screw inbox zero

…unless it’s delivered right to your email doorstep.

Are you bogged down in your email program most of the day, everyday… spending WTF too much time checking, sorting, sifting, tagging, pruning, filtering, organizing, scanning, reading and re-reading mostly needless, irrelevant, irreverent, cumbersome, wordy, scattered, terse and “urgent” notes?


Sorry about that. But ain’t it true?

So then… I’ve got a hack for you, that is, if you got the email-balls.

View only unread emails.

Why? To focus on important (versus “urgent”) work.

Deep thinking is practiced way too little in these days of ultra-distractions… like excess email.

I’m not going to bore you with much more… we’ve all read the many productivity hacks about managing email. I only want to share this simple method I read somewhere on the inter-web, tried it myself and… ♥ it!

Here’s how.

I use Mac Mail as my mail program. I’m sure the following applies to any other web or email client.

I created a smart folder, called My Inbox, with two simple rules.

Show messages:

  • Still in my inbox and…
  • Marked as unread


  • I hide all other folders
  • I check email multiple times a day, for a few minutes, then shut down the program


I only see unread emails… with no other clutter (no folder hierarchy).

01 at first

After reading an email, it will not appear when I re-open my mail program next time.

03 after

This encourages me to address emails promptly by either, responding immediately -or- create an item in my central task list. No more using emails as another to-do list.

Maybe give it a try for yourself? You might feel awesomely light, doing more important work.


I do.

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8 experiments in motivation

Click image to see full-sized

You ever start a project with gusto… then fizzle, and procrastinate, and just trash the whole thingie?  Dumb question, huh?

Consider these eight experiments as some ideas for renewing your mojo. Play with them, create new ones, observe what works… do more of those… you little scientist, you.

Read the whole piece by @zen_habits… and keep this visual as your personal cheat-sheet.

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scarcity: why having too little means so much

I create visual one pager book summaries… including this one, Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much.

But let’s play with this and see if I can fit in a sensical, rapid-fire textual summary. Ready? Go…

Scarcity Is a mindset, affecting behavior when we feel we have too little of something… which can help us focus when there is little time left… but causes tunneling, to be blind to our periphery… while neglecting other important things in life, thus… reducing our mental bandwidth, affecting personal performance. Slack is the opposite, a feeling of abundance. We often borrow what’s scarce when tunneling to move forward now… and juggle between many current and pressing needs. All of this to say that in some way, perhaps we can create an abundance mindset for ourselves and others by creating periods of moderation.

Textual summary + visual summary = my serious summarization affliction… and hopefully, helping you learn and remember something quickly. Yes? No?

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15 leadership qualities you can rate and apply right now

Maybe this post is more for me… as reminder about what leadership really means… and how I can call on and develop these skills… at any time.

I developed this poster and this spreadsheet a few years back after an important personal development course about men’s leadership. I used the spreadsheet for several months, each night rating my leadership qualities.

Taking a few seconds, say 20, to do this exercise nightly allowed me to keep these qualities close to my psyche, effecting my daily behavior. I remember one time wanting to have a difficult talk with someone at work, but being meek about it. I knew I would rate myself low on the communicator and decisiveness scale that night if I did not initiate this talk. I motored back over to this person’s office. We talked. We made something good happen.


Hmmm… wonder why I stopped doing this. Time to rev ‘er back up, to ensure I am getting what I want out of life.

We all have the ability to inspire another to positive actions now… including ourselves.

Leadership can be that simple. A choice.

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7 things to stop doing to be more productive

Are you one of those on-the-go-go-go types… bein’ all dizzy-busy and tasky  and yet… not getting what you really want done?

Here’s another piece by one of my favs, @cammiphan, on tips for being more productive. Of course, we’ve all read a bunch of productivity posts… but this one is about what to STOP doing.

Kinda cool, ha?

Read the post. Scan the visual. Stop doing something.

Take your time and find ways to optimize your energy.

OK, I’m done ordering you around. For now.

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a VOP for a VOP


I just completed this visual-one-pager… about a visual-one-pager, suggested by some friends to express why someone might consider a visual-one-pager (I promise not to say visual-one-pager again).

Since it was lying around… thought I would post it as a not-so-shameless-self-advertisement.

What the heck… this is what I do now. It started as hobby… turned it into a business.

I was inspired by that one scene in the movie,  “Up In The Air”, with George Clooney traveling all over the country to fire employees of companies… the scene where he fires JK Simmons… and states, “maybe this is the time you should start that business you’ve thought about for years?”.

So here I am.

And you… got any of these thoughts in your head? Just askin’.

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please god, can we stop talking about ‘core values’?

Don’t you want to puke when you hear people talk about ‘core values’ or ‘respect people’ or the ‘company culture’?

It’s definitely not what’s written down, hanging on the walls, or talked about by HR.

It’s more about… well… never mind what I say. Read how Liz Ryan says it best on making it a ‘human workplace’.

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winning the brain game

Let’s get right to it…

  1. Frame problems with questions
  2. Escape the gravitational pull of experience
  3. Experiment more, be right just enough
  4. Mashup solutions
  5. Reboot to push past the stall points
  6. Actively recycle ideas of others
  7. Develop an unbiased perspective

Huh and Why?

To win the games of our brains… and create an elegant solution.

Don’t ya think business should be easier, simpler?

Matthew E. May hit another homer with his new book, Winning The Brain Game: Fixing the 7 Fatal Flaws of Thinking on how to derive better, more elegant solutions in the work we do.

I enjoyed working with Matt on this visual book summary, to capture the high points.

As always… View the visual. Buy and read the book. Go make a change. The world is just asking for you to.

download pdf  |  buy the book

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