Simon Sinek has a made a career out of cutting to the chase and distilling otherwise complex concepts into simpler, more manageable ideas which can be acted upon. He’s influenced my approach to marketing at work and how I appraised what was important in my life. Anyone who works with me will know that I bang on about his Start With Why concept all the damned time.

He’s back in a new video which seems to have immediately reached a massively larger audience than his previous stuff. Here it is, in case you haven’t stumbled across it yet:

As with Start With Why, there’s a lot in here which I think a lot of us already knew, instinctively if not consciously. Perhaps we were aware of pieces, but not the whole.

A lot of what I’ve blogged about recently has been related to productivity, something I’ve always struggled with, looking at techniques such as Pomodoro. More recently I  got very excited at the AMA Marketing Day down in London, which was focused on exposing the arts sector to the potential agile working. I’m even writing a guide at the moment on how to be a more productive writer by embracing serialisation.

Anyway – point is that I’m in my late 30s and that’s when you realise that you have to get a move on, if you want to accomplish anything notable.

Following Sinek’s latest video, I’ve done a couple of things:

  1. Uninstalled Facebook from my phone and tablet. Facebook has always been a terrible time sink for me. Sinek’s point about prioritising your phone over the people immediately around you really hit home – especially remembering my attitudes towards mobile phones in my early 20s, when I resisted getting one precisely because I found them antisocial and distracting.
  2. I’ve activated the free trial of RescueTime, a desktop and mobile app which logs what you’re doing on your devices. You can then check a report of this at the end of the day/week/etc. It’s very easy to kid yourself into thinking you’re only on Facebook/Twitter/etc for a tiny portion of the day – RescueTime makes it easy to see precisely where you’re putting your time. That information will hopefully give me the power to make changes.

All of this is made more complicated by my work, where as Digital Marketing Manager at Writers’ Centre Norwich I’m specifically required to interact with Facebook/Twitter/etc. I can’t just shut them out of my life entirely. Even there, though, there’s a better balance to be sought.

Sinek’s point about phones in meetings was particularly intriguing, especially given our intensive use of Trello for planning. Finding a way to access essential project planning systems while shutting out unnecessary notifications and faff will be an interesting challenge. Getting other people to do the same will be even trickier. There’s an inherent contradiction in the Digital Guy trying to get everyone to think digitally, while at the same time telling them to leave their phones out of the meeting rooms.

2016 of all years has shown us the dark and accidentally dangerous side of social media. Time we started reclaiming our lives, piece by piece.


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