Wait But Why is a great blog with lots of interesting posts, many of the very long. The Tail End is fairly short and to the point. I usually dislike the angle “Time is running out so…” but this post is very well done with a brilliant use of graphics.
It’s a reminder that we need to prioritize what we do. Being busy isn’t what matters, the question is what’s keeping you busy. Two of his three ending points are generic (comments are mine): Priorities matter. (in everything) Quality time matters. (in relationships as well as in everything else)
The text for priorities (in relationships of any kind) is this:
Your remaining face time with any person depends largely on where that person falls on your list of life priorities. Make sure this list is set by you — not by unconscious inertia.
Instead of spreading yourself thin, decide who really matters in your life and spend more face time with them.
I have a book project, That elusive book of mine. Every other week my writing partner and I have lunch in an Asian restaurant. When we started with our lunch sessions I used fork and knife. Last Friday I used chopsticks, not like a pro but good enough to manage with them. She of course got curious about the change.
The story behind it is that a month ago I should go out and have sushi with my youngest son and his girlfriend. They teased me in advance and told me that sushi is supposed to be eaten with chopsticks. I used to cheat and use either fingers or fork and knife. That time I decided it was time for a change and to their surprise (and my own) I did eat my sushi with chopsticks.
I have problems getting started with my writing. My writing partner´s question was quite obvious. “Why don’t you get the same attitude about writing as you now have about chopsticks. Just do it!” I still owe her an answer to that. It’s all in my mind, I need to clear out some obstacles I have created myself.
Question for you.
Do you have anything you say “I can not” to that can be changed to “I can”?
Angela Lee Duckworth holds a short (6 minutes) presentation about what’s required for success. A high IQ isn’t enough, it takes stamina and grit. She ends up with mentioning the inetresting topic of the growth mindset.
Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn’t the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of “grit” as a predictor of success.
Keys to creating and maintaining habits is to be accountable and to be persistent. There are apps that help us be accountable, persistence is up to us.
I have used Habit List for more than two years in order to keep track of my habits and it works really well. Now I want an app that helps me keep track of both goals and habits. I found Strides: Goals & Habits Tracker which seems to match what I want. It has several options (Target, Average, Milestones & Habit) that makes it easy to define what we want to track. I love the dashboard and its graphic overview, it’s very easy to see current status.
What do I track?
As an example, here are the goals and habits I have at present in Strides.
Plank (exercise), once a day or more.
Pushups (exercise), 25 or more a day.
Squats (exercise), 50 or more a day.
Situps (exercise), 75 or more a day.
Walk at least 30 minutes, daily.
Enjoy and gratitude (mindset), daily.
Interact and connect, daily.
Eat healthier (health and mindset), daily.
Write, an average of 200 words a day.
It’s the goals (how many a day) that made me decide to test out Strides. For my exercises it fairly simple, I want at least a certain number each day. My writing will vary a lot from day to day, that’s why I go for an average instead of a fix number of words per day.
Everybody get stuck from time to time, even us professionals. I was stuck on two issues and then I got this image:
Know your limits. Then crush them.
Our obstacles are often more mental than real. Our minds are great at creating stuff, not always to our advantage. When we ge stuck we have problems to on our own see the obstacles from another perspective.
It’s hard to coach yourself even when you know how to coach others. I took help from a friend, we had a conversation that focused on me and my two issues. A conversation with someone that really listens and who helps you find your solution to the problems makes a huge difference.
One of my issues was my writing. My obstacle was the idea that if I couldn’t write well from start then it was better to not write at all. That wasn’t exactly productive. The conversation helped me see things in a proper perspective and the next day I was reminded that Bad writing precedes good writing. In other words, sit down and write without judging what you write. Editing can be done later.
My other issue has to do with my personal spiritual development. I was locked in the concept that what how it worked in the past was how it still should work. The conversation helped me open up and realize (again…) that since I have changed so have how things work for me.
Questions for you
Are you stuck on something? If so, how can you get a new perspective on it?
Who can help you change your perspective?
Who can help you change according to your new view?
When I advise people on how to best get things done I often suggest that they get a clean desk. After reading Is A Messy Desk Really Better For Creativity? I will modify that advice. It’s about removing clutter and distractions, not about a clean desk. What distracts us vary, figure out what works best for you and find your own level of neatness.
The part “Change Your Definition Of Clutter” contains this gem (bolding is mine), a great definition of clutter:
Clutter isn’t necessarily piles and items that appear disorderly. Instead, clutter is made up of items we keep that do not serve us—that book you’re never going to read, the papers you think you need to hang onto because you have to, etc. If you need it and it’s giving you something positive, it’s not clutter.
My advice now on clean or messy desk is this:
Get rid of clutter, things that no longer serve you.
Fast Company has a section called How I Get It Done with interesting and useful articles. I just read Business Models For A Modern Artist about Shantell Martin and how she created a business model that suits her. I especially love the following parts of the article.
Martin, who has more than 130,000 Instagram followers, often uses the hashtag #AREYOUYOU. When she first arrived in New York, she had to recalibrate her approach to art. And to keep herself from being drowned in influences from those around her, she began to plaster the surfaces of her new loft with Post-Its marked with, “Who Are You?”
This an important thing for all of us to ponder.
‘Who are you? Are you being you? What’s your goal?'” Martin says. “We’re all trying to just find our way in life. I’m trying to find my way through this language of words and lines and drawings.”
The ending text is brilliant (in my opinion) – simply try to be a better human being.
My focus is on simply trying to be a better human being: try and eat better, drink better, think better. Just try, and try, and try. The more that you try to be a better human being, the more you want to do what you love to do. And for me, that’s drawing
This video is a great reminder of the value of actually being present. That’s always important, even outside festive seasons.
Electronic distractions have found their way at every meal time which hinders quality time and bonding among family members and friends. This festive season, ‘Unplug’ and disconnect to reconnect with your loved ones!
We have all been there. Something need to be changed or added in order to improve our life. All that’s needed is to get that done. That’s where the hard part starts. Just like in sales, our worst competitor is status quo. Doing what we already do is so much easier than making a decision to change and then act on that decision.
There are a few things needed in order to actually make the changes we want.
A goal, what do you want to achieve.
A reason, what motivates you to actually change?
A plan, when during the day can you do it? Where does it fit in without complicating life too much.
Action and perseverance.
Change requires a goal
We need a goal, a colourful attractive goal that works like a lighthouse and shows us where to go. What do you want to achieve? Ignore what others want, changes are all about you and your own motivation.
Write down your goal in just a few words, put it somewhere you can easily see it and be reminded of it.
If needed, break down your goal into sub-goals and steps before planning.
Change requires a strong reason
Change requires action, perseverance, grit and above all a solid to us attractive reason. What’s the reason for us to get up and start doing something? Our reason shall keep us on track and actually do what’s needed. A weak reason makes us try a few times and then it all fades away.
We need a reason so strong that it kills all the excuses we can come up with to get off the hook and do nothing.
Change requires action
Action speaks louder than words. Change requires action. The decision to make a change and thinking about doing it amounts to nothing without action.
Change requires perseverance
Change is like learning to ride a bike. For most of us it takes more than one try. You fall, get up, dust yourself off and get back on the bike. It will work better this time. Changes work the same way. Sometimes we forget or it goes wrong. The key here is to try again, next time will be better.
Make the decision
Making the decision is the easy part. The decision in itself requires no action. Our brain is lazy. It’s pleased by making the decision and doesn’t care much about actually carrying it out. The brain makes us feel pleased and satisfied with making the decision. Once we have made the decision our brain wants to move on to other things. “We’ve made the decision, now let us move on.”
When it’s time to actually change our brain gets very creative with excuses to avoid it. “There’s no time today. Let us wait until tomorrow.” “I’ll do it later.” If our goal seems too big we never will get started. It’s too scary, too much effort is required and it will turn into a someday project. “I’ll do it someday.”
The trick is to start small. Our intention is to create a lasting habit. Once that’s done we can expand on it. Start small, your resistance is low and excuses are hard to make up. Instead of saying I want to walk an hour a day, aim for five minutes. Once you’re out it might be more. Instead of saying I want to get 30 minutes of intense exercise each day (starting with none at all), start small with five minutes light exercise to create the habit to exercise each day.
My morning yoga
Many say you need to do yoga for at least an hour or it will have no real effect. That’s placing the bar high, how many can squeeze an hour of yoga into already busy days? Five minutes of daily yoga practice is far better than no yoga at all. What actually gets done makes more difference than tons of good intentions.
Ten years ago I asked my yoga teacher for a five minute program I could do at home. It’s hard to honestly claim that five minutes of time is impossible to find in a day. I started doing it in the morning, day after day. It turned into a habit and later into a craving, I need it to get a good morning. Over time it has expanded and is now 15-20 minutes each morning. The program has changed over the years. The reason I continue is still the same, I want an agile body.
My daily exercise
Exercise for me has nothing to do with looking or feeling younger. My goal is to exercise daily, my reason is that I want an agile and stronger body as I grow older. The exercises I pick shall require nothing but my body and be able to do anywhere. Knowing it takes time to create lasting habits I added one exercise at a time. By starting small I have over time created a great morning routine.
Nine months ago I started doing squats in the morning. I started with few squats in order to create the habit. By now I do 50 each morning.
Eight months ago I started doing situps every morning. My goal was to create the habit, not setting any records. I started with few situps, the important thing was doing them at all. It has grown over time, now I do 50 situps each morning. That’s something I thought was far out of reach when I started. If my goal had been to do 50 situps I would have given up early, it was too much for me when I started.
Many of you have probably seen the 30 day plank challenge. You start with 10 seconds and then add until you do 3 minutes a day. That kind of challenge does not work for me. A month ago I started doing the plank in the morning. I had the benefits of doing situps for a longer time so once I got started with the plank it was easy to continue.
It’s about you!
What can you do to make your changes easier? To make them at all and then stick to them.