Productivity Experts Weigh In

Today’s Learningz is an article about productivity — straight from those that work in that arena all day.

They’ve done some studies, surveys, and interviews of productivity ‘experts’ and determined whats consistent through those people.

Guess what the #1 most consistent tool in productivity is?

This was originally posted on June 4th as part of Zirtual’s Learningz page, a community promoting self-improvement, inspiration, and good living! Want to be a part of the Zirtual family? Check out our job openings here.

Multitasking? Good or bad?

Thanks to Caron Rifici for sending this article. As she pointed out, there’s some good hard science in here about multitasking.

What do we think though? Sometimes personal style matters most and maybe multitasking works for you. Or not?

This was originally posted on June 2nd as part of Zirtual’s Learningz page, a community promoting self-improvement, inspiration, and good living! Want to be a part of the Zirtual family? Check out our job openings here.

The 2014 MLB Hall of Fame Class

There are moments you experience as a sports fan that you’re not sure will be equaled for future fans. Most of these happen on the field, court, pitch, etc.. and some don’t.

Today saw one of those moments — with six new inductees into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. New inductees are ushered in each year, but this year was something special. The six newcomers, three players and three coaches, represent one of the most talented classes ever to come in together. But what makes it special is the class of the six.

For me, these were the names that made me a fan. These were the names of my childhood. The cards I traded. The all-star games I watched. Not just these three, of course, but the others — the all-stars that these three played along with — have become tainted since that time. Steroids, of course, are the scar on the face of late-20th century baseball. These are its pure souls gone to baseball heaven.

There aren’t many of these kinds. The players who dominated, ostensibly, on pure skill while their peers used performance enhancers. It brings a smile to my face remembering Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine mowing down the juiced up hitters of those days (even when it was Sosa, my team’s ‘stud’). They did it with skill. Never overpowering. Never elevating tempers. Skill, precision, talent. Their manager knew precisely how to use that skill, too, and for that reason Bobby Cox was inducted today with them.

And then there was the Big Hurt. A slugger in an era of mega-sluggers. Without steroids, Thomas may have been the premier power hitter of the 90s. He was still up there. He still put up HOF numbers. He was an MVP. He should have had several. His name doesn’t deserve to be outshadowed by Bonds, McGuire and Sosa. He was of their ilk, just not of their morality.

It’s simple: sports isn’t a stage that requires class acts. It doesn’t have to be. We like our athletes for what they do on the field. We forgive, all too easily (cough Ray Rice cough cough cough) when they act immaturely and should poison our perceptions. This group didn’t put us in that doubtful position.

Look no further than Joe Torre’s remarks today. If this doesn’t sum up a great man’s life in baseball, I don’t know what would. You can sense his deep and emanating respect for the game — and his gratitude for the success he was allowed in it.

Torre: “Baseball is a game of life. It’s not perfect, but it feels like it is,” said the 74-year-old Torre, who apologized afterward for forgetting to include the Steinbrenner family in his speech. “That’s the magic of it. We are responsible for giving it the respect it deserves. Our sport is part of the American soul, and it’s ours to borrow — just for a while.”

“If all of us who love baseball and are doing our jobs, then those who get the game from us will be as proud to be a part of it as we were. And we are. This game is a gift, and I am humbled, very humbled, to accept its greatest honor.”

Cheers to this class of men. Thanks for the memories, gentlemen.

Waxing [cinematically]: Boyhood

It’s been five full days since I saw Richard Linklater’s new movie ‘Boyhood’. I’ve thought about it multiple times in each of those days since.

In writing this, I’m almost more consumed by my thoughts of the last week than the movie itself. The truth is, the move is so beautifully presented, so swift in its movement in a young boy’s growth, that you forget some of the earlier scenes. In a coming-of-age story, everything replaces itself. There isn’t a current state of affairs you can harken back to.

It reminded me, somewhat, of reading Garp, and trying to remember those first few chapters where you got to know this new person. What was he like back then? Could we have seen things coming that happened later?

Boyhood wasn’t so literary and it wasn’t as long as a true novel. Instead, Linklater employed a pastiche-ing strategy, at least at the start. Twelve (12) clips of 10-15 minutes, comprising a boy’s formative years. Comes together to make a movie.

He didn’t ultimately go with that. Some years are more dynamic than others. The mother’s (Patricia Arquette) story needed its time to breathe. The father (Ethan Hawke) drew watchers in too and required time. We saw him become exactly the type of guy that his first love wanted — and it was so fulfilling see that self-actualization actually make it into the film (in one of the final scenes).

It turns out, the pastiching was more than just the formatting of the movie. And I can’t say that without thinking of the ‘Before’ trilogy. In those, we had a twist of sorts — a bare-bones romantic engagement that the audience was invited into. And with that close-up intimacy, we’re allowed into an intimacy among the characters (Hawke and Julia Delpy).

Much the same, here, we see Linklater do something to the form=function equation which is really higher than mastery. It’s a special thing to see — and a special see to be a part of in the current.

In ‘Boyhood’, we see pastiching of moments come together to tell the story. And guess what the film itself stands on the laurels of — moments coming together to make up a whole. It’s an integral moment of the movie (you’ll know what I mean once you’ve seen it) and a true lesson that our characters learn. Not just Mason (played over 12 years by Ellar Coltrane), but his surrounding family as well.

Aside from that, as a viewer it was a welcome party to a journey of sorts. You can sense that over a dozen years these characters have grown together — professionally, personally, in regards to attachment of the story, etc… That was truly a joy.

Boyhood was the best reviewed movie I’ve seen. I knew it was a critic’s darling before I saw it. It’s hard to believe that it would live up to that hype. But it did. There aren’t holes worth tearing apart. It was shot beautifully, written sentimentally, and made whole by moments of acting prowess.

An absolute must see.

Why People Need Poetry (Stephen Burt’s TED Talk)

I’ve actually said before that this would be a TED talk I’d give. It’s a simple idea that I find to be truth — poetry would help us as a people understand our world, our selves, and our capability to produce and find beauty.

I would’ve used different poems, but Burt does a good job breaking down the wall of answering the ‘what does this mean’ question. It can mean whatever you’d like. He’ll show you how a critic might interpret a poem, but ultimately that’s not the point.

Just as we use music to inform, increase or unlock our feelings, poetry too sits on a mountain waiting to be discovered. Our schools have done a poor job of keeping it as a pillar in a curriculum, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less effective.

Click the picture below to hear the TED talk!

burt poetry ted talk