Monthly Archives: August 2003

More on “Effective People” – Proactivity

The #1 habit of “highly effective people” according to Stephen Covey is “Be Proactive”. This makes a lot of sense to me. I believe I am already very aware of this principle, but there are probably numerous ways I could take it to heart which I have not yet tried.

The basic point of this chapter is that our freedom to choose our own actions is what makes us uniquely human. Most animals are wired up like this: (stimulus) -> (response). If an animal can be trained, that is still a pretty direct response to a stimulus. Humans are unique in their ability to decide on a different action (or no action) to a given situation. We are wired up like this: (stimulus) -> (filter: beliefs and values) -> (decision) -> (response). This is similar to something else I wrote in 2001.
Proactive vs. Reactive language

Remind me to replace this with a real weekend report.
Friday: trick knee, no exercise.
Sat. Knee not as bad, went swimming for exercise, dinner with D and C
Sun. knee is OK, but dealing with scope made it hurt again, and favoring it now gives me twinges in the other one. Got scope out, saw mars with unicorn and kitty.

Mid-week report

Wednesday: Up early to go to Sacramento. Picked up Bruce, got to Sac office about 9:30. Worked on fetch finishing touches with Bruce. (Make that “offered moral support while Bruce did 90% of the work.”) Fired off questions to Dan, Hugo, etc. about how things should go. Managed to get some time with Michael, Stacy, and a bit with Hugo, Dan and Tommy. Attended the Wednesday Sac meeting.

M came with us to the office and we took off at lunchtime to meet M’s parents, brother and brother’s fiance, and about 945281 people who are old friends of M’s folks. Had Chinese… got there just in time for starting on the soup. The place we went is about 35 min from the office to the East, so it was a long lunch.

After getting done with work, visited Fry’s, got Bruce his phone back from the back seat, headed home. Ended up at 1:15 into the trip, tired and hungry, and there was Mudd’s restaurant just at the right place. So we stopped for dinner and finished the ride home happier and alive with mochas.

Even managed to work out after getting home, so I really need to go to bed now. tud.

Weekend report

Friday: I think we got Chevy’s food. Not much going on.

Saturday: Pedalled in the morning. Went to dinner with helenschappell and wschappell, had a good time. Went to Mudd’s and had a great dinner, and went back to their place to play with kitten. We did our best to tire out the little ragamuffin, but he dozed for 15 min and was playful again. “I got my breath back, it must be a new day!” Returned home and reassured our kitties that they are still the only ones in our lives, despite the Interesting Scents.

Sunday: Pedalled 10 miles again, and read the Forgotten Realms book. I must continue reading and writing until I have enough source material to torture some players.

Went shopping and stopped at Supercuts for a $13 haircut (and $7 tip). Brought home way too much food (observe, most non-perishable items are still in the car)

Back home, has asparagus, leftover thai food, and salad. Did laundry. I should probably go to bed soon if I am going to be up early tomorrow. (Not for anything special, just that I would like to get up early enough to exercise in the morning and still get to work at 8:00).

Article on managing your work (and managing your manager)

Bryant linked to this as well, but I thought it was interesting enough to mention.

Lots of techies give really lousy progress reports, and are basically hell on their managers for no good reason. This is particularly bad for sysadmin types, systems programmers, and other people who love math too much.

This is a pretty good article (if short) and has some good info, including:
Time management and getting organized
Balancing easy and hard work to get more consistent output
Good strategy for dealing with managers who need constant status
Good tips on making lack of information Someone Else’s Problem

Note: This is NOT a subtle hint for co-workers. I am quite satisfied with the status reports people give me (whether in the form of a weekly email or just entering data into the ticket system.) But what caught my interest was this:
[Regarding most managers needing regular status reports] BTW, this is one of the skills which makes admins really love a manager – this near-psychic ability to figure out what their staff are actually working on, even though their staff aren’t very communicative, which comes from lots of domain experience.

Now I have figured out why I like having a cube instead of an office – if I can hear bits of conversation then I can keep track of what people are doing, when they are busy or idle, etc. It is certainly not the only way to manage people but I think it has become part of my management style.