Distinguish Yourself #217 – Harness the Power of Cues

Take something very basic – a bookmark. It provides a quick way to continue reading your favorite book from where you left off. It is very basic but provides great utility. The alternative is to dog ear the book or do memory magic and remember the page numbers of all the books that you are reading in parallel – not very optimal. In other words, bookmark provides a cue to help you out.

1. Recycle Bin Labels

I was at Barsana Dham at Austin for the new year weekend and couldn’t help notice these recycle bins below:

You will notice two recycle bins – one for the soda cans and one for the plastic bottles – two kinds of drinks that you get at the snack stand. There are labels on top of the recycle bins too clearly telling you where should the cans and bottles go.

Now, what do people do when the see labels?

Skip them.

Yes, they skip reading them because they are busy reading what’s happening in the world via their smartphones. We are living in a world where the choices to get distracted are at an all-time high – that’s another story altogether. The point is that there is a need for another cue beyond the labels on the walls.

Observe the photo and you will notice an empty can tied to one of the recycle bin and a used bottle taped to another recycle bin. Now, does that work. Curious me had to peek in and yes, there was not one bottle in the recycle bin where the cans are supposed to be there and vice versa.

2. Wear and Tear Insurance

This photo shows part of the desk of a finance person at a BMW auto dealership. It’s a coffee spill.

Yes, you guessed it right. It’s really not a coffee spill but a contraption that will appear like a coffee spill – a cue to show that accidents can happen anytime to anyone. Once the cue does it’s job, it becomes easy for the finance person to sell you some insurance 🙂

Cues help brilliantly and they are a MUST in this world where people are hyper-distracted.

Think about your own line of work. What new cues can you provide to people who need them?


Note 1: Here are links to the other 200 articles in the series

Rajesh Setty: Best of Life Beyond Code – Distinguish Yourself #1 – #50

Rajesh Setty: Best of Life Beyond Code -Distinguish Yourself #51 – #100

Rajesh Setty: Best of Life Beyond Code -Distinguish Yourself #101 – #100

Rajesh Setty: Best of Life Beyond Code -Distinguish Yourself #151 – #200

Note 2: The first 25 entries in the series have been packaged in a ChangeThis manifesto that was published on September 07, 2005. You can download that manifesto here:
ChangeThis Manifesto: 25 Ways to Distinguish Yourself (PDF, Free)

Note 3: My latest manifesto on ChangeThis was published on August 6, 2008. This is a photographic manifesto featuring 15 of my mini sagas (stories in exactly 50 words). Here is the link:
ChangeThis Manifesto: Mini Sagas – Bite Sized Lessons for Life and Business (PDF, Free)