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Getting off the hamster wheel of motivation by deadline

September 29, 2014

I used to have it bad. In university I pulled all nighters for my papers, and crammed for exams. I even tried cramming for my Chinese 101 exam – trying to memorise two hundred plus Chinese characters in one night is not something I would recommend to anyone. Let me just say, it didn’t end well.

This last minute frenzy approach to work followed me into professional life and meant that I was stressed out, fighting the clock, and left wondering if my good work product could have been great if I had a little more time to give it. . . .click here to read more.

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Giving my handwritten to-do list an upgrade

July 15, 2014

Old school, when it comes to-do lists that’s me. I’ve tried many of the productivity tools out there but the hurdle for me is I just don’t like typing up and entering my to do’s. I know many people who really like these apps and that is great, but just not for me. Right now I am trying out a new system called Bullet Journal. You can read about it here.  Coach Jill Farmer wrote about it in her summer newsletter and when I checked it out on-line it seemed like a great upgrade of my handwritten weekly list.

Bullet journal is a system developed by Ryder Carroll, an Art Director from Brooklyn New York, for turning a blank journal such as a Mole Skin into a versatile organizational and capture device. I am trying out this system and so far have my little journal contains action list for the month, daily to-dos, a list of blog topic ideas, another list of people to contact, and a handy index and page numbering system. Best part? It only took ten minutes to set up and now I can take it with me everywhere so I can capture things that come up during the day.

So far so good! I will let you know if I stick with the system. If you are a pen a paper organizer then check out the Bullet Journal site. You just might like to give it a try.

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Advice for young lawyers (or really anyone pursuing a distant goal)

June 24, 2013

I had a chance this weekend to read Neil Gaiman’s commencement address to The University of the Arts in Philadelphia.  I encourage you to take a moment to read it.  Written for young artists it nonetheless has a universal appeal. Gaiman shines a light on what for many of us can be, at times, a dark and lonely path from the here and now to our distant goals.

Here’s an excerpt from his speech:

“Sometimes the way to do what you hope to do will be clear cut, and sometimes  it will be almost impossible to decide whether or not you are doing the correct thing, because you’ll have to balance your goals and hopes with feeding yourself, paying debts, finding work, settling for what you can get.

Something that worked for me was imagining that where I wanted to be … was a mountain.  A distant mountain.  My goal.

 And I knew that as long as I kept walking towards the mountain I would be all right. And when I truly was not sure what to do, I could stop, and think about whether it was taking me towards or away from the mountain. I said no to editorial jobs on magazines, proper jobs that would have paid proper money because I knew that, attractive though they were, for me they would have been walking away from the mountain. And if those job offers had come along earlier I might have taken them, because they still would have been closer to the mountain than I was at the time.”

Life moves so rapidly, and we face a non-stop barrage of things we can spend our time on.  Gaiman offers a simple way of staying connected to what is meaningful:  Will this move me towards the mountain, or away?  What then is the choice I want to make?

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