting perspective and avoiding procrastination. Try it out!