Blog. Insight, issues, opinions and productivity solutions

Proofreading: an Art and a Parable

Posted on August 14, 2016 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Off-topic

Taking on the formidable Murphy These days I’m working part of my time as the editor of Coller Venture Review, the journal of the Coller Institute of Venture at Tel Aviv university. An interesting job, where I get to interact with interesting researchers and experts around the world who write interesting papers for this interesting publication. And then there’s the less interesting – yet vital – part of the job: making sure everything in the printed journal is perfect and error free. In other words, Quality Assurance, which in this domain is called proofreading. As an engineer I’ve learned very.. Read more

Should We Reintroduce Computer-free Activity into the Workplace?

Here is a strange idea: reduce the use of computers in the workplace. Huhh?!?… Bear with me and read on… Computers and Stress Back in the nineties management at my Intel campus realized that non-stop computer use was causing health damage in the form of RSI (repetitive stress injuries – remember all those weird wrist bandages?). To address it, we implemented structured “stretching sessions” where everyone stopped typing and came together to do directed exercises with music and fun. Today we see that non-stop computer use is causing health damage in other forms – and it may be time to.. Read more

Should You Buy a Smartphone for Your Child?

Posted on February 6, 2016 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Should you? Not without first understanding the implications. This question derives from a real life situation, which happens a lot: a kid approaches a parent asking for a smartphone. Please? Pretty please?? All the other kids have them! I’ve heard of six year olds popping the request, and parents in our society of abundance are all too likely to give in. But a smartphone is not a toy; it is a supercharged technology powerhouse, with incredible potential for both good and evil. It’s not exactly like giving a loaded gun to a kid, but it merits some serious thought. After.. Read more

What would Ada Lovelace think of Knowmail?

Posted on November 3, 2015 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Individual Solutions

This post was first published on the Knowmail blog. Cross-posted with permission.   The computer will never be creative or intelligent by itself; it can only do what we tell it to do. I like to call this statement “The Frankenstein clause”: it plays down the primal fear we humans have of our machines getting better than us, then taking over the world. Basically it says, “Move along, folks… Nothing to worry about, we’re the real brains here… These dumb computers will always obey us…” This statement was made by many during the 20th century, but the first to articulate.. Read more

The conflict between being productive and being available

Posted on October 11, 2015 · Posted in Impact and Symptoms

The conflict In my business of helping companies solve information overload,  I get to interview many managers and employees about their communication habits. This brings to light interesting observations. I was talking to an employee in a hi-tech company and he raised a problem: he was actually quite self-aware about the importance of focusing on his work without the extreme productivity hit of interruptions, so he kept his cellphone in silent mode. Smart move! Smart move? Not necessarily. It threw him into the heart of a conflict many knowledge workers grapple with. You see, his peers and his supervisor would.. Read more

Join me at the Oct 20 Information Overload Awareness Day Webinar!

Posted on October 7, 2015 · Posted in Uncategorized

October 20 is Information Overload Awareness Day, and we’re holding an online event at 11 AM EST. Attendance is free but we ask that you register now at http://ioday2015.eventbrite.com. The Information Overload Awareness Day 2015 event, sponsored by the Information Overload Research Group, is a workplace observance, now in its eighth year, that calls attention to the problem of information overload and how it impacts both individuals and organizations. This year’s event includes a free 60-minute webinar at 11 a.m. EDT, with several information overload speakers, and is hosted by Jonathan Spira, IORG’s VP of Research. On the webinar’s agenda:.. Read more

Wearable Devices: Cool Tech or Big Brother?

Posted on August 21, 2015 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

How to measure knowledge worker productivity  is a recurrent question, and in my business of reducing information overload my clients often ask me how we can characterize the benefit of my recommendations for action. For years I used to reply, “Easy! You fix a Productometer gizmo to every employee’s skull, and it senses how productive they are!” Of course, that was nonsense: Characterizing the impact of a productivity program in domains as complex as knowledge work is a challenge requiring less direct means. It may not remain nonsense for long, though… Not just a cute gadget Wearable sensing technology has.. Read more

Backs, Chairs, Wrists, and Office Ergonomics

Posted on July 30, 2015 · Posted in Uncategorized

An epiphany from my past Back in the late eighties my company brought in a chiropractor to give a lecture to interested employees about back pain and how to avoid it. I went to listen, and learned about proper sitting positions and the like: the way you sat at your computer, it turned out, was critical to keeping your spine in good shape. And then I noticed two things: first, the chairs we all had – luxurious, amply padded ones – were definitely not what this guy was advocating; and second, almost all the attendees already had lower back pain;.. Read more

When Hobby and Work Come Together: Wayda Go!

Posted on June 15, 2015 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

An auspicious convergence Most people have hobbies and interests of various kinds – as well they should: this makes them happier, better-rounded persons. Used to be that you’d do your work at work during the day, and your hobbies at home evenings and weekends. This model is disappearing fast as work and home become inextricably mixed up. Instead, one must resort to practicing one’s hobby as part of one’s job. In this post I want to make the following point: that it is quite valuable when people’s hobbies and their work come together, with the blessing of their employer; and.. Read more

How to Avoid Forwarding Gaffes With Email

Gaffes in communication are common in all media, and email is no exception. It does, however, enable special opportunities to be very sorry for what you said… The problem with Forward The main reason is that an email, once sent, is no longer yours . You must assume – and to your detriment often forget to assume – that it will get forwarded and re-forwarded. Everything you said to your intended recipient will likely as not be placed before numerous other people. It is astounding how thoughtlessly a recipient can set loose a message meant for their eyes only! The.. Read more