Ways to be more productive: Notes from Dr. Travis Bradbury by Ruth Bradley-St-Cyr

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” —William Penn

Further to my posts about time management and  “What’s on your Bulletin Board”, while on LinkedIn, I stumbled across a new source of inspiration about productivity that I am now GOING to put on my bulletin board (whenever I get around to it). Dr. Travis Bradbury is an expert in emotional intelligence and, presumably, is a Very Productive Person. I love VPPs. As Douglas Adams said about deadlines, I love the whooshing sound VPPs make as they go by.

And yet, I want to be a VPP myself. I am certain this stems from the fact that I have not yet mastered number 4 on the list (see below). I have come to the horrific realization that my worst fault is a fear of boredom, which leads me to take on all sorts of things that I shouldn’t, although sometimes it also leads me to take on things that are actually important, like filling out paperwork to get Syrian refugees into the country. However, the six things on this list are probably my six top faults, using “fear of boredom” as the single organizing principle:

  1. Never touch things twice: Touching things twice is a huge time-waster. Don’t save an email or a phone call to deal with later. As soon as something gets your attention, you should act on it, delegate it, or delete it.
  2. Eat the frog: Do the least appetizing, most dreaded item on your to-do list first. If you let your frogs sit, you waste your day dreading them. If you eat them right away, then you’re freed up to tackle the stuff that excites and inspires you.
  3. The tyranny of the urgent: Little things that have to be done right now get in the way of what really matters. This creates a huge problem, as urgent actions often have little impact. The key here is to delete or delegate.
  4. No is a powerful word: Saying no to a new commitment honours your existing commitments, giving you the opportunity to fulfill them successfully and efficiently.
  5. Check e-mail on a schedule: Take advantage of features that prioritize messages by sender. Set alerts for your most important contacts.
  6. Avoid multitasking: Your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. Never touching things twice means only touching one thing at a time.

By the way, the frog-eating image comes to us courtesy of Mark Twain who said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” So true. Writers are full of great ideas, aren’t they? Especially about procrastination. Dorothy Parker once said that she missed a deadline because “someone else was using the pencil.”

Another thing you can stick on your bulletin board is a replica of a little present my Dad made for my Grandma. Or perhaps it was the other way around since he was the one with “a lot on his plate” (my favourite platitude from Days of Our Lives, and one that I should use more often in saying NO). Grandma cut out a cardboard circle and wrote “TUIT” on it. When my Dad asked what it was, my Grandma said, “It’s a round tuit of course. You desperately need one.”

So now you know that I come by sarcasm honestly; it is in the DNA, just like procrastination.

See http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/want-to-be-more-productive-never-touch-things-twice-fiff/ for the original article by Dr. Travis Bradbury.

Fun at our wine and cheese party – Bhavana Gopinath


We had a grand time at our wine and cheese party on November 18. The highlight of the evening was Tom Vradenburg’s “Editors’ Challenge”. In the first part of the quiz, Tom showed us some quotes, and we were to match the person to the quote. In the second part,  Tom provided some quotes and biographical details about famous editors and challenged us to  identify them. The editors included Rachel Carson, Elizabeth Smart, Harold Ross, Robertson Davies, William Lyon Mackenzie, Robert Fulford, Thomas Bowdler, George Brown, Robert Weaver and Samuel Johnson. Interesting challenges indeed! We had two first place winners:   Gillian Scobie and John Gillmore. Congratulations to both!

If you missed the party, here’s a small sample from Tom’s quiz:

Match the person and the quote:

  1. Write drunk, edit sober.
  1. You can’t read writin’ if it’s written rotten.
  1. The essence of writing is rewriting.
  1. Learn to write well, or not to write at all.
  1. Fine writing is next to fine doing, the top thing in the world.
  1. Why not (pay me more than the President)? I had a better year.
  1. When you get to a fork in the road, take it.
  1. That place has become so popular, nobody goes there anymore.
  1. You can observe a lot by watching.
  1. Our similarities are different.


Your choices are:

a) Charlie Farquharson

b) John Keats

c) John Dryden

d) Ernest Hemingway

e) William Zinsser

f) Yogi Berra

g) Dale Berra

h) Yogi Berra

j) Babe Ruth

k) Yogi Berra

And here is the answer key: 1.d, 2.a, 3.e, 4.c, 5.b, 6.i, 7. Yogi, 8. Yogi, 9. Yogi, 10.g.

Drinks and Dinner with the National Executive Council


As you are aware, we planned drinks and dinner events with members of the National Executive Council of Editors Canada (details below). As Director and President, Anne Louise Mahoney says, “The Council would love the opportunity to meet with our members in the Ottawa–Gatineau area. This is a great way to get to know the people who run Editors Canada, and to give us first-hand feedback on what you would like your Association to do for you. As Director, and as a member of the Ottawa–Gatineau branch, I’d like to personally invite you to join us next weekend.”

The following members will be joining us for drinks on Friday, and drinks and dinner on Saturday:

Anne Louise Mahoney, Director and President

Patrick Banville, Executive Director

Greg Ioannou, Director, Past President

Gael Spivak Director, Vice-President, Co-Director of Training & Development

Stacey Atkinson, Regional Director of Branches and Twigs (East)

Alexandra Peace, Recipient of the 2015 President’s Award for Volunteer Service

David Johansen, Director, Treasurer

Elizabeth d’Anjou, Director, Director of Professional Standards

Breanne MacDonald, Director, Co-Director of Training & Development

Marie-Christine Payette, Director, Director of Francophone Affairs

Margaret Shaw, Director, Regional Director of Branches and Twigs (West)


The following members will join us for drinks and dinner on Saturday:

Patricia MacDonald, Director, Director of Volunteer Relations

Donalee Moulton, Director, Director of Publications

Michelle Van Der Merwe, Director, Director of Communications


RSVP to Maureen Moyes at ottawa-gatineau@editors.ca by Monday, November 23. We hope to see you all soon!


Drinks at Hotel Indigo Bar (123 Metcalfe St.) on Friday, November 27, 5 to 7 p.m.

Drinks/dinner at Tosca (144 O’Connor, Esplanade Laurier) on Saturday, November 28, from 5:30 p.m.


Editors Ottawa–Gatineau Annual Wine and Cheese Party

You are invited to a party! Editors of Ottawa–Gatineau, enjoy the company of like-minded people, those who care about commas and em dashes as much as you do!

Join our wine-and-cheese shindig on Wednesday, November 18, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Good Companions Seniors Centre, 670 Albert St. (at Empress Ave.)

There will be a Christmas trivia contest with prizes too!

There will be a $10 fee for Editors Canada members and non-members. Good Companions in on the Transitway and there is free parking behind the building. The building entrance is on Empress Avenue.

Please RSVP if you are attending to ottawa-gatineau@editors.ca by November 13.

Meet the Instructor – Editing Scientific Papers and Reports

DSC_0041. pic of Carolyn Brown

Carolyn Brown, Certified Professional Editor and accredited Editor in the Life Sciences, is a scientific and medical publishing consultant with 18 years’ experience at Canada’s two largest scientific publishers. She has worked as a copyeditor, research writer, and manager responsible for editorial, production and Web sites of large scientific journals. In her current consulting work, she writes and edits journal articles, technical reports and fact sheets for the public in a variety of sciences, as well as providing training to authors and writers through the National Autonomous University of Mexico and the American Medical Writers Association. She is also a reporter for the news section of the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Check out her blog at carolynjbrown.wordpress.com for interesting pieces such as “Why do hot flashes remain a medical mystery?” and “Predatory publishers in the crosshairs.”

In this full-day seminar editors will learn how to help researchers communicate clearly and effectively to their peers and the greater community. It covers a range of topics including the following:

  • genre of the scientific paper: how science tells its story
  • abstracts or executive summaries
  • styles and best practices in copyediting
  • common problems
  • how heavy an edit to perform
  • best practices in presenting statistics, tables and graphs

To sign up, go to https://www.gifttool.com/registrar/ShowEventDetails?ID=29&EID=20352. Registration closes on November 18, 2015.