Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

A Thanksgiving Quote

 

"Still Life" by Vincent van Gogh, Legion of Honor, San Francisco (photo by Margaret Lukens)

 

For all that has been, thanks.
For all that will be, yes.

Dag Hammarskjold, Swedish diplomat, first Secretary General of the United Nations (1905-1961)

Worth Repeating – October posts from New Leaf News

 

Still fresh, still good for you! (Farmer's Market, Granville Island, British Columbia. Photo by Margaret Lukens)

I’ve dipped into the New Leaf News archives to share a few posts that still seem as fresh and relevant today as they did in Octobers past. In case you missed them the first time around, here they come again!

I’m still using mind-mapping as a technique to organize and view more information than is possible with a list or outline. And since I wrote about it last year, I have begun making some mind-maps using a piece of free software that couldn’t be easier: MindMeister. I recently used it to develop the curriculum for my new teleclass/workshop PortaVault Prep. It enabled me to fit essential notes for three hours of class time on a single page.

Do you believe that multitasking is a useful productivity practice? My work with clients indicates you’re not alone. Still, research on how our brains execute tasks is yielding stronger evidence that we need to stop interrupting ourselves. Read this advice from an 18th century father to his son, and take it to heart.

Want your productivity instructions boiled down like a concentrated sauce? Here is last year’s light-hearted look at the main ingredients of getting more done.

Wishing you a happy October!

Why Tasks Hang On – Three Productivity Traps to Avoid

Gum tree seed pods stick; your tasks don't have to. (photo by M. Lukens)

Take a look at your to-do list. Are there things that have been lurking there for weeks, maybe months? How do you feel when you think of those tenacious tasks? Tired? Discouraged?

You can get rid of those “Velcro jobs” faster if you know how they got to be clinging to your days in the first place.

There are three common reasons that tasks hang on.

1. As my father said, “You can always think of more things to do in a day than you can get done.” Expecting yourself to accomplish everything that enters your mind just isn’t realistic.

To avoid this trap, observe how long various tasks actually take. Try scheduling tasks in your calendar to give yourself a more realistic benchmark. If I have 10 hours of work to do, but only six hours available, something is going to go undone, at least for today. Recognize that on days when your calendar is full of appointments, you probably won’t be able to accomplish a lot of other work. Be realistic in your expectations.

And if a task is non-essential, give it an expiration date. This prevents jobs from dragging on indefinitely.

As the philosopher William James observed, “there is nothing more fatiguing than the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.”

I find that because I dream up new ideas nearly every day, I often have assigned more jobs to myself than I could ever possibly finish. If I haven’t written that non-essential proposal or made that call within the deadline, I’ve learned to delete it. If it’s really important to me, it will come back again. For now, I’ll actually be more productive if I just let it go.

2. In his book The Procrastinator’s Digest, a Concise Guide to Solving the Procrastination Puzzle, Timothy Pychyl, PhD defines procrastination as “a needless voluntary delay.” Procrastination is a terrible productivity trap that keeps tasks hanging on, usually the least pleasant ones.

One strategy Dr. Pychyl recommends for moving past procrastination is to understand the costs of our procrastination and the benefits of acting without delay. Each day, do the least palatable job first. Then, the rest of the day looks brighter, and you are unburdened by the costs of procrastination on those unpleasant jobs.

3. If your goals and objectives aren’t clear, there’s no good way to know which tasks are most important. When everything looks like it has equal weight, important things are bound to drag on.

As I teach in my Plan to Thrive workshop, the solution is to make a clear and compelling plan that really suits you and your business.  This will help you sort out the really essential jobs from the “nice-to-have” ones.

Did you know that people routinely over-estimate what they can accomplish in one year, and also wildly under-estimate what they can do in three to five years? Think about it: if you’re like most people, what you’re doing today is something you could hardly have dreamed of just a few years ago. A clear and compelling plan can help you to be both realistic and ambitious about the tasks you really want to accomplish.

What do you want to brush off your task list? Declare it by leaving a comment here.

Worth Repeating – September posts from New Leaf News

(photo by Margaret Lukens)

I’ve sorted through the New Leaf archives to choose a few posts from Septembers past. Here’s a sample of what was on our mind during recent years.

When no work is getting done, you can’t seem to muster any enthusiasm, and yet you can’t relax either, it’s time to get serious about avoiding burnout. Here are some important clues to look for and some useful steps to take.

The modern world seems determined to shatter our focus ; don’t allow it! Minimize interruptions and feel the joy of focused work.

Need a quote for your September screen-saver? Try this Chinese proverb to remind you of your commitment to focus.

Wishing all New Leaf News readers & writers a lovely September!

Worth repeating – August posts from New Leaf News

I’m sharing a few posts from the New Leaf archives. Here’s what was on our mind in August during the past couple of years.

Productivity depends on being able to work in comfort. Eliminate at least one pain in the neck with a wireless headset.

Successfully planning for the future requires acknowledging past wins. Are you overlooking this step in your business plan?

The longer I use Evernote, the more I like this free tool for storing, sorting, and retrieving information. Is your desk littered with a bunch of little notes that you don’t know how to keep? Evernote might be the answer to keeping the information but ditching the paper.

Avant-garde artist and filmmaker Andy Warhol understood the art of business and the business of art. Here he speaks about both endeavors.

Happy August to all the New Leaf News readers & writers!

Worth Repeating – July posts from New Leaf News

photo by Margaret Lukens

I’m sharing a few posts from the New Leaf archives. Here’s what was on our mind in Julys past.

How can you make progress on a goal that, for lack of a “natural” deadline, seem to take a back seat to everything else? Here are a couple of ideas to help you get it done.

In good economic times and bad, it always pays to be respectful of your most firmly limited resource,  time. Are you saving a little money but squandering your time?

Abraham Lincoln provides a timely and timeless hope for Independence Day and every day.

Happy Independence Day

An Iraqi voter (AP Photo/Andrew Parsons/Pool, 2005)

We should constantly be reminded of what we owe in return for what we have.

— Eleanor Roosevelt, May 10, 1940 (quoted in No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: the Home Front in World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin)

Simplicity – a quote

St. Louis Arch (photo by Margaret Lukens)

You know you’ve achieved perfection in design, not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away.

Antoine de Saint Exupery

Rest, rejuvenate, recommit

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

— Bertrand Russell

Stinson Beach, CA - enjoying a break

One of the most popular productivity books of the past two decades is David Allen’s book Getting Things Done. And while I appreciate his approach, and use many aspects of it myself, I’m afraid that his title may lead some people astray.

Ultimately, it is not about “getting things done.” There are so many things to do, we could get things done 24/7 and still not make any progress. There will always be tasks to do. In our hearts we know this, right?

What matters most is choosing the right things to do, then approaching them with focus and organization. Too much attention on getting things done can lead us to overlook a crucial piece of the productivity picture: time for rest.

Every week, without fail, devote a day (or two half-days, if you must) to rest, rejuvenation, and re-commitment. Do those things that give you joy, that make you pause, that remind you of why you bother to “get things done” in the first place.

Without attention to rejuvenation and re-commitment, business people are in danger of burning out — that condition where nothing matters, no carrot is juicy enough, no stick is scary enough, to make us move. Do not flirt with burn-out.

Remember that your professional life is about the pace, not the race. You must create a pace that is sustainable over years in order to succeed as an entrepreneur. If you are ill, take days off. If you are frazzled, take an afternoon and do what you love. And every week, give some time to activities that provide rest, rejuvenation, and re-commitment.

Here are some of the things that give me some “R & R & R”:

  • drive an hour to the mountains & hike among towering redwoods.
  • drive to the beach, walk miles on sand, get chilled and sunburned, eat lunch at Barbara’s Fish Trap.
  • attend a conference that really gets me excited about the possibilities of being an entrepreneur and reminds me that not only can I do it, I MUST!
  • walk my feet off in the city (in my case, San Francisco.) Take pictures.
  • if physical effort isn’t called for, spend a day (and I mean a whole day!) in a hammock with a library book that has nothing to do with work. I suggest West With the Night, by Beryl Markham – she’s not nearly as well-known as she should be.
  • or spend the day on the sofa with a bunch of movies in the “watch instantly” queue: five good heists (The Thomas Crown Affair, Dog Day Afternoon, The Italian Job, Ocean’s Eleven, …) , ten hours of English history (Anne of a Thousand Days, Elizabeth R, A Man for All Seasons, Mary Queen of Scots, …), or six degrees of Kevin Bacon (Footloose, The River Wild, A Few Good Men, Mystic River, National Lampoon’s Animal House, …) — you choose the theme.

What have you done lately to rest, rejuvenate, and recommit? What will you do this week? Leave your comment here to spark ideas for other readers.

Happy Memorial Day

http://www.enssc.com/products.aspx?store=517&story=216A quote for the day:

I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives.

I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.

-Abraham Lincoln

(Hand-painted plate available through the museum store at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, in Springfield, IL)

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