Brainstorming sucks. Until you try S.U.C.K.

When you put a group of smart, driven people in a room together, great ideas are bound to happen. At least that’s what we’d like to believe. Unfortunately, brainstorming sessions don’t always work out as planned. In fact, they usually suck the life out of ideas, energy, and motivation.

The loudest teammates take over the conversation, people obsess over the first idea that gets thrown out, or, maybe worst of all, no one says anything.

But here’s the good news. Despite what other ‘experts’ might say, you don’t need a playbook of 20+ brainstorming techniques to come up with valuable…


Take the fear out of writing.

Of all the skills you could attribute to high-performers–motivation, tenacity, creativity–writing rarely makes the list.

Yet, it doesn’t matter whether you’re leading a team, launching a newsletter, or building a personal brand, good writing is a superpower.

As Dave Girouard, CEO of Upstart and former President of Google Apps explains:

“Words and software share a wonderful attribute: Write them once and they can benefit an infinite audience at no additional expense.”

Writing is so much more than just a transference of information. Yet reaping the benefits of good writing is harder than it looks. …


Even the smallest missteps in the early stages can derail your project.

Photo credit: bantersnaps

When you’re heads-down working on a huge project, it’s easy to forget that the smallest things can sometimes have the biggest impact on your success.

Let’s say you’re working for NASA and your job is to get a rocket to the moon (no biggie, right?) But during your pre-launch checklist, you discover that you’re off target by 0.1 degrees. There are so many other major factors to worry about. And what’s 0.1 degrees anyway?

Well, a mile into space, you’ll only be off by 9.2 feet. …


Why every lost customer is a chance to get better and grow faster

Check out more great posts at: https://plan.io/blog/

When you’re trying to grow your business it’s easy to get CATV-customer acquisition tunnel vision. Acquiring new customers is sexy. It’s exciting. And it makes you feel good because more people want what you’ve made.

But what happens when those users decide they want to leave?

The majority of advice on offboarding focused on employee offboarding-the process you go through when a teammate leaves. The goal of employee offboarding is to help you understand what went wrong, why they chose to leave, and how you can improve your culture and workflows to keep future employees happy.

It’s a powerful opportunity…


The easiest way to ruin a project is to never stop working on it

Learn how to build better products and run better projects at https://plan.io/blog/

There’s a saying in the music industry that the easiest way to ruin a song is to keep working on it. Add enough effects, extra guitar parts, or more cowbell, and you’ll turn Woody Guthrie into Guns N’ Roses.

Knowing when a piece of art is “done” is subjective and often difficult to define. But that can’t be the case with projects, features, or products.

Without a clear definition of done, your development team doesn’t know what they’re working towards, your stakeholders are free to increase the scope, and your users most likely end up with a product that’s cluttered…


We’re living through one of the most distracting moments in history. Here’s how you can set up your home, schedule, and habits to regain your focus.

A version of this article was originally published on the Planio Blog. Check it out for more tips on staying productive and efficiently managing projects!

There’s no denying that we’re living through uncertain times. The spread of COVID-19 has forced more people than ever to adapt to working from home.

Along with relearning how to communicate and collaborate when you’re not in the office one thing is becoming painfully clear: Home is rarely a distraction-free space.

Home is rarely a distraction-free space.

Out of the nearly 90,000 people who took StackOverflow’s latest developer survey, the majority said the greatest challenge to their productivity is a distracting work environment.

Whether it’s the ding of an incoming email or someone asking you to help out with family…


Treat your losses as an opportunity to improve your chances of winning in the future

Not every project goes as planned. And while it’s great to celebrate your wins, the best teams (and project managers!) know it’s just as important to dig into your failures and capture lessons learned.

Unfortunately, when a project fails, the last thing most people want to do is dig into why it did.

Failure sucks.

But whether it’s pride or future deadlines that cause you to turn a blind eye, ignoring failed projects as a source of future knowledge is a huge mistake.

Even at a massive company like IBM, only 40% of projects successfully hit all their criteria. But…


The essential skills you need to lead your team.

Check out more posts like this on the Planio blog.

What’s the difference between a project manager and a project leader?

If you’ve ever gone hunting for a definitive answer to this question, you probably ended up disappointed.

Depending on your company’s size, policies, and management, these terms might be used interchangeably or they might signify wildly different roles. Leadership is a hot topic in every part of a growing business. And if you have ambitions to lead a project team, then you need to understand exactly what makes a project leader different from a project manager.

So what does it take to get your team up on top of their standing desks reciting “ O Captain, my captain “ to…


Read the full report on RescueTime: https://blog.rescuetime.com/work-life-balance-study-2019/

With the power to fit our workday into our pocket and the unrelenting rise of “always on” work culture, its no wonder so many people struggle with work-life balance.

According to a Harvard Business School survey, 94% of service professionals put in 50+ hours a week. And while some people claim long hours are necessary, study after study shows that when we lose work-life balance, everyone suffers the consequences.

Once we pass a certain threshold of working hours, our sleep starts to become impaired; we’re more likely to feel depressed and stressed; and can even have a harder time communicating…


How to de-code what your coworkers are (actually) saying

Originally published at blog.rescuetime.com on January 15, 2019.

It’s probably safe to say you’ve left at least one meeting, call, or customer visit and thought to yourself “what the heck was that person even talking about?”

Clear and effective communication is one of the easiest ways to reduce workplace stress, boost productivity, and build better relationships with your coworkers. But dealing with communication styles different than your own can sometimes feel like trying to get across to an alien species.

As Aubrey Blanche, global head of diversity and belonging at Atlassian writes:

“The differences between communication styles often cause more agony than they really need to.”

We all…

Jory MacKay

Award-winning freelance writer and editor. Lover of film. Drinker of coffee. Say 👋 jorymackay.com

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