3 Ways I’m Freshening Up This Spring

Today, spring is officially here. You can certainly see it in Portland. I took the picture below a few days ago while on a walk to a nearby park.


Spring is here in Portland, Oregon

Spring is a time to freshen up. It’s not like New Years, when last year’s goals get regurgitated and wiped off for a few weeks. It’s a time when the changing season can actually inspire you to make something happen.

So it’s time for spring cleaning. This year I’m not just cleaning out the garage and getting rid of junk I haven’t used in years. I’m also cleaning out my routine to ensure I’m focusing on my most important goals.

How To Eliminate the Unimportant

In Dr. Steven Covey’s best selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he breaks down time management into four quadrants:

  1. Important and urgent
  2. Important but not urgent
  3. Not important, but urgent
  4. Not important and not urgent

Throw out the unimportant

In the book, Dr. Covey emphasizes the need to focus one’s life in the first two quadrants. In other words, the goal for time management is to direct your time towards important tasks.

It helps to start with some definitions. An important task is one that measurably moves you towards one of your goals. It is key to understand that most tasks are important to someone, but that doesn’t mean they are important to you.

Eliminating the unimportant starts by implementing the important. Below are three ways to make sure you’re doing what is important to you, followed by three ways not to do unimportant things.

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.

Things That Matter Most for a Great Life

If you want to have a great life, you must heed the wisdom of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”

What matters most?

To ensure what matters most is not left behind, clearly define what your most important priorities are. Zig Ziglar famously presented his top priorities in his wheel of life. Countless other important leaders have followed in his steps.

Are You Skipping Your Priorities?

We got home Tuesday morning around 1:00 am from a long weekend in Chicago. It was a fantastic trip visiting family and friends, celebrating an early birthday, and trekking north into Wisconsin to witness a heartfelt wedding. These trips are what life is all about.

Don't yield to your priorities

Photo courtesy of: http://www.freeimages.com/gallery/eastop

The trip landed in the middle of a very busy project at work. To justify the time off, I put in extra hours for weeks before the red-eye flight out of town last Thursday. And as much as I wanted to take Tuesday off for a day of recovery, it just wasn’t possible.

How To Design Your Perfect Week

This the final part in a three-part series on designing your perfect week. You can read the first post: here.

William Jennings Bryan said about destiny: “It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” Achieving your destiny starts with some lofty goals, broken down into strategic objectives, and executed in manageable tasks.


Screen shot of my perfect week calendar

Whether your life is so busy you can hardly find time for your goals, or so free that you struggle with focus, to get more done towards achieving your destiny, you must design your perfect week. Here are the six steps I use:

5 Reasons To Design Your Week

This the second in a three-part series on designing your perfect week. You can read the first post: here.

Have you ever wondered, “Where did all the time go?” If you are a high achiever, trying to break out of the normal life, then you probably ask that question every day. When you’re staring up at that tall peak where you’re wildest dreams sit do you wonder, “How can I possibly get there with so much to do?” The secret is to separate your visioning from your working by designing a perfect week in advance.

5 reasons to design your perfect week

I started writing the step-by-step guide on designing your perfect week by covering why it is so important to design your perfect week. There were so many questions to elaborate on that it has become a post on its own. The guide is just a post away, but if your not totally convinced yet, or are simply excited to see what a perfect week can do for you, read on for my top 5 reasons.

Goals and Your Busy Life

For most of my life, I’ve struggled with time management. There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done while still having some margin to enjoy life and stay healthy. If you’re trying to improve your life, I’m sure you struggle with the same thing: how can I possibly get it all done?

Get your goals on the calendar!

Right now, I’m contributing value in a very demanding full-time job, building a business around this blog, writing a book on career change, working on a project around entrepreneurship, keeping abreast on several investment newsletters, all while sticking with my daily exercise routine, spending quality time with my wife Olga and family and friends, and making time for rest. I know it probably sounds impossible, but suspend your doubts for a moment. I’ll show you that you can accomplish far more than you think, and easier than you ever imagined, if you intentionally move the bar one small step at a time.