Back in February, I decided to close or curtail the use of a significant number of my social media accounts. At the time, this radical action included the likes of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, discussion forums, and general new sites. The first week was troubling as I felt a nagging sensation that I was being delinquent by not looking or logging into these platforms. For Twitter and Instagram, I did not have much of a choice as I closed my account. I also closed my tumbler account and unfollowed nearly all, if not all, WordPress blogs. There was a distinct feeling of loss as if my favorite security blanket went missing. I finally understood Linus.
After a month, the feelings of neglect and loss are all but dissipated. There is no sensation of obligation or failing to meet other people’s expectations regarding my involvement. There is a surprising upside to the amount of free time that has been created. It is a lot easier to find time to work out and see friends when you do not have as many digital obligations. This is not to say that I am some overgrown child that lives in their mom’s basement. We all have a lot of things competing for our time and attention and this is a surprisingly easy group of items to cut out to allows us to spend time more meaningfully with those that actually matter.
Just doing my part to keep my life a little simpler…
In working on another project, I completed some research on Management Theory. I found the reading insightful and wrote some thoughts on the topic…
Modern management theories arose out of the industrial revolution through the First and Second World War. Modern management theories adoption was occurred slowly because of the belief that organizations were too diverse and the practice would only work over a short time (Witzel & Warner, 2015). As discussed by Len Nixon, modern management theories focused on maximizing productivity and frequently treated employees as a cog in the machine. Scientific approaches were employed to standardize processes, select appropriate workers and reduce employee movements. Along the same lines, division of labor, defined rules and regulations, and the more formalized relationship with a defined chain of command was established between employees and management. Modern management theories were embraced widely and have applicability in today’s workplace (Nixon, 2003).
The postmodernist movement humanize employees and encourage management to increase worker productivity by considering the needs of the employees, developing incentive systems, training, and have career pathing (Nixon, 2003). Additionally, the division of labor took on a team-based focus, management became more concerned with motivation and communication, and the hierarchy and rule system became less comprehensive (Nixon, 2003).
The modernist management practices are utilized today in manufacturing and many industrial settings (Nixon, 2003). Additionally, these management practices are frequently used with inexperienced workers and entry-level positions. As the jobs become more complex and the workers more skilled, postmodern management theories become commonplace. Basic job functions benefit by initial scoping through the modernist theories. However, employees are the key element in most businesses and thrive under postmodern theories. By combining these two sets of theories, modern managers are better able to understand employee motivations and improve productivity. Employees need to be needed, want to be appreciated, rewarded for their efforts, and work on tasks that are engaging. The postmodern theories of management allow managers to understand these feelings and design tasks that will deliver for the business and the employees at the same time.
I love to read, but it is nearly impossible to read as much as I wish. Between professional and personal obligations, there is not enough hours during a day. Unfortunately, the volume of brand new material released every year does not allow me to see my reading list dwindle very far. For every book I knock off the list, it seems like I add two or three new ones to take its place. This does not even account for the material that I want to read a second or third time.
We all have dreaded commutes and repetitious physical activity time such as working out in the gym. I am an advocate for using this time to listen to books. I find driving or working out on cardio equipment is a perfect time to help knock down that reading list. While I certainly enjoy listening to an audio book, I do not do it all the time. I find that if I listen to audio books too frequently that I will usually begin to daydream and let my mind wander off the material. So I cycle between listening to music and listening to audio books. Usually, it is two weeks of listening to books to one week of listening to music.
When I am in a more audio book focused mindset, I knock out an additional 20 books a year by simply using the time in my car or working out in the gym. I do not read in the evenings at anywhere near this rate and typically finish a book a month. Listening to books allows me to expand my annual book consumption by over 100%.
Additionally, I prefer to listen to books that are more personal interest versus reading more business focused material. Only about one in three audio books is related to business or personal development. The other two books tend to be biographical, historical, or educational in nature. I am not one that is fond of listening to works of fiction. I do read fiction, but it is almost always on my Kindle. For me, a talented fiction writer is someone who can take me into the world of the book and leave my sense of reality. I lose all track of time and sense of place while reading and stop seeing the pages. The story exists in only my mind’s eye. I have never experienced this while listening to an audio book…I think it is just something about the process of reading that allows me to join the book’s world so vividly.
Amazon.com announced a few days ago that Kindle users would be able to lend books to other Kindle users. I cannot say that I was surprised by this move, as its competitors are farther down the road than Amazon. What did surprise me was the allowance of Kindle applications to participate in the lending program. I feared Amazon would restrict this to device owners as a way to promote device sales. What is truly disappointing is the single lend rule. It is reasonable to restrict a book lender from reading a book that has been lent and limit the duration of a loaned book. However, I find the restriction of only lending a book once ridiculous. I really do not see why such harsh restrictions are being levied at the very users who are promoting content to other users. Maybe, I am just reading the site wrong. Maybe, it is only a limitation on the number of times you can lend the same book to the same person. Time will tell, as the posting by Amazon is rather short and does not offer any concrete details of the program.
How many times have you lent a single book that you purchased? I must say that I am not a very big lender of books and have only lent a few books in my entire life. I am protective of my books, and I like to keep them in good condition. I always fear a book will be damaged by some careless recipient of my lending generosity. Well, with the advent of e-books, I no longer have to worry about damage to a physical book, but now I am still highly restricted on what I can do with a book I purchased. The publishers have complete control in the Amazon program and can prevent their content from participating. In traditional publishing, they could never exert this kind of control. From a business model, it still seems as if the publishers are only coming to the e-book market reluctantly while kicking and screaming just as the music industry did. One day, I wish somebody would sit me down and explain why e-books and liberal lending policies are bad for the publishing business.
The other good news coming out of Amazon is the expansion of its Kindle applications to support periodicals. The lack of periodical support in the Kindle applications was a serious shortcoming that I am shocked was not addressed many months ago. The periodical publishers have been flocking to the iPad and Amazon might be seeing their subscription rates being impacted. Amazon completely owned the e-book market and could have built a complete iron fence around the industry. Unfortunately, visionaries do not always execute well. Looking back at the record of Amazon’s Kindle, we can see a lot of business that was left on the table because of bad business decisions, design challenges, and overly restricting consumer usage rights.
Why don’t we have a single e-book or digital rights standard by now? If I buy a book from (insert company name here), I cannot use it on a competitors’ device. This is still the biggest fundamental failure in digital book publishing and one that must be resolved to promote industry growth and protect consumer choice.
While I wait for this reality to enfold over time, I will just have to curl up with my Kindle and read a good book.
It is crazy when I look back and see how quickly I have fallen off track with planned activities. It started with “I am going to take the day off from writing,” and the next thing I know I have not written anything for months. The one thing I can tell you about cycles is they will continue until forcibly broken. While writing this little note, a cold shiver washed over me as the guilt spirits come to pay me yet another friendly reminder.
So now I am sitting here wondering how best to get started again. A long-term writer’s block is never easy to conquer especially when you add procrastination into a busy life and career. It took some time to catch up on the fair amount of reading that has stacked up, but I realized through the process just how much good content there is on the Net. It truly is staggering to realize the sheer volume of information that is at our fingertips. The unfortunate side is that it forces us to undertake the challenge of finding and figuring out what is quality from the voluminous garbage. It is sad to say that one cannot simply rely on the reputation of the website or sources for good decisions on content quality.
Therefore, I think it best that I start slow and slide my way back into the habit of reading and writing nightly. I will bounce from Facebook to twitter and then onto the blog but write something each day. So this I pledge, I will be leaving more comments for authors and reading more to get the brain rolling again. I found just this little journey of the last few nights to be almost therapeutic and relaxing from the stresses of the day.
I have a call to action for everyone to take a few minutes to read some of the great content on the Net and leave the author a comment or two. Trust me all authors greatly appreciate the comments left by readers, and you might just find yourself a little more relaxed and exposed to some new lines of thinking.
I definitely had some challenges getting the Amazon Kindle application for my Blackberry Storm2 downloaded and installed. However, since getting the application downloaded, I have had zero problems with it. The transfer of books to the device over my device’s wireless Internet connection is flawless. I would not use the application’s built-in interface for purchasing new books because it leaves a lot of functionality to be desired that I find useful in the Amazon website.
I have enjoyed being able to pop open the book that I am currently reading whenever I have a few minutes to spare. It is a lot more productive than staring off into space or reading whatever is lying on the table while waiting to get your haircut or sitting at a doctor’s office. I have been surprised how many times over the course of the last two weeks that I have found 5 to 10 minutes to spare and get through several pages in the book I am currently reading. When I go home and open up my Kindle at the house, it is aware that I have advanced in the book and updates accordingly. This is probably my absolute favorite feature.
I have found that reading on my Blackberry is enjoyable but not nearly enough to replace my Kindle or a traditional book. It is convenient and that is its biggest selling point. The flipping of pages is quick and easy on the Storm2. The small screen means you spending significant time flipping pages by pressing on the side of your Strom2 screen and keeping your backlight on so battery life will take a hit.
Over all, the application is a solid offering by Amazon and should make many Kindle users even bigger fans.
Photo Credit: Amazon.com
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