In the past, having no direct or personal connection to places such as this I would say a prayer and be about my business -- not for lack or concern or compassion, but for lack of connection. Now, with a personal connection to the people of the Philippines, this is more personal, I ask you to consider including them in your prayers and with your financial support. (I believe the Red Cross will take your donations to help survivors.)
Each of us face storms of many kinds and these can test our faith.
I know that God is in charge and our faith remains unshaken even though the storms rage around us -- Life is precious.
How's your faith?
I have grown attached to the people of Manila as I had the opportunity to serve them last year as I delivered an eProductivity conference. The people I met are resiliant and have a strong sense of community and service, even in the midst of trials and storms. (Seems like we are all in storms these days... How's your faith?). In all, I know that God is in charge and our faith remains unshaken even though the storms rage around us. Life is precious and we do not know how long our time on earth will last.
My prayers go out to the people of the Philippines and the COP community and those affected by this Typhoon. I'm sure that as things stabilize, Pastor Sumrall and his staff will organize opportunities to minister to those in need and I pray, too, that this will be a time of great testimony as people experience God's love through the service of the COP community.
Last month, when I went to Manila to deliver the Beyond-Planning: eProductivity conference, I also attended church services at the Cathedral of Praise. Since my conference was during the week, I had the opportunity to attend several services at each weekend.
While some of the worship experience was new for me, we worship the same God and read from the same Bible. One of the worship songs that I heard at each service was called "How can I keep from singing your praise" by songwriter Chris Tomlin. What a beautiful song of expression of love and worship for our creator.
It's become a powerful worship song for me, as well as a sweet reminder of my time of fellowship with the dear people at COP.
I was unfamiliar with this song or songwriter, but it turns out that we sing many of Chris Tomlin's songs in our worship service, too. Chris has an amazing gift for capturing the essence in true worship in his songs. For me, Chris' songs create a sense of awe and wonder and they add to my personal worship experience.
When I returned to the states, I went to iTunes store and purchased this song and four additional worship songs by Chris.
How Great is Our God
Made to Worship
How Can I Keep from Singing
Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)
These are now on my iPod for my morning quiet (well, not so quiet) time.
Continue Reading "How Can I Keep from Singing Your Praise?" »
I enjoyed my stay in Manila; the people were most gracious and caring. On the last day, I even got a private tour of the countryside, including a trip to see the volcano. That was fun. The country and people of the Philippines are wonderful. At the same time, I'm glad to be heading home to see my family, which is why this sign was so welcoming to me...
The conference has required a lot of my attention for the past 8 weeks, time away from family, school, clients and friends. With the conference now behind me, I'm planning to unhook for a few days of R&R, then, when I've had an opportunity to review my notes and the photos from the media crew, I will blog about the conference.
But first, just a few words of thanks:
Continue Reading ""Deliver eProductivity Conference" marked completed" »
I feel bad for all of the people at the conference, though; we got off to a late start this morning due to last night's typhoon and now this. As we left, we told everyone that they were welcome to come back for the student conference tomorrow and that I would arrive earlier to spend time with them.
What next? I've had no time to process email, blog or even look at the photos from the conference all week. I'll try to find some photos to share as time permits.
I am doing a live demonstration to show the audience of the Beyond Planning: eProductivity conference just how easy it can be to set up a web site. This is our first blog post and here is a picture of the audience.
I invite you to respond by posting a comment to tell me what you think.
IdeaJam to the rescue
My friend and fellow Notes enthusiast, Bruce Elgort has IdeaJam, a fantastic tool to tap the power of the social network to find out what's most important, most valuable, etc...
Before I took off for Manila, I wrote to Bruce and asked him if he would set up an IdeaJam space to allow me to share some of my favorite productivity tips that I have collected and allow folks to rank them in terms of value to them. Bruce came though and created the Beyond Planning IdeaJam site. He's created sections for all three categories of tips I plan to share: General, Advanced, and Executive.
The problem is that the internet here at my hotel is very slow (imagine using the internet on dial-up) so I won't be able to upload anything to the site. It would take me all day to do it from here.
I need your help for 5 minutes, today, if possible
Continue Reading "I need your quick help, Idea Jamming on productivity tips." »
I've been a fan of Scott's work from many years and I will use some of his diagrams in my presentations. This workflow diagram summarizes on one page, Scott's understanding of many key workflow behaviors in David Allen's Getting Things Done methodology. I've used this, along with my own diagram and a full set of GTD templates, to help me in my weekly review and action planning process.
We've arranged to include Scott's workflow diagram, in full color, on the 4,000-5,000 CD's that we will hand out at the conference. I'm sure that the people of Manila will benefit greatly from the diagram. (I wish I had time to solicit others from folks I know.)
Focusing on the outcome
This conference has required so much work and preparation that's easy to forget the purpose of the conference itself and focus on mechanics and delivery. The purpose of this conference is about helping people. I desire to be a part of that process, by sharing some of what I have learned in the past 25 years in business with the hope that others will find some of it useful and learn from it, too. I'm really excited about the vision that Pastor Sumrall has for these conferences that he does each year to help the people of Manila and I'm honored to be invited to be this year's featured speaker. It's an awesome responsibility and opportunity.
Continue Reading "Musings on jet lag, conf prep, and favorite hymns" »
Internet at COP is much faster than the hotel:
Pastor Sumrall showed me his shiny new Fujitsu Tablet PC. He's a big JK fan. It sure sounds like he's YABHTU but he still carries his Mac, too. Apparently viruses are a big problem in Asia, which is a big reason why he switched to a Mac, when 99% of the Filipinos use PC. I'll have to introduce him to Notes, so he can use both, in whatever way serves him best.
We talked about Michael's conference planning and the challenge of managing so many sessions.
Continue Reading "Conference preparation going well" »
I can live with that - Lotus Notes does a good job of shielding me from the slow network by allowing me to work local and replicate in the background. The real problem I'm having is that I cannot reach my corporate Domino or Web servers from the in-room wireless, however I can reach them just fine from the hotel lobby.
I've been trying to work with the IT people here with little success. I told them I refuse to reboot my computer, clear my cookies, or reload Windows, when I can walk downstairs with my laptop and everything works fine. I've now spoken to several people and several tell me they are working on it.
I'm sure glad I'm not sold on the concept of Office 2.0 and ubiquitous web access. At least not here, yet. Well, I can be thankful for this, as it gives me a taste of internet service here - something I need to know in order to serve effectively at the conference.
I'll just work off-line in Notes and sip high-speed internet when and where I can find it. What a disappointment.
Next action: hit the shower. 15 hours on a plane makes me appreciate soap and water.
Then, I'll replicate and check in with Michael to see what he's been up to. (He threatened to make some posts about a Mac or something... I won't be surprised.) Seriously, Michael's working very hard, handling the details of this conference and working tirelessly on the slide decks for the presentations. I am so very appreciative for his help that if he wants to rub in the fact that he thinks Mack should have a Mac, I'll grant that to him. Especially, after yesterday. Nice work, Michael.
My head's starting to spin a little, but I promised my children I would blog so that they can follow along. Then, I'll rest up and check in with Pastor Sumrall at COP to see how their plans are coming along.
I'm excited to be here in Manila, and I look forward to getting everything ready for the conference.
By the time I arrived at LAX, Michael Skyped me to have me look at his first cut of the CD. It looked great, thanks to some clever work in iLife.
Michael and I worked together while I waited for my flight and I was pleased to see how easy it was for him to quickly make changes to the site. By the time I shutdown my laptop to board the 747 to Manila, we were almost done. As Michael put it, a Mac was about to save my bacon.
Continue Reading "Thank you Apple iLife" »
If you click through to the site you will see a brief video commercial that is being broadcast in Manila.
Beyond Planning Conference Schedule
Beyond Planning Conference Poster
Beyond Planning (USA Site)
Beyond Planning (Asia-Pacific Site)
Special thanks to Vanj Real and the media team at COP. Vanj and her team created the site, the video, and all of the marketing/presentation materials for the conference. To Vanj and the team, I say, "Well done!"
Michael and I are using a Lotus Notes document library that we have customized to allow us to track all of the session planning and content for the 36 sessions for the eProductivity conference. We've added some very basic workflow functionality. This allows us to flag any document as being in one of eight states:
This allows us to work together on content, synchronously and asynchronously - even though we are on opposite sides of the Pacific!
As we work on content I update a field in the document to change the document state to any of the above. In the background, as I work, these changes are replicated from my Windows laptop or Tablet PC in California to my primary server in Arizona and from there to Michael's Tablet PC or Mac, in New Zealand. It does not matter who's on-line, when, or what platform we choose to use. (Michael and I have a few quiet preferences about PC or Mac) After replication, each of us will see the documents that require our attention, edit and comment and flag them for review and the cycle continues back across the Pacific.
Think of it as digital volleyball.
Thanks to Lotus Notes replication, we are able to simultaneously manage hundreds of documents in various stages of completion.
Add to this, our use of MindManager and other productivity tools and we've got a neat system for information sharing and collaboration across the miles.
For me, a powerful aspect of this approach is not only the ability to compress work into a small amount of time, but the ability to break our focus down to very next actions. Between my family, graduate studies, client work, eProductivity Beta, and preparation for this conference, about the best I can do is keep my head down and focus on the simple next actions, the things I can do in one setting.
I'm grateful to have Michael's expertise as the eProductivity conference organizer. I can't imagine doing this without his help and without a cool set of tools to make distributed work easy.
Lunch is over. Time to get back to work.
It's just three weeks until the conference, and I have much to do to prepare. I'm thrilled to have Michael to help organize the conference and plan each of the sessions. I greatly value the feedback and input from several of my clients, colleagues and fellow productivity bloggers.
Late last week Michael sent out the session overviews and content statements to these people and we have already received great feedback from:
to name just a few...
Thank you very much to each of you for your insightful and perceptive responses. There are a couple more responses due in the next day, and then we'll shift to the next stage of getting ready.
I'll try to post some more details as I go, but as you can imagine, things are hectic around here. On top of that, I'll be presenting on knowledge worker productivity with Steve Barth at KM world today. So, while I have great hopes for blogging, the posts may be sporadic. I'll try to blog KMWorld this week, though.
It's an interesting article and the reporter did a nice job of capturing portions of my presentation at the planning meeting. (If I had known I was being recorded I might have tried to say something really profound.) At the time he was recording, I had just given a big pitch for why I thought everyone should buy David Allen's book, Getting Things Done, and master the principles contained within. The video jumps in near the end of my 5-minute overview of what is GTD and how it works for me. Then, the video skips into our discussion about wild success for the conference. There's a link to a YouTube video at the bottom of the page.
Michael Sampson and I are meeting daily to work on the eProductivity session planning and to select content and finalize outlines for our next eProductivity advisor's meeting. I'm looking forward to the conference.
This article was a fun way to end the day.
ABD-CBN News: The art of increased productivity through collaboration
Once I receive the final copy and the link to the new web site Vanj is creating, I will post the details here.
No sooner do I praise Michael for his outstanding conference planning skills, when I discover that, included in the printed list of topics from the conference organizer, are two suspicious titles. I quickly fire off an urgent email to the marketing director:
Thank you, Vanj, for typing up this list of session titles.
Please note that my colleague, Michael Sampson, while very intelligent and helpful is also a clown and he loves to amuse me.
Continue Reading "Nice try Michael!" »
It's been a good, but emotional trip. I'm humbled by the need, by the opportunity to serve, and by the realization that I actually have the experience to do so. May the Lord receive the glory! I look forward to returning... After I get some sleep!
Continue Reading "The long flight home..." »
Beyond Planning: ePRODUCTIVITY
Information, Communication, and Action tools to get things done.
eProductivity: Using Information, Communication, and Action tools to get things done
Beyond Toil: A Biblical Perspective on Work
Beyond Working Hard: The eProductivity Equation
Beyond Overwhelm: Methodologies for Productivity, Part I
Continue Reading "eProductivity Conference Session Titles" »
I actually drove down streets under a canopy of wires that blocked out the sunlight! the flip side is that the Philippines boast that they are the SMS capital of the world - in Manila, a large percentage of the population has a mobile phone with broadband and SMS. From what I observed, they use SMS even more that voice, in cars, while driving, on motorcycles - anywhere.
Perhaps we should send help with the wiring plans and they can come teach us a few things in the U.S. about what it really means to be connected wirelessly with 3G and broadband.
The office was not for me, but for people assigned to work on planning, marketing, promoting, and preparing for the conference. in addition to the various committees, there are six people (that I know of) responsible for promotion, registration, event planning, and the print and web-site materials.
I've been doing my best to learn everyone's name and now I have several new ones to learn. I will get someone to match the names I wrote down with all of the faces in the photos I am posting to the blog so that when I return next month I can greet everyone by name.
I'm appreciative to have the support from this staff and I look forward to helping them serve the people of Manila.
I decided to pose this question at several of the meetings. I expected and received the common responses such as "I will have free time as a result of being more efficient" or " "I will get a promotion when my boss sees me getting more done" but I was surprised and unprepared for some of the responses that involved bringing families back together - it's not the typical response I hear in the states.
Continue Reading "What would a wildly successful conference look like?" »
Beyond Planning: eProductivity
Using Information, Communication, and Action tools to get things done.
We want to convey the idea that we will cover topics beyond simply planning, yet we will focus on the tools and methodology of working smart.
Continue Reading "Conference title: Beyond Planning: eProductivity" »
Almost every meeting had food of some kind. (Think Panda Express, but 10 time better - all day) Sunday, we were treated to a delightful dinner by a new chef - a young man who I'm sure will someday earn a four star rating for his cooking and presentation.
After one meal, I patted my belly and remarked at how much I would have to do to lose what I had gained during the trip, to which pastor Sumrall replied,
"You're not fat, you're building the temple."
I'm not sure I can support that statement biblically, but it made me feel better nonetheless.
Now, where's that cheesecake?
As in the other meetings, we used David Allen's Natural Planning Model (NPM), which you can see on the board behind us, to identify the areas of focus. We stayed mostly at the top levels for today. In the weeks to come, I'll distill my notes into projects and actions to carry things forward. OK, time to head back to the house to change into my travel clothes, pack, eat, Skype my family, and head to the airport for my trip home.
They shared some of my successes and most embarrassing moments. They also mentioned that I always remember to cook chicken before I deliver my finished work to a client. Finally, the audience was told that I would be addressing them briefly. I thought about borrowing someone's brown shoe for my brief time on stage, but decided against it at the last moment.
As the audience applauded, I walked up onto the platform and greeted these young professionals who were so very eager to greet me. I decided to share the story of my experience cooking chicken. link. I hope it was an inspiration to the people who heard it. the two young men who did the technology presentation and presented my bio did a very nice job. (Thank you!) After a brief visit with the audience, I was whisked away to yet another meeting.
This is the track where we will diverge from traditional material that I'm used to presenting.
Continue Reading "eProductivity General Track Focus Group" »
With Michael's help, I plan to present a mini-version of Michael's research on IT enabled collaboration - this is great thinking and should be required reading for any manager in the information age. I took many notes that I have yet to process, so I'm sure this track will evolve as we go along. It was interesting to meet with this group; fewer words but deeper discussion that the other meetings. Neat people and folks committed to helping the people of Manila realize their dreams through business. I look forward to working with them.
The church service was not much different from a Sunday experience in my home church: Praise & worship songs, greetings, and a sermon. At the end of the service I greeted the congregation, introduced myself and invited them to register for the eProductivity conference.
We talked a lot about Lotus Notes, his days at IBM/Lotus, doing business in the Philippines (Larrem wants to me set up shop over here) and his future business plans. We had a delightful breakfast and time of fellowship together. I look forward to visiting with Larrem again. Given his interest in Lotus Notes and the eProductivity template, I know we will be meeting again, soon.
Pastor Sumrall explained that this conference was being organized by the Kasaganaan business fellowship and the School of Christian Entrepreneurial Studies (SCES). This business group and school focus on equipping Christians in the Philippines to do "business by the Book" and to help members who are so inclined to find new opportunities by becoming entrepreneurs, better employees, managers, and business owners.
I was intrigued, so I asked why they do this. I even asked if this was a way to get people into church for group evangelism. Would there be an altar call, I wondered?
Pastor Sumrall replied...
Continue Reading "Why would a church host a productivity conference?" »
A delightful meeting with the eProductivity conference organizing committee to discuss a number of topics related to the audience, venue and logistics. (It never occurred to me that if you bring 5,000-8,000 into a building for a day-long conference they have to have some place to eat!) We have a great group of people on the organizing committee and I'm sure that they will do a wonderful job of handling the conference.
I'm told that the Barong is considered formal attire for Filipino men - similar to wearing a coat or a dress shirt. It's lightweight, very comfortable, and covers my temple well (LINK)
I extended greetings to the congregation from myself and my family and I spoke briefly about the conference to invite people to sign up. Speaking on an open platform took some getting used to -- especially the acoustics and the fact that the screens are high overhead where I cannot see them.
Continue Reading "It's time to promote the eProductivity conference" »
I have no idea how well the video came out, but I'm sure I'll find out soon enough. I don't feel like this was a terrific recording session. I was tired, had a five o'clock shadow, and felt a little disoriented due to mild jet lag. Vanj assured me that the recording went well. Of course there's always Adobe Premier to clean things up. (Michael will love that: It will take a Mac to clean up a Mack.)
Continue Reading "I may use SMS in my presentations" »
So far, it looks like I will cover technology for mobile workers, technology for groups and teams, a show-and-tell session on the productivity tools I use, and a mini version of the 100 productivity tips in 100 minutes that I wrote for a client last year. We'll see how all of this plays out. We are still working on the session titles for this track.
My hosts tell me that they expect to fill it to capacity. Wow!
I decided to check out the facility for myself. Here are some photos...
Continue Reading "A tour of the eProductivity conference venue in Manila" »
I just thought I would tell you how much I enjoyed your sites in the last few years. If you are ever in Asia and want to do a seminar please let me know. We have a lot of business people in the church that would enjoy you. David SumrallLife was very busy at that time, I was preoccupied with an offer to join the staff The David Allen Company on a full-time basis, rather than as a consultant as I had been for the past 15 years. I responded with a polite turn-down email...
David, Thank you so much for your kind words and for your encouragement. [I have] no immediate plans for Asia, although it's a tempting idea. Grace to you, EricPastor Sumrall wrote back:
Let us know. I have a large group of business owners in the church that would enjoy a GTD seminar and your eProductivity seminars. David SumrallStill not interested, I politely responded NO, yet again.
Thanks. Should I have a business opportunity that would bring me to Asia, I'll keep you in mind. Best regards, EricThis exchange went on a few more times, each time with Pastor Sumrall expressing his desire to hold a productivity conference in Manila. I even referred him to my client, David Allen, who also turned him down due to the fact that they were booked through the end of the year.
So, Pastor Sumrall contacted me again.
I agreed to talk with him and I'm very glad that I did.
We hit it off well. He's been a long-time reader of my blog and we found much in common in our love for cool gadgets, church, and serving others. I agreed to explore the idea of delivering an eProductivity seminar in Manila. That was seven months ago. Fast-forward to today and I'm busy meeting with the pastor and his staff and various conference planning committees. This is sure to be one fun conference.
I'm inspired, and very glad that Pastor Sumrall was persistent in getting my attention.
I now look forward to serving the people of Manila, next Month.
The people of Manila are gracious hosts and hospitality ranks high on their list of traits. From the moment I stepped off the plane, when a government official met me to escort me through customs, to meeting my hosts, to seeing the office and staff that have been assembled to help organize the conference, I have been treated with great kindness and respect. Everyone is so friendly. This is going to be a fun conference to plan and deliver.
Apparently, in the city of Manila, 75% of the population is age 25 or less. There is energy everywhere, and people are anxious to work, to learn, to grow. It's exciting to plan for this event. I plan to share not only good information about the technologies and methodologies of productivity, but I also plan to share some key lessons learned about starting my business (I celebrate 25 years this month) and the ups and downs along the way. The motivation behind this conference is to reach out and help people learn valuable skills that will help them in work and in life. I'm taking pages of notes and I hope to share the full story, soon.
Continue Reading "eProductivity in Manila - Day One" »
Emily gave me this card as a reminder - that's the Mack family on the tarmac in front of the plane.
I figure it will take me 23-24 hours door-to-door to get from my house to the home of my host, in Manila. A perfect time to catch up on some sleep. Many thanks to those of you who wrote to offer travel tips and advice. I'm sure it will all come in handy.
UPDATE: Oh dear, LAX doesn't do windows well
Continue Reading "The Manila Adventure Begins - Day one" »
This conference will be a wonderful opportunity to share thoughts and ideas on how to use information, communication, and action tools and technologies as well as best practices in productivity methodologies and workplace effectiveness with the audience. I'm most excited to be able to present not only some of my eProductivity tools and tips but also to introduce the audience to work by other business and productivity experts that have greatly influenced my own learning and work. My colleague, Michael Sampson, has agreed to help me coordinate the conference tracks. I've seen Michael's work at other conferences (e.g. Enterprise 2.0) and I'm honored to have him on my advance planning team.
Continue Reading "eProductivity Conference in The Philippines in November" »
Continue Reading "Why I'm not afraid to speak in public" »