Getting started on team work

I’m starting to work heading up a big project that involves dozens of people in a mix of locations. This weekend, I felt immobilized by the volume of work and information I need to understand, and by the number of people I need to connect and work with.

It’s one thing to get yourself organized. It’s quite another to lead a large, highly efficient team – especially when you’re joining a team that’s used to working in a certain way and you’re the newest member.

So what do you do? I start by brainstorming a list of everything that’s knocking around in my head that needs to get done. Continue reading

Feel gratitude for everything

My daughter, Samantha, graduated from Duke a couple of weeks ago. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, was the commencement speaker and gave a great talk. I love that we have guides everywhere. When you’re open to new ideas, a hot morning in a football stadium can turn into a cool well of inspiring thought.

Here were a few of my favorite take-aways from Mr. Cook. Continue reading

Mapping your energy

If you’re trying to bring more energy into your life, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans prescribe making a fun, mind map in their book Designing Your Life.

It starts off easy! Think back on a time when you felt energized and engaged with life. Continue reading

Beware of GIGO!

I’m hosting a songwriting workshop at the library, and our fearless leader, Jud Caswell, mentioned something last week that resonated with me.

“Beware of GIGO!”

Asked to explain, Jud said simply, “Garbage in. Garbage out.”

In the context of songwriting, Jud was saying that if you want to write good music you need to surround yourself with music you love. There’s no “right” when it comes to music. There are just some notes that make your heart sing and that’s what you want to listen to.

If we take Jud’s metaphor a step further, think about the work that brings you the greatest joy. How can you surround yourself with the best that’s out there? Continue reading

What’s the best part of your day?

I love this exercise from Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. You do stuff everyday. Some of it you choose to do. A lot of it you have to do. Each day your energy flows around your tasks, sometimes up and sometimes down.

If you want to have more up-energy, try tracking your energy flow for a week. You can either set up an activity log, or better yet, just mark up your planner. At the end of the day, look at each thing you did and check off or highlight things that raised your energy.

What’s cool about us is that we’re all different. A high-energy part of your day could be: Continue reading

The 8-week Sprint

A friend at work recommended a blog by creative guru Jessica Abel. I checked out her site and read through a long, long, long post about why I should pay her to help guide me through an 8-week sprint to get a creative project done. I read – and read, and read – and thought, “I don’t need a coach. I just need to do the work.”

Here’s the plan I came up with for my 8-week sprint. Continue reading

All roads lead to decluttering

When I give talks on Organizational Zen and ask attendees why they’re there, the #1 thing I hear is that they have clutter problems. Yes, nearly everyone you know has a clutter problem! Just knowing that kind of helps, doesn’t it? 🙂

But here’s the thing. In class, I save my thoughts and tips about decluttering for last. Why? It’s not that I’m being mean. It’s just that decluttering to me is a symptom of so many other things and my wish is that at the end of our time together, folks will realize that simply tidying up isn’t going to solve their problem.

What will? Figuring out how to nip clutter in the bud. Or deciding that clutter is not actually that big of a deal. And let’s start with that. Continue reading