How do I: deal with perfection

Perfect ≠ Done

Perfection is not a realistic goal because it does not really exist. If it did, it would be a constantly changing ideal that is a futile attempt to meet. That level is different for everyone, each situation, and once you fictionally reach it, the level changes again. Perfection is more of an excuse used to not move forward since the goal is not possible to obtain. Perfect is really the enemy of done because perfection hinders achievement.

We can not define what perfection should look like nor reproduce it. Yet we can improve on “perfect” over time. So does it really exist?

Good, great or excellent can be a smart goal once articulated outside of our minds once we understand what those expectations look like and then execute it. The journey (getting it done) may not be what we first expected. We can adapt to changes until it is done.

Perfection according to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Airman’s Odyssey

If this quote is a true statement, perfection is similar to simplicity. Simplicity keeps changing, hoping for the better.

Calling a cab to using Uber. Just like computers improve every year, so do our mobile phones. Owning a vacation home to any Airbnb location of our choosing. Even owning a supercomputer can improve by renting the use of a quantum computer in the cloud only when you need access to it. Owning vs. accessing the latest, most improved thing.

As I write this, being in the office has been simplified to not going anywhere physically unless you create or move objects for your own work. You do not need to be in anyone’s office space, but your own work environment that you choose.

Do not aim for perfection. Everything changes over time. Aim for good, great or excellent. And keep clarifying by simplifying.

How do I: record my podcasts?

Tools of the trade

A while back, I used to use Skype with some recording software to record my podcasts.

Then, I noticed the audio quality difference between Skype and Zoom.

Zoom is my go-to for reliable calls, recording podcasts, and creating webinars for several years now.

Zoom can also split the audio recordings between each speaker to easily avoid crosstalk (talking over each other) or audio volume differences which is important for podcast recording.

Scheduling

Using Calendly.com, all podcast interview scheduling was completely automated based on my preferred availability on my Google Calendar when I wanted to record audio podcasts.

Recording Asynchronous Podcasts

Note that all of my podcasts are interviews now. I ask the same questions and get different answers from each person interviewed. I personally do not add value to the conversation by asking the same questions, therefore I could remove myself from the interview process.

As of October 2022, I found out about rumble.studio where I can record podcasts asynchronously. This means the two parts of the interview are recorded separately.

Part 1 is the Questions.

Part 2 is the Answers.

I record myself asking those same questions one more time for each podcast (Yes, I have several podcasts). Not per episode. The intro, middle roll and outro are recorded all separately.

Now ALL of my podcasts are recorded asynchronously. After 12 years of podcasting, I can say that I no longer schedule time to interview someone… anyone for a podcast because I can do this asynchronously. And you can too. And no one wastes any time.

Each interviewee gets a step-by-step process where they hear the question I recorded (they see the text question too), then they record their answer to their hearts content (as many times as they wish). This cycle of steps repeat for each question until they submit their last answer and then I am notified when they are done.

No calls. No scheduling. Once answers are all captured, the recordings are ready to be edited and packaged as new episodes. In a future post, we will cover editing as a matter of documentation, delegation and review.

Have you tried asynchronous podcast recording?

All those empty offices

When it comes to discussing what to do with all the empty offices of today, there are several schools of thought of this.

The Executive’s Plea

The Executives at many companies plea for everyone to return to the office (RTO). Regardless of any new perks (carrots) or threats to fire/layoff those who do not RTO (sticks), many office buildings remain empty. How many quarterly losses will it take to realize most commercial office buildings are no longer needed for the number of people that are willing to RTO? How many egos will need to be checked before they offload most of this burden that was once considered an asset?

I keep telling employers if you want me to come to your office as a 100% virtual digital knowledge worker, I will resign.

Virtual employee and employer working from home

Over the past few years, many have learned how to work from home (WFH), regardless of who their employer happens to be. Many of the tools to do the work virtually have been there for years well before we took WFH seriously and even as a necessity.

The major exception involves work have to move physical objects as part of our daily work whereas virtual work is not possible: brick-and-mortar stores selling physical products including restaurants, hospitals, factories, warehouses, shipping, and delivery, etc.

Why are they happier?

More choices. Their own individual choices. Not choices made for them.

Ultimately, work wants work done. If you can get the work done virtually, it no longer matters where you are to get it done.

No more waiting for a meeting room. A scheduled meeting is 2 clicks away. An unscheduled meeting is 1 click away. Collaboration is virtual and more visual for clarity today.

The employee’s distress and employer’s disconnect

For those who long for the commute, time at the water cooler (mostly alone), the shared bathrooms, concessions, or a presumed sense of belonging by being in a shared office space or cubical farm, many of the offices still remain open today for you come to in and work just as you did at home. Once there, you may have plenty of space to reconnect via Teams or Zoom, with the rest of your local, regional, national, or global co-workers from your office desk. Maybe you will realize the difference between home and office as well as the advantages of each. Maybe you can list them both out and see for yourself.

Maybe you miss the printer, copier or fax machine. Maybe it missed you since it needs a good dusting. My printer went to the trash a few years ago and I have no reason to get a new one since I don’t print anything, even as a published author.

You might have a short-lived thought that being in the office is better than being in your workspace at home. This is likely nostalgic or a space issue. Maybe we had a few years to figure out a better way while working remotely and take those steps to improve our own workspace.

Maybe you are assuming you can impress someone by RTO, being the first one there or the last one to leave. Maybe you think someone will notice or care. Maybe you think it shows that you are dedicated while most don’t see you except on virtual video conferencing calls and through your own work results.

Maybe the technology is too complicated to connect when a scheduled event occurs. Maybe the employer never checked with employees to ask if anyone needed help with the “new” technology. Maybe the employees never spoke up to ask for help or seek it within the software’s help menu.

Maybe you miss the whiteboards. Maybe no one shared that this feature exists on virtual video conferencing calls, allowing remote collaboration among participants. These virtual whiteboards can be saved and shared after the call unlike physical dry erase boards that require a smartphone to capture and send at the end of the meeting.

Architect’s Dream

The architect’s dream is the present state: beautiful office buildings untouched by people.

Is it worth the expense of the art? Is the art of the office building dead yet?

The hard questions to answer

Are the intended purposes of a commercial office space overstated, outdated, or simply unnecessary at the present scale?

How will we continue to justify the commercial real estate burden for unused commercial office space year after year?

When will we do the hard thing, even when something was purpose-built for yesteryear, and stop ignoring the obvious next step? Dump it. The next question is how much do you need to keep if any? Keeping read

Since there is no compelling reason to RTO in order to do the work, why do employers need employees to RTO when they are happier and more efficient while they WFH?

Stop imposing.

Ask what everyone in the company wants to do (WFH, RTO, or a hybrid of both) and the obvious next step can happen from the results.

What do you think we should do with all those empty offices?

How do I: pick a space for deep work

Doing deep work like writing a book, or planning out the details of a new project can be some of the solitary work we face at some point. There are a number of factors that help you find or create the right space for your own deep work. See if these factors apply to you.

Work Space

You decide how much room you need to work. Working remotely has its advantages since a desk is optional. If it is just enough space to hold a drink and a laptop, go for it. Some prefer an airplane seat with that size table just for their laptop. If you need a massive table, seek one out or use the floor. Having a focus-friendly workspace is key.

I finished a book in a matter of a few days at an outdoor cafe where I was able to order breakfast, lunch, dinner, and limitless drinks since that was just what I needed for that amount of deep work in order to be more efficient.

Limiting Distraction

A door can (sometimes) keep with distractions with legs on the other side of it.

If a door is not an option, noise-canceling headphones reduce noise distractions.

Mentioning to people around you that uninterrupted time to focus on a deep work task for a scheduled period of time can be respected. After all, respect is either mutual or non-existent. Don’t forget to respect your own time when focusing. Do not waste your own time.

Seating

Having comfortable supportive seating is key. Nothing too hard or too soft. High enough so legs do not fall asleep. Not causing back or neck strain. Ergonomics is a domain that I won’t cover here beyond seating.

Standing desks can work for those brief “stand up” meetings if the standing desk option is used.

Some people believe having some discomfort may actually help motivate you to get the work done, however, I don’t believe suffering from bad seating or poor posture due to seating should not be part of that. Your neck and back will thank you if you pick a good ergonomic seating option for your workspace.

Lighting

Find a well-lit spot for work. Not too bright that you need sunglasses. Not too dark that you need a flashlight to see the details. The right amount of sunlight can be very beneficial to your state of mind.

Sound

Quiet is excellent, if obtainable. The white noise of a coffee shop is sometimes welcome, but not optimal. Sometimes I need to wear noise-canceling headphones or listen to music with no lyrics (that does not put me to sleep). Deep work is not sleeping, however, rest is very important.

Temperature and humidity

Regarding temperature, I noticed that I get significantly more productive when it is cooler, but not too cool. Above 55 degrees and under 82 degrees is my preference, especially when working outside.

The air should not be too humid or dry. The humidity of 50% to 60% can feel great.

Airflow

Air in motion is a big factor while in a deep work state. Stagnant air rarely helps deep work.

Well-ventilated area. An open window. A ceiling fan can be ideal whether indoors or outdoors.

A screened-in porch with a ceiling fan works well too at the right time of the day in the right weather.

Other factors?

What other factors help you find or create the right space for your own deep work?

Also, this book about Deep Work by Cal Newport could help too:

Launched: 9th podcast and 9th book

Happy to have launched my 9th podcast series on January 5, 2022 and published my newest book on February 2, 2022. Both are titled after the niche topic of interest that you will hear a lot more about… Synthetic Media

What is next after 9 podcasts and 9 books?

More. Already more consulting. Already more speaking. Already more writing on the next two books. Already more podcasting.

There are multiple projects going on at different stages in the calendar, Gantt chart, and other goals.

Life, as well as work, is not just one project at a time. It is not about having only one project to work on at a time. That seems too boring to me if it were.

If you need to get started, yes, start with one project, but watch for that boredom and burnout before it kicks in. You will then understand the need for more than one project to work on at any given time. This will provide you a change of pace regularly, instead of the same daily monotony.

Want to discuss how to accomplish more? Schedule a call with me.