I took this two-day motivational seminar last week offerd by efficiency expert Martha Borst of Avista Consulting. A lot of it was stuff I already knew, but to be reminded and to spend two whole days focusing on what you can do to be more effective/productive was really useful. I have a binder full of planning sheets (Daily Planning, Weekly Planning, Action Planning, etc.) that are really useful. One of the first steps is to divide your To Do list (and mine is endless, I keep it open at all times in a Word document on my laptop) into “Priority A – Must Do,” “Priority B – Should Do,” and “Priority C – Nice to Do.” I’ve been taught this method before, but I used it more for big goals like “Learn Japanese” and “Publish a book.” Now I have everything on my To Do list divided into those three categories so that each day I focus on my A priorities (and the B ones eventually get shifted to A as deadlines get closer) instead of running around all day working on things that aren’t urgent. I also have strict deadlines. I have to revise a chapter a week, even if that means canceling plans to climb or go out in order to get it done by Saturday night. A big part of the seminar was about commitment and keeping agreements, which, for me, means getting out of bed earlier. I’ve also been getting up earlier and making it to my writing office by 9 a.m. instead of 10:30 or 11. That means I’m back to taking the casual carpool, with mixed results. (I love saving the money, but I could do without the loud radio, the jerky and aggressive way some people drive and the sob stories about being late for a job that doesn’t pay enough in the first place.) I guess the other big thing I took away from the workshop was being more conscious overall – both about starting work on time, spending less time on the Internet and discovering all the free time I have that I could be using to write. So now instead of saying, “Oh, I didn’t have time to write today” I have to say “I CHOSE to watch The Wire for an hour (or two) instead of write. It’s kind of like keeping track of the calories you eat or the money you spend. Just by being more conscious of how you spend your time, you waste less. I watched The Wire (DVD) on Sunday and Lost last night, but that’s it, rather than two hours/night.
So if you don’t see me on the blog as often in the coming weeks, it’s because I have GOALS to achieve and AGREEMENTS to keep. And I’ll keep you posted (now and then) on the progress.