One of the productivity exercises I try to go through at least once each new year is to clear the decks of my productivity workspace. What that means is I remove from my office everything that isn't supplies, reference material, or decoration. I dump it into boxes and move it into the next room. What  you see here is the result of that first step. this is my productivity cockpit, my flight deck for productive work....

My office, ready for productive work

Visit the Notes on Productivity blog for additional photos and a description of the process I use.

Time permitting, and if there's interest, I'll continue to blog about some of the steps I use to gain control and perspective as I prepare for the new year. Meanwhile...

Happy New Year everyone!

Making faces in class

Friday, December 26th, 2008
My home office is connected to our conference room. When I'm not using it for meetings or client work, my wife uses it to conduct homeschool lessons for the children.

The laughter level was higher than usual - perhaps too much to stay focused. As principal, I decided to step in to see what the commotion was all about...
Kelly and her magnifying glass in school

It seems that Kelly had discovered the face-distorting potential of her magnifying ruler...

Continue Reading "Making faces in class" »


Wednesday, December 24th, 2008
Emmanuel. It means, literally, "God with us." It's the ultimate gift; the real Christ story.

It's a message that is easily and often lost in the midst of commercialism, internet, blogging, life, presents... and even Christmas. But, it's a message we all need to know and remember - not just once a year.

There are many ways to celebrate Christmas -- many beautiful traditions. In the midst of your celebration, I encourage you to take a moment to recalibrate, if necessary, on the real reason for the season.  Don't miss the message. Don't miss the Christ in Christmas.

Merry Christmas and good night!

How Santa Gets Things Done in Time for Christmas

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008
Have you ever wondered how Santa maintains perspective and control over everything that has his attention? I mean, with all of the letters, a toy shop to supervise, flight plans and air travel restrictions to deal with ... and the weather! It's enough to drive any normal person crazy.

I always thought Santa must have a secret to staying productive. Apparently, he does.
Spammers have to get really creative to get my attention, these days.

Yeah, like I'm really going to lose 20 pounds drinking OREO shakes. I wish!

Making It All Work, by David Allen

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008
I just received an advanced review copy of David Allen's sure to be best-selling book, Making It All Work.
Making It All Work, the third book by GTD Creator, David Allen
This book provides a road map to help you figure out where you are in life and how to get where you want to be going.  The keys to this are Control and Perspective. Control means taking charge of your everyday commitments, while Perspective confidently knowing where to place these commitments on the horizons of your goals and aspirations. From the book jacket description, it sounds a lot like material from David's Managing Vision seminar, which I have always found helpful and inspiring. I look forward to reading it.

If you can't wait  for my thoughts, check out Thomas Duff' blog. He's probably finished reading his copy already and may have even posted a summary by the time you read this post. Either way, I'm sure we are in for a treat.
It seems that someone did not take a course in how to secure sensitive data. That, or they did not care to protect sensitive data now that the presidential election is past. At what amounted to a campaign headquarters post-election garage sale, someone sold BlackBerries, laptops and more. The problem, at least in the case of the two BlackBerries, was that the data had not been wipe - something that would have been easy to do.

Via Fox News:
McCain Team Sells Info-Rich BlackBerrys to TV Station

I share this not to get into a political discussion -- I'm sure we can find ample examples of stupidity in both parties -- but rather to consider once again the cost of lost information. From a competitive intelligence perspective, I cannot think of a better bargain on the part of those shopping. I wonder who else was buying?

As for me, instead of selling hard drives and PDA's on eBay or even giving them away, I physically destroy them, either with a sledge hammer or a drill press. But I'm paranoid about my information.

My wife, Kathy, is a life-long Disney fan and we love to spend time at the park. A friend of hers arranged for this dedication.

Via: Sun 7 News (Click on the link below)


Value Network Clusters, with Verna Allee

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008
This Thursday, Verna Allee will present a workshop on Value Network Analysis, putting people at the heart of value creation. I have Verna's book and I have had the opportunity to hear her speak at KMWORLD and I learned a lot from both.

Some of the topics for the workshop will be:
  • Leadership skills in value networks
  • VNA visualization
  • Social, organizational and value network analysis
  • How to plan and apply VNA for business improvement
As a bonus the workshop includes 90 days of access to the VNA software.
I'm on the fence about going or not, as I have a busy schedule with Lotusphere and my own upcoming presentations, but I recommend the workshop for anyone interested in getting more from their KM initiative.

More information

Should the Federal Government Bailout Google?

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008
The automobile industry is an essential part of our national economy in so many ways. The loss of the big three, as economists tell us, would have a devastating impact on our production economy.

But what about our information economy?

I'm just thinking here but as I went to Google for the umpteenth time today in support of my work, the thought occurred to me: "what would I do without Google?"  I realized that in many ways, Google has be come as indispensable to me as Windows my computer or the Internet.

I used to tease my late friend, Marc Orchant, that "Search is the new UI" but that may be a truer statement than I thought. If Google were to suddenly tumble, I wonder what the impact would be on our information economy?

I'm just thinking out loud [because it's more fun than studying or processing my email].

Disruptive KM: Sneaking Through the Backdoor

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008
Jeff Widman, a new blogger over on TechCrunchIT, recently posted a thought-provoking piece on an interesting shift he sees in social networking and the implications for KM.

He begins by pointing out that disruptive KM tools are originating with consumers and less from the enterprise. OK, nothing new there; we have seen how social networking tools are breaking down the walls of knowledge silos and connecting people leading to high levels of knowledge sharing and innovation. This openness and transparency -- the very lack of walls -- has created all kinds challenges for enterprise IT and knowledge managers that are tasked to consider issues such a compliance, governance, security, and control over IP.

Here's Jeff's point though: yesterday's Facebook announcement about creating private groups (e.g silos) may change the paradigm for knowledge management:
...However, [with] the privacy feature, you can decide which friends view the videos, allows users to build walls in their consumer applications.  This shift - putting up walls in consumer apps rather than removing them in enterprise apps - may be the major source of KM innovation in the next few years.
Social networks are now making it possible to relocate silos by allowing users to define the walls and players -- without control or supervision from management. Will this be the major source of KM innovation, as Jeff suggests?

Jeff Widman: Disruptive Knowledge Management
Here's an interesting bit of news that creates an opportunity for competitive intelligence (CI) acquisition.

The Federal WARN law requires companies with more than 75 employees to provide 60 days advance notice of a plant closing or mass layoff involving 50 or more employees. OK, if you have any connection to HR, you know that. But get this: you can search the database to see if your employer has filed a notice and to see how many layoffs are planned in 2008 in each California city where it has a facility.

You can beg that CI practitioners are checking out their competitors daily.

Via Mercury news

Too Busy Not to Pray

Sunday, December 7th, 2008
Did that title get your attention? It got mine. In fact, for the years that book has been sitting on my shelf, it's been calling out to me, irritating me frankly, as I rushed about with the business of life in the fast lane. Well, this weekend, I was home sick, something for which I'm actually quite thankful as it gave me an excuse and an opportunity to slow down.

TooBusyNotToPrayBookCover.jpgThis afternoon I reread a book, one that I purchased almost two decades ago. It's called Too Busy Not to Pray: Slowing Down to Be with God, by Bill Hybels. In just thirteen short chapters, Hybels considers a number of topics, beginning with the adventure of prayer, reasons we don't stop to pray, the power of prayer and a biblical pattern of prayer, finally concluding with a brief chapter on "Living in God's Presence."

I had read this book before, but it impacted me much more on the second reading, probably because when I read it for the first time I thought I had all the answers. I don't have all of the answers, just a lot of gray hair and I found the book inspiring and thought-provoking. I really appreciated Hybels' practical examples and illustrations. I probably ended up highlighting a third of the book to come back to and review in greater detail.

My next action, (after praying of course), will be to create a mind map of the key points. I find mind mapping a useful tool when I am studying or thinking about complex topics. Inspired by fellow Lotus Notes blogger, Thomas Duff, who somehow manages to write 3+ book reviews a week, I think I'll try and review this book over the next six months to a year. The book is not very thick but the concepts are quite rich and I want to treat these with the attention they deserve. For this reason, I will create a category on the blog to classify what I learn from the book.

Whether your prayer life is rich and relational, sporadic or even nonexistent, I strongly recommend the book.

Apparently, the book has remained a best seller and this year the publisher even released at 20th anniversary edition.
Amazon Link: Too Busy Not to Pray: Slowing Down to Be With God
Watch these amazing robots demonstrate the difference between a CPU (central processing unit) and a GPU (graphics processing unit) at the 2008 NVIDIA conference.

Via: Craig Wiseman
I'd like to replace the icons that we use for our eProductivity Mail and Reference database. The Mail Icon, well, it's a mail icon and the red check mark communicates that it includes eProductivity functionality to make Getting Things Done in Notes, easy. I want to reference icon to communicate that this database is to be used to store nonactionable reference materials.


I managed to cobble together the icon on the right showing what some users may recognize as a file drawer with 3-tab folders in it. I know we can do better than that. I'm just graphically challenged. 32x32 pixels in 16 colors isn't much to work with, but I've seen some amazing icons when those pixels are manipulated by someone with artistic talent.

I thought I would put this to the community by asking for suggestions either for an outstanding Icon designer or library. Perhaps I should hold a contest? Any ideas?
This evening, the planets Jupiter and Venus briefly aligned to form (nearly upside down) two eyes and a frowning mouth in the southwest night sky. If you missed it, you can see it again in May 2013. Meanwhile, here's a picture from my back deck. (Click on picture to view larger image.)

2008-12-01 - Planetary Conjunction as seen from Pine Mountain Club, California.  Photo by Eric Mack
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. - Psalm 19:1
Learn more: Wired Science: Planets Align in a Frown
Recently, I met with my good friend and client, David Allen, to discuss his participation in our upcoming Lotusphere 2009 presentation. As I frequently do, I recorded the day's conversations in order to capture notes and ideas about key points. (I use a Sony MXD-20 which let's me transcribe at 2-3x speed). I asked David if I could share a segment of our discussion about Lotus Notes, what he finds cool about it, and a number of other topics, rants, and ideas about the way people use (or don't use) Lotus Notes.

There's no real structure here but I've noted a some key points in case you want to jump around:

Continue Reading "Listen in as David and I discuss Notes and Lotusphere 2009" »

Here's an opportunity to get a preview of the next generation of David's popular GTD RoadMap training at no cost. In less than two weeks, David Allen will be speaking at UCLA and you're invited!

On December 13th the David Allen Company is presenting a special event, Q&A, and book signing with David Allen. This special program is also the kick off for David’s new book, Making it All Work as well as a new GTD marketing campaign for 2009. (David's goal is to reach a broader audience, which is why he's asked me to extend the invitation to everyone who reads my blog.) I'm sure this will be a treat. Schedule permitting, I plan to attend as well.

If you miss this opportunity, then you can catch David again in January at Lotusphere 2009 where he and I will be presenting a session on Maximizing Personal Productivity with Lotus Notes.


Registration begins at 9AM and the event runs from 9:30 to 12:30.  They will be filming this event and will invite people to share testimonials if they want. Plan to come dressed in business casual attire.

Registration is free, but you must sign up in advance as seats are limited.