Resting Place…Finding It Daily

Over the weekend Crystalminnie and I did a spiritual retreat where we went through a couple chapters of book called Resting Place. It taught me a lot about myself and how much I need to find daily my resting place. I can get so caught up in the muck of the day and keep running a million miles an hour and never find true rest. We distinguished between laziness and rest as well as I have struggled with that this year to date. I can either be really productive or really lazy with no in between. Finding that resting place during the day is so important to me after this weekend, as then I am able to be productive when I need to be and then relax when I need to without feeling guilt for taking it easy.

By far this was the most impactful passage I read this weekend: “So we heed the cry of our soul and the invitation of our Shepherd, and we move toward that banquet that is his loving, unending presence. Our hunger keeps us moving and consuming, preventing us from truly resting. When we learn to feast on God’s presence, our appetite for false food loses its power. Whether we feast through silence, through stillness, through meditation or contemplation, God longs to feed us. And he leads us beside a rippling stream, where a table gleams with white linen and platters groan with delicacies. Seating us, spreading a napkin over our lap, he stands guard, holding off the enemies braying for our heart and soul. We dine in this sanctuary As you prepare to feast, may God become, again, your resting place.” ~Resting Place

Is it a Priority? Or Small Task?

Every small action you take leads you closer to your goal. One of the areas I have been really struggling on this year is prioritization. The endless to do list I have down on paper and choosing which activity will give me the biggest bang for my buck…so to speak. At the same time, as I look at my to-do list I question how small some of my tasks are to some degree. This is what Michael Hyatt dubs, “Tyranny of Small Tasks.”

Instead of fewer difficult tasks we are left with a larger volume of small tasks (writing hundreds of emails). We have become plagued by a tyranny of tiny tasks, individually simple but collectively oppressive — Tim Wu

For the past 2 weeks I have been going through a book called The InnerGuide – Life-Coach in a Book – 20 Day Planner. It has caused me to look at my goals, prioritize, consolidate, and eliminate tasks that do not move the needle towards achieving goals I set out on at the beginning of the year. It has been very refreshing and has allowed me to organize my thoughts truly prioritizing. As Michael Hyatt states,

“Working at relentless pace is unmanageable, unproductive, unprofitable, and not any fun.”

Not every task is going to be fun but if you find yourself running around and plagued by the tyranny of tiny tasks and were like me, try some of these methods below:

Here are four simple ways to identify and defeat your terrible little tyrants:
1. Evaluate. Look at your daily routine and tasks that make it up. How much is moving the needle vs. filling time? Parse them out and rank them. I have ranks them by high, medium, and low. I only have 2 goals for each high and medium goal a day as that is about all I can seem to get done each day.
2. Eliminate. How many low-return activities and time-drains are on your list? Which ones could you just strike out now? And by that I mean right now. There’s no point waiting while more tasks multiple. Start hacking.
3. Automate. Every time you have to think about a process, it takes something from you. So why not do the thinking once and for all? All kinds of things can be automated: billing, reports, recurring information requests, and more.
4. Consolidate. What you can’t ditch, switch, or automate, you should consolidate. Sometimes labeled batching, the idea is simple enough: If you lump similar tasks together, you gain efficiencies and time by not jumping back and forth between dissimilar activities. (Hyatt, 2015)
At the end of the day, spend a few minutes and self-assess the day. Things I include are:
1) Things I am grateful for…
2) Did I accomplish all my goals today? If not what got in the way?
3) What will I do differently tomorrow?
4) List unfinished items

However you choose to prioritize, eliminate, automate, and consolidate, you’ll be glad you did. You’ll gain hours of time each week for the things that matter most, including your own peace of mind.

Question: What could you accomplish if you were free from the tyranny of tiny tasks?

Links: http://www.amazon.com/InnerGuide-Coach-90-Day-Goals-Planner/dp/B00G770DIO/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1439844536&sr=8-3&keywords=Inner-guide

The Eagle

 
I found out today some fascinating facts about the Eagle that I did not know. These facts I can relate to when it comes to life in general and areas I know I can do better at. Instead of being an eagle somedays I end up being a vulture…feeding on dead things. We are called to be higher than this and not eat and have a diet of dead things.
Eagles have strong vision, which focuses up to 5 kilometers from the air.

When an eagle sites prey- even a rodent from this distance, he narrows his focus on it and sets out to get it. No matter the obstacle, the eagle will not move his focus from the prey until he grabs it. Have a vision and remain focused no matter what the obstacle and you will succeed. 

Eagles do not eat dead things…they prefer live prey.

They feed on fresh prey. Vultures eat dead animals but not eagles. Steer clear of dead things and make sure you are feeding yourself with things that are of on high. Check your diet.

Eagles rejuvenate.

When the Eagle grows old, his feathers become weak and cannot take him as fast as he should. When he feels weak and about to die, he retires to a place far away in the rocks. While there, he plucks out every feather on his body until he is completely bare. He stays in this hiding place until he has grown new feathers, then he can come out. We occasionally need to shed off old habits & items that burden us without adding to our lives…

  

Reset

  

I have been on break for the last couple of weeks from school. I felt the need to reset on a number of fronts – aka – many of my goals. You ever get that way? Where you state to yourself I just need to hit reset. It has felt that way for me for the last couple of months as I have been running at full steam ahead especially at work. Some of my goals actually went to the side until I got through this busy time. It has helped to have another person join my team so I can shift some of my responsibilities to him. Excited to have another member of my team. Even more excited about my new role.

That said…have some other goals I am looking forward to going after that I have not touched yet this year.

Here we go….

Controlling Procrastination

THE PROCRASTINATION FLOWCHART

Can you relate with the flowchart above? I found it fascinating that someone has the time to create such a flowchart. Made me laugh out loud tonight when I came across it. When I found it, I actually was blowing it up to see the what each of the boxes stated. I missed the point of the picture…get it?

The above picture is what it can be like some days, weeks, months, or even years. That project you were looking to get done last week has now turned into a month and so forth. I am not saying that I do not struggle with procrastination…I do. At the same time I have tried a number of ways to at least control it as it never truly goes away. Below are some of my thoughts and ideas on controlling procrastination:

Strategy 1: Realistic Goal Setting 

One common reason for procrastinating is that often too much of the same activity must be done at one sitting. Rather than spending three hours in one evening reading or doing that unpleasant task, plan to chunk that task up. This is especially important for tasks which are difficult or unpleasant. If you spend thirty to sixty minutes each day, rather than leaving a week’s work for one marathon session, you’ll be far less likely to put the work off. 

Strategy 2: Plan to Work, Plan to Play 

In the section above I used the term “plan” – something which is usually missing from the a situation in which you procrastinate. If you use the “I do whatever I feel like doing whenever I feel like doing it” method of time management, this scenario is probably familiar to you: you can’t work effectively because your mind is on the other things you’d rather be doing, yet you feel guilty when you’re not working because there’s so much waiting to be done. 

Although there is something to be said for waiting for inspiration to strike, it is usually not a very efficient way to get things done. Planning does not mean rigid or elaborate scheduling, but it does require some skill and intelligent decision making. A good time plan is probably the single most effective way to control procrastination. Figure out a plan that works for you. 

Strategy 3: The “Making a Molehill out of a Mountain” Method 

Procrastination often results when the task seems difficult, unpleasant, or overpowering. You can bring the task down to size and make it less intimidating by using this method. As soon as you receive a big task or pothead, set aside a mere 10 or 15 minutes a day to work on it. By the end of one week, you’ll have spent at least an hour on the task, and you may have found that it’s not quite as scary as you thought. By spending only a few minutes each day, you are accomplishing a small, and therefore less intimidating task – one that is less likely to get put off. Once you are involved and maybe even interested in the task, you may be motivated to spend more time on it. Be cautious, however, since very large tasks require larger blocks of time. Manageable, daily periods of work are the key, while starting early helps to ensure that due dates will be met. 

Strategy 4: Self Discipline? 

Often people blame their problems with procrastination on laziness or a lack of self discipline. However, the cause is usually not as simple as that. For example, there is an interesting connection between procrastination and perfectionism. You want it just right and so when you know you are in a bind and can’t get it done then you are going to put it off and when it is not up to snuff the blame is I did not have a lot of time.

Procrastination can sometimes be an indication of a fear of failure, or of disappointing family. Sometimes it is a symptom of a lack of motivation, the loss of a sense of purpose for a certain task or role. Understanding why you procrastinate is crucial to its undoing. Do some self-reflection. It maybe different for different tasks, roles, or even environments.

Strategy 5: Get Help

Nothing wrong with help. There are tons of tools and resources even for free out on the Internet. Simply Google it and see what you find. Michael Hyatt one of my favorite bloggers and authors has some fascinating views on it: http://michaelhyatt.com/stop-procrastinating.html

Reference:

http://www.timeanalyzer.com/lib/procrastination.htm


Refresh – Time Management

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This year is about refresh and revive. I wrote this a month ago and so far, not too bad. I spent today fixing up my office and laying down a carpet we have been meaning to put down since last year. My office is getting back to normal and hope to spend more time in it.

That said on to the topic of time management. I have felt and seen my schedule get a little out of whack particularly with my new position at work and still maintaining my responsibilities. Been tough to get anything really done outside of work it has felt lately. I have committed that here forward all I can do what I can do in the time allotted.

I have not perfected the best way to tackle a weekly schedule but have spent sometime today in putting a schedule together for the week. I actually tie it to my goals for a given month. Therefore I planned it out by yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily. That way I see some progress to my yearly goals. I will report back towards the tail end of the week on how it went.

Smart Goals

How to Better Control Your Time

Review of 2014

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One word describes 2014 – chaos. It was a chaotic year. It was a crazy year for work, school, home life…life in general was crazy. I am sitting here and we are almost half way through January and I am wondering where has the days gone. Usually by now I am plugging away at goals and announcing to the world what I intend on achieving in this new year. Well I hate to break it to you…I have no clue. But wait a minute…I actually do but I am going after these goals a little different this year based on last years experience. I am putting a plan behind each goal and breaking it up vs just going after it hard. Small steps!!!

This said the review of last year…as I started out it was chaotic. Last year was a year of simplifying and…the only word I can use right now…and I am not entirely sold on…is survival. The first 5 months of last year all built up to a storm so to speak. We lost our dear Friend DB. I miss him a lot. Things were crazy busy at work and building a new company, school was hectic and trying to find time to write. I saw it coming in April but the theme that was arising was simplifying. And we did such that after May hit. In many regards because we had to. We could no longer sustain the busy, busy, busy life. It wasn’t fruitful and I felt very thin, like way too little butter spread over too much bread.

God calmed the storm and in many instances almost instantly…

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It was a much needed year of perspective and slowing down, whether I liked it or not. It was a tough year but in many respects a year that taught me a lot about the need of boundaries, the need of rest, the need to live simply, and the need of friends and family. We lost a dear friend and cousin at the end of summer, William. This was another junction in 2014 that impacted my wife and I greatly (the whole family) and I am still working through it all.

To end 2014 I got very ill. It was definitely not how I wanted to end of the year but in all actuality symbolizes what 2014 was all about…simplify and SLOW DOWN and Prioritize.

This year…I’m calling it early…2015 will be about REFRESH and REVIVE. It will be a year to dream again. A year to set some lofty goals. But it will be a year to push the reset button, refresh, and revive life in general.

From a work perspective I am starting off with a new job. I am now the internal wholesaler for the account that I have loved dearly these last 3 1/2 years. I will now get to be proactive on a full time basis which I am super excited about. Not that I have not been but it has been hard to manage the proactive and reactive side of things and feeling that I am making a difference. Super excited about it. And now I get to add another member to the account and get a full time account manager. Are you interested?🙂

My wife and I are committed to this year being a year for a refresh and revival. I am excited for the year in terms of the opportunities that lie ahead.

Cheers for now,

BB

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Simplify

Simplify…an amazing word. Simplicity brings balance, freedom, and joy. When we begin to live simply and experience these benefits, we begin to ask the next question, “Where else in my life can i remove distraction and simply focus on the essential?”

That is my goal for this summer. I am taking a break from school this summer quarter to rebalance myself. Spending quality time with my Crystalminnie and focusing, planning, and executing on some goals I set out on this year that have not come to pass.

At the forefront of my mind I have this verse “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 HCSB). Looking for rest for my mind, soul, and spirit…simplify and rebalance. That is the goal and what I will accomplish these coming weeks and months on this break.

BB

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Simplify

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This is the new motto for my wife and I. This winter has been especially hard on a lot of people. We have major Spring Fever and lately a number of issues have come about from water back up in our basement to cars just needing repairs. I have approached these issues with a sense of dread. Dreading to get them done and dealing with these issues. So the last week God has been working on my heart that I need to not look at these things with a sense of dread but that these things are just part of life and approach such events with the simplest approach possible. But at the same time we need to just simplify life. We can create things bigger than they really are and create mole hills into mountains. Anyway…simplify…simplify…simplify. So we have been doing that. Last Friday we just cleaned out the garage. Got rid of a lot of things. Before the end of the month organize the basement including getting rid of some of my books. One thing the water back up showed me is how much I have some hoarding tendencies and I keep every book that I get. Do I really need a political science textbook or an economics textbook from my college days. I don’t think so. So by the end of the month my library will be simplified. Spring cleaning…

Simplicity and organization…that is our motto and our direction. Here is a great clip of what simplicity really means and that I have meditated on this past week on:

Here are three “one things” from the Bible that we would do well to remember so that we don’t get distracted from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. First, we need to remember the glory and certainty of being a child of God lest Satan steal our joy and bring us doubt as to our salvation. Like the blind man who physically received his sight, so, we who have received spiritual sight must never forget the change which we have experienced (2 Corinthians 5:17). The blind man said in John 9:25, “One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” There is one thing we must know, one simple, pure thing, namely, that Jesus made us to see. Secondly, in order to keep things simple, we ought to remember what one thing we are to do. Paul says in Philippians 3:13, “One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Paul knew that he hadn’t arrived spiritually, but he kept on pressing on to the prize of the upward call in Christ Jesus, a call to purity, to devotion, and to the eternal praise and glory of Christ. He didn’t let his past failures keep him from present faithfulness and future rewards. One thing he sought to do, and that was to keep on serving Jesus and yielding to the Spirit’s work in his life. Thirdly, one thing should be our heart’s desire above all other things. David says in Psalm 27:4, “One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple.” For David, there was nothing like a relationship with His Creator. To be intimate with God all the days of his life was the greatest thing he could think of, and this was coming from the king of Israel who had it all. He knew rightly that only God could fulfill his deepest longing and give his life order and meaning and purpose. God is the only perfect being, and as such He is the definition of perfect beauty. He is reason to marvel, to have awe, and to glory. Only He can supply us with joy that will never expire. Only His pleasures are forever (Psalm 16:11).(Keep it Simple, http://www.relevantbibleteaching.com/site/cpage.asp?cpage_id=140025992&sec_id=140001239)

Keep it simple.

Cheers for now,

BB

 

Pomodoro Technique – Getting Unstuck

So I have struggled the last couple of weeks with writing my dissertation research plan. I have treated this like any other assignment in my PhD studies and I have figured out I can’t do that. I got some fire back in my step so to speak on getting this done and to move on. The internet can be your friend or enemy. I decided to see what Amazon had on getting “unstuck” in writing your PhD dissertation and figured out…I am not alone. I found it fascinating the level of books and research actually on getting “unstuck.” I found a couple of books that were helpful. One in particular I have been just soaking in is: “How to Tame your PhD.” It is a brilliant piece. I have read like 50 pages in the last 25 minutes and already feel better about my situation and where I stand in the process of my dissertation. I am not alone. One quote the author used was brilliant and really smacked me right in the head…so to speak: “Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you.” >> Yoda speaking to Anakin at the Jedi Council

That has been weighing on me…I have been looking at this gigantic “project’ so to speak and just the sheer word count and what I have to do to get this thing done. I realized in the 25 or so pages I read of this book…this is a common fear…it is what is called Thesis Panic…and I tell you what…I have it bad. This said, I am glad I am not alone and just realizing this set me at great ease. Now to channel that fear.

One way that the author of this book suggested was setting 1 to 2 hours a day…anything more than this will cause you to go bat crazy. The provided one technique that I have heard of before but glad to see it again and that is the Pomodoro Technique:

There are five basic steps to implementing the technique:
1) Decide on the task to be done
2) Set the pomodoro timer to n minutes (traditionally 25)[1]
3) Work on the task until the timer rings; record with an x
4) Take a short break (3-5 minutes)
5) Every four “pomodori” take a longer break (15–30 minutes)

It is a wonderful technique and I tried it out tonight. It worked. The Thesis Panic is still there but way more subtle than it was before. i end this post with a video of the wise Yoda;-)

Yoda fears the darkside

Cheers!

BB