Bird by bird

I have a lot going on that’s pushing me to the limits of my organizational skills. I got divorced in December, we’re selling the house this month, and I moved my stuff out last weekend to store it at my daughter’s house while I travel through next October. Oh, and I quit my job. Things that have been in place for a long time are very much out of place and I feel chaos looming around every corner.

Then, at a Songwriting Workshop last week, our leader Jud Caswell, talked about taking small steps to get started on something new, and mentioned Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird. The title comes from a time when Anne’s brother was procrastinating writing a big report on birds. The dad’s advice was to go bird by bird. And finally the report was done. Continue reading

Can you become a Morning Person?

Here’s something I would not think possible: That you can turn an evening person into a morning person. In the research I’ve done and through personal observations I’ve made over several decades, I deeply believe that each of us has a sweet spot of time in the day where we’re productive. We have other times when we’re creative . And we all have base times where we need to chill and get some sleep.

To meet work demands, many try to make a change, but it doesn’t seem to be all that successful without a lot of caffeine!

But last week I read an article in the New York Times by Harry Guinness, a writer who swears he made the switch from Night Owl to Morning Dove. I’d love a follow-up from him at some point to see how this is going, but here are his tips for how he made the switch in case you’re interested. Continue reading

Make Time

I’m always on the lookout for new ways to get and stay organized. My latest inspiration is Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky. These two Silicon Valley fellows found themselves swamped with work and while they had interesting careers, were unhappy with the amount of time they had left in the day to do work they loved. Part of the work they loved, of course, was writing a book about doing the work they loved… :).

Here are their four big take-aways: Continue reading

Two Old Women

A friend at the library recommended I read Two Old Women by Velma Wallis. This is a tiny book and a quick read, so I picked up a copy and settled in for a bit of time travel back to ancient Alaska. The cool thing about working in a library is that you’re exposed to so much knowledge on a daily basis. Here’s some of what I learned from this gem of a book. Continue reading

15 Toasts

If you’re planning a get-together, the place you meet should match the purpose of the meeting. People act and interact differently in different spaces. So begins a great new book, The Art of Gathering; How We Meet and Why It Matters by Priya Parker.

Before you meet, at home or at work, make sure you’re clear about the purpose of your meeting and who needs to be there. If you don’t get that down, the rest of this doesn’t matter!

Then… Continue reading

Regrets of the dying

Getting organized isn’t just about being efficient with your time, following up on details, and doing a great job. Although that’s all really good stuff, getting organized is also about finding an inner calm, an inner peace knowing that you’re doing work that is true to who you are and that shares your unique gifts with the world.

In The Power of Moments, Chip and Dan Heath write about Bonnie Ware, a palliative care nurse who served patients in their final weeks of life. Here’s what Bonnie heard as her patients’ five most common regrets. Continue reading

5 Tips for Juniors and other humans

I loved, loved, loved these 5 tips from teacher Emily Brisse in today’s Washington Post. Emily writes a ton of letters to colleges in support of her students. If you want to stand out to Emily as a student, she asks that you give her something to write about and advises the following: Continue reading

Creating an inspiring work environment

Ideas need a healthy environment to thrive. Organizational skills need a strong environment to thrive. YOU need a healthy environment to thrive!

If you’re struggling bringing your cool ideas to life, take a look at your work environment to see if that’s an issue.

Ideas are kind of like the DNA in your body. Each of the 37 trillion cells in your body has a little road map of DNA in it. But DNA is triggered by the environment the cell lives in; the DNA by itself can’t take action. In a healthy environment, a cell thrives. In a toxic environment, a cell dies.

If you want to avoid catastrophic illness, you strive to create an environment where your cells thrive. You eat well, watch your weight, exercise, meditate, and you’re happy. Healthy living isn’t a guarantee you won’t have to deal with illness, but it gives you the best shot at keeping cellular proteins wrapped tightly around potential DNA triggers that can harm you. Continue reading

5 tips to be a successful leader

When I was working my way up through the business world, I had very few bosses I emulated. It appeared to me that to “make it” to the top, you had to work 100 hours a week and expect your employees to do the same. You had to be somewhat cut-throat and keenly competitive with others at your level within the organization. And it didn’t appear that empathy had anything to do with business.

I know a lot of that still goes on but was encouraged to read an article today in The Washington Post by Aaron Gregg and Thomas Heath about three executives from the DC area who were rated “the highest” by their employees. These are bosses you can look up for who they are – as well as for what they accomplish.

What’s cool is that these principles apply whether you’re running a small, medium, or large company. And they apply if you aren’t running a company at all! They’re simply great life ideas. Continue reading