Michael MacDonald

Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Pomodoro FTW!

In Business on December 29, 2009 at 8:00 am

Do you pomodoro? It seems to be all the rage. It’s simple but effective, and I highly recommend it.

The Pomodoro Technique is about focus and maintaining that focus. In a sentence, it is about focusing on a single task for 25 minutes straight, no interruptions. Can you do it? For a lot of people, it is pretty hard. Email, twitter, facebook, SMS, and IM all compete for your attention and distract you from your work. People also like to procrastinate. When faced with a difficult task, you’d much rather do something easy and fun. It is common to leave essays and reports to the last minute. Read the rest of this entry »


Leave It In My In-Tray

In Business on December 1, 2009 at 8:16 am

When I first started working in “the enterprise” one of the first things I learnt was how to prioritise. I called it my in-tray method. It worked well but it isn’t something I advocate. In fact, if you find yourself using this method then it’s time to find another job!

The in-tray method worked like this: whenever someone came to give me new work I’d ask them to leave it in my in-tray. Then I would completely ignore it. I would only deal with it if they came back for it. Most of the time they didn’t. Using this technique I could easily figure out what were the real priorities and simply forget the rest.

Read the rest of this entry »

Look Ma, No Notes

In Business on September 23, 2009 at 8:00 am

Here’s a challenge for you… don’t take a pen or paper to your next meeting! Just focus on paying attention instead. Read the rest of this entry »

Push Back, Say No

In Business on September 9, 2009 at 8:00 am

I know it’s hard to say it but you can do it. You’re a smart cookie. Let’s try it together…


Good. That was easy. Let’s try a real example…

Sorry for the late notice but can you drop everything and implement this new whizz-bang feature by the end of the day?


What?! Read the rest of this entry »

$600 Mistake

In Business, Testing on August 12, 2009 at 8:00 am

Do you test? Do you test all the time (TATFT)? Can you afford to lose $600? Read the rest of this entry »

Four Ways to Rescue a Doomed Project

In Business on July 22, 2009 at 8:00 am

I’ve worked on or alongside many projects that were on the long, slow death march to failure. Unfortunately, when the shit began to hit the fan, inevitably the project leaders and managers would “demand” that everyone work harder in order to successfully deliver the project. It never worked. The projects failed, the project managers jumped ship, and staff moved onto other projects. It was always so demoralising.

So what’s the answer? How can you rescue a doomed project?

Read the rest of this entry »