Where Can You Catch The Firefly Group?

Training 2013
Orlando, Florida
February 18 - 20


What We Do

The Firefly Group helps people connect their everyday tasks with a bigger, wider sense of purpose and meaning. After working with Firefly, people are energized to attain the mission of their organization and they have a specific action plan to help them achieve their goals.

We do this through leadership development, performance improvement training, strategic planning, and clarification of organizational mission and vision. Our methods are engaging, thought-filled, and results-oriented.

If this sounds like a good direction for your organization, let's talk about how we might collaborate! Please give me a call (802.257.7247) or send an . - Brian

Your ETR (Estimated Time to Read): 10 minutes
Your ETII (Estimated Time to Implement Ideas):
5 weeks

Read my new book
Say It Quick!

Special Event Rescheduled:

Thiagi in New York City
There are just a few weeks left to register for Thiagi's workshop in New York on February 5.

Contact Thiagi directly to learn about "Interactive Techniques for Instructor-Led Training." In the morning session of this two-part workshop, you will learn how to design a variety of effective and engaging training activities. In the afternoon, you will learn how to conduct these activities to ensure the recall and application of new skill and knowledge. To register for this one-day event visit thiagi.com.


NASAGA has published a book!

From the acclaimed North American Simulation and Gaming Association, comes the much-anticipated The NASAGA Training Activity Book. This first-of-its-kind book offers a dynamic collection of ready-to-use games, simulations, and activities. With contributions from expert trainers, educators, and simulation and game designers, this highly accessible resource presents a variety of activities that address the most common issues that trainers are asked to tackle including:

Communication, Conflict management, Creativity, Customer service/sales/marketing, Decision making/problem solving, Multicultural issues, Organization development, Self-awareness/personal growth, Team building, Training of trainers

Available from Pfeiffer.

January 2013

Readers Respond to the November 2012 issue about honesty.

Say It Quick
a thoughtful message in exactly 99 words

bits of serendipity to inspire and motivate
fuel for your own continuous learning
tips and tricks you can try today
An Empty Desk The Art of Procrastination

Why We Put Things Off

A Solution for the To Do-Challenged


Say It Quick

Wait! Don't make that New Year's resolution yet. Procrastination might be the better approach. Find out why beginning with this 99-Word Story.

An Empty Desk
For 2 years I shared an office with Mary Ellen, a high-energy multi-tasker. I always knew when she was under a deadline for a big project or grant because she would spend at least half a day clearing off her desk. Rearranging, filing, stacking, dusting, was she wasting time? Cleaning a space to work? Clearing her mind? I couldn't tell, but her projects got done on time and her grants were funded. She was very successful!

Call it procrastination if you like, but preparation for the activity is as important for success as the activity itself.



The Art of Procrastination
A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging, and Postponing
By John Perry
ISBN: 978-0-7611-7167-6

The truth is, I could have written this article about procrastination two months ago when I first bought John Perry's book but I was busy. Though I don't remember what I was doing, I'm sure it was important - or at least I'd like to think it was. But the fact that I procrastinated has actually turned out for the best because now I have a timely topic for the start of a new year.

That's just one of the points Perry makes in his book, The Art of Procrastination. Putting things off has its side benefits. One of those benefits is that sometimes by waiting, something better comes up: someone who really wants to do the job steps in, the need goes away, or, in my case, a more interesting connection is now possible.

Perry's goal is not to provide self-help tips for the chronically late, though the book does close with several practical suggestions. Instead, The Art of Procrastination provides relief from guilt for those who tend to put things off and insight about these tendencies for those who do everything on time. Perry helps us realize that, even though one may not be doing what one is supposed to be doing, one can still be a productive individual with a reputation for completing many important projects.

The secret is what Perry calls "structured procrastination, or the ability to get a lot of things done by doing other things." He points out that many of the items on a To Do list are not as high a priority as they seem. While that "hot" item is simmering on the back burner, you can be finishing off many other tasks. When the priority task comes to a boil, you'll be ready to give it your full energy.

Perry's book offers tongue-in-cheek explanations for why we wait to do important work. But rather than simply providing the proverbial procrastinator with excuses, Perry's insights give time-wasters the opportunity to embrace their bad habits and find their own path to greater productivity. After all, if you are frustrated by not getting things done, you won't be any more productive by feeling guilty about it!

If you are ready to embrace your faults and use them to your advantage during the new year, I recommend Perry's brief book! Learn more about how to waste time more productively at his website.



Why We Put Things Off
I have been thinking about procrastination for a long time. Now I'm ready to write about it! The actions of my friend Mary Ellen in the 99-Word Story made me wonder why we put things off. John Perry's book offered entertaining insights. And I have tried to analyze my own thinking when I've been unable to begin what I am supposed to be doing.

It turns out, there are many reasons I may put something off - and none of them are related to laziness, disinterest, bad habits, or deep psychological flaws:

When I've been able to analyze my inactivity in one of these ways, the ice breaks and I've been able to make progress through the ocean of work. If it's a problem of misaligned priorities I can refocus and determine whose concern is really most urgent.

For size and complexity, I'll start anywhere. Take a small step, do anything, keep moving, and chip away at the big task until it has been worn down to a manageable size. (By the way, this is great for writing. I have rechecked the spelling, and tweaked the formatting, font, and color of this article a number of times. These actions are not writing but they have to be done anyway so I've accomplished something while waiting for my muse.)

If the impasse is a result of my lack of skill or energy, I can stop complaining that I don't know how or that I am too tired and ask for the help I need.

Procrastination can certainly lead to bad results. And for some folks, it has deep roots. (I know a woman who paid two months extra rent and lost her security deposit because she never got around to moving out of her apartment.) But for most of us, a simple recognition of the issue can point to solutions that make us more productive without imposing an unnecessary layer of self-loathing.

If you know of more reasons we procrastinate - and have a favorite technique to become productive in spite of them - . And, please, don't put it off!



A Solution for the To Do-Challenged
In his book The Art of Procrastination, John Perry includes a cautionary appendix with tips for curbing your time-wasting tendencies. Perry notes that many websites and books use various forms of guilt to convince people to change their habits. As he points out, this will only make you feel worse, which is the opposite of his focus.

One on-line resource Perry does recommend is LazyMeter (lazymeter.com). This tool keeps track of your To Do list and gives you several ways to measure and celebrate your progress. You can give yourself credit for partially finishing a task and watch a bar graph move toward completion. You can shift a task to the next day if unexpected events intervene. You can access LazyMeter from a mobile device making it even more difficult to find an excuse for inaction on your projects. And you can set LazyMeter as your home page. This is especially helpful for curbing the temptation to surf the web instead of staying task-focused.

Another valuable suggestion from Perry is to curb your To Do-Challenged tendencies with a planned interruption. Go ahead and surf the web or read a comic but set a timer. Having an interruption gives you a break from the flow of your preferred activity and alerts you to the need to make progress on that big job.

These are just two suggestions to get more done on what matters. I have not tried either of them- but I plan to sometime in the coming year! I hope you will too and, when you do, I hope you'll what happened.


Readers Respond

Hi Brian
I used your activity about honesty today for a short seminar. I combined it with an exercise I took from the book 59 seconds by Richard Wiseman. He did a piece on how to tell if someone is lying. I also showed a short video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wg4FkriwR-8&feature=youtu.be) that I stumbled upon kind of by accident. The video actually promotes being dishonest without that being the theme of the video. It just goes to show how conditioned we are to accept that dishonesty is acceptable.

In my group a bit more than half the group of about 27 thought that people would be honest when I presented the scenario of the experiments.

It created an interesting exchange that rolled into the topics of selling and negotiating as this is a sales driven type organization. People seemed to enjoy the seminar as part of their 3 day sales convention.

Thanks for your great articles and activities. Let me know if I can provide more info
-- Stephen Goldberg

If you like what you have read in this issue, I would like to bring the same innovation, creativity, and playfulness to your next meeting or learning event.

Whether you need a keynote speaker, or help with strategic planning, performance improvement, or training facilitators and trainers in your organization, I look forward to your call (802.257.7247) or .

-- Brian

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