Spreading the Goodness (and the Fun!)

When doing research for workshops or for my blog, I often come across information and sources of inspiration which I find very valuable and store away. Or someone else shares their go-to sources with me – usually providing valuable food for thought and a trigger to dig deeper.

To return the favour and spread the goodness, I’ve decided to dedicate a post to a collection of useful things. This will grow whenever I come across additional materials and I hope it encourages others (that’s you!) to share their nuggets with the rest of us. These are loosely categorized, but don’t let the titles restrict what you can get out of them, most items listed below can be used in a variety of situations.

Changing (Something About) Ourselves

This topic area is listed first in case the rest of the post inspires you to implement something new – what a chance to put the habit forming tips below into practice right away!

How to Build Rock Solid Habits (video)
This is a series of three very short videos created by Michael Bungay Stanier (whose training advice I shared in this post). It’s funny (featuring monkeys, zombies, cocktails, an egg and a Canadian beaver!) and a great example of why telestrations don’t need to be costly to be effective.
The next time you try to get people to adopt a new habit, why not incorporate these into your workshop?

BJ Fogg has created a hands-on habit changing mini-course you can do for 1 week (starting every Monday). I think it’s impressive that a renowned researcher and author spends time on helping people personally and hands-on.

Presenting Thoughts and Ideas

Mark Bowden has some very interesting (and simple to implement) tips on presentations – all based on the neuroscience of how we decide whether someone is a friend or a foe (…or a potential mate…): watch him apply them to the audience while he is presenting or take a look at some of the free presentation tips videos from Presentation Genius. If the videos are too long for you, the same website provides additional great tips and information in small easy-to-implement chunks in blog form.

Getting More/Better stuff done (and reducing the sensation that your head is Times Square)

Maura Nevel Thomas believes that time management is a priority of the past while attention management is what is needed today. It allows us to focus on what is important and has the biggest impact on us reaching our next goal. You can read all about it in her blog. For a really quick fix of useful tips, this post will get you started in thinking about your productivity habits and small tweaks that may bring quick benefits.

Organizing your mind is also what Daniel Levitin is advocating in his book The Organized Mind. He summarizes it in this 1-hour talk at Google. For a shorter overview and top tips, watch this video created by CBC.

To de-clutter your head for some high-performance thinking, use this list as a starting point to uncover all the things that are on your mind. It is part of the Getting Things Done Method by David Allen. Putting it all down on paper will allow you to deal with things in a systematic manner.

These tips are very simple and very easy to implement. Can you combine them with the habit forming process proposed by BJ Fogg from the first section of this post?

Feeling Good about Ourselves

While we’re busy becoming better, more effective and inspiring versions of ourselves, let’s not forget that the people undergoing all those efforts (us!) may need a bit of TLC sometimes. Here are some sources that encourage us not to lose sight of our wishes and needs and cut ourselves a bit of slack every now and then.

Brigid Schulte is particularly passionate about making time to actually live our lives while we are rushing around to keep up with them. She has written a book and provides a lot of interesting information and sources on the topic on her website. Definitely food for thought and inspiration to think about what is really important!

A bit more general but definitely worth exploring and reflecting on are The Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun created by Box of Crayons. Pick your top 2 or 3 and see how reminding yourself of those can change your week.
As a sneak preview and to entice you to take a look, here are my current top 3 Principles of Fun:

  1. Stop following the rules
  2. Start scaring yourself
  3. Stop taking it all so damn seriously

So far, they have helped me not to lose momentum when exploring uncomfortably new and slightly scary things. And I did end up having fun in the process!

Also highly recommended: signing up for their daily Great Work Provocation – a small dose of mental nudging delivered daily into your inbox. Maybe share them with your team or family in a prominent communal area? Everyone will think you’re a genius for uncovering all this wisdom and you will be implementing one of Box of Crayons key principles of doing great work: being lazy. Win-win!
The site contains more interesting and inspirational videos, which may be useful to kick off or intersperse a workshop or team building event.

Most change practitioners are very good at being patient, comforting and motivating with others when accompanying them through change – but how many of us take time to extend the same level of compassion towards ourselves when we are stressed?

Leo Babauta suggests some steps towards self-compassion. The first step would lend itself well to becoming a tiny habit: ‘I will commit to exploring the emotional pain or stress I feel for at least 60 seconds every day.’

This ties in nicely with the practice of mindfulness mediation. Free audio tracks to help you get started with this beneficial activity can be found here under ‘resources’. They are based on the book Mindfulness: An Eight Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman.

In the spirit of my third top principle of fun above, here is something to smile about at work. See if you can identify each of these behaviours in the next pointless meeting you find yourself in.

And Finally: Make it Work for YOU!

While going through all this information to extract the top sources to share, I noticed that there are patterns of how information is presented. You usually have a choice between:

  • Blog posts or short ‘essays’
  • Messages you receive on a regular schedule through a subscription (usually into your email inbox)
  • Books
  • Book reviews
  • Twitter feeds and other real-time messages
  • Short videos (up to approximately 7 min)
  • Medium sized videos (around 20 min)
  • Long videos (an hour or more – those are pretty rare)
  • Posters / cards / other visuals with key messages which you can print out and display

To get the most out of all the knowledge out there, pick a format that works for you. Do you want to receive small amounts of information regularly? Do you need to be reminded to check out the latest blog posts and videos? Would you prefer to allocate larger chunks or time less often to go through information in depth and follow up on additional leads? Customize your consumption to ensure sustained benefits. Only if the format works for you will you be able to stick to your good intention of keeping up with your area of interest. Savvy content providers know this and give their audiences a choice of formats to maximize reach and retention.

If you’ve taken a look at any of the sources listed here, please let me know your thoughts. What other sources of information and inspiration do you use? Please share them in the comments!