A Day To Celebrate Your Hard Work

If you’re like me, you probably have a laser focus on the future and don’t look back often enough. On this Labor Day, I encourage you to take whatever opportunity you can to pause and reflect on what you’ve accomplished over the past year.

Whether your current labor is one of love, or you are simply struggling through that you may have a labor of love soon, your efforts are something to be proud of.

I am taking the day off from blogging and will see you soon.

Escape Chaos, Find Zen, and Attain Maximum Efficacy

Got Zen?

I found a quote recently that has inspired a lot of introspection and rethinking productivity. The quote is from Peter Drucker, known as, “the creator and inventor of modern management” (Bloomberg) and is as follows:

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”

I’ve spent the greater part of my life mastering efficiency. I can get things done. I can cut to the chase. I can separate the essentials from the fluff. I can blaze a path from A to B and defend, against all odds, the invasion of any other unnecessary letter trying to squeeze its way in between.

However, now that I see clearly that efficiency is only half of the equation, I realize that without effectiveness, or doing the right things, efficiency has no purpose. Tim Ferris dedicates an entire chapter to this topic in The Four Hour Workweek, summarizing, “Doing something well doesn’t make it important.”

In an effort to increase my effectiveness, one of the self-improvement exercises I’m working on is focus. As you may have read, my life has been a bit insane lately; I’m spinning a lot of heavy plates. The result leaves me with little time for the most important things, which are then all fighting for my attention, leaving me without attention to any of them.

In this post I outline four practices I’m testing to battle my lack of time, get some focus, and getting to what’s important.

Busy Days Eating Up My Dream Time

Too tired to dream?

I thought I would take a break from the usual, instructional blog and share something a bit more entertaining.

This post is a horrifying account of how my days have been lately, far too busy with my day job while actively trying to create a dream life.

To quote Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” The best of times because I can see the future I want clear as day. The worst of times because it makes the present that much more unbearable.

I share this simply to illustrate that what we must do can wear us down, but we must never let it keep us from doing what we want to do.

What’s Important vs. Keeping Busy

Important isn't the same as busy

I woke up early, poured a cup of coffee, and sat down to take on the day. It was time take my orders. I opened up Nozbe, where I keep my task lists for all of my projects. Each project has a fairly extensive list, from simple tasks like fixing a typo on a blog post, to extensive tasks like building a new product page for one of my websites.

To mitigate a wasted morning, I spent fifteen minutes last night selecting the next tasks in each project, and “starring” them in Nozbe so they will appear in the “next actions” list.

I sip my coffee and review my orders on the next actions list, which total 10 today.

What Are You Waiting For?

There are some very important things I want out of my life and I’ve been asking myself the question lately: “What am I waiting for?”

Don't wait, jump.

It’s hard to put a clear finger on it. I want to make sure I’ve got a good foothold on the next move before I let go of the ledge. But the deeper I dig, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m just rationalizing my fear to reach out and grab my dream life.

How To Step Toward Your Goals

Goals and objectives are often used in the same context, but I find it useful to separate them. A goal is a specific outcome I want to achieve; an objective is a defined step towards achieving that goal.

Step toward your goals

The purpose of objectives is to break a goal into manageable parts. Smaller goals are easier to manage and may only have a single set of objectives. Larger goals may need to be broken down into layers of objectives.

Get Fit In 3 Days A Week

I started a 6-day exercise routine last year but couldn’t keep it up. Even though each routine was very short, life continued to throw obstacles in the way. This post is an outline of the new exercise routine I’m using to get fit in only 3 days a week.

Exercise and get fit

There is value in daily exercise. Once I’m able to free up more time, I intend to go back to my daily program. But at this season in my life, daily exercise isn’t working.

If You Can’t Beat Obstacles, Join Them

My team is at the end of a busy project. My normal workday is 7:30 am to 4:30 pm, but as we approach a hard deadline, I am often putting in extra hours to keep the pace. This extra time at work eats into other priorities. I have tried to get life on my schedule, but for now this just is what it is.

If you can't beat obstacles, join them.

My perfect week is being challenged by the sun as well. To keep on track with building the bridge to my dream life (i.e., this blog), I have been getting up at 4:30 am every weekday to have a couple hours to write. The only problem with this plan is the long summer days in the Pacific Northwest. I might be able to manage this schedule in winter, but when it stays light outside until 10:00 pm, forget about it.

Use Evernote To Learn A Language

Last year Olga and I spent two weeks in Ukraine to celebrate our marriage. I was able to meet her wonderful family and friends and she was even happier to see many people, including her dad, that she hadn’t seen in nine years. The only problem was the language barrier. I returned committed to learning Ukrainian by our next visit.

My reason to learn a language

My wonderful family (Olga’s parents) during our visit to Ukraine.

After nearly a year, I haven’t made much progress. There are plenty of good reasons, but ultimately I just haven’t stayed committed. Working on my Ukrainian is on my goals list for this year (though it’s not a good goal—see my post on writing good goals). I have been failing to move this goal forward, so I’m working on a new strategy.

7 Reasons To Start a Blog

When I first started blogging, I had no idea how much it would help in my relentless quest for self-improvement. In little time, it helped me gain clarity on what I want out of life. Blogging has proved enough benefit that I am finally a believer. I think everyone should have a blog.

Start a blog.Share your wisdom.

To start a blog, you don’t need to be a writer, you don’t need be computer savvy, and you don’t even need to know what you want to say. In fact, most people who blog are none of the above.