Archive for focus

Are you too busy to live your life?

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-chicken-image15981374Once upon a time I was taught the Transcendental Meditation technique. It’s a mantra-based meditation that is done for 20 minutes twice a day, but that is not my point. The thing about the training that keeps coming back to me is this frequent admonishment:

If you are too busy to meditate, then you are too busy.

As a time management consultant I now believe this concept can be applied to ANY activity in life that is important to you:

If you are too busy to _________, then you are too busy.

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The Chinese Menu Time Management Technique

Chinese Menu Time Management fortune cookieAre you familiar with the Happy Family Chinese-American restaurant meal? Choose one item from menu Column A, one from Column B… and with six you get egg roll…?

Well, that’s how I manage my time. Allow me to explain…

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Clear Your Mind and Get it All Done… Sooner or Later

2013-05-21 06.40.52I know how to get stuff done, and I can teach you how, too. I have tools and systems for all the stages of workflow (collect, process, organize, review and do). I have an inbox and project lists which I clear and review weekly. I say no to activities that don’t support my goals and priorities. For the most part I capture and process new tasks as they occur to me, adding them to my Master Project List or scheduling them on my calendar. I have a notebook handy for capturing stray thoughts when I want to stay focused on my current activity and not worry about losing the thought.

But life happens. Sometimes I get lazy, or sick, or preoccupied, or I’m traveling, or busier than usual, and stuff piles up (physical and mental clutter), and I start to get overwhelmed. (more…)

How Can Less be More?

I have always struggled with the phrase “Less is more.”  I suppose I have taken it a bit too literally, thinking, “Less is NOT more. Less is BETTER, in many cases, but it’s not MORE, so why would anyone say that? “

But now, from an organizing perspective, I understand the phrase to mean that the less stuff you have, and the more organized it is, the more easily you can find it, make use of it, and enjoy it. Having access to more of your stuff is better than literally having more stuff buried under other stuff that you don’t even remember you have… right?

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The Fractal Planner: An Electronic Task Management Tool Review

Several years ago, before I moved to Albuquerque (a detail which will be important here in a minute), my neighbor called to ask if I would come over and help her middle-school-age boys with their math homework. Their father wasn’t home, and she was at a loss. I agreed because: 1) I loved my neighbors, and 2) I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering, which, although I don’t remember much about calculus and differential equations, somehow made me think, “How hard could their homework be?” (more…)

Memory Tip: One is for Gun

One time on a cruise ship sea day, when there were only on-board activities to choose from, I attended a little seminar on improving one’s memory. Greg Gleason, who doubles as a stage magician at night, amazed and entertained us with his memory tricks and taught us “One is for Gun”.

“One is for Gun” is a method of remembering a list of words, items, tasks, or ideas. I thought it was silly, and doubted I would ever use it. For starters, I didn’t WANT One to be a gun! I can’t relate to guns; why couldn’t One be something else? (I don’t know…sun? fun?) And if I managed to remember what One was this time, would I get confused later when trying to remember a different One?

I must say, though, I have found it to be incredibly useful in situations where I don’t have my little notebook and pen handy. (more…)

Success Breeds Success: Finish Something!

A senior coworker once gave me a great piece of advice early in my corporate career. I was feeling overwhelmed and whiny about all the projects I had been assigned. I was paralyzed with indecision about what to work on next. What was his advice? Finish something. (more…)

All I Really Need to Know About Organizing I Learned in Yoga

woman and yoga

As a professional organizer I have found that yoga provides a perfect metaphor for the balance we are all seeking in our lives. Balance helps us organize our space, manage our time, and improve our relationships with ourselves and others.

Here are 7 lessons I have learned from yoga class. They are all based on, but not limited to, Bikram yoga, an intense 90-minute workout consisting of 26 poses, done in 105 degrees, and 40 percent humidity. The idea behind the heat is partly to sweat toxins out of your body, but it also enables you to go deeper into the poses, getting greater benefit from each one, without hurting yourself.

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Are You Living a Balanced Life?

einstein-on-bikesIt’s popular these days to claim that a balanced life is impossible to achieve. So why try? I agree that it’s a waste of energy to strive for a perfect balance between your work life and personal life. And it’s certainly not going to be balanced every day, or every week. To the extent that you can integrate the two, by working at something you love and being your own boss, more power to you! But I still think there are ways to restore balance to your life when you find yourself listing to one side and going in circles.

I love this quote:

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”  — Albert Einstein

What else can bicycle riding teach us about life? Here are some lessons I’ve learned:

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