June 8, 2013

Josh Fox's 'Gasland II' - another game-changer movie

ITHACA, New York, USA - Admiral Fox and I journeyed to the Cornell campus Friday night for a showing of Gasland II, Josh Fox's followup film to his amazing first film Gasland. That movie was so powerful that it gave the natural gas industry such gas, it is still sputtering.

Gasland II's Josh Fox

In fact, while Gasland II was being shown in Ithaca, the natural gas industry was showing its own pr-firm pro-hydrofracking film at another New York location.

It's doubtful that the audience there was as enthusiastic as the 300 or so people who packed Statler Auditorium at Cornell. The film was interrupted frequently by applause - and more than a few gasps.

The film will premiere on HBO July 8. And it's a must-see movie for people already opposed to hydrofracking for natural gas as well as anyone still sitting on the fence. Josh suggested that perhaps some Gasland II parties might be in order when HBO releases the film - parties that would include doubters as well as the faithful.

It would be hard to watch this film - a compendium of images of science, pathos, humanity and corporate greed - and not come away feeling, well, I am still sorting all that out the morning after.

We had hoped to actually meet Josh - and we did, sort of.
Sylvia, Josh Fox and me

At one point he jumped down off the stage and stood for a photo - a photo he was sending to President Barack Obama via Twitter. He is flanked by Admiral Fox and I in the photo.

It's a little grainy, but lately I've noticed I look a lot better in soft focus anyway.

The evening gave me even more encouragement to finish editing The Fracking War. It also gave me several ideas for additions to the book and even some new chapters.

The climate change we are already witnessing is being exacerbated by all the methane gas escaping from  all the gas wells being drilled. It has taken an already nearly out-of-control freight train and added ice to slippery tracks.

If the methane emissions aren't controlled, well-known Cornell Professor Robert Howarth said, it's game over for the planet.

The event was partly to help promote the film and also as a fundraiser for Gas Free Seneca (link to GAS FREE SENECA website), the group fighting to stop the Inergy Corporation from storing propane and natural gas in salt caverns adjacent to - and under - Seneca Lake.

Here's a photo of the crowd last night, sending a message to the president and to NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Josh Fox with the banjo, Adm. Fox to the left, me on the right

June 7, 2013

Productivity - exactly what the (%*&#&%^)%^ does it mean?

WATKINS GLEN, New York, USA - The past three days I have been mostly housebound after some minor surgery (minor, the doctor said, referring to the surgery, not the pain factor).

And in that time, I have cleaned up a bunch of things on my desk - including my desk - and made valiant attempts at getting organized. But I get distracted. Often. And often it's by this machine.

That said, I wanted to reprint (below) a piece that I have had sitting on my desktop for weeks, which when I read it, made a great deal of sense. I should have internalized some of the things right away. But, of course in the hurly-burly, mad rush of life I didn't.

The one that sticks out is No. 4 - about focusing on yourself. You can read the full account down below, but the main point is if the first thing you do is check your email in the morning, you let those email messages set the tone and agenda for your day.

A happy note is one thing, a complaint from a reader something else.

Can I check my email, now, please?


8 Things Productive People Do During the Workday

By Ilya Pozin 

1. Create a smaller to-do list. Getting things accomplished during your workday shouldn’t be about doing as much as possible in the sanctioned eight hours. It may be hard to swallow, but there’s nothing productive about piling together a slew of tasks in the form of a checklist. Take a less-is-more approach to your to-do list by only focusing on accomplishing things that matter.
2. Take breaks. You know that ache that fills your brain when you’ve been powering through tasks for several hours? This is due to your brain using up glucose. Too many people mistake this for a good feeling, rather than a signal to take a break. Go take a walk, grab something to eat, workout, or meditate – give your brain some resting time. Achieve more productivity during your workday by making a point to regularly clear your head. You’ll come back recharged and ready to achieve greater efficiency.
3. Follow the 80/20 rule. Did you know that only 20 percent of what you do each day produces 80 percent of your results? Eliminate the things that don’t matter during your workday: they have a minimal effect on your overall productivity. For example, on a project, systematically remove tasks until you end up with the 20 percent that gets the 80 percent of results.
4. Start your day by focusing on yourself. If you begin your morning by checking your email, it allows others to dictate what you accomplish. Set yourself in the right direction by ignoring your emails and taking the morning to focus on yourself, eat a good breakfast, meditate, or read the news.
5. Take on harder tasks earlier in the day. Knock out your most challenging work when your brain is most fresh. Save your busy work – if you have any – for when your afternoon slump rolls in.
6. Pick up the phone. The digital world has created poor communication habits. Email is a productivity killer and usually a distraction from tasks that actually matter. For example, people often copy multiple people on emails to get it off their plate – don't be a victim of this action. This distracts everyone else by creating noise against the tasks they’re trying to accomplish and is a sign of laziness. If you receive an email where many people are CC'd, do everyone a favor by BCCing them on your reply. If your email chain goes beyond two replies, it’s time to pick up the phone. Increase your productivity by scheduling a call.
7. Create a system. If you know certain things are ruining your daily productivity, create a system for managing them. Do you check your emails throughout the day? Plan a morning, afternoon, and evening time slot for managing your email. Otherwise, you’ll get distracted from accomplishing more important goals throughout the day.
8. Don’t confuse productivity with laziness. While no one likes admitting it, sheer laziness is the No. 1 contributor to lost productivity. In fact, a number of time-saving methods – take meetings and emails for example – are actually just ways to get out of doing real work. Place your focus on doing the things that matter most as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Remember, less is more when it comes to being productive during the workday.
What’s your secret to productive workdays?

About Ilya Pozin:
Founder of Ciplex. Columnist for Inc, Forbes & LinkedIn. Gadget lover, investor, mentor, husband, father, and '30 Under 30' entrepreneur. Follow Ilya to stay up-to-date with his articles and updates!