Every business has projects from time to time that demand our total focus and attention. The good news is that there are certain tactics we can use to keep our edge even when we’re under the gun.
The most important thing is to recognize up front that we have to prepare. If you were going to pitch in the World Series tomorrow, you wouldn’t just show up on game night as if it were any other Tuesday. You can’t just wing something like that.
You would make sure your head was in the game, that you were physically and emotionally ready, that you were focused on the win. It’s that way with any major project—at least if we want to succeed.
I remember clearly how excited I was to leave my full-time job to go freelance. It wasn’t that I hated my boss or the job or the commute—well, okay, the commute got a little old. But after three years I felt something inside me pull me towards freelancing.
I didn’t know what to expect and that’s what excited me most about it. At first, freelancing was exactly the adventure I had been seeking. Taking on my own clients, working from home and the local coffee shop, making my own hours… Who could ask for a better situation?
I know what you’re thinking, but I’m talking about margin—breathing room, think time, downtime, those moments we all desperately need really stay effective and enjoy the things that matter most.
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But the truth is we seem to be getting less and less of it. Not only are prices racing while wages slow, but we’re working more hours, too.
Welcome to the new season of This Is Your Life. In this ninth episode, Michele Cushatt, my co-host, and I talk about how to attack your most important priorities first, at the beginning of the day.
I’m a morning person. I love waking up before everyone else, love that first cup of tea or coffee, love the sunrise and silence of a new day. How about you?
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Welcome to the new season of This Is Your Life. In this seventh episode, Michele Cushatt, my co-host, and I talk about Greg McKeown’s most recent book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.
Like cleaning out a cluttered closet, McKeown recommends that we intentionally declutter our lives from the well-intended commitments and activities we’ve accumulated.
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The two most powerful words in the English language are yes and no. Unfortunately, they’re also the hardest to master.
Like you, I have more opportunities and requests than time and energy. I’m better than ever at discerning the good from the bad, but I still sometimes agree to a project or meeting, instantly realize the mistake, and wish I had a rewind button for my life.
Lysa TerKeurst wrestles with the same thing, and I’m excited to say she’s now written a book on making wise decisions in our crazy world of endless demands.
It’s easy for me to overdo things. I know, shocker. What can I say? I like getting things done. But the problem is that when I overdo, I underperform.
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For people driven to achieve, it’s a common trap. Even if we pare things down to the essentials, we can plow so deep into those that we’re just wasting our efforts—even while we think we’re making headway.
Instead of being satisfied with an effective level of engagement, we go over the top. It might be exciting at first, but it’s not sustainable and will actually set us back.
For the last few years I’ve taken a short sabbatical each summer. I’m looking to rest and focus on intense relational time with Gail. The challenge is unplugging from the Matrix.
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Anyone who’s attempted it can relate to the difficulty. I’m at the computer or on another device a large portion of the day, every day. I’m reading, interacting on social media, dealing with email, building my business. Plugging in is second nature. Unplugging is hard.
There’s nothing more useless than unfinished projects. But it’s easy to watch them stack up, isn’t it? So what can we do to wrap them up and ship them out?
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I’ve been thinking a lot about unfinished projects since watching this video by my friend, Jeff Walker. Don Miller has also talked recently about completing things. It’s tougher than it looks, right?
I can tell you where my difficulty comes from.
Lousy communications is one of the biggest challenges any team faces. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost files, even whole conversation threads, in email. And no one likes triaging an inbox, even with a good system. So what if we had a better solution?
Running on My Laptop
We do, thanks to a team of online video game developers.
After pulling the plug on an unsuccessful multiplayer game, the developers at Tiny Speck Inc.—now called Slack—turned their attention to fixing the communications problems that undermined their own efforts. And I’m glad they did.
It’s easy to confuse abundance with blessing, especially in our work life. But sometimes abundance is just another word for burden. And it’s crucial for our success and satisfaction that we learn to spot the difference.
More opportunities cross my desk every day than I can manage, and I bet it’s the same for you—even if you don’t always realize it.
We face a constant temptation in life to take on more than we can handle. We just don’t have the bandwidth. But it’s hard to let an opportunity go, isn’t it?