The 7 Differences Between Professionals and Amateurs (Jeff Goins)


The 7 Differences Between Professionals and Amateurs

by: Jeff Goins

CC Image - „ā™„ā∑„É£„ɨ„ĀģDays off - Courtesy of Christian Bucad on Flickr

If you’re eager to¬†be a professional and not an amateur,¬†sorry… it doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes a long time no matter how motivated or disciplined you are

But… If you want to know how to start¬†becoming¬†a professional, check out this solid advice from professional writer Jeff Goins.

Personal Kanban (Jim Benson & Tonianne DeMaria Barry)


Personal Kanban

by: Jim Benson & Torianne DeMaria Barry

If you’ve ever been in my office, you’ve seen the¬†giant wall full of Post-its. This is my version of the personal kanban Benson & Berry describe in their book. Their method is simple, flexible, and effective. As a bonus, it’s also based on agile project management which happens to be my jam.

There are many (many, many, many) tools and systems out there people use to manage their work, keep track of projects, and be productive. The kanban method works really well for me, and I recommend this book for anyone who wants to be more intentional about the way they work and spend their time (even if you use some other system to do it.)

You may find this particular tool is right for you, or you may not (you should be very skeptical of any system that claims to work for everyone). That said, there are some important benefits you should demand of any productivity system, method, or tool you consider using.

It should save you time, not cost you time – This seems obvious, but I’ve found it’s very easy to get wrapped up in feeding & caring for your productivity system. It can become a major distraction from getting real work done. The system¬†should exist to¬†serve you, not the other way around.

It should help you focus – One of the features of my kanban-style system¬†is that it limits my work in progress¬†to only a few things at a time (for me, it’s a maximum of three). This allows me to focus on only a manageable amount of work and free my mind of all the other things I will eventually have to deal with. Most of the systems out there do a reasonable job helping you capture and organize all the to-do’s in your life, but many fall short of helping you focus on accomplishing the work you really need to be doing.

It should help you see and understand what’s actually happening and¬†how that relates to your priorities – This is a big deal. Is the work that’s really meaningful getting done? If not, it’s probably not (just) because you’re lazy. More likely, you’re doing a lot of work¬†but not the important¬†work. What’s worse, it’s probably because you just don’t really have a handle on how you spend your work time… because that can be surprisingly hard to do¬†when you’re really busy.¬†A productivity system won’t make the right decisions for you, but a good one¬†will make¬†it possible to see what you’re actually doing with your time.¬†That way you at least have a chance to do something about it.

So Good They Can’t Ignore You (Cal Newport)


So Good They Can't Ignore You

by: Cal Newport

I know for a fact someone in your life (probably a lot of people) told you the key to a successful and fulfilling career is to find your passion and follow it, no matter what. Cal Newport thinks this advice is not only misguided, but that following it can actually prevent you from finding work you can be great at and love doing.

I agree with him.

Fortunately, this book doesn’t just crush your pursuit of your dreams and leave it at that (as much as that prospect may appeal to cynical Gen-Xers like me.) Newport also offers¬†some great advice about what you should do instead of relying on passion as a silver bullet (spoiler alert: it’s building valuable skills and experience and using that to gain more autonomy and pursue mission in your life).

Having¬†passion for what you do is a very good thing. I want that for you… but, like Newport, I believe that will be the result of meaningful work, not the cause.¬†If you want to figure out how to do¬†work that you love, I hope you’ll come talk with me about it. When you do, chances are very good I’ll give you this book.