In This Edition:
1. Wow, Another “new” Decade
2. Stop Your Days from Disappearing
3. Take a Pause for the Scenery
4. The “Humor” in Intrusive Technology
Wow, Another “new” Decade
A couple blinks ago, or so it seems, we had left the 90s for the 00s (or whatever they’ve finally called the decade.) Now, incredibly, we are in a new decade. Is time flying by or what? Accordingly, this month’s issue will focus on ways to make it all slow down….
Stop Your Days from Disappearing
A powerful way to stop your days from racing by is to use “completions,” a technique championed by Robert Fritz in his ground-breaking book, The Path of Least Resistance.
You are already a master of many aspects of completion. When you awake each morning you have completed sleep for that night. When you turn in a big report at work, and you know it’s ready, that is a completion.
The happiest, most productive, most prosperous people have developed the habit of achieving one completion after another, acknowledging themselves for their efforts, their experiences, and their accomplishments. Yet, to an observer it may look as if there is barely a moment to catch a breath.
Those who have mastered completion are often able to quickly and effectively give silent, self-acknowledgement and then move on. “I did a particularly good job on this and it’s rewarding to have it done.”
They are not obsessive and do not seek completions only for completion’s sake. Indeed, achieving completions is not synonymous with obsessive behavior, clock-chasing or over-achieving. Completions are simply effective means for giving your mind and emotions temporary energy breaks.
Keeping your workspace clear is a completion. Eliminating items from your daily activities list is a completion. Quickly scanning and assessing new intake, and tossing most of it, is a major completion! When you leave tasks or activities uncompleted, you have energy vested in them. To effectively engage in long-term projects, acknowledge your completions at various milestones.
To easily begin achieving completions actively identify those you are already achieving — big or small. What are the completions during your typical day? At work? At home? Deriving the greatest benefit from completions requires continually acknowledging yourself for completions. For reinforcement, list your completions, large and small, from yesterday:
Now, cite three things to be completed currently:
Cite three more items that you can complete within a month:
The Biggest Completion You’ve Ever Experienced — Nope, it’s not getting married, getting that big raise or having your first child. The biggest completion of your life is occurring as you finish the next paragraph, as you realize that you’ve had the time and the space to complete everything in your life so far that you have completed!
All the bad days and good days, small triumphs and large triumphs, rushed times and relaxed times that you’ve completed up to this moment are obviously, and in fact, completed.
When you realize that all of your completions are history, the present takes on a vibrance and energy, enabling you to achieve more completions and feel more at ease.
You are whole and complete right now. You can acknowledge the completion of your life thus far, each day. Get about 12 hours of sleep this Saturday or Sunday, awake and acknowledge yourself for having a long, deep sleep, and admit that you’re as “caught up” as one can get. One night each week, go to bed by 9 p.m. The next morning, you will feel great, and be able to tackle anything. As often as possible, sleep before you are exhausted. You don’t have to knock yourself out to earn the right to sleep. Continue to use your daily retirement as a major completion. “I acknowledge myself for completing this day. This day is done. I am now ready for deep, restful sleep.”
Take a Pause for the Scenery
Giving yourself completions is analogous to taking a long drive down a scenic mountain highway. If you stop every so often and get out to look at the scenery, it makes the trip seem shorter and less monotonous because you’re taking breaks and being re-energized, even though it actually took a little longer.
Inserting completion breaks in between tasks is not only relaxing; it’s productive. You don’t have to plow through your work. Contrary to many people’s notions about work, you can get more done when you allow yourself a completion break for each task, and don’t try to simply go for the straight eight hours.
A lady named Olivia, is a good example of the benefits of completion. She used to turn in reports to clients on time, but would wait to tie up the loose ends later, when she’d already started on other tasks. As a result, she always felt harried and as if she was behind. Finally, she made the decision to take control of her time and give herself completions. She built time into her schedule to do everything before she sent the report to the client. Now, she gets the report bound in a nice cover. She has time to send it through the mail instead of by one-day courier service. She even calls clients a day before the report arrives to let them know it’s coming.
Olivia has compartmentalized and given herself completions for what she has done. In this way, she is energized, uses her time more wisely, and is also more successful with her work.
Of course, learning how to do that takes a little discipline, but it’s worth learning. Olivia realized that there were problems with the way she had been doing things:
1. She was always working under a tight deadline, and was under great time pressure. Working under a deadline caused the time to fly by, and she never seemed to have as much as she needed.
2. She wasn’t acknowledging the totality of the project. Before, when she had “finished” the report (i.e. given it to the client) she had not wrapped up all the loose ends. Now that she has built in time and acknowledged all components of the project, when she turns in the report she is completely finished.
When you start operating as Olivia now does, good things begin to happen. You’ll become more relaxed and energized, and when you finish a project, you’re mentally clear. Completing a project will feel like a mini-vacation. Even if you (like some people) always feel at the end that you must have forgotten something, you will feel assured that whatever you might have left out, it must be something minor. And since you’ve spent more time in planning the project, there’s little chance of that happening anyway.
To facilitate completions, condition your environment to support what you’re working on. Keeping your workplace clear, for example, is a completion in itself. Joe Sugarman, author of Success Forces, advises his readers and employees to clear their desks every day before leaving work. Is the 15 minutes spent doing that each day a waste of time? No, because when you come in the next morning, whatever you begin working on will necessarily be the most important thing because you are forced to get it for your desk. Sugarman’s exercise is a discipline that forces you to put things in their appropriate space. It also helps you work in a way that supports you. In a similar vein, keeping a clean house is a completion. So is scanning new information when reading to discard that which doesn’t suit your purpose.
Realize that the ability to say no is an important completion. Too often we say yes to whatever people ask of us, and we end up doing things we don’t really want to do. Don’t initiate activities that you don’t support. Say no to the things you don’t care about, and you’ll have more time to do the activities that you do care about.
The “Humor” in Intrusive Technology
In nearly every direction, you see someone talking on a cell phone or fiddling with a Blackberry. The user’s unspoken credo has become: “You’re nobody unless you’re talking to somebody.” Ergo, if you’re not talking, you’re not anyone! Meanwhile, they discuss at length the most banal aspects of their existence. (“I’m backing out of the parking lot stall, honey.”) Idle mouths make for idle minds, or so it seems to the incessant gabbers.
Look around your home and your office. Have you been caught in the trap of acquiring a technology item far in advance of your ability to use it? “Driven by our obsession to compete, we’ve embraced the electronic god with a frenzy,” says Bill Henderson, head of the Lead Pencil Club. “Soon, blessed with voice and email, computer hook-ups, and TVs with hundreds of channels, we won’t have to leave our lonely rooms–not to write a check, work, visit, shop, exercise, or make love. We will have raced at incredible speeds to reach our final destination–nothing.”