Building Relationships One Deposit at a Time

Who Would You Cross Time and Space to Help?

The Doctor Who episode “Silence in the Library” (s4e09) contains a fascinating demonstration of Emotional Bank Accounts. Professor River Song calls the Doctor for help. Without knowing who sent the message, he cancels a trip to the beach to help her.

River knew the Doctor. She trusted him with her life. With everything. She would follow him to the end of the universe—and they had been there together. They were both time-travellers, who built a relationship despite meeting each other out of sequence. There, in the Library, the Doctor was just meeting River. He didn’t know her yet, didn’t know if he could trust her.

She had an incredible balance on file from him. He had no record of any deposits she had made. To survive, she needed him to be more than the Doctor. She needed him to be her Doctor. How do you establish a lifetime of deposits into an emotional bank account like that? Especially without spoilers?

Photo ©2015 BBC

Remember Everything with Siri

Let Your Digital Assistant Remember It For You

The other day, I was listening to a book on the way home, and the author said something profound I wanted to remember. I was only two blocks away. “I can remember this for two blocks; then I’ll pull out my phone and write the quote in Evernote.”

Then I got stopped at a light. “Perfect! I have a chance to do it now.” I pulled out the phone. Woke it up. Tweetbot was still open. “Oh, right. I wanted to read that article later. Let me add that to Pocket…” Done. Pressed the home button. “When did I get a text message? Maybe it’s from my wife. I’d better check, in case she needs me to swing by the store on my way home…”

You know where this is going. You’ve been there.

Capturing an idea as soon as you have it is key to peaceful productivity. You want to be able to forget everything you need to do and trust that you’ll remember at the right time.

Siri is great at helping you remember what you need to do. Just ask. She’ll remind you.

Why You Need Feedback

5 Ways Another Perspective Will Help You Grow Faster

Have you ever performed a task so many times, you “could do it blindfolded”?

In 1947, Life Magazine asked some of the top comic strip talent in the U.S. to draw their beloved cartoon characters while blindfolded. The results were varied. Dick Tracy was almost flawless and Dagwood was still quite recognizable. Most looked like Picasso had reinterpreted them.

When they can see what they’re doing, these guys are great artists. If you remove that feedback—being able to see what they’re doing—their results go downhill quickly. If you’re not getting feedback, your results are suffering just as much.

Debugging Your Life, with Colter Reed

Next month, I’ll be speaking at the University of Wyoming’s homecoming in Laramie, WY. I will be speaking on Debugging Your Life—how the same principles that will improve the quality of your software can be applied to improve the quality of your life.

In this dynamic and engaging presentation, you’ll learn:

  • Five principles of software engineering you can use today to start improving your life.
  • The six product specifications you should be working from.
  • The four types of work you engage in, and which one doesn’t make a difference.

Debugging Your Life, with Colter Reed
Date: Friday, October 16, 2015
Time: 3:00 pm
Where: Classroom Building, room 129

Productivity Comes from Planning

Without a plan, you’re just busy.

There are over 87,000 flights in the US every day. Every one of them takes off with a clear destination in mind.

Once they’re in the air, the flight plan largely gets set aside. Winds blow the plane off course. There are storms to go around, and other planes to avoid. A plane spends 95% of its time off course (to pick a round number), but through constant adjustment, it still arrives at the intended destination.

Have you ever wondered what the point of planning was, if you knew the plan was just going to be thrown out the window? You may have felt like it wasn’t worth it, and that time could be better spent just diving in and getting started.

Having a plan helps you get more done with less effort. And when things go wrong, you’ll know how to recover and get back on course.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/Matus Duda

It’s Okay to Sulk

Three Questions to Turn Frustration to Your Advantage

When you’re having a bad day, it feels good to sulk. It does. Get comfortable on the couch with a bowl (read: tub) of ice cream, put on your favorite TV show, and have a self-pity marathon. But don’t spend your whole life there.

Once you have to get off the couch, you’re done. I don’t care if you need another drink, or some chips, or more ice cream, or your bladder’s full, or the dog wants out, or the cat wants in, or there’s someone at the door. You’re done. Get on with it.

Everyone wallows in self-pity from time to time. The trick is not to take up residence in the mire.