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Posts from the ‘Resources’ Category

Patterns of Procrastination

For years I have beaten myself up over the occasional tendency to procrastinate on certain tasks. So when I heard about the book The Now Habit, I was eager to read and learn not only why I exhibited that tendency, but gain a framework for dealing with it. Fortunately, this book lived up to both of those traits – but it takes a lot of work on the part of the reader to reach these outcomes. Tonight, I realized that I had reached a turning point in my own thinking when I saw witnessed a fellow human procrastinating over homework. She was looking at her assignment and saying “Then I have to do this, this, and four more things. I’ll never be done!” I know the feeling.

The book quickly points out that we are not born when the instinct to avoid, or put off doing work. Procrastination is a technique we use to avoid the feelings of being overwhelmed or imperfect. I personally find myself with those feelings routinely. Sometimes there is a task or project so daunting, that I lose sight of what I can do TODAY to move it forward because I’m overwhelmed by ALL of the work that has to be done. I’m also very critical of my work – not to mention that I work with a bunch of critics, too! When you are afraid that your work isn’t going to be good enough, to be perfect, a typical pattern is to put off doing it. In my example above, Madison wasn’t worried about perfectionism (although her mom told her to take her time, don’t feel rushed, and do it right) – but was definitely overwhelmed by the amount of work to be done. I told her to focus on the one task she was working on and not worry about the next one until this was finished. It seemed to work in terms of getting her focused. I guess that book learnin’ is paying off!

So if you find yourself procrastinating, or think you are a chronic procrastinator, take a step back and look at your situation. Maybe even check out this book. There is no magic pill, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction!

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  • Companies are working fast to figure out how to make money from the wealth of data they’re beginning to have about our online friendships
  • Lotus Connections is a little bit screwy when it comes to profile pictures IMHO as they are being forced to be square in Profiles (115×115 pixels). In profiles search results however they are scaled to 55 pixel in width and height is automatic. This post contains code to fix that.
    (tags: connections)
  • The core of any great race starts with your training. And, of course, what you do just prior to your race and then during the event itself will have a tremendous impact on your performance. Spelling out the details of these two areas could fill the pages of Triathlete magazine for the next 10 years, but there are a few steps you can take regardless of the training program you are following right now to help boost your chances of achieving your goals.
  • In the Traveling Salesman Problem, the goal is to find the shortest distance between N different cities. The path that the salesman takes is called a tour. Testing every possibility for an N city tour would be N! math additions. A 30 city tour would have to measure the total distance of be 2.65 X 1032 different tours. Assuming a trillion additions per second, this would take 252,333,390,232,297 years. Adding one more city would cause the time to increase by a factor of 31. Obviously, this is an impossible solution. A genetic algorithm can be used to find a solution is much less time. Although it might not find the best solution, it can find a near perfect solution for a 100 city tour in less than a minute. There are a couple of basic steps to solving the traveling salesman problem using a GA.

Testing Some Automation

One of the powerful features of Delicious social bookmarking is the ability to follow the updates of other members. I am not sure where this concept fails, but my guess is that it requires effort on the follower’s part. At McKesson, our work networking solution includes bookmarking similar to Delicious, and a watchlist. The watchlist allows you to watch a person or a particular tag.

My hunch is that the watchlist is simply not in your face. We have an Updates page that shows all of the happenings in your communities, as well as any new items that have appeared on your Bookmark Watchlist. The power of bookmarking is generally not yet realized by the masses, so that is an additional strike against rapid creation of watchlists.

One of my goals for this site was to be able to experiment with code, social networking, and any other random stuff. Beginning today, I am going to automate the posting of my Delicious bookmarks to this site. You should see the title along with my notes (often just a copy/paste from a few key sentences on the site) and my tags. This is an experiment and may cease at any time.