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+ Lurking ghost watchers, the psychology of time management and human-ing with Rahshaana Green - September 21 2023
‘Cette semaine a été rock’n’roll!’
Some thoughts are worth keeping in their original language, but roughly translated, September’s been a rollercoaster.
After a rocky and rolly few days, I’m bumping along, quite literally, as I zoom towards Paris on the Eurostar typing this.
You know that you are where you need to be when things flow smoothly.
Bewildering synchronicities and connections popped up during the three days I enjoyed in the British capital. I was on time for 95% of my appointments (miracle!). Now, let’s see if Paris holds as much magic. At least, there will be French fries, and that’s already enchanting.
In this week’s Digest, I put a particular emphasis on communication, content quality and social media.
How have things been for you? Have you also had some big rolling ups and rocky downs these past few days? Drop me a line and let me know.
You’ll notice that the timing of these emails is going to change to fortnightly in the coming weeks to accommodate projects and some travel. As ever, my aim with The Digest is to share the stories and articles that have inspired me. I'll never crowd your inbox and that's a promise.
Thanks as always for reading me, I really appreciate it. Have a good one.
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“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said." — Peter F. Drucker.
1. EMAIL ME, PLEASE!
The new Slack redesign is causing some frustrations at the Atlantic HQ and thanks to the platform’s revamp: office work seems to be more like social media than office work.
Social media exhausts our attention and, dare I say, our self-esteem, so the last thing we need is for Slack to turn into Facebook. But, oh, wait, it’s just happened. What to do next?
While I believe that work and life must coexist (not be in separate boxes per se), I find my hair raises on my neck when work starts to trickle through on text or WhatsApp.
Personally, I want my business communication to remain in my inbox (or on Zoom - Slack TBC).
Text messages are for F&F (read fun and friends).
Of course, WhatsApp has built Business chats and communities, which I didn’t mind until I got some weird message from someone impersonating a McKinsey recruiter last night. I archive, block and delete actively to keep my feed clean.
Callie Holtermann explores the topic in the NYT, as she questions how no mode of communication seems to be immune from work. How do you feel about this?
2. THE BEST WRITING AROUND
What I write about is not for everyone. However, I apply myself in these digital pages, whether in The Digest or the long-form Looking Forward posts. Why is that? Because sharing is caring.
I’ve noticed lately that as a reader, many articles (in print, newsletter or other) fail to keep me focused for a whole paragraph, let alone an entire piece. My eyes glaze over, and I skip and skip and regularly don’t even reach the conclusion.
At first, I blamed myself (lazy reader, me?). Then I blamed my lifestyle (and yours, you know, the attention economy, too much content out there, etc). But then, I landed on THE BEST article on New York Fashion Week in the Shop Rat newsletter.
Ping, the metaphorical penny dropped.
Good quality writing keeps me reading.
Good quality anything keeps me wanting more.
Good quality turns me into a PR machine for other people’s prose.
Over lunch the other day, my journalist friend (the one who refuses to be on social media) and I pondered on the subject. We agreed that the Financial Times is fantastic at the moment (grown up and not preachy), and I told her about my new Substack crushes (there are more than one).
She wasn’t sure what Substack was, but with many former editors (and other voices like yours truly) carving out their niches on the platform, I hoped to convince her (and you too) that it’s worth exploring. I feel like these folks really do care.
You may not feel much excitement around the fashion weeks, but if you fancy a dip into that world, trust former New York Magazine’s editor Emilia Petrarca to take you on a fantastic trip to the runway.
3. LURKING GHOST-WATCHERS OR THE FUTURE OF SOCIAL
This great piece in (Substack’s) Embedded explores how we have turned less social, and more media. Four people today invited me to their ‘broadcast channels.’
In this environment, writer Kate Lindsay reports on our changing behaviours, noting that we are all lurking on each other’s feeds, the modern billboards of the personal brand.
Given that ad campaigns invade our personal digital spaces, it is no wonder we end up consuming each other’s stories as a form of media strategy.
As the author points out: “Apps began prioritizing algorithms and discovery and ways of increasing views that de-emphasized direct connection, putting us all in the same place while somehow tearing us further apart.”
I barely post anymore, so I recognise myself as a ‘lurker’.
I often feel discouraged from posting. The slickness of the campaigns that sandwich posts in my feed is a deterrent.
It’s a shame. At heart, I think of Instagram as a modern photo album, a personal space (despite my account being public). But for many, IG is a business space. I don’t think the two can be reconciled.
It’s time for me to start printing my pictures.
Read about it here.
4: POLYWORK, MYSPACE, AND THE SINGLE PAGE WEBSITE
How we communicate who we are and what we do is top of mind for me. That’s why my clients, whether corporate or individuals, come to me for support.
The evolution of online spaces where we can put out our work is one that I feel is most exciting.
Polywork’s announcement of their new personal website service (available with a paid upgrade) feels timely. This challenger to LinkedIn, best suited for multihyphenates, is making an interesting move. Check out their personal website offering here.
Mashable makes a similar point in this article about ‘bringing back Myspace’.
Sometimes, simple is best. A single page sounds pretty good. Wish I’d thought of that before redesigning my website.
3. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TIME MANAGEMENT
I’ve been known to be too optimistic about how much I can achieve in a day.
I was built like that and can’t remember a time when I didn’t over-plan.
This leads me to live a very active life, but the downside is I stress out because I am regularly a bit late, not quite done on time, or not consistent with my plans. These are unpleasant states that I’d like to leave behind.
I’m learning that there are ways to manage our time biases. Who knew?
Discover the task completion bias, the ‘planning fallacy’ and how to manage these to get on top of your own time to escape that ‘I don’t have enough time’ feeling.’
I’m feeling the difference already. I think you’ll thank me for this one. Read here.
5. CAN I BECOME A MORNING PERSON?
I thought getting a dog would make me more of a morning person. But writing has made me more of a morning person than the dog, who I lovingly call ‘sleeping beauty’.
The two combined have turned me away from my beloved snooze-fest mornings. I wish I’d made that change a decade ago. It’s radically improved my life.
Can we change how we feel in the first hour of the day? Unless you get a dog, best to start by exploring a few of the best tactics here.
6. RAHSHAANA GREEN ON HUMAN-ING, THE POWER OF AGENCY AND CBRT (COMPASSION-BASED RESILIENCE TRAINING)
I have a new episode of Out of the Clouds, with a guest who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting through the Nalanda Institute in Contemplative Science. Rahshaana Green, MBA, PMP, RYT is the institute’s Director of Equity and Contemplative Psychotherapy as well as a yoga and meditation teacher and business consultant with expertise in Business Development, Marketing, and Strategy in Healthcare and Science.
Rahshaana tells me about her curious nature as a young child, her love of books and her overachiever tendencies. Combining her passion for science and business skills, she tells me how she chose a BA in Biophysical Chemistry from Dartmouth College and then an MBA from The University of Texas at Austin, which led her to a 15+ year career in Marketing and Business Development for medical device and life science companies.
Life also throws some curveballs. In Rahshaana’s case, this meant an accident that directed her towards yoga — Forrest Yoga specifically. Able to heal herself through this practice, she tells me why she chose to become certified as a teacher, something that, with the support of a fantastic manager for her day job, she could do in parallel with her career.
Rahshaana’s personal study in meditation, mindfulness and compassion practices helped expand her growth, and she explains what brought her to the Nalanda Institute and the programs she teaches in Compassion-Based Resilience Training (CBRT). It’s a fascinating field of study which she thinks we could all benefit from because, as we can probably all attest, ‘human-ing’ is hard. We finish the conversation with some thoughts on becoming more intimate with our bodies, learning to be more resilient when faced with discomfort and how to access ultimate intelligence.
A profound and inspiring conversation. Happy listening!
And in short:
Continue the exploration of the ‘girl’ syndrome.
On that note, TikTok is coming for your wallet.
Are you a Late Bloomer? I certainly am one, and this podcast made me feel pretty good about it.
The to-do list gets some love.
If you’re in London in the coming weeks, do go discover Unstruck Melody at the V&A Museum. A collaboration between artist Nirbai (Nep) Singh Sidhu and Without Shape Without Form’s Deep K Kailey who I interviewed recently.
Bother with the weird men and the Roman Empire thing. Or, if you do, read this.
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