Apple Picking in Oregon’s Hood River Valley

It was a crisp morning, cast over with a dewy, grey blanket and lazy to rise. A tiny sparkle of orange and yellow peeked from the trees, hinting that autumn had just arrived. We awoke with a mind for adventure, inspired by ever shrinking days, and set out to gallivant about the orchards, apple picking for the year’s first pie.

Tasting a Kiyokawa Apple

Along the deep blue river we sped east, hanging on the edge of Oregon, and into the canyon of the Columbia River Gorge. The massive river poured from a blue hole in the grey sky at the far end. At each winding turn we shed the unnecessarily constricting robe of adulthood, layer by layer until, through the blue hole, we were born children again open and ready for anything to come.

7 Ways To Unplug When You Love Technology

Do you need to unplug?

I love digital. It’s thanks to digital that I can live, work, and play, all with a couple pounds that fit in my backpack. I love being able to store everything I need to remember in on place, to shop in my pajamas, and to access information a few clicks away.

Thanks to the digital revolution, I’m able to downsize physical possessions in trade for a little more freedom.

The easy access that is such a strong benefit of the digital age is also its greatest risk. How often I have found myself enjoying a moment or thinking through a problem, and at the smallest break the reaction is to fill the void by reaching for my phone or clicking to the nearest webpage.

The age of ultimate access to information and amazingly inexpensive digital tools is also one of great distraction. In this post I’ll show you 7 measures I use to stay in control of my technology.

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.

7 Treatments for a Recovering Perfectionist

I am a recovering perfectionist. Or more accurately, I am a perfectionist who occasionally ends up in rehab, quitting perfection cold turkey, and remembering that life can still be beautiful with a glass half full.

Treat your inner perfectionist

In my many relapses into the mindful abyss of perfectionism, I’ve learned some strategies that help break me from my mental prison.

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.