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Less-Is-More Blog by Pierre Khawand

Watch & Learn: Agile Development Methodology Demystified (Video)

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Fri, Nov 01, 2013 @ 03:49 PM

Have you heard of Agile? Agile is a popular software development production method, but is also used in a variety of other fields in the areas of project management, innovation development, and more. Project managers, business owners, executives, leaders, and change managers would well benefit from learning about this powerful development methodology that works in an ongoing, iterative approach, and always with the end customer or user in mind.

Watch the video below to hear a great explanation of Agile (in under 5 minutes!).

And please join us for our FREE Lunch & Learn Webinar on Nov. 7, 2013 to learn even more about how Agile can power productivity and innovation at your business or organization: An 'Agile' State of Mind: How Agile software development & values power productivity (in business and beyond).

Click to register now for the free webinar.

Additional Resources & Webinars

Topics: Technology, productivity, Lunch & Learn Webinars, management, collaboration, leadership

4 Tips to Recharge: The L.E.S.S. Is More Approach

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Fri, Oct 18, 2013 @ 10:40 AM

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by Jennifer Weland, Owner of Evolve Fitness & Coaching, and People-OnTheGo Faculty Member

A day full of meetings and demands from boss and coworkers. The 7 p.m. dinner reservation. Picking the kids up from soccer practice at 5. Shopping for groceries. Keeping the house habitable. And everything else on the never-ending “to do” list. Trying to keep up with all of life’s demands can take a toll on your energy—physically and mentally.

Four simple practices—what I call the L.E.S.S. is more approach—can help you recharge and give your mind and body what it needs. So you’ll be able to accomplish more with energy to spare.

Log Off

Nature and road by Sed Brayton Creative CommonsTechnology is great for keeping us connected and managing our to-do lists. But the problem with always being connected is that you’re always connected. Which means that it’s much harder for you to separate your week from your weekend, or your workday from your evening. We need down time. When you don’t get enough, it can completely drain your energy, unravel your relationships, stymie your stress recovery and ultimately ruin your productivity, research suggests.

Not only can your devices drain your energy, they can also drain away time you could be spending doing other awesome stuff (like sleeping in, connecting with friends, or spending time with family). Can you go a day without getting on the computer, without picking up the iPad, and without constantly checking your phone? And did you ever notice how we’re sort of like Pavlov’s dog when we hear the ping of our device? We HAVE to check–we can’t help it! If you can’t leave your phone at home or in the car, one of my favorite tricks is to put it on silent so I’m not tempted to check it every time I hear the ping. Here’s a great article on why unplugging is good for our mental health.

I recommend turning off the TV, too. Television itself can be tiring, and the older you get, the fewer and fewer stress-reducing benefits you get from a session with the boob tube, a University of California, San Diego study says. Instead of numbing your mind as a way to rejuvenate, stimulate it.

  • Try taking a walk along a scenic trail. Spending time in nature can help restore your energy and focus.

  • Put on some music. Research shows it can reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, and decrease stress hormones, and that it may increase feel-good hormones like exercise does. Music + exercise? Even better! 

  • Or, just curl up with a good book.

Eat Healthy

649px Healthy SnacksThe food on your plate can be the deciding factor between a sluggish and a supercharged day. A few small adjustments can go a long way toward optimizing your energy intake, such as:

  • not waiting too long between meals (ideally, you would not wait longer than four hours between meals)

  • swapping simple carbs like those primarily made of white flour and sugar, for complex carbs like sweet potatoes, oats and whole grain bread. 

  • adding in “super foods” including salmon, blueberries and almonds since they can actually help you stress less.

Your goal is to keep your blood glucose levels steady throughout the day. You don’t want to be on the glucose roller coaster. Once you spike it, you go through the inevitable crash and the cycle starts all over again.

And if coffee is your energy pick-me-up of choice, you may want to rethink how much caffeine you’re getting. Being over-caffeinated raises cortisol levels, makes you jittery and anxious and dehydrates you. Limit yourself to two cups a day, and for every cup of coffee you have, drink a glass of water.

Stand Up and Move More

Getting up and moving more throughout the day can benefit you many ways. From increasing blood flow to muscles, boosting productivity and creative thinking, to improving your posture.  And it will help you beat back the effects of sitting disease, which zaps your energy and puts you at risk for a whole host of health problems.  

Expending energy on exercise actually creates MORE for you to use, because it releases a flood of chemicals in your brain, like dopamine, that create feelings of greater energy. Maximize that feel-good response by getting at least 30 minutes of cardio four or five times a week and at least two, 30-45 minute muscle-strengthening sessions each week. Yoga can also be restorative because of the type of deep breathing that’s incorporated into it. Download cardio and strength workouts to try from my blog.

Stress Less

It’s ironic that one of the biggest energy consumers of our day has nothing to do with packed schedules or sweaty workouts. If you don't learn to manage your stress, little everyday stressors, like sitting in traffic, can cause a total energy meltdown. Not at first, because your initial reaction to stress is that your body starts pumping the hormone cortisol into your bloodstream, giving you an adrenaline rush. Your heart rate rises, your muscles tense, and your mind goes on high alert. But the rush is unsustainable, and before long your energy starts to crash, leaving you feeling foggy and unfocused.

Plus, when stress is always present, your body can’t get rid of the excess cortisol that builds up in your blood. It hangs around-sort of like the houseguest that won’t leave-turning your young fat cells into mature fat cells that stay with you forever. That excess cortisol can also increase your cravings for high-fat, high-carb foods because they cause chemical releases in the brain that make you feel good and counteract the stress side effects. Check out these tips to stress less.

Which tips sound like something you will try? What are your tips for recharging and reducing stress at work and at home? I’d love to hear what you tried and how it worked for you, or please leave your comment below.

Additional Resources & Webinars

Topics: wellness, guest bloggers, productivity, managing stress

3 Great Reads on Lean Process Improvement

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Wed, Oct 09, 2013 @ 04:37 PM

We recently hosted the Director of IT Quality at UCSF Medical Center, Pierre Brickey, at our complimentary, Lunch & Learn Webinar, "Lean in Action: Streamline your process and achieve results!" In his presentation, Pierre shared about the remarkable improvements the IT Department has been making at the San Francisco hospital. You're invited to watch the recording of the 40-minute session in our Accomplishing More With Less groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Our next free webinar on Thursday, November 7 also deals with productivity and process improvement: "An 'Agile' State of Mind: How Agile software development & values power productivity (in business and beyond)." You can click here to register for the webinar now.

By request from participants, Pierre Brickey has kindly shared his recommended reading on Lean process improvement. Here are his selections:

1. Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation by James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones

lean thinking book
2. Learning to See: Value Stream Mapping to Add Value and Eliminate MUDA by Mike Rother and and John Shook

learning to see lean book
3. The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World's Greatest Manufacturer by Jeffrey Liker

the toyota way lean book

 Are you using currently employing Lean in your business or organization? What books or methodologies do you recommend on process improvement? Please leave your comment below.

Additional Resources & Webinars

Topics: books, Technology, business results, time management tips, productivity, Lunch & Learn Webinars, management

Should Your Business Go “Lean”? Learn About Lean Process-Improvement in 3 Awesome Infographics

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Thu, Sep 26, 2013 @ 03:28 PM

Have you heard about Lean? Derived mainly from Toyota's Production System, Lean is a customer-focused production process and organizational philosophy that centers on the idea of "preserving value with less work." Eventhough Lean originated in the manufacturing industry, it has been applied to a multitude of industries as a powerful, process-improvement model.

To learn much more about how lean can improve your business, sign up for our free webinar on Thursday, October 3, Lean in Action: Streamline your processes and achieve results!. This complimentary session is presented by Pierre Brickey, Director of IT Quality at UCSF Medical Center, who has over twenty years of experience in the technology industry spanning the defense, telecom, and healthcare sectors.

Register now for the FREE Lean webinar!

And don't forget to check out these three, awesome infographics, below, that will get you started on understanding what Lean is all about.

Click each image below to expand.

BusinessNirvana Lean












Toyota Lean People OnTheGo

















LeanManufacturing People OnTheGo free webinar








Topics: business results, productivity, Lunch & Learn Webinars, management, team work

Guest Blog for ProjectManagement.com: Four Productivity Tips for Managing Projects and Teams at the Micro Level

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Wed, Sep 11, 2013 @ 11:32 AM

By Melissa Sweat, Online Community Manager

"When you manage a project for efficiency, accuracy, and speed, it’s not just about managing the details and flow of the project, it’s about managing the details of the details."

Click to read the full article at ProjectManagement.com.

Project Management GuestBlog People OnTheGo

Additional Resources & Webinars

Topics: effective meetings, business results, time management tips, productivity, management, team work, leadership

How to Be More Productive When You Work From Home

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Mon, Aug 19, 2013 @ 02:31 PM

At-home workers often bear a stigma of being less productive and effective than office workers—but that's simply not the reality. Whether you work at home or not, employees who create a more controlled and distraction-free work environment can see huge gains in their productivity and results. And when you work from home, where you alone define your surroundings, you truly have a powerful opportunity to accomplish so much more.

To find out how, check out my guest blost post for Dell's Tech Page One.

ResultsCurve People OnTheGo 2013

Additional Resources & Webinars

Topics: virtual teams, interruptions, productivity

Guest Blog Post for PickTheBrain: "10 Cognitive Distortions that are Stressing You Out and Sapping Your Productivity"

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Wed, Jul 24, 2013 @ 01:03 PM

describe the imageI'm very happy to have contributed my first, guest blog post over at PicktheBrain: "10 Cognitive Distortions that are Stressing You Out and Sapping Your Productivity."

In the article, I talk about the top cognitive distortions or negative thoughts that can contribute to stress, weighing down our bodies, minds, and, of course, our productivity. I also offer some helpful "counter statements" that you can use to combat this distorted thinking.

Hope you enjoy the article, and looking forward to your comments!

People OnTheGo 10CognitiveDistortions PickTheBrain resized 600

Additional Resources & Webinars

Topics: wellness, productivity, managing stress

3 Ways to Quickly Turn Your Weaknesses Into Strengths

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Mon, Jul 15, 2013 @ 03:53 PM

growthmindset People OnTheGoLet's face it, we all have weaknesses. But instead of having an "Oh no!" moment when a challenge comes your way, these weaknesses should be thought of more as opportunities to grow and learn — which may sound simple, but it's far from how some professionals and leaders behave.

In an interview with Harvard Business Review, Dr. Carol Dweck, author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, describes this very powerful difference between a "fixed" and "growth" mindset:

"In a growth mindset, challenges are exciting rather than threatening. So rather than thinking, oh, I'm going to reveal my weaknesses, you say, wow, here's a chance to grow. If you find yourself afraid of challenges, get yourself into a growth mindset and think about all of the growth potential in following this opportunity, even if it's out of your comfort zone."

Here's your chance to grow and learn three quick ways to turn that feeling of "Oh no!" into a success-oriented "Now what?"

  1. Turn a challenge into a chance to problem solve or "task design."
  2. Turn a difficult task into a 30 to 40-minute focus session.
  3. Turn a difficult situation into a chance for awareness and wellness.

For more insights on maximizing your strengths and productivity, join us for a complimentary webinar Thursday, August 1 at noon PT, "Time for Leadership: Finding an Hour to Lead."

Register now for the free webinar!

Additional Resources & Webinars

Topics: career, productivity, management, leadership

How to Create a Mind Map with MindJet Information Mapping Software (Video Tutorial)

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Fri, Jul 05, 2013 @ 04:07 PM

Here's a great video tutorial, below, on mind mapping with MindJet software. For more tips and tools about visual project mananagent, join us for our next free Lunch & Learn Webinar on 7/11/13 at noon PT: How to Use Visual Project Management for Greater Productivity.

Click to register for the free webinar.

Topics: virtual teams, Technology, business results, productivity, Lunch & Learn Webinars, management, collaboration

No More Google Reader; Now, Here Are 5 Alternatives

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Wed, Jul 03, 2013 @ 03:05 PM

describe the imageBy Eve Porcello, People-OnTheGo Faculty Member

Back in March, Google announced (buried within a bulleted list in their blog) that they would be retiring their popular RSS feed platform, Google Reader, as of July 1. Google cited a decline in usage, but Google Reader fans are rabid and reliant on the tool to organize and deliver their news for easy consumption.

So what is a Google Reader user to do?google reader issues

Despite Google Reader’s demise, there are still several services that will help you curate the experience of reading websites and news articles through RSS.

Feedly - Among the Google Reader replacements, Feedly is likely the most seamless. You can log right in to Feedly using your Google account and import your Google Reader data absolutely for free. Feedly also offers a variety of apps that will allow you to access your content from any device.

NewsBlur - Intended to help you read the news from anywhere, NewsBlur offers iOS, Android, and web apps to help you organize and read the news. The service also offers social features to help you see what your friends are reading and sharing. NewsBlur is a “freemium” app with free storage up to 64 feeds and $24/year for an unlimited subscription.

Flipboard, Pulse, & Zite - These apps help you get the latest on your mobile devices. While they don’t mirror the experience of viewing Google Reader from a desktop computer, all show your articles with reliability and great usability.

If you have used Google Reader in the past and you want to export your subscription data, you can download a copy with Google Takeout before July 15, 2013.

To learn more about using other Google tools (that won’t be retired anytime soon), check out our Managing Your Inbox in Google Apps, Google Docs & Drive, Google Docs & Drive Advanced, Google Sites, Google Sites Advanced, and Google Analytics webinars.

Topics: tools and supplies, Technology, productivity