PM quotes

Mar. 26th, 2009 10:37 am
jenk: Faye (GeekGirl)
So I'm reading a book on project management by Scott Berkun.

"All successful projects are simply a long series of adversities that must be overcome. Far from it being unusal to face adversity, it is normal, and our business it to overcome it."
William A. Cohen

Scott then has a rough guide of how to address problems:

  1. Calm down. "Nothing makes a situation worse than basing your actions on fear, anger, or frustration ... Rule of thumb: the less aware you are of your feelings, the more vulnerable you are to them influencing you."
  2. Evaluate the problem in relation to the project (how bad is it really?)
  3. Calm down again. ("Now that you know something about the problem, you might really get upset")
  4. Get the right people in the room.
  5. Explore alternatives.
  6. Make the simplest plan.
  7. Execute - make it happen.
  8. Debrief - what are the lessons learned?
This is directed at software project managers, but it can be used by anyone who's working to solve problems. ;)
jenk: Faye (RainInSeattle)
Don't Jump! The Northwest Winter Blues Survival Guide Happens every year: The Earth has tilted its north away from the sun. Oz's sunlight per day is growing, ours is decreasing.

Sunday morning we ended "summer time" and reset our clocks back. Once again Seattle's sunset is before 5pm. It'll stay that way until next year.

We also hit less than 10hrs between sunrise & sunset this week, but it's the "dark before 5" that's been bugging me the last few years. I don't remember noticing it when I was younger...1

Some people aren't affected by the swingin' circadian rythym. So what if it's dark when you go to work and dark when you head home? Others of us plan our days so we get actual daylight even in December, stock up on caffeine, bake, or generally hibernate and laugh at the book on the right.

The "less than 10 hours of dark" bugs me in June (and May and July) too, but between
  • My sleep mask ([livejournal.com profile] dianthus' suggestion)
  • Dark drapes
  • Watching caffeine before dinner
  • Taking melatonin a couple hours before I intend to sleep
... I actually GOT enough sleep this year. Even in June. :)

Other than making sure I get outside during daylight for a walk and maybe installing more outdoor lights2, I'm not sure I've got a solution for The Big Dark. Maybe getting outside more on weekends? Hitting the library for funny mysteries? More sex?

1I think it did affect me, but that I wasn't consciously aware that it was tied to the changing sunlight patterns. School was always easier in spring or early fall than in winter - and once I was on a quarter system, I definitely got better grades in spring & summer than fall & winter. Before that - I remember going to bed at 8 and being asleep by 9 with no problem in winter, but come June I could not get to sleep until after it was dark.
2One of my frustrations with how soon it gets dark is that it's always dark when I get home - increased visibility might help me avoid stupid things like slipping in my own damn driveway.
jenk: Faye (headphones)
...from Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream, on music:
Music with a quick tempo in a major key has been shown to produce in listeners many of the physical changes associated with joy: excitement, rapid heart beat, release of endorphins, goosebumps. Music of slow tempo in a minor key elicits changes linked with sadness, an experience of "negative" emotion that, oddly enough, is considered rewarding by most people and sought out as pleasurable and comforting.
[...S]cientists at the Montreal Neurological Institute asked a group of musicians to choose music that evoked such powerful responses, and then took PET scans of their brains as they listened to their choices.
The parts of the brain stimulated? Those associated with pleasure - food, sex, and drugs. The author notes that other studies link listening to music with lower blood pressure.
jenk: Faye (Meditation)
“You know kids, nobody can ‘make you’ feel anything. – You do know that right?” (they look confused)

“No, seriously,” I say, “ You can be, if you choose, in control of your feelings. Nobody can make you angry, nobody can make you sad, unless you want to be.”

They scoff, and without fail, one of them says, “My parents make me angry” – or even better - “I can make people angry”.
And there follows an experiment, where the teenager tries to make Peggy (the Quaker preacher in the story) angry. And at the end, she reports:
“I am feeling slightly amused, and proud of you, young man, you showed courage, you gave it a good try. You didn’t flinch. I respect that. I like you. – I am not, however, in the least bit angry.”

Then I ask the class if they can figure out why he failed. They are smart. They [...] come around to “You didn’t want to be angry. You made up your mind that you weren’t going to get angry.”
And that is the "bingo" moment. A human can choose a particular reaction. We can get better at picking what we're going to feel or do.
Just because people are offensive does not mean that I have to be offended. What a time-saver....
Read the rest, it's worth it.
jenk: Faye (working)
Suggestions on starting the new year with less stress. Surprised that "start the year with a 3-day work week" didn't make the list.

on worry

Jul. 24th, 2007 11:34 pm
jenk: Faye (Meditation)
Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere.
- Unknown
jenk: Faye (working)
A few articles from Psychology Today

When Persona Aces Person
How much of yourself is appropriate for your office?

Managing the Self
Self-control can be tiring.

The Poker Face
"The successful candidate will mask his true feelings, negative and positive, in the name of professionalism."

And from the Wall Street Journal: "OMG &mdash My Boss Wants to 'Friend' Me On My Online Profile"
jenk: Faye (SleepyCana)
I have come to the conclusion that one of the things that separates the grown-ups from the kids is that grown-ups can realize, "Hey, I'm overreacting to this, I need to step away and calm down."

A variation of this is being able to step away from the lurking anxieties that are so good at fueling insomnia. Whether it's distracting yourself with solitaire, or training your mind to focus on something else, or talking it over with a friend or partner, relaxing the body with stretching, or a sleeping pill, or a warm bath and a good book.... how you move on from the anxiety depends on the individual. The key thing is to realize "Hm, worrying about this isn't getting me anywhere," and move on.

And I am heading off to bed, m'self.
jenk: Faye (Tea)
I had decided that what I most needed to reset my emotional equilibrium would be to improve my home environment, aka exerting control over what I could. At minimum:
  • Get garbage and recycling out to the curb, including fridge contents (side-by-side freezer is already empty).
  • Clean off & put away at least 1/2 the stuff on the kitchen table & library coffee table.
  • Do dishes - if I didn't have enough light to trust hand washing, at least get the dirty ones scraped and into the dishwasher.
  • Get at least one load of laundry done ([livejournal.com profile] hollyking & [livejournal.com profile] hollyqueen were the closest of those who'd offered, so I was going to send Jesse over with at least one load of carefully picked items).
  • General pick up and put away.
If I could borrow a friend's generator, I also planned to reinforce the freezer's chilliness, run the furnace fan, and vacuum.

As we do have power on,
  • Garbage and recycling are out at the curb. Our fridge is rather empty at the moment.
  • Kitchen table and coffee table are muchly decluttered.
  • Dishwasher just finished; a few large items were hand-washed.
  • Jesse folded and put away all the afghans & extra blankets that have been lying around downstairs.
  • I vacuumed.
  • Jesse's and my first laundry loads are done, [livejournal.com profile] skydancer has some clothing in the dryer, and I just put some towels & such in the washer.
  • I have been testing things for work.
  • I just put water on for some tea.
....and I feel much better.

Of course, the perverse tester part of my brain is wishing the power hadn't come back on until 11pmish, just so I could know how much of the "feeling better" is getting things more organized vs the power being back on. But overall I think I don't need to feed that particular perversion right now.
jenk: Faye (lilo)
Modern Life[tm] without power is interesting. However, it is NOT up to Wash's definition of "interesting", which, for the Serenity-impaired, is: "Oh god, oh god, we're all going to die."

Reminding myself of this can be proportion-making.

What we've lost: Read more... ) ...I was writing up the stuff still at risk and my plan for getting my emotional equilibrium back to around "normal" when two things happened:
  1. [livejournal.com profile] dustin_00 IMd that our outside lights are ON, , and


  2. My company's HR specialist offered to put us up in the Sheraton until our power is restored. (Which, um, I declined, as it has been restored. But still.)


I feel really really good right now.
jenk: Faye (Meditation)
From the New York Times; researchers looked at how meditation affects alertness, comparing it to naps, exercise and caffeine. Read more... ) Not to mention that meditation is fairly easy to do.
jenk: Faye (Meditation)
Yesterday a conversation touched briefly on perfectionism: how being hyperaware of one's faults can hamstring all action.

Today I noticed a book I haven't looked at in years. And I found the following piece:

Forgive
You did the best you could with who you were and what you knew at the time. As soon as you learned something better, you did that.

So why can't you forgive yourself and others for past mistakes?

For some people, punishment is not enough, atonement insufficient, retribution never satisfying. They wallow in guilt. They refuse to forgive themselves or others. They lose the future because they are trapped in the past.

Search out the painful mistakes in your past and prepare a certificate of forgiveness, complete with a gold seal for each one. ... ) Give one to yourself: "I'm not perfect.... I made a mistake..."

Create your certificates, forgive yourself. Then, sit down, relax, breathe deeply.

Let go of the guilt, let go of the past, breathe in the present and stay open to your future.

~ From Windows, by Jennifer James.
jenk: Faye (Tea)
From [livejournal.com profile] motivationquote this morning

"I can't think of any sorrow in the world that a hot bath wouldn't help, just a little bit."
- Susan Glasee
jenk: Faye (knowing)
Resilient people do not let adversity define them. They find resilience by moving towards a goal beyond themselves, transcending pain and grief by perceiving bad times as a temporary state of affairs.

[One way to foster resilience ] is to maintain independence. Survivors draw boundaries between themselves and troubled parents; they keep their emotional distance while satisfying the demands of conscience. Resilient children often hang out with families of untroubled peers. As adults, the resilient children of alcoholics marry into stable, loving families with whom they spend a great deal of time.

Survivors cultivate insight, the mental habit of asking themselves penetrating questions and giving honest answers. They also take the initiative. They take charge of problems, stretching and testing themselves. ... )

Reframing is at the heart of resilience. It is a way of shifting focus from the cup half empty to the cup half full.

- From Psychology Today

Many are learning the art of stepping outside the past to create a better present. May we be able to give helpful nudges as appropriate...
jenk: Faye (Default)
From the Fast Company article Dustin and [livejournal.com profile] leo_hat pointed out:
The patients lived the [unhealthy] way they did as a day-to-day strategy for coping with their emotional troubles. "Telling people who are lonely and depressed that they're going to live longer if they quit smoking or change their diet and lifestyle is not that motivating," Ornish says. "Who wants to live longer when you're in chronic emotional pain?"

So instead of trying to motivate them with the "fear of dying," Ornish reframes the issue. He inspires a new vision of the "joy of living" -- convincing them they can feel better, not just live longer. That means enjoying the things that make daily life pleasurable, like making love or even taking long walks without the pain caused by their disease. "Joy is a more powerful motivator than fear," he says. ... )
jenk: Faye (eyes)
Our lives have far more meaning than merely what we do for a living, and we can develop other ways of maintaining our sense of self-worth and optimism. ) Generally I've found that the better I am at my work and the more absorbing - and enjoyable - the work is, the harder it is to keep it in perspective. To realize that work is just a part of my life, and it's not my only source of worth. But, "Perspective: Use it or lose it." (It's from Illusions.) Sooner or later you *will* need it.

Of course, my particular bugaboo is seeing my work as my worth. Others may derive their worth from kids, parents, partners, possessions....
jenk: Faye (Default)
Jane Brody's column this week reviews the book The Power of Resilience by Dr. Robert Brooks and Dr. Sam Goldstein, both psychologists. A few thoughts on learning and practicing resilience:
[W]e should ask, "What is it that I can do differently to change the situation?" Identify your negative scripts and assume responsibility for changing them.

Nurture your self-esteem. Be true to yourself rather than trying to be what someone else expects of you. Focus on what you can do, tasks you can achieve, situations you can influence. Take an active role in your community or in an organization or activity that helps others.

Develop a new skill [....] Take a chance on change if jobs, habits or activities you've long pursued are no longer satisfying or efficient.

Change is frightening to people who lack resilience, but those who try it usually find that they land on their feet, and that fosters resilience. And if a new path does not seem to be working out well, change again.

Take a long, hard look at the people in your life and consider abandoning friends who drag you down or reinforce your negative scripts. [...]

Seek out activities that elevate your spiritual life and nurture your inner strength: for example, art, music, literature, religion, meditation, the great outdoors.
Much of this is what I think of when thinking about creating a life I enjoy. I did some of this sort of thing after college. The twist here is actively seeking change for the sake of practicing changing. That, for me, is a new idea. And an interesting one.

Full article behind the cut )
jenk: Faye (Default)
This is a title of an article on the New York Times site that caught my eye. Saving it here so I can read it at my leisure....
Read more... )Not that nothing is to be gained from reading, as I did, a pile of contradictory self-help literature. The exercise can lead to all sorts of conclusions about how to live and perhaps even New Year's resolutions. Here are a few I came up with. Following Mr. Tracy's advice, I am writing them down, to imprint them on my subconcious mind.

1. I will not tell people I have all the answers. It's annoying, and people don't believe you anyway.

2. I will try neither to slow down time nor speed it up. For me in 2005 one second will equal one second.

3. If people tell me to "Do it now" in 2005, I will try my best to resist the urge to throttle them. (This resolution will be rescinded if they also command me to "watch the clouds float by.")

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