Category Archives: Work

Tools are good, commitment is better.

Although I have a robust set of tools for my trade, I find myself constantly coveting new tools.

Just today, I’ve been flirting with the following:

  • A new iPad (the iPen note-taking functionality that my old iPad doesn’t have is very seductive)
  • A new email program
  • A new program to collect and collate research materials
  • A program to underline and annotate PDFs on iPad

And today was not an unusual day. The truth is that for any characteristic craft, there is an entire industry creating ever better and more seductive tools. And any of these tools would be of value to me; I don’t want them just for the sake of novelty or vanity.

But the fact is that they will not transform my work, either. My job is this: to write these lines. Reading, thinking about what I read, and reconciling and converting these concepts into something that is of value to others.

A lot of fancy tools out there can lessen the friction of doing this job, yes, but they are accessories. I could do the job with a printer, a pencil, and a word processor.

The commitment to do what I do every day – research, read, write – now that is irreplaceable.

Tools are something that makes your job easier; don’t let them (or the lack of them) keep you from the actual work.

I’m Moderating A Panel About Remote Work

I am a strong advocate of the value of work. Work is one of the fundamental pillars of our life. When I coach, work is one of the three most important areas to leverage to make the biggest impact on my clients’ personal trajectory.

But if work is vital, the way most of us go about it is terrible. There is a whole set of norms, protocols, systems, attitudes, and structures that are completely out of place in modern society, yet have fossilized completely before the turn of the century, and which continue to characterize our working life.

Work should be an important component of our lives. Instead, work consumes most of our lives.

I believed there was a better way. And that’s why I almost completely stopped acting as a dentist; to dedicate myself – with the support of DistantJob – to learning, shaping and disseminating best practices for Remote Work throughout the business world.

My ambition: To help more and more businesses create opportunities for people to work outside the office. At home, on the go, at your favorite coffee shop – wherever you feel most productive, where you can best integrate work with your life.

Part of what makes this a fantastic path to travel is that whoever does so is pioneering a new way of working. And my way of contributing to this is by collecting information, talking and learning from those who do it best, so that I can better organize and transmit this information to the world.

That is why I will be moderating the next GrowRemote/WorkRemote panel in Lisbon. In it, I’ll be talking to leaders from GitLab, Nestlé and comOn about how to measure the performance of people who work out of the office, and how to help them chart a career path.

It will happen this coming September 14th in Lisbon, from 4:00 to 6:00 PM, in the beautiful and comfortable Selina Secret Garden CoWorking space – a mere 5 minutes walk from the metro station in Cais do Sodré. Sign up (for free) here.

Let’s continue building the future of work!

Too Much Learning

The modern myth: that more education is the answer to all problems.

I’m a fan of education. But I disagree. Action takes precedence over education. Learning is often another excuse to postpone action.

If you are going to do something, to start something you have never done before, it is smart and often necessary to seek education. To take a course, or read a book. It is important to learn the foundations, to have a starting point.

But from there, you have to do it. From the outset, learning must be complementary to action: it must be sought to solve obstacles in the way, or to move to a new level of mastery, after reaching a plateau. One should not seek education for its own sake.

Learning is a tool, not a philosophy.

Some things that – during any given process, trip,  or project – are more useful than reading a book or taking a course:

  1. Find a mentor or coach who can witness your process and evaluate you objectively. Someone who can point out specific areas of improvement.
  2. Be part of a community with the same goals. The exchange of knowledge is a form of learning, to be sure, but it is the motivation of having comrades by your side and the pressure of keeping up with the group that can help overcome many obstacles.
  3. Experimenting. Consider spending the time and money you would spend on learning trying out something new instead, and seeing how it works out.

Learning how to read, to see, and to listen is good.

Learning how to do is better.

Photo Credit: marcoverch Flickr via Compfight cc