Personal MBA: Finding Time

Josh Kaufman at the Personal MBA has a post about finding time. Josh echoes my own thoughts on the issue. You don’t make time; you take it. Sometimes taking time is like hammering a square peg in a round hole, but it HAS to be forced. Have you ever been required to attend a pointless meeting? You know, the kind of meeting that is either for the glorification of self-important people? Or the kind of meeting that does nothing more than facilitate in-fighting among another group? Have you ever tried to fight to get out of that meeting to get real work done? Yeah, square peg.

Way back in 1996 when I read “10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management”, I learned that the statement “I don’t have time” is a lie. It really means “I value something else more than whatever you’re asking for during that time slot”. Because of that, I avoid telling people “I don’t have time”. I also avoid the feeling-hurting “I value something else more during that time slot.” I’ll sometimes say “I have to do x” or “I’m busy with x at that time”. Sometimes I’ll use the more general “I’m busy with other things”.

I try to be honest with people, without being a jerk and without using the clichéd “I don’t have time”. I also realize that my priorities can be fluid, and I will sometimes reprioritize accordingly.

I’m starting a blog post about silly things we say without really thinking about what they mean. I think “I don’t have time” is one of them.

Lifehacker: Do You Snooze?

Lifehacker has a survey posted with a blog entry yesterday. It asks the question: Do you Snooze?

Well, do you? Do you hit the snooze button?

I used to. I can remember in high school, I’d set highly ambitious goals to get out of bed early. Then I’d hit snooze every 9 minutes for the next hour.

That was 18+ years ago. I’ve since learned that no matter how tired I am when my alarm goes off, I’m better off just waking up and getting moving. I will be far worse off if I hit snooze.

I’ve gotten to the point where I’m so used to swiping my finger across my iPhone screen to turn the alarm off. By the time I think to hit snooze, it’s too late. I’d have to enter my passcode, open alarms, and reset the alarm for later. Then I’d have to set it back again later.

68% of respondents in Lifehacker’s poll admitted to hitting snooze every morning. Are you one of them?

I’m not.

How To Use A Daily Capture Mind Map

Way back in September, I wrote a post about using a concept called a Daily Capture Mind Map. It was to address a serious vulnerability in my own productivity system.

For the most part, it worked really well. I began using Mind Manger for iPhone. I kept this map on it. I treated this as a dashboard and used it to park information that I needed access to quickly. Prior to buying Mind Manager for iPhone, I was using Mind Meister, an online mind mapping service with a free plan. At the time I had two computers for work on two different networks, so I could access my dashboard at either, plus at home.

iPhone Pictures 195

With Mind Manager for iPhone, if I was out and about, and came up with a new idea, or an action item, I would park it on this mind map until I could get to it later. If somebody committed to get something to me, it went on here. And, if I committed something to somebody else, it went on here. I referred to it several times a day.

It worked really well for a while. At least, it worked until I didn’t have a job anymore. For some reason, I’m a lot better at tracking lots of information than I am very little information. Once I was removed from my position in November, I didn’t have anything else to track. I haven’t really used this map much since then.

I’m going to dust this map back off as I go about my job search.

Congrats to Brad Isaac! 80% of Success is Just Showing Up

Congratulations to Brad Isaac, who had an essay make it into a Tom Peters book!

Brad wrote an essay a while back (I remember reading it) about how 80% of success is just showing up. You can download a .pdf of the relevant pages from Brad's post.

This came at a great time, as I'm about to face an enormous personal challenge. Showing up is going to be the hardest part.

What Exacly Is A Clear Vision?

UPDATE 15 MAR 19: I originally wrote this post on my iPhone. I'm sorry that it quadruple posted, and that it took me several days to discover and fix it. I had trouble with TypePad's iPhone client. I thought it was timing out. I tried to post, and the client crashed. Then I brought it back up, tried to post again, and the client crashed again. Then I tried to post with the mobile client in Safari. The same post went up 3 times, and was poorly formatted.

I got the idea for this post from a tweet by Dan Miller:

If you
don't have a clear vision – strategy, tactics and hard work will just
leave you exhausted and depleted. http://bit.ly/dkXXmG

If you haven't noticed, I'm currently in a position where comments like that create a different reaction in me. "That's nice, Dan. You got your success." Having come off the greatest failure of my career and being reduced to working for a micromanager, it discourages me.

It makes me wonder, just what the heck is a clear vision? I have visions. I have goals. I was writing my goals down every day. I have tons of MindManager and Freemind mindmaps about my visions, goals, roles, and horizons of focus. I read all the popular success literature. I listen to Dave Ramsey and David Allen and Stephen Covey and Tim Ferriss and Ramit Sethi and Michael Hyatt and many others. Where the heck is my success?

I hope someday I can write a book or host a TV show about how great it is to have a vision. Then mid career failures can tell me how easy it is to say it.
But really, is my vision just unclear? Have I not defined my goals clearly enough? What's the problem? Why am I stuck in a cubicle next to the coffee pot working for a micromanager and wondering if I wasted my time and money getting a degree?

Free Tony Robbins “Awaken the Giant Within” eBook and Audiobook Download

I came across this recently. A former Tony Robbins trainer is offering both the eBook and Audiobook versions of "Awaken the Giant Within" for free.

I don't know much about Tony Robbins. I know people who are thrilled with him. If you're into Tony and don't have this book, here's your chance.

How To Achieve Your Goals: Write Them Every Day

Somewhere in the last two weeks, I came across a tip Brian Tracy put in his email about writing your goals down every day. I saved the email for later, and decided to follow the tip.

Somehow, my brain remembered it as “Write your top 10 goals down every morning”, so I began that day. I’ve had times in the past when I would read my goals out loud every morning, but I’ve never written them, with a pen, daily. I decided to give it a try.

So, every morning, I’d take out my Moleskine and write 10 goals. I somehow managed to get 10 goals out of my head and onto paper, and ran with them for now.

I discovered something interesting. As I wrote my goals out every morning, they began to refine themselves. I realized that 4 goals could be combined into 2 goals, making room for 2 more on my list of 10. I can’t say I’ve had that happen to me. At one point in the past, I set a goal, and after looking at it every day decided “nah, I don’t want to do that” and changed direction.

Then, yesterday, I reread the email from Brian Tracy. This is what the section ACTUALLY said:

Goal Setting
Every morning, take three to five minutes to write out your top goals in the present tense. Get a spiral notebook for this purpose. By writing out your ten goals at the beginning of each day, you will program them deep into your subconscious mind.

I’ve never been good with writing down a desired outcome in the present tense. It always felt kind of hokey to me. But, I have nothing to lose right now. I’d like to see a change of direction in at least one area of my life, specifically, the area of my life that brings in the money. I’m at a low point right now. It’s a long story, and if you’ve followed my last few weeks of entries, you realize that I need to erect some boundaries in what I share with other people. Go ahead and read my back entries through November, then keep going. These blog posts don’t read themselves.

OK, writing goals in the present tense. I decided to try it because I have nothing to lose. I wrote all 10 of my goals in the present tense, as if they already happened (i.e. “I own an iPad”). Just kidding on that one, but you should get the point.

Something strange happened: I looked at my goals in a different light. I reworded a couple of them, but I was forced to consider if more of my goals were really where I wanted to end up. I also realized that looking at my goals in the present tense, 3 of them end up in the same place, so they’re really just the means to the end of a single goal.

Consider this scenario. You set a goal “I want a big house.” Now, look at it in the present tense: “I have a big house”. Think about it. “Uh-oh! I have a big house. Man, this thing takes a lot of time to clean, and it costs a fortune to air condition. I live in New Jersey, and the property taxes are astronomical! Did I really want a house this big?”

It’s hard to describe, but I guess I can say, looking at my goals in the present tense also showed me the consequences of those goals. It made me wonder if that is really where I wanted to end up after all.

I’m going to keep up with this exercise and see where it ends up. Hopefully, it ends up with my goals met.

What about you? What techniques do you use to set and meet your goals? Have you tried writing them every day in the present tense?