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15 Seconds to get things done

Anna Watson.

I spent two days at the “Fifteen Seconds Festival 2019” in Graz. I wanted to get inspired, get technical and creative input, watch impressive keynote speakers, and see new things.

It was great and I got all of that. Finding the right keynotes to attend, from the vast number of them, was difficult. Sometimes I ended up running around confused and stressed, trying to find the right place to be. Some of the catchy headlines accompanying the keynote speakers were misleading, and I ended up hearing something I didn’t expect at all. Sometimes that was disappointing, sometimes that was great.

What I brought home is a little notebook full of quotes. And some of them I want to share with you.

Let’s start with a quote from a keynote by David Allen with the catchy title ‘Getting things done’ – a 20 minutes keynote about how important it is to write To Do Lists. Sounds boring, but it was very entertaining. I do have a passion for writing lists. Until the Fifteen Seconds Festival, I was embarrassed about it. Today I admit it to everybody; knowing that I’m in good company with this passion. My favorite quote was:

“It’s all about putting the right stuff in front of your door.”

Meaning: Don’t use your brain as an office. We have so many different tasks to manage every day. Without lists we are lost. Intelligence means using your brain for important things and making To Do Tasks as easy as possible.

Another thing I don’t want to admit is that in every project there is a point where you just need things to be done. Wanting my projects to be perfect, it is very hard to say that you have to set priorities and make compromises. It was great to hear from Chief Strategy Officer Y&R EMEA Saul Betmead:

“Sometimes Good enough is indeed good enough”

He also mentioned a problem that we have working in communications on a daily basis:

“People like having Choices but hate making decisions”

We have this issue creating UX concepts for perfect applications, giving the user a choice, but making their decision super easy. If it is not easy and clear enough, we lose them.

My favorite keynote was by Stephen Gates. He started the keynote by admitting that he tricked us into listening by promising far too much in his keynote title: ‘EXIST LOUDLY. How to improve your team and your career’. He didn’t really tell me how to improve my team or my career, but he still opened my eyes to numerous pink elephants in the room that nobody talks about. The most important: Being honest is a hard thing to be. But it is actually the only way to go. The problem is, if you are honest you will piss people off. But if you want to improve your personal brand (which is, according to him, your career) you will eventually have to:

“Opposition is validation. If you didn’t piss anybody off, you did something wrong.”

And really. I do not like to piss people off. But I’ll try his advice on being myself by being consistent, credible, creative and memorable. And if I end up pissing somebody off, though I will still be upset about it, I’ll be able to look back at this quote and take some degree of comfort from it.