Kinja Technology

Stretch conference 2014, Day 1

David Allen: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

The keynote by David Allen was excellent. He was basically talking about the contents of his book Getting Things Done. He claims to be a lazy person and probably most of us are. But not for everyone means this a drive to become more efficient, more productive. By using the right techniques, you can use this laziness to your own advantage. The key is to clear your mind from all distractions and allow space for the things you need to focus on, and for that he came up with a five-step procedure. The first one is to Capture: collect what has your attention. Write it down to a list. Don't keep it in your mind. Then if you have some time, Clarify: process what it means. Define the very next action or discard if it's not that important. After that, Organize: put it where it belongs, sort them into categories. The fourth is the most important step, Reflect. Review frequently to determine what to do next. Do weekly reviews, clean up your lists and regain. And at last, Engage. Simply do what you need to. Use your notes to take actions with confidence.


Jan Nolte: What You Say Matters. How Sou Say It Matters Even More

Her talk revealed that without practice public speaking is hard for most of us. Even famous public persons like Eleanor Roosevelt, Warren Buffett or Richard Branson had fear of public speaking. She gave some practical tips on how you can prepare yourself for such situations mentally and physically. First you must make you believe that you have nothing to fear of. You have the skills, you have the education. You're the one to give something to other people, you're there to help them, let it be that a job interview where you're there to solve your future boss's problem, or a talk in front of an audience where people are there to learn from you.

Her 10% rule aims to get the best out of you. She says that people only hear 10% of what you actually know. So focus on that 10% to be the best of your knowledge. You don't need to say less, and you shouldn't say more. You want them to be wanting more of you. You should talk that makes a difference.


Other techniques for preparing public speeches include warming up like you'd warm up for exercising. By the time you're on stage you're in the best shape. Body language matters a lot and it's not limited to how you move your body, the pitch of your voice is another key component. Probably her most useful tip is that you need to practice standing. Just standing, nothing more. Try standing in front of your friends or family for a long time without moving or tumbling.

Peter Heslin: Mindsets and Realising Human Potential


This talk was based on Heslin's research on diagnosing mindsets. There are two different mindsets: fixed mindset and growth mindset. They're not strongly tied to personality or character: in various situations like work, family, diet, pressure, etc. you can have either this or that. A fixed mindset is more conservative and sticks to the values it considers the be the "right things" and accepts success and failure as the result of aptitude. Typical quotes are "I'm just not naturally gifted at this task", "I failed the exam because I am dumb", "some people just have the right stuff ...and others just don't". A growth mindset puts emphasis on learning, gaining skills, success and failure is the result of how much work has been put into preparations. Typical quotes are "I have not yet learned how to master this task", "I failed the exam because I did not study enough", "some people have developed their skills more than others".

The slides were stuffed with data and pictures that represented what he was talking about, which made it a bit hard to follow and grab the key aspects of the talk. To summarize all that, his research showed that in almost always a growth mindset is able to achieve significantly better results than a fixed mindset. One exception is maybe when someone is working at a conveyor belt where work is monotonic and a growth mindset would just increase dissatisfaction.


For me, the most useful takeaway is that you need to aim to have a growth mindset in every situation. You need to notice when you slip into a fixed mindset and replace destructive statements with growth-minded self-talk.


Phil Nash: Mens Sana In Corpore Sano: A Healthy Mind In A Healthy Body


While there was nothing new in this talk for those who're conscious about their health, it was a great summary that probably helps a lot of people, especially the ones with an all-day-sitting job, to be more healthy not just mentally but physically.

The first part of the talk showed that in order to be more healthy and lose weight you don't need to eat less. You need to be conscious about what you eat. More protein, less carbohydrates. Studies have shown that it's not fat that causes heart decease. There are different kinds of cholesterol and only one of them does harm to your cardiovascular system. And that can be traced back to carbohydrates. For so many years we've been told that fat is bad. But the real evil is carbohydrates.


The second part was about exercising. Sitting kills you! Sitting 6+ hours per day makes you up to 40% likelier to die within 15 years than someone who sits less than 3. That's why it's important to take breaks at least once an hour, stretch your body, move a bit. It's even better if you alternate sitting and standing periods every hour. Use a standing desk. Force yourself to not sit.


The quality of exercise also matters. Long exercising with long amounts of resting periods is much less effective because your body gets used to it easily. What you need is short but more intense periods. Intense exercising of 8 minutes with only 20 seconds of resting periods every day is just as effective as an hour of running 3 times a week.

You should also do strength training. It increases strength, increases bone density, increases well-being, longevity and quality of life. It helps to maintain a healthy weight.

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