Give yourself time to read and think

Here’s an interesting clip of an interview with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. They key takeaway here is that you don’t do yourself any favors by completely loading up your schedule. Don’t be so quick to block off your time, as it’s your most valuable asset. This is particularly good advice for busy CEOs and entrepreneurs. Reserving time to read and think is critical to success.

  

Have you taken your summer vacation?

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We’ve been hearing this for years, but Americans are working more these days, and many are taking fewer vacations days. This trend is disturbing as regular rest is critical for a work-life balance.

There are several issues to consider. In many cases, Americans are getting fewer vacation days as part of their benefits package.

In other cases, however, many Americans don’t take all the the vacation they have available. With career pressures and recent job market challenges, this is understandable. Workers are concerned about job security, and taking less vacation time is one way to make yourself seemingly more valuable to your employer.

But over the long term this can hurt your productivity. Getting away and recharging yourself is critical. Not just for enjoyment, but also to make you more productive.

So grab your bathing suit and get out to the beach, or frankly anywhere else you and your friends/family may enjoy.

  

Telecommuting issues emerge at Yahoo!

There are may significant advantages for a company letting workers telecommute and work remotely. Productivity often increases as this flexibility makes workers happier. In today’s world, it’s important for a company to offer this option for some jobs.

Yet there are disadvantages when you don’t have workers together on a consistent basis. It’s impossible to replicate the casual environment of workers being together at lunch and around the office. Much gets done when people are together.

Every company needs to strike the right balance, and that’s what Marissa Mayer is trying to do at Yahoo!, but her recent announcement has sparked a backlash.

Here’s a clip:

“To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home.”

Just reading this, it seems like this could have been handled better by bring up the issue and looking at specific jobs. As stated above, balance is best.

But I suspect the problem may have gotten out of control at Yahoo! and that has prompted Mayer to take a hard line. Workers can be very productive at home in terms of how much they work, but it’s harder to keep workers focused on what’s best for the company if they are always at home.

It will be fascinating to see how this story develops.

  

Overcoming procrastination

We all have problems with procrastination. This is particularly difficult for people who work at home, where many diversions can get us off track.

Check out this video for a good explanation of why we procrastinate and some techniques for conquering this challenge.

  

Open-ended vacation policies

The lines are blurring between work days and off days, along with workplace and home environments, as technology makes us more accessible. One trend emerging has to do with open-ended vacation policies.

Unlimited paid vacation is the new trend, as you encourage workers to be responsible and take the time off they need. This makes workers more productive. The idea is a Results-Only Work Environment. Not many companies are doing it, but it’s becoming popular in the tech field.

  

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