Archive for the ‘Productivity’ Category

Breaking a Habit

I used to force myself to write here daily. It was a good practice for awhile, but it’s time to give it up. I did it for over a year and I learned what I needed to learn.

  1. I can do it. It’s not impossible.
  2. I found writing easier when I lowered my barrier to entry and did it regularly.
  3. I feel better after getting something published, or shipped as Seth Godin would put it.
  4. I like the transparency of putting something out regularly.

Read On…

Back in the Office

I find that getting back to work after an extended absence is best done by making a brain dump to-do list. Being overwhelmed by all of the email and “post-trip” follow-up items can be a recipe for not starting anything difficult. But getting it all on paper makes it feel like you can actually start something and not lose track of any of the other things you are holding tenuously in your mind.

Conference Week

This week I’ll be at a conference in Atlanta. I’m hoping this is interesting and I learn a lot from the class and certification I’m taking. I’ll miss this kids an Jess the most though.

Craigslist is great

We moved in March of this year. Since March, I have had no dresser. In our old house, my  bedroom was so small that we couldn’t fit anything besides a bed, so we kept all of our clothes in a closet.

My current closet is too small to fit everything and our master bedroom is huge, so I would like to use a dresser.

After much research across many, many stores, we settled back on Ikea. We picked a color and style we like and we bought the first one, a low dresser for Jess. We picked it up and assembled it and we like it a lot.

Next would be my dresser, a tall version of the same dresser. But, it’s so popular that it’s never in stock. So I waited, and waited and waited… Read On…

Trying to do it all at the same time

I have this problem where I want to listen to an audiobook, read an article and also reply to email. I end up not internalizing any information and doing absolutely nothing of any value. The audio plays without me actually listening to what is being said. The article gets skimmed and nothing of value gets retained, and my email replies end up only half-formed and full of typos.

I have to consciously work on tasks one at a time. Thinking I can work on multiple items at once is a lie I tell myself all too often.

Activation Energy

With a long to-do list, it can seem daunting to begin working on any one task. We often make our to-do lists known by posting them on our family whiteboard in the kitchen. Sometimes I overestimate what I can physically accomplish in one day. But what really helps me is to know that each task comes with a resistance to get started.

In chemistry, it is the activation energy required to begin a chemical reaction. It’s usually a spike in energy required at the beginning, and then the reaction carries on itself with little or no added energy. Just beginning your day requires activation energy – getting out of bed (higher energy) vs hitting snooze (low energy).  Read On…

5 Second Rule

I just started Mel Robbin’s book 5 Second Rule and I am enjoying it. It teaches the impossibly simple, but weirdly effective 5 Second Rule, where you count backwards from 5 whenever you want to begin doing something you don’t have the motivation to do. The most common example being to get out of bed when the alarm rings and not hit the snooze button.

When I tell other people about this, it seems like, how can that be an entire book? It’s true – I feel like it might have a bit of fluff. It might have sufficed as a really solid article. But, it might not carry as much weight as an article. People may tend to shrug it off if it had just been 1000 words on a blog somewhere.  Read On…

13 Personal Rules

One of the most valuable tips I’ve gotten from Craig Ballantyne (among many) is to create your set of personal rules.  It’s freeing to make some decisions for yourself ahead of time, decide what you will and won’t do, so that you can use your brainpower on more important things.

Craig’s rules govern a lot about how he goes about his day and how he creates content. Those rules work for him. I followed his example and wrote my own rules. I think mine are bit more generic, save a few, but they resonate with me and make me happy.

Here are my 13 personal rules: Read On…

30 Day Challenges

I have always liked the idea of improving myself, setting goals and reaching them and seeing what potential lies inside of me. But I don’t know if others have that same curiosity. I think there’s doubt in peoples’ confidence of their ability to change permanently and therefore they don’t want to waste the effort.

That’s where 30 day challenges come in. They make it all a game. There’s no long term commitment – you only have to try for 30 days. What’s 30 days in the course of your life (especially if it can possibly change it forever)?

This comes from my experience with Lent. I gave up coffee for Lent, which was the hardest thing I’ve ever given up. I felt awful for a few days, dazed for few weeks and finally felt better after about 2 weeks without my daily coffee. Now, Lent is long over and I don’t drink daily coffee. I have it occasionally and when the mood strikes, but not daily. I don’t want to return to that dependence and those flu-like symptoms if I don’t have it.

Would I ever have tried to go without coffee if not for the “safe space” that Lent provides? Probably not. I want that experience year-round. I’ve given up other things in my life and sometimes they come back and sometimes they stay out. I have given up all animal products, TV, facebook and alcohol as examples. Animal products are still out, but TV, facebook and alcohol are back, but in a much reduced capacity. And that’s the beauty! Kicking something out of your life and going without helps you to reset your level and realize just how much you might be overindulging so that when you take it back in, you can adjust it way down as you see fit. Read On…

80,000 Hours

After writing yesterday about how to quantify changing the world, by a weird twist of fate, I stumbled upon Tim Ferriss’s interview with Will MacAskill. He started a non-profit called 80,000 hours. The premise is that each us has 80,000 hours to give in the duration of our careers – 40 years x 50 weeks x 40 hours = 80,000 hours. What are you going to do with yours? What kind of impact will you have?

I bought the kindle book and read it immediately. There is a ton of good information inside, including how you can do a ton of good by just ‘earning to give’, which means, stay in your job and just donate to the most effective, life-changing charities you can find (he helps with that too).

You can also switch careers or build career capital. The book was really interesting. I’m really glad someone is thinking about how to research how every person can do the most good in the world. Read On…