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Priority

Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman

A weekly conversation about the modern world of work and life, hosted by Caitie Leibman and her brother Max Leibman. Deal with limitation, make better choices, and get cool stuff done. Or at least have fun listening.



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Priority
Jul 29, 2016 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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If you only listen to one final episode of Priority this week, make it this one! Eighteen months after taking to the digital airwaves, the Priority team finishes the podcast with an appropriate topic: how does one actually finish a big project? Max revisits strategies he has shared previously: committing specific blocks of time to work, focusing on only a few must-do projects, and taking advantage of random moods and inspirations to “finish things on a whim.” Caitie, meanwhile, considers...
Priority
Jul 15, 2016 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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We now join our episode synopsis, already in progress! Picking up where they left off last week, the Priority team discusses work in process. What do you do with your unfinished projects? The spectrum of management strategies runs the gamut from the Gantt chart to the stack of papers on your desk, and our hosts have explored all points in between. Caitie shares a cautionary tale about a treasure trove of half-formed ideas she once lost, and comes to the vaguely Buddhist conclusion...
Priority
Jul 1, 2016 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Can a preliminary sketch still be considered “art?” (Given how little editing Max does some weeks, our hosts hope so!) An exhibition of unfinished works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art inspires this episode’s topic: rough drafts. Caitie reminds us to appreciate our drafts, or even our rough-around-the-edges finished projects; a rough approximation is sometimes the best we can do and helps get us to something better. Max, meanwhile, points out that everything is a draft—even the most...
Priority
Jun 17, 2016 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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How bad could it be? This week on Priority, our hosts explore the worst things that never happened! Caitie, in town to work an intense short-term contract, joins Max to discuss how depleted she feels. There’s just one hitch—she actually doesn’t feel half bad! Despite being good at managing her energy and boundaries, Caitie reflects on how often she overestimates how taxing a busy schedule or challenging conversation will be. Max wonders if the key is a loss of perspective, and recounts...
Priority
Jun 3, 2016 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Where does the time go? The week, forty-five minutes of Priority’s time went into discussing Laura Vanderkam’s “The Busy Person’s Lies” and 168 Hours. She believes we have more time—and less work—than we think we do. Put your torches and pitchforks down, folks—as we will discover, Vanderkam knows of what she speaks, having studied the research literature and many individuals’ time logs. This inspires a lively discussion of various time-tracking schemes our hosts have...
Priority
May 20, 2016 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Toast. Tired. Beat. Exhausted. Under the weather. Over it. This week on Priority, Max asks an important question: how do you do your best work when you feel less than your best? What happens to your productivity when you are not firing on all cylinders? With an eight-week-old baby under his roof, it’s little wonder he’s struggling with these very issues right now. Caitie—no stranger to wearing multiple plates and keeping a lot of hats spinning—stresses the importance of good self-care....
Priority
May 6, 2016 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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How would you rate your memory? If you said better than average, try this: can you recall that story Max told during our last episode—about the mommy blogger who made a reader so mad that they reported the blogger to Child Protective Services? If you find yourself nodding along, check your memory—that story got cut before you heard the episode! You are in good company, though. Max did the same thing when he recounted it without checking his sources (as it turns out, the incident never...
Priority
Apr 22, 2016 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Max is a new dad! Caitie is a new aunt! Priority has a new episode! One month ago, Max and Kourtney welcomed their son, Owen, into the world. Thanks to the experience of becoming a parent, Max now understands things about life and love that only another parent can appreciate. Kidding: this is not that kind of show. Max is actually pretty down on that kind of parental self-importance, but he does now understand a few things better than he did before. He’s rapidly becoming an expert on sleep...
Priority
Apr 8, 2016 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Do you feel like you've been literally buried alive in business metaphors? Just missed your black belt in martial arts-inspired jargon? In the second half of their review of The 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity, Max and Caitie explore the book's sage advice for managing schedules, technology, and energy. Caitie critiques the authors' varied imagery—the "gravel" of trivial tasks and notifications, or the Samurai-like "swordlessness" of one who avoids...
Priority
Mar 25, 2016 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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This week, the Priority team presents the first half of its review of The 5 Choices: The Path to Extraordinary Productivity. Caitie takes issue with the books’ hypothetical antagonist, Carl the office creep. Max feels slightly skeptical when authors Kory Kogon, Adam Merrill, and Leena Rinne claim this book isn’t about managing time. Worse, he picks a fight with the entire Internet over the productivity legacy of Dwight D. Eisenhower. Still, our hosts can get behind The 5 Choices' actual...
Priority
Mar 11, 2016 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Caitie reaches a milestone, receiving her first set of professionally-printed business cards. This inspires a lively discussion about the parameters and purposes of business cards, and the culture of capital "n" Networking. Our hosts contemplate the place of these scraps of paper in our digital age. Caitie reflects on a past experience in which a card received helped a brief encounter at a conference grow into a meaningful exchange of ideas. Max, meanwhile, recommends only accepting a...
Priority
Feb 26, 2016 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Elon Musk. Jack Dorsey. Marissa Mayer. How do these high-flying tech CEOs get so much done? Media profiles tally their super-clever strategies for making it work, but the Priority team asks a more basic question: are they even getting that much done? The research paints a bleak picture. Each hour over 40 provides diminishing returns, each hour over 65 provides no additional return, and at 80 hours, even highly-trained medical residents make crazy errors. Max observes that successful CEOs have...
Priority
Feb 12, 2016 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Hakuna matata! Priority starts its second year with a trip to Orlando, Florida! In the tradition that stretches back to Episode No. 1, the Priority team takes a quarterly break from work and productivity issues to discuss a cultural artifact. This time, though, they’ve picked a doozy: the Walt Disney World resort, in Orlando, FL. It’s not all dark rides and roller coasters, though—between losing track of which Little Mermaid-themed attraction is which and waxing nostalgic about their...
Priority
Jan 29, 2016 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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What would you do if a great opportunity fell into your lap today? If you’re Max, you might grab a towel and some club soda, and hope it doesn’t stain your pants. He points out that we often fail to recognize opportunities when they appear. Meanwhile, Caitie would take that opportunity and run with it. While her co-host worries over the limits of our ability to seize opportunities, she is actively taking advantage of one. She recounts the changes she has made to her schedule and...
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Jan 22, 2016 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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You wouldn’t know it from the release schedule, but Priority went on a six-week recording hiatus. Caitie traveled the Gulf Coast. Max did, well, whatever he does—until last week, when our intrepid hosts met up with other family in Orlando for a belated Christmas. This week, the Priority team resumes work and school (and podcasting), and lead us on a guided tour of their reentry. There will always be friction when we return to our jobs or projects after a long break, but the amount of...
Priority
Jan 15, 2016 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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This week, Priority hits the road! Caitie likes to devote the proper time and space to travel. Just getting from point A to point B is plenty for one day, even without the TSA patting down one’s hair for explosives. Max agrees, and shares his favorite way to take control of travel days: packing lightly. He may not He may not have the freedom of, say, Jack Reacher (who packs only a wallet and toothbrush), but he feels liberated flying with nothing but a single backpack. The Priority team muses...
Priority
Jan 8, 2016 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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How awesome are you? How awesome do you think you are? And how much does the difference matter? This week, Priority turns its attention to confidence. Max feels secure enough to point out that confidence is born of success, which in turn is often born of luck. But he’s not self-assured enough to discount such mere feelings of confidence. The confident, after all, are the ones who will have the courage to say “Yes!” when opportunity rings the doorbell. Meanwhile, Caitie boldly asserts that...
Priority
2016 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Priority gets a case of the Mondays! In Max's mind, Mondays couldn't be much worse. Caitie points out that Mondays can help set the pace for the week (for better or for worse, as we sometimes spend rest of the week overcoming Monday). But if a week is a useful unit of time for planning and thinking about our work, Mondays are surely due some consideration. Want better Mondays? The Priority team may not have all the answers, but they start the week bright and early to working on the questions.
Priority
Dec 25, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Productivity nerds and laypeople alike hold deep skepticism towards New Year's Resolutions. They feel a little arbitrary, a little corny. What’s so special about January 1st? Maybe December 31st isn’t the moment to reimagine your entire life. You’re still going to be you the next morning (or, perhaps, you’ll turn into you-with-a-hangover). But if there is a little motivational magic to be had, why not go for it? This week, Caitie recounts silly goals of New Years past. Meanwhile, Max...
Priority
Dec 18, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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If you've ever caught yourself planning your next remark while you should be listening to someone else . . . you might be a human. This week, listen deeply as our hosts explore a skill we often take for granted. Caitie suggests that emotional and physiological barriers can keep us from listening well. Max berates so-called active listening and critiques the state of the art in listening advice. But whatever the quality or quantity of our training in listening skills, the Priority team can’t...
Priority
Dec 11, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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The podcast is alive with the sound of music this week! Max reveals some catchy singles he's worn out worse than his recurring jokes, and Caitie yells at people who think it's inappropriate for her to listen to Christmas music out of season. But the team covers more than their own tastes and hang-ups this week, too. Familiar favorites or instrumental music can help us concentrate on challenging work. Lively beats and clever hooks pump us up. Our songs become the soundtrack of our lives,...
Priority
Dec 4, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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We’ve all heard the same advice about how to tackle a big project: break it down into smaller, manageable tasks. But hearing the advice isn’t the same as taking it—or pacing yourself as you work through those milestones. This time on Priority, Caitie and Max wonder about the mysterious phenomenon of being early. Sure, maybe it's more mysterious for Caitie, who struggles to trick her brain into working ahead. Max shares experiences ranging from caffeine-infused all-nighters to working...
Priority
Nov 27, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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If you've been at a task too long, you might feel like you're going cross-eyed. This week, the Priority team wonders about benefits and strategies for gaining distance from our work. Wait—don't run away! Caitie suggests that a healthy change in perspective or a break might be just what an intense situation needs. Max makes the distinction between pushing forward in a grind versus riding a wave. Caitie agrees: dwelling in a task without moving is a sign it's time to shake things up. How can...
Priority
Nov 20, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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From your resume’s “objective statement” to your afternoon snacking plans, having a sense of the purpose of your activities goes a long way. How well does a given option move you towards where you want to go? The Priority team gets purposeful this week, suggesting that asking the big "Why?" question can reveal guideposts to navigate options. Caitie and Max find that a clear purpose can help us better connect with others and communicate the relevance of our work, though Max...
Priority
Nov 13, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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No cats were harmed in the making of this episode as the team gets topic-curious about . . . curiosity! After a break from recording, Caitie and Max are back it, trying to make sense of a complicated impulse. Caitie suggests curiosity is a position from which you can make better observations and connections. Max cautions, though, that it shouldn't be so celebrated at the expense of focus. Psychologists have long considered the role "openness to experience" plays in personality, and...
Priority
Nov 6, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Is it too early in the year to talk about Christmas music? Does Caitie care whether it's early? Will Max let her be the grumpy one this week?! All is still merry and bright this time on Priority, as the team takes its quarterly sidestep to consider a work from popular culture. The Mannheim Steamroller album Christmas created a new sound in a style driven by traditional tunes. In their analysis, Caitie insists on recognizing the deep roots and modern spirit of Christmas as a cultural experience,...
Priority
Oct 30, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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If life's a game, then maybe it's time to level up the productivity. This week on Priority, the team explores ways to "gamify" your work. Tools, apps, and tricks abound in this week's discussion on gamification--and the key principles that motivate us to play anything that feels like a game. Caitie reflects on using rewards as motivation, and the precarious balance between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Max considers how the social elements of gamification create competition,...
Priority
Oct 23, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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No matter what type of work you do, you may be called upon to capture and demonstrate productivity. How's your output? How's the quality of your work? What targets have you met? But perhaps more importantly, who is painting those targets? And how? Caitie may not understand how targets work, but despite that, the Priority team tackles personal metrics. Max suggests that identifying the right measurement can be hard, and the audience matters (after all, what gets measured gets done). Caitie...
Priority
Oct 16, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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We all know what a trash can is for. It's for this podcast. *Self-zing!* But truly, the trash can is a model organizational tool because its function is clear. Piles and jumbles on the other hand. These things require decisions. No matter your relationship to your stuff, this week on Priority, the team tries to make sense of it all. Caitie gets stuck in trash can land, wondering how clear her organization would be if every space was so clearly defined. Max suggests there should be a place for...
Priority
Oct 9, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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As autumn deepens and The Holidays draw near, Caitie contemplates the place of seasons in our lives, plans, and—yes—decorating sprees. Being Midwesterners, the Priority team is all too familiar with the turning of the seasons. But seasons aren’t just, in the words of Marcus Buckingham, “The PowerPoint version of the weather.” It seems for everything, as the Byrds put it, there is a season—baseball season, the school year, a television season, tax season. But seasons do more than...
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Oct 2, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Talk about task lists? Easy: check! Creating and accomplishing to do list items is simple enough when they're clear, but what about those fuzzy ones that languish in task list purgatory? The Priority team is making some lists and checking them twice this week, and trying to figure out what works. Caitie is haunted by items floating to the bottom of her list, but also shares how she leans on her calendar, and how it reflects relationship between her tasks and her time. Max talks about a few...
Priority
Sep 25, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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After last week's suggestion that the robots are indeed coming, the Priority team considers them more broadly: what does increasing automation mean for our work? Caitie embraces automation: Google Calendar, systematic emails, and prompts that keep her world in order. But Max suggests that his long-hand project management isn't tedious, per se, by comparison. Maybe it's more thoughtful, forcing him to slow down when he considers his work. So the robots have their perks and limitations, but the...
Priority
Sep 18, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Who do you work for? It seems like a simple question, but it sparks an Amazon-sized debate this week on Priority. Caitie and Max discuss recent news detailing the intense, workaholic culture at the tech giant, but wonder about implications for the rest of us. Who sets the expectations—and tone—in your workplace? Caitie questions the payoff of a breakneck working life. Sure, she could spend a 40-hour week responding to work that her student took ten minutes to write, but to what end? The...
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Sep 11, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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If our individual time and attention are precious resources, then how much more valuable—and fragile—are our shared time and attention? The answer is "very," and nothing despoils those resources like a bad meeting. Caitie tells a story of teleconferences past (equal part cautionary tale and productivity nightmare), and makes some real-life meeting plans. Meanwhile, Max supplies his usual mix of project management thinking, silly hacks, and David Allen quotes. In his talk, “Bad...
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Sep 4, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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To write, or to type? To take minutes, or make lists? The Priority team talks note-taking this week! Caitie shares some observations and research about notes in the classroom: the good (writing by hand), the bad (typing a lecture verbatim), and the skillful (learning how to grab the most important notes). Max agrees that knowing what to capture can be refined over time, and he shares some of his own practices. Hint: they may or may not involve a utensil with four ink colors and a pencil. Some...
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Aug 28, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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An angry introvert and an ambivert walk into a podcast . . . and start shouting about Quiet, by Susan Cain (again). Max is still embracing his label and questioning Caitie’s, but the Priority team has a few more things to say about Cain's a book about the often under-appreciated and misunderstood qualities of introversion. Caitie reflects on various definitions of "sensitivity" and their relationship to introversion. Max wonders if more folks would see the world more clearly—and...
Priority
Aug 21, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Introversion and extroversion are two points on a spectrum... and there is a lot to be learned by identifying your spot on it, too! Listen as the Priority team offers part one in its series on Susan Cain's Quiet, a work exploring the science and implications of a society that doesn't always recognize the power of introverts. In this episode, Caitie and Max walk listeners through a self-assessment using the informal quiz Cain provides, offering reflections on their own temperaments and...
Priority
Aug 14, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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nowing how we work can be as important as any other factor on the job, but imagining how much time our work might take can be, well, hard. Because psychology. The team explores the topic of estimation this week, leading Max and Caitie to tackle everything from Parkinson's Law and deadlines to mythical "summer projects" and that mad dash to clean the house before your mother drops in. Tasks may expand to fill the time we give them, but surely we can use this knowledge to our advantage....
Priority
Aug 7, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Ever wondered what makes a story a classic? Or how many jiggers of literary tropes it takes to mix a mockingbird? Well, the Priority team may not have all of the answers, but that's never stopped them. In their third foray into art and culture, Caitie and Max visit and revisit Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Caitie rediscovers some important moments, the things that make Mockingbird a real gem across her years of "required reading." Max finds the novel more entertaining than he'd...
Priority
Jul 31, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Remember when Caitie and Max first debated workspaces, and the power our environment has influence our productivity, work culture, and happiness? Yeah, we don’t, either, because—as it happens—that episode was recorded but never released. But today, they revisit the topic with renewed vigor. Caitie sympathizes with worker bees who just want to put a little personality into their space. Max loves a tidy desk, but more than anything he’s just really, really angry about open plan offices....
Priority
Jul 24, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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A colleague at work, standing behind you, says “Blueberry.” What do you do? The answer to that odd question—and Max has a doozy of a story about one former co-worker’s response—depends on what you bring to the situation. Faced with ambiguous or uncertain circumstances, our expectations shape our experience of life and work. Example abound: a manager who expects a job candidate to flirt during the interview will elicit flirtatious behavior; expectations of children’s performance...
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Jul 17, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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The –isms fly fast and furious this week: racism, sexism, classism, and . . . professionalism? One of these things is not like the others—except that it often is. Much of what we talk about when we talk about professionalism is superficial and confining: modes of dress and speech that limit the scope of who should be regarded as an insider, and who we should trust with our business. But if professionalism is not a tie tack, what is it? Is there any room for standards of punctuality,...
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Jul 10, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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It’s summer in Priority Country, and life hacks are in the air! Caitie and Max share the tips and tricks that can actually tip us over into success (or at least trick us into thinking so), and review a few self-help clichés that are actually, well, helpful. This week, they run down several pieces of advice that truly did prove their worth in the crucible of daily work and life. From saving fifteen minutes at the grocery store to becoming a wealthy, successful writer for The New Yorker (or ....
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Jul 3, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Five months into the podcast, the Priority team is starting over—or, at least, talking about starting over. Our hosts don't decide on a topic until after they start recording, and a wide-ranging discussion of fresh starts (and grocery store life hacks?) ensues. As Max points out, it's often the not-so-fresh-start, picking up the project anew each day, that gets us where we're going. Caitie agrees, and observes that so much of the magic of the fresh start is, in fact, sleight of hand. We...
Priority
Jun 26, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Thought Leader. Coopetition. Game-Changer. Best of Breed. What do they have in common? If you guessed, “Caitie loathes them,” then you would be right. The Priority team debates business buzzwords, from the dangerous and misleading to the merely vapid. “But what’s the big deal?” asks our enterprise-grade audience. Maybe we have ideated a few too many buzzwords, but so what? Isn’t leveling-up our jargon the way we demonstrate expertise and belonging? These paradigm shifts don’t grow...
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Jun 19, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Caitie adds a new term to our conversation on work/life balance: cohesion. So-called experts on “business success” laud focus as the key to achievement, but they leave a lot of the details up to us. Should every role, project, contact, and hobby support some central mission? Or should your hobbies give you a much-needed break and keep you from burning out on that mission? A cohesive plan may get you where you’re going—as Max points out, you’re unlikely to grow up to be an NFL...
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Jun 12, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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How many hats do you wear? How many plates are you spinning? How many metaphors can Max force into this episode synopsis? Continuing the productivity arc of the past two weeks, the Priority team tackles the hot-button issue of Work/Life Balance. Caitie doesn’t love the term, or the way it pre-frames the conversation in listeners’ minds. But whatever we decide to call it—Max likes “sustainability,” while Caitie speaks of “self-care,” and you may prefer to call it “Al”*—the...
Priority
Jun 5, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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As Caitie's move progresses to the unpacking phase, Max asks a timely question: "At any given moment, how do you know what to work on?" The Priority team proceeds to drop some serious to-do list science. Max can't remember what David Allen's "Four Criteria Model for Choosing Actions in the Moment" is called, but he recites it perfectly. Given Caitie's current project, the discussion turns to prioritizing tasks in less-than-optimal circumstances—with more to do than you can...
Priority
May 29, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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While packing to move, Caitie unearths a stack of old day planners, inspiring the Priority team to contemplate personal organizing systems. What makes a planner effective? The choice between boring, analog paper or digital clouds of Google magic is a personal preference—do you want everything in one place, or everything in every place? And who do you trust with your data? Of course, it also matters what you write in your planner. Max asserts that many of these issues become non-issues if you...
Priority
May 22, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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How do you know when your project is done? David Allen suggests that “the way you get things done is you define what done means, and you define what doing looks like.” The team discusses the project management triangle, in which the constraints of time, budget, and scope are balanced against each other. Caitie agrees that we need to know what done means and what the constraints are, as every project could be polished forever without ever quite reaching “perfect.”
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May 15, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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After a week off from Priority’s usual topics, Caitie and Max return, ready to cover new ground. Naturally, they revisit a previous topic instead: audience. Caitie recounts how Marco Arment’s article “Apple Has Lost the Functional High Ground” unexpectedly garnered massive media coverage (and controversy). We all want our work and our words to reflect on our best intentions. That’s why we polish them, and risk public scrutiny. But what happens when our work reaches an audience we...
Priority
May 8, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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After twelve more or less serious episodes, Caitie and Max take a break to talk about the Netflix Original Series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Having surviving fifteen years of captivity in the underground bunker of a crazy preacher, Kimmy Schmidt moves to New York to make a fresh start. All she wants to do is to to pass as a normal person, but her experiences—and the fact that she’s basically a time-capsule of 1990s culture—get in her way at every turn. But as the Priority team breaks...
Priority
May 1, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Are you still doing exactly—and only—what you were hired to do? Caitie and Max doubt that you are. This week, they explore job creep (the concept of gradually expanding job duties, not the mustachioed weirdo at the job fair). Max opens with a definition of terms, including the related concepts of scope creep and mission creep. Caitie approaches the topic with a degree of balance: young professionals don’t want to be pigeonholed, after all. But who wants to volunteer a good idea in a...
Priority
Apr 24, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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You want to know what this week’s episode about? Well, thanks for asking! From social science studies to New Thought garbage like The Magic, plenty of sources suggest gratitude makes a difference in our lives. The Priority team appreciates the importance of this topic and gives it most of the seriousness it deserves. Caitie is concerned about the importance of sincerity and the practical outcomes of praise and appreciation. Meanwhile, Max is cranky about how poorly we respond to each...
Priority
Apr 17, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Caitie and Max go on a time-hopping adventure back to a 1980 boardroom and ahead to a birthday party in 2053. Along the way, they ask all of the important questions—except, perhaps, “Why don’t they time travel to more interesting times and places?” How do you imagine your future? Is it worth thinking more than a few moves ahead? Is it even possible? Inspired by the work of organizational theorist Karl E. Weick, Caitie posits that the best way to think about the future may be,...
Priority
Apr 10, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Inspired by “Titles are Toxic” by Michael Lopp, aka Rands, the Priority team explores myriad ways that job titles are misleading, exploitive, and—yes—toxic. Caitie shares her frustration with labels that fail to reflect all of the professional hats we wear. Max laments the fake growth suggested by arbitrary job titles, as he progresses from Title Complainer I to Title Complainer II. But don’t throw out the Assistant Baby with the Senior Bathwater Administrator. Our roles can inspire...
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Apr 3, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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The Priority team talks mantras, models, and motivation! Caitie shares some phrases she uses to gain perspective and clarity about her role. Meanwhile, Max prefers the term “theme” over “mantra.” Then again, he also confuses Mary Engelbreit and Madeleine L’Engle, so maybe he’s not the best authority. What is your mantra? Whether it’s “What would Jesus do?” or “What’s the Next Action?” the words we choose to focus our attention on matter. As usual, there isn’t a single...
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Mar 27, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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You’ve been surprised with twenty free minutes. Do you have something you can do? Or do you need time to warm up and get into the “flow?” Does a single meeting ruin a whole day for you? (It does for Max, but that could just be his pathological introversion.) Inspired by Paul Graham’s essay “Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule” and Joan Bolker’s Writing Your Dissertation in 15 Minutes a Day, Caitie and Max consider how long it takes to get real work done. Even if you’re an...
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Mar 20, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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This week, Caitie and Max discuss how your audience informs—or should inform—your work. Won’t you join us in a game of Priority Podcast Bingo? The team talks about writing (again), Max references David Allen’s Getting Things Done (again), and Caitie groans as he claims yet another specious job title. If you enjoyed Episode No. 4’s discussion if Inbox Zero, you’re in luck, as Max spends way too much time discussing email etiquette. But, fear not. All of this propels a lively...
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Mar 13, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Caitie and Max continue to explore preparation and practice while discussing “Presenting Without a Net” by Rachel Toor. (If you asked, “Why would I need a net to present in the first place?” you have already made a better joke than Max did.) Caitie feels under the weather, so the Priority team keeps it short and sweet. Fewer things are misattributed to Abraham Lincoln, but Max makes up for it by continuously forgetting Rachel Toor’s name. Nameless or not, her work inspires a lively...
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Mar 6, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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How do you get to Carnegie Hall? As Abraham Lincoln put it, "Practice, practice, practice." Well, maybe it wasn't Lincoln, but you wouldn't know that listening to Caitie and Max. In the funniest episode since last week, the Priority team talks preparation and practice, in domains as diverse as writing, camping, public speaking, and . . . sportsball? The best athletes in the world spend more time training than playing, and the worst speakers surely spend too little. How much is enough?...
Priority
Feb 27, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Caitie and Max talk Inbox Zero—and explore whether it is method, myth, or just something to yell when the inbox is empty at 4:59 PM. They take us back to first principles: Merlin Mann’s original "Inbox Zero" articles and talks. Along the way, they raise questions about social media, relationships, agency and attention. Can email be important enough to keep unread for months, but not important enough to make a decision about what it means? Is Facebook a choice? Does anybody really...
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Feb 20, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Max (not an educator) almost starts a humanities-versus-science fight, but manages to swerve just in time. He asserts that learning is done best in pursuit of passions and within the context of projects, and Caitie (who is an educator) agrees. They discuss how education is highly personal and—again—requires a lot of verbs.
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Feb 13, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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Caitie and Max set out this week to discuss Sheena Iyengar's The Art of Choosing, but the conversation goes off the rails as Max brings up no fewer than six other books. If they can't be on-topic, they are at least timely: a day ahead of Valentine's Day, the conversation turns to romantic relationships. Before the proceedings become bogged down in mushiness, Caitie shares her experience helping students decide what to do next in their career or education. These big decisions seem even bigger...
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Feb 6, 2015 Max Leibman and Caitie Leibman
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How do you launch a podcast that's theoretically about productivity? Caitie and Max didn't know either. So, in honor of the major(?) holiday earlier this week, they spent Episode 1 discussing the movie Groundhog Day.