Consider: “Getting Things Done”

David Allen is a coach who has written several books on productivity. One is titled, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity, and it may be one to consider if you are looking for an in-depth reboot of how you handle all you have to do. A taste of his message and style can be seen here:

Your personal system and behaviors need to be established in such a way that you can see all the action options you need to see, when you need to see them. This is really just common sense, but few people actually have their processes and their organization honed to the point where they are as functional as they could be.

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When people with whom you interact notice that without fail you receive, process, and organize in an airtight manner the exchanges and agreements they have with you, they begin to trust you in a unique way. More significantly, you incorporate a level of self-confidence in your engagement with your world that money cannot buy. Such is the power of capturing placeholders for anything that is incomplete or unprocessed in your life. It noticeably enhances your mental well-being and improves the quality of your communications and relationships, both personally and professionally.

 

These books are only set here as possibilities for you to explore. Posts and links are not endorsements or paid publicity.

Don’t Shoot Yourself in the Foot

“When you besiege a city for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them. You may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down. Are the trees in the field human, that they should be besieged by you? Only the trees that you know are not trees for food you may destroy and cut down, that you may build siegeworks against the city that makes war with you, until it falls.” — Deuteronomy 20:19-20

The nation of Israel is being instructed before entering the Promised Land to conquer it before settling in to enjoy it. How should they proceed? What will ensure success? God gave them specific and comprehensive instructions, including how to choose trees for use when mounting a siege.

Trees come in handy when building a tower to assault the city walls. Cut them down; they’ll grow again! Yes, they will, but it will take a while. Once the city is conquered, someone will be living in it. Fruit trees will be useful in the near future, so think before cutting.

Thinking one more step ahead is helpful more often than not. It may look like a good solution at first glance, but will it still be as good tomorrow, or even this afternoon? Most of the time, this is a mental habit we simply need to exercise. It’s nothing exotic or a talent only a few can have. You can do it, and it will pay off.

If you would like to get better at thinking one more step ahead, there are some things you can do other than just pausing to do it.

  • You can make a physical reminder for yourself, like a sticky note on the kitchen cupboard or the front of your planner. This functions as a mini-inspirational poster in your daily life (only much cheaper).
  • Some people may be better at this than you. If so, ask them when you are considering a next step. What do they see as potential pitfalls in your next actions? “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” (Proverbs 11:!4)
  • If you know someone, in your office or in your home, who could be asked to helpfully (not annoyingly) ask you before you start something, “Are you sure?”, that could be a great trigger for you to pause, reconsider, and confidently more forward.

 

Good Ideas: Giant Bullet Journal Pad

Bullet journaling is quite the fad. The benefits are great, and the layout can be beautiful. But it can be hard to keep up with the journal, and multiple pages can get out of hand.

How about this — a giant paper pad with just a few bullet journal ideas on it? You pick the items that work best for you and your family. Ideas abound on Pinterest and other web sites. Friends can be a rich source also. Then pull out the markers and color it up, large-scale and easy to read. If you post it in a public space, it will be hard to ignore too!

This could be the fun, workable, convenient, manageable way for you to use some of the beautiful journal ideas you’ve seen. Take a look.

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Protect the Space

We have talked several times about calendars and to-do lists. Today will build on that by emphasizing the how important it is to capture information onto your tools to save your mental real estate.

We know this. Only so many facts can tumble around on our front burner before some start disappearing. If we are brutally honest, it’s a pretty small number of facts.

If the reminder is important enough to think about, it’s important enough to put in a safe place, ready when needed. The sooner that happens, the more space there is to fully address the present moment or think about other important things. You can work out what tool works best for you, whether it be an app on your phone or a notepad on the counter. It doesn’t have to be pretty, but it’s crucial to have something!

Now, this will only work if the place you put your thoughts is accessible. If you use 20 sticky notes scattered all over, you will not be able to find most of them when you need to review your thoughts. You need one place* to capture items.

*This may mean one place for work projects and one calendar for home and one notebook for schoolwork, but be careful not to split out too much.

It is vitally important to both write down and look over your tasks and plans. You need both to make things work. If you write it down and forget forever, that was getting rid of the thought not keeping it safe. If you review your plans, on a daily or weekly basis — as needed for the topics, you will stay on top of your goals and responsibilities without having to constantly rehearse every detail in your mind all day long.

Celebrating Milestones

Funnily enough, I am writing this while a birthday cake is in the oven! It is a week early, because of the work travel schedule, but we are going to celebrate regardless.

Why?

One reason is simply because it’s an opportunity to show love. Birthdays, holidays, graduations, and more, are a special reason to show special favor to those who are important to you. A generous spirit doesn’t need a reason to give, but it will also make the most of the opportunities that are there! For example, the first day of each season can be a time to stop and enjoy the things special to it. First snow may be a snow fort afternoon for the whole family followed by steaming hot cocoa. First day of spring could have you making bouquets to cheer up the neighbors.

Another reason would be to reflect priorities. A day set apart to honor our mothers and fathers is a time to show them how much we love and appreciate them. A wedding anniversary can do the same thing, reminding us to say again how much we cherish our spouses. Setting aside normal routine to celebrate shows that special value.

Sometimes we just like the opportunity to remember what God has done. My husband and I enjoy repeating our first four dates on the anniversaries. It doesn’t always work in the schedule, but when it does, we have a special time of memories from those first weeks together. Celebrating a conversion anniversary would also be a reminder of God’s work. He does so much, it won’t take long to find an opportunity for this one either!

Celebrations can be encouragement as well. A special dinner or activity when your child gets their first “real” job shows how valuable hard work and responsibility is. Graduation from high school can be a celebration that still looks forward to the next stage. You made it through these years, and now you can tackle those.

This applies to small milestones also. A first book read alone could lead to a trip to the bookstore. The first meal planned, cooked, and served might be followed by a vase of flowers.

Knowing that a celebration will likely be coming can help your family push through the struggle, because you’re pulling for them and love sharing the joy when it is done. A cheerleader is a precious support.

So what do you have to celebrate today?