Umphrey’s McGee opened up their 2017 tour with a three-night run in Atlanta, returning to the famed Tabernacle with full force. Last night was an evening of rarities, bringing back songs from their expansive songbook to celebrate their 18th performance at the venue and first of three for the weekend. Also in celebration was Joel Cummins‘ birthday, who picked out the setlist for the night.Opening with the intro song “Bathing Digits”, Umphrey’s quickly transitioned into the high energy dance number “Bad Friday”. After the progressive favorite “Morning Song”, the band worked through a three song segment that featured some of their most beloved older material. The reggae-tinged “FF” wound it’s way into an ultra rare “Last Man Swerving”, making it’s first appearance in 175 shows before the band eventually wound into their mutli-sectional epic “2×2”. The band ended the set with some intense back-to-back metal songs, with “Wizard Burial Ground” leading into “Sludge & Death.”The band shared the opening moments through Facebook Live, which you can watch below:Set two continued with the theme, featuring more older material, as Umphrey’s came out of the gates sprinting with a ridiculous “Der Bluten Kat” > “Sociable Jimmy” > “Der Bluten Kat” segment. The band took a quick breath, and then launched into a rare “We’re Going To War”. They transitioned into “Out Of Order” before kicking into high gear with “40’s Theme”, which featured a tease of Michael McDonald‘s “I Keep Forgetting.” The second set ended with an awesome “Miami Virtue” with “Stairway To Heaven” teases before the band crushed a set-closing cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Band Of Gypsys‘ “Power Of Soul.”For their encore, the six piece turned to one of their most reliable and impactful songs, “Divisions”, the perfect song to play on the opening night of a three night run in front of some of their most hardcore fans.You can listen to the full show audio below, courtesy of taper NSL: The band will return to the stage tonight for their second of three performances at The Tab before heading to Richmond next week for two more nights, then continuing on their tour. Check out the setlist below, from All Thing Uumphreys. A full gallery can also be seen below, as provided by Phierce Photo.Setlist: Umphrey’s McGee | The Tabernacle | Atlanta, GA | 1/13/17Set 1: Bathing Digits > Bad Friday, Morning Song, FF > Last Man Swerving > 2×2, Wizard Burial Ground > Sludge & DeathSet 2: Der Bluten Kat > Sociable Jimmy > Der Bluten Kat, We’re Going to War -> Out Of Order > 40’s Theme, Miami Virtue > Power of SoulEncore: Divisions with I Keep Forgettin’ (Michael McDonald) teases with Stairway to Heaven (Led Zeppelin) tease with Third Stone from the Sun (Jimi Hendrix) teases Load remaining images
Earlier this month, country legend Willie Nelson announced the first leg his traveling Outlaw Music Festival‘s 2018 summer tour, set to take place between the end of May and the beginning of July featuring a slew of talented artists. Today, Outlaw Music Festival announced its eight-date second leg, set to take place during the month of September.The festival has also revealed several high-profile additions to the rotating lineup for the tour’s second leg, including Tedeschi Trucks Band, Greensky Bluegrass, Margo Price, Terra Lightfoot, The Commonheart, and Van Morrison (with whom Nelson also just announced a one-off show in New York City). Outlaw Music Festival also announced that Neil Young would join Promise of the Real for the tour-closing performance at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, NY.The second leg of North America’s biggest touring festival will stop in eight cities, beginning in Burgettstown, PA, and ending Saratoga Springs, NY. Each festival tour date will feature a unique range of festival attractions including local cuisine, craft beers, and crafts by local artisans to provide music fans in each city with an unforgettable concert experience. Says Willie in the announcement press release, “The second leg of the Outlaw Music Festival Tour with all my friends is going to be a blast! We’ll see you out there this summer!”Previously announced performers include Willie Nelson & Family, Sturgill Simpson, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Alison Krauss, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Brandi Carlile, The Head and the Heart, Old Crow Medicine Show, Ryan Bingham, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, The Wild Feathers, JD McPherson, Delta Rae, and Particle Kid.Artists performing at each respective date are listed below. Tickets for the general public go on sale Friday, April 6 at 12 p.m. local time. For more information, or to grab tickets, head to the festival website.Outlaw Music Festival Tour Leg Two Dates & Artist LineupsFRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7BURGETTSTOWN, PA – KEYBANK PAVILIONWillie Nelson & FamilyVan MorrisonSturgill SimpsonBrandi CarlileThe CommonheartLukas Nelson + Promise of the RealParticle KidOther Artists To Be AnnouncedSATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8HERSHEY, PA – HERSHEYPARK STADIUMWillie Nelson & FamilyVan MorrisonTedeschi Trucks BandSturgill SimpsonLukas Nelson + Promise of the RealParticle KidTBAOther Artists To Be AnnouncedSUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9TORONTO, ON – BUDWEISER STADIUMWillie Nelson & FamilyTedeschi Trucks BandSturgill SimpsonTerra LightfootLukas Nelson + Promise of the RealParticle KidOther Artists To Be AnnouncedFRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14SCRANTON, PA – THE PAVILION AT MONTAGE MOUNTAINWillie Nelson & FamilyVan MorrisonTedeschi Trucks BandLukas Nelson + Promise of the RealParticle KidTBAOther Artists To Be AnnouncedSATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15CAMDEN, NJ – BB&T PAVILIONWillie Nelson & FamilyVan MorrisonTedeschi Trucks BandGreensky BluegrassLukas Nelson + Promise of the RealParticle KidOther Artists To Be AnnouncedSUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 16HOLMDEL, NJ – PNC BANK ARTS CENTERWillie Nelson & FamilyTedeschi Trucks BandSturgill SimpsonGreensky BluegrassLukas Nelson + Promise of the RealParticle KidTBAOther Artists To Be AnnouncedFRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21MANSFIELD, MA – XFINITY CENTERWillie Nelson & FamilySturgill SimpsonNathaniel Rateliff & The Night SweatsMargo PriceLukas Nelson + Promise of the RealParticle KidOther Artists To Be AnnouncedSUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – SARATOGA PERFORMING ARTS CENTERWillie Nelson & FamilyNeil Young + Promise of the RealNathaniel Rateliff & The Night SweatsLukas Nelson + Promise of the RealParticle KidOther Artists To Be AnnouncedView All Dates/Lineups
The soulful rock band known as The Suffers are set to head out on their “Everything Here Spring Tour” next month with an opening night performance in New Orleans on February 7th. The eight-piece outfit originally from Houston, Texas will now remain out on the road longer than they initially announced, as they added 11 more shows to the tour schedule on Tuesday.The initial run of dates includes scheduled performances in the southeast and northern midwest before coming to a close on February 23rd in Washington, D.C. The new batch of dates will bring them to El Paso, Texas on March 7th, and continue throughout the late winter month before wrapping on March 24th in Denver. The new run of dates also includes select festival appearances at Phoenix’s Flying Burrito Festival on March 9th and Boise’s Treefort Festival on March 21st.The upcoming festival gigs will be balanced out by The Suffers’ own headlining shows across the west coast including the Lowbrow Palace in El Paso, TX (3/7); Soda Bar in San Diego, CA (3/11); The Echo in Los Angeles, CA (3/12); The Independent in San Francisco, CA (3/14); The Mystic Theatre in Petaluma, CA (3/15); Mississippi Studios in Portland, OR (3/17); Tractor Tavern in Seattle, WA (3/19); The State Room in Salt Lake City, UT (3/22); And finally Globe Hall in Denver, CO (3/24).Tickets for the newly added shows will go on sale starting this Friday, January 25th. Fans can click here for more info to the upcoming tour.The band continues to promote the 2018 release of their co-self-produced Everything Here LP. The album looks to explore “the many sides of love, celebrates the virtues of individuality, reminds us of the destruction of [Hurricane] Harvey and resilience of the human spirit and declares love for their mothers,” according to the announcement’s press release shared on Tuesday.The band’s singer, Kam Franklin, recently teamed up with My Morning Jacket’s Jim James for a performance at Emo’s in Austin, Texas as part of the rock guitarist’s “Future Is Voting College Tour.”New Spring Tour DatesMarch 7 – El Paso, TX – Lowbrow PalaceMarch 9 – Phoenix, AZ – Flying Burrito FestivalMarch 11 – San Diego, CA – Soda BarMarch 12 – Los Angeles, CA – The EchoMarch 14 – San Francisco, CA – The IndependentMarch 15 – Petaluma, CA – The Mystic TheatreMarch 17 – Portland, OR – Mississippi StudiosMarch 19 – Seattle, WA – Tractor TavernMarch 21 – Boise, ID – Treefort FestivalMarch 22 – Salt Lake City, UT – The State RoomMarch 24 – Denver, CO – Globe HallView All New Tour Dates
Related Shows About the Artist: With a desire to celebrate the magic of live theater and those who create it, and with a deep reverence for such touchstones as the work of Al Hirschfeld and the wall at Sardi’s, Squigs is happy and grateful to be among those carrying on the traditions where theater and caricature meet. He was born and raised in Oregon, lived in Los Angeles for quite a long time and now calls New York City his home. Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 13, 2015 Hedwig and the Angry Inch View Comments Dexter and Six Feet Under star Michael C. Hall is trying a new Broadway role on for size, and it’s a lot more…glittery than his last stage and screen endeavors! Hall has officially stepped into the title role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch in three inch heels, playing a transsexual German rock goddess who regales the audience with stories of her escape from communist East Berlin and her botched sex change operation. Hall also belts out a score of rock tunes, including “Tear Me Down,” “Wig in a Box,” “Wicked Little Town” and “Midnight Radio.” Broadway.com resident artist Justin “Squigs” Robertson caught the new star in action alongside his Tony-winning co-star Lena Hall—check out this awesome Squigs original, then see Hall in Hedwig at the Belasco Theatre!
The United States Senate confirmed the nomination of Gale A. Buchanan, former dean and director of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, as Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.Also confirmed by the Senate on May 12 for USDA appointments were Boyd Rutherford as assistant secretary for administration, Linda Strachan as assistant secretary for congressional relations and Marc Kesselman as general counsel. “I’m pleased today that the U.S. Senate has acted to confirm the nominations to four very important positions at the U.S.Department of Agriculture,” said Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns. “Each of these nominees has demonstrated remarkable leadership abilities throughout their careers in both public and private service,” he said, “and I’m confident that they will greatly contribute to fulfilling USDA’s mission of service to our citizens. I look forward to working with them in delivering the programs and services that are the hallmark of USDA’s commitment to our employees and the people we serve.”Buchanan was dean and director of the UGA CAES until he retiredin April 2005. He served for 20 years on the Auburn University faculty before moving to Georgia as associate director for the Georgia Agricultural Experiment Stations and resident director of the Coastal Plain Experiment Station.
Georgia cotton farmers who planted their crop late this year need to be mindful of potential whitefly pressure, according to Phillip Roberts, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension entomologist.Because whiteflies prefer green, lush cotton over cotton that is near maturity, most of the cotton that was planted early in April and May avoided whitefly problems. However, Roberts has observed whiteflies on late-planted cotton, or cotton planted in June.“Over time, whiteflies have adapted to infest plants which will remain green or be a suitable host for the insects to complete a generation,” Roberts said. “It takes between 15 to 20 days for a whitefly to complete development on a cotton plant once an egg has been laid. Also, the nutritional value may be higher on late-planted cotton.”Scouting remains the best course of action against whiteflies, sucking insects that feed on the underside of leaves and excrete a sugary substance called “honeydew” that serves as a host for sooty mold fungus. The accumulation of honeydew and sooty mold leads to quality problems on open cotton bolls. When uncontrolled, whiteflies can reduce cotton yields and affect cotton quality.“(Immature whiteflies) are on the underside of the leaves and excrete honeydew, which is a sticky, sugary solution. This can be a serious issue in terms of fiber quality or the spinnability of fibers at mills,” Roberts said.Growers need to be timely with their insecticide applications to avoid an outbreak. However, UGA Extension encourages growers to conserve beneficial insects, only applying insecticides when infestations are observed.According to Roberts, approximately 30 percent of Georgia’s cotton crop, or about 435,000 acres, were planted in June this year.Late-planted cotton still has a couple of months left in the field before harvest. Whiteflies remain a potential threat to cotton until all the leaves have dropped from the plant, Roberts said.“From a yield standpoint, cotton becomes less susceptible to yield loss the more mature it is and much of the cotton planted in April and early May has reached that stage. June-planted cotton remains susceptible to yield loss,” he said.Compared to the 2017 cotton crop, whiteflies had been largely undetected for most of the summer. However, during late August and early September, numbers have increased to the point where producers need to be on alert during the final months of the growing season.“Only a small percentage of cotton in Georgia has required treatment to date, but we still have a long way to go with the lateness of this crop. Most acres that have required treatment so far were planted in June,” Roberts said. “We learned a lot of hard lessons with whiteflies in 2017, and it is imperative that control measures are applied in a timely manner.Once established, whitefly populations are very difficult to control and can easily reach outbreak levels in a field. Control costs are higher if farmers are late with initial control measures.To view a video about UGA’s work to fight whiteflies, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVA4EekS_Xc. For more information about Georgia’s cotton crop, see www.ugacotton.com.
The Republican leadership in the US House early Sunday walked away from a deal on extending a payroll tax cut as part of a larger spending package that was also tied to the controversial oil pipeline from Canada to Texas. The US Senate on Saturday approved a bill 89-10 with bipartisan support that includes fast-tracking the controversial KeystoneXL tar sands oil pipeline to an extension of the payroll tax cut. Vermont Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, as well as Representative Peter Welch, have long opposed the Keystone project and have strongly supported the payroll tax cut extension, but object to “holding Americans’ tax rates hostage,” as Leahy called it, to the tar sands project and to House leaders’ insistence on linking them in this bill. Sanders said in a statement: “I strongly oppose the provision to fast-track approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. Producing tar sands oil creates 82 percent more carbon pollution than conventional oil, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. NASA scientist James Hansen says exploiting the tar sands would be ‘game over’ for our efforts to reverse global warming. I urge President Obama to call the Republicans’ bluff and reject the dangerous Keystone XL project.” In a letter to the President, Welch writes, “We strongly oppose an expedited review process and urge you to reject the tar sands pipeline project because of the unnecessary and inappropriate short circuiting of the review process.”At the urging of Welch and others, the State Department Inspector General recently opened an investigation into possible conflicts of interest in the pipeline review process. It is unclear as of Monday morning if anc when the House would vote on the measure. Leahy’s statement today on the bill follows. Statement Of Senator Patrick LeahyDecember 17, 2011Senate Floor The Keystone XLTar SandsOil Pipeline Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, we are close to voting on a payroll tax extension bill that includes a House provision designed to force the President to approve the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline. Proponents of this tar sands project argue that it belongs on this bill for one reason: building the pipeline would create jobs. Any construction project creates jobs, and it is no surprise that this debate has come down to this. Unable to sell the pipeline as necessary to meet the country’s energy needs, which it is not, or to refute charges that tar sands strip mining and the refining and burning of high carbon oil cause egregious harm to the environment and health, which it does, the Canadian energy company, TransCanada, has flooded the media with dire warnings about the American jobs that will be lost if the pipeline is rejected. Not surprisingly, our Republican friends, always ready to fight for the oil companies, have echoed these scare tactics. What they don’t tell you is that the 5,000 or 6,000 temporary construction jobs will disappear once the pipeline is built. Only a few hundred permanent jobs are needed to operate and maintain the pipeline. And they also don’t mention that the choice is not between jobs or no jobs. They ignore the tens of thousands of permanent, safe American jobs that could be created by investing in clean, renewable sources of energy, which unlike tar sands oil don’t pollute and will not be used up in a few short decades. People can disagree about building the Keystone pipeline. But there is more to this than the short term jobs it would create. Jamming it through Congress on this bill in the waning hours of the session has a lot more to do with politics than jobs. The Keystone provision in this payroll tax extension would force the President to make a decision to approve or disapprove the pipeline within 60 days. Any decision to grant a permit would be ‘deemed’, by Congress, to satisfy all the environmental requirements, even if it does not, and any modification to the construction mitigation and reclamation plan ‘shall not’ require supplementation of the final environmental impact statement. In other words, don’t study the consequences or give the public a chance to comment on the revised plan. This is from Members of Congress who in the last election ran on a platform of ‘open’ government. Yet when it comes to helping big oil, it is a different story. They cut the time for making a decision from a year to 60 days, and short circuit the environmental review process. Forget the science. Forget the public. Preempt the law. Ignore the risk. The only thing that matters is pumping more oil. Tar sands are a particularly dirty source of petroleum, from extraction to refinement. Anyone who is interested, regardless of which side of this debate they are on, should look at the photographs of the tar sands mines in the boreal forests of Alberta. What was once an extraordinarily beautiful landscape has been ravaged by heavy machinery, vast ponds filled with polluted water and sludge, and a ruined wasteland where the forests used to be. We all know that the extraction of oil, minerals, and other natural resources harms the environment. But there are degrees of harm. Extracting heavy oil from tar sands is among the most energy intensive and destructive. Under the law, the State Department has the responsibility to approve or disapprove the pipeline because it crosses an international boundary. More than a year ago, I and ten other Senators ‘ Republicans and Democrats ‘ sent the first of a series of letters to the State Department raising concerns about the proposed pipeline and the impact of tar sands oil on global warming. Since then, concern about the pipeline has evolved into a heated controversy over the impact the pipeline will have on our Nation’s energy policy, our continuing dependence on fossil fuels, and the environment. From the beginning, I had misgivings about the State Department’s ability to conduct a thorough, credible assessment of a project of this complexity that they were approaching with an attitude of inevitability. The State Department did not anticipate the strong reaction of Members of Congress of both parties, including several from Midwestern states that have been coping with multiple oil spills from the original Keystone pipeline ‘ oil spills that have caused damage costing hundreds of millions of dollars that company officials have treated as inconsequential. Concerns about the risks of this project have united not only those living along the proposed route, but people across the Nation, including in Vermont, as well as in Canada, who care about the environment and who understand the need to wean our Nation from oil and other fossil fuels. Every President since the 1970s has spoken of the need to reduce our dependence on oil and coal. But despite all the speeches, year after year we are more dependent on these finite, polluting sources of energy than ever before.Today, energy companies are spending staggering amounts of money in search of new sources of oil in some of the most inhospitable places on Earth, where its extraction involves great risks to the workers involved, to the environment, and to precious sources of water for drinking and irrigation. No matter what we do today, later this week, or later this month, this country will be dependent on fossil fuels for many years to come. But while TransCanada and its supporters extol the virtues of the Keystone XL pipeline, as the Minority Leader and other have done, simply by reducing waste we could eliminate entirely the need for the energy from the oil that would flow through the pipeline. It is one of those inconvenient facts they would prefer to ignore. I come from a state that shares a border with Canada. My wife’s family is Canadian. I have a great fondness for that ‘giant to the north.’ But this issue is not about United States relations with Canada. We are inseparable neighbors, friends, and allies. There are strong views about this pipeline, pro and con, in both countries. As Americans, we have to do what is right for our country’s energy future, for the environment, for our citizens. Some have argued that if this pipeline is not built, TransCanada will simply build another pipeline to the coast of British Columbia and export the oil to China. But there are significant obstacles and no indication that such an alternative route is a viable option. Others maintain that the carbon emissions from extracting and refining this oil would not appreciably exceed those from oil shipped by tanker from the Middle East, but they do not address the environmental harm and pollution caused by the strip mining and separation process. Then there is the jobs issue, which has been shamelessly exaggerated in a last ditch attempt to win votes in a time of economic hardship. Last month, in response to concerns about the crucial aquifer that the pipeline would traverse in the Midwest, the White House announced that the State Department would consider alternative routes through Nebraska and that the President would make a decision in 2013. Now, Republican defenders of the oil industry want to short circuit this process, whatever the risks. Fossil fuels are finite, inefficient, and dirty. The cost we pay at the gas pump bears no resemblance to the long-term environmental and health costs borne by society as a whole. We cannot lessen our reliance on fossil fuels by continually ignoring it. Nor can we do it by spending huge amounts of money, energy, and American ingenuity to search the farthest reaches of the globe for every last drop of oil, regardless of how dangerous or harmful to the environment. This pipeline would perpetuate a costly dependence that has gotten worse year after year, for which we are all to blame. Keystone XL would once again do nothing to address the problems associated with fossil fuels. It would virtually assure more oil spills, it would do nothing to promote conservation and reduce waste, and it would do nothing to spur investment in clean energy alternatives. Most importantly, it would provide yet another excuse to once again postpone for another day the urgent, national security imperative of developing a sustainable energy policy for this country. That is what the decision about the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline has come to represent regardless of what route it takes. Mr. President, sometimes a bad situation can be the beginning of something better. Once this bill is passed, President Obama will have 60 days to decide if building the pipeline is in the national interest. He should reject these strong arm tactics by the other party. He should use this blatantly political maneuver as an opportunity to inaugurate a new energy policy that will finally end our dependency on foreign oil. It is time to finally put the environment, and the health and energy security of the American people, above the interests of the fossil fuel industry. ———The full text of Welch’s letter is copied below:Dear Mr. President:We strongly believe the Keystone tar sands pipeline poses a serious threat to the environment and public health that cannot be mitigated by the benefits of the project. And we fully support your recent decision to extend the ongoing review process.We are disappointed that legislation to extend the payroll tax cut includes an extraneous provision to expedite approval of the tar sands pipeline. This expedited process will bypass a thorough review of the project as well as an ongoing investigation of the review process by the State Department Inspector General.We strongly oppose an expedited review process and urge you to reject the tar sands pipeline because of the unnecessary and inappropriate short circuiting of the review process.PETER WELCHMember of Congress
The ‘Base Load’ Myth Propagated by Fossil Fuel Interests FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Giles Parkinson for Renew Economy:According to Tim Buckley, from the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, the idea of “base load” generation as an essential part of the energy mix is becoming redundant, and turning into a myth dreamed up by the fossil fuel industry to protect its interests.“It’s as dangerous as the marketing term of “clean coal” and the idea that coal is “good for humanity”,” Buckley says.New data bears this out. In China, thermal power plant utilisation rates (capacity factors) declined from 56.2 per cent on average in 2014 to a record low of just 50.9 per cent in 2015.“This highlights coal is not ‘base load’, even in China,” Buckley says. “It is the marginal source of supply. Coal-fired power plants aren’t designed to run only half the time, but that is what is happening in China, and increasingly that is occurring in India as well.”“Base load is not a technical concept, it is an economic concept and a business concept of the coal industry that is no longer feasible,” says Sven Teske, an analyst with the Institute for Sustainable Futures in Sydney.“Baseload is a myth, but it is so deeply rooted in the debate that it will take a number of years to change perception. It’s a bit like going from analog to digital, it is a different way of operating the system.”He says the focus is now on renewable energy, and on flexible generation, demand management, and energy efficiency.Full article: “Base load” power: a myth used to defend the fossil fuel industry
If you’re like most leaders, you spend your days rushing around dealing with emergencies, challenges, meetings and emails. Your days seem like a blur, and you struggle to articulate what you accomplished in your 10+ hours at the office. This may be the norm for most leaders, but it doesn’t have to be. One of the biggest challenges leaders face at work are interruptions. Whether it’s phone calls and texts, emails pinging all day, or employees dropping in for “a quick question”, these interruptions take a serious toll on your productivity. Experts say the typical office worker wastes 40 to 60 percent of their day on interruptions. (Link to article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/06/01/interruptions-at-work-can-cost-you-up-to-6-hours-a-day-heres-how-to-avoid-them/?utm_term=.b3e37db9b53b)And even if your interruptions don’t involve people, there are a plethora of distractions that impede getting real work done. As an entrepreneur, my office is in my house. There are no people there during the work day, but there are dishes in the sink, toys on the floor, and papers to be filed. Even looking at these distractions hinders my focus and concentration. When I have a big project or an article to write (like this one) that requires me to focus, I often go to a coffee shop so I can get in the zone and not get distracted by non-urgent things pulling at my attention. Ironically, the buzz of the coffee shop also helps my concentration and focus. I get more done in two hours there than I do all day in my office. I believe your office is one of the worst places to work, because everyone knows where to find you! Below are four strategies for reducing interruptions so you can get real work done.Close your door. In the age of the “open door policy,” closing your door may seem bold. But let me assure you, you cannot be productive with your door open all day. Most organizations have taken the open door policy to the extreme, thinking that having your door open all day sends the message to your employees that you are a great leader. Employees want leaders who are approachable and supportive. They don’t need you to be available every second of the day. Frankly, most employees would welcome you to close your door once in a while so they can focus on their work without their leader watching every move. I’m not suggesting you close your door all day, every day. But blocking out two hours a day to close your door and focus will increase your productivity dramatically.One of my clients created signs for their team members that says “Brilliance at Work”. When an employee needs some quiet time to focus, they put this sign on their door or cubicle to signal that they are in the zone, so don’t interrupt.Silence your electronics. It’s not a novel idea (or is it?), yet so few leaders practice it. Part of what drains productivity is the time it takes to recover after an interruption. Even that email notification that you glance at for a few seconds breaks your concentration. Studies show it can take up to 25 minutes to the return to the original task after an interruption (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/05/opinion/sunday/a-focus-on-distraction.html). It’s a wonder how leaders get anything done at the office. Multi-tasking has been proven to not be effective and actually hurt productivity, so the best way to get real work done is to sequester yourself and turn off your electronic devices. Even if you do this once a day for an hour, you will see a dramatic increase in your productivity. Start your meetings by articulating the purpose. How many meetings do you attend each day that are a waste of time? Usually it’s because you are trying to do too many things in one meeting. A best practice is to identify the purpose of that specific meeting, and announce it at the beginning of the meeting so everyone is on the same page. This keeps the meeting focused and on track. An example might be: “The goal of this meeting is to review the three proposals we received and decide which company we will partner with”. That’s much different than just starting the meeting and going off on several tangents that just wastes time. You can cut out useless follow up meetings by making the first meeting productive in the first place. Less meetings equals more time for real work!Reduce upward delegation. Many of the interruptions leaders face is from employees. While at times you need to provide guidance and support to your staff members, many interruptions are avoidable. Some employees “upward delegate” to their leaders—they look to their manager to make a decision for them. A way to reduce these interruptions is to coach your employee through the challenge. If an employee approaches you to ask how to handle a situation or project, ask her one of these questions:What do you think? What are your options?What might your next step be?These questions put the ownership back on the employee and require her to think about how to approach the situation herself. If you continue to coach employees around tasks they can handle themselves, you’ll start to see a reduction in the interruptions as they learn to think for themselves.Effective leadership requires that you get results. To get results, you need time to focus on real work, not just the typical office “emergencies”. To be a successful leader, you have to take charge of your productivity, because no one else will. 48SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Laurie Maddalena Laurie Maddalena is a dynamic and engaging keynote speaker and leadership consultant. She writes a monthly online column for next generation leaders for CUES and has published articles in Credit … Web: www.envisionexcellence.net Details
A flare-up that began on Twitter concerning allegations that the algorithm behind the Apple Card’s credit evaluation process is discriminatory against women has done more than flag a potential issue in a Big Tech’s entry into financial services through partnership.The controversy underscores the volatile power of social media directed against brands and how communication through this channel transcends traditional media approaches for financial institutions.It demonstrates how financial institutions can find regulatory trouble on their doorstep overnight, quite apart from any official process like examinations, in the connected world.The controversy holds up algorithms and artificial intelligence for fresh examination even as more and more experts say that these technologies will improve financial life as we know it.That’s a hell of a lot of impact from a single tweet.Here’s a recap of what’s happened and its implications for banks and credit unions in terms of social media, crisis communication and the future of algorithms in financial services. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr