5 steps to complete any project

The number one question I get when I give talks on organization is about finishing projects. This might be something big like writing a book. It could be losing weight or starting an exercise program. Or it could be a nuisance task – like clearing boxes out of the basement or cleaning out a closet.

No matter what you’re working on, here are five steps to help you complete a project. Continue reading

Almost done

At a talk I was giving a few weeks ago, someone in the audience mentioned the problem of the 90/90 rule.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“You know,” he said. “How the first 90% of a project takes 90% of the time. And the last 10% takes 90% of the time.”

Hah! That rang true. But why is that? 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

Relaxing into a schedule

If you’ve been thinking about doing something cool, set a deadline and put together a schedule. A deadline is effective even if it’s something only you know about; when you write a due date on a calendar you’re making a written commitment to yourself to get something done.

A cool benefit of having a schedule, besides meeting deadlines and getting stuff done, is the peace that comes from deciding what you’re working on and when you’re going to do it. You may feel like a schedule limits you. I would counter that when you schedule something, you quiet your brain and the idea stops nagging at you.

“Are you going to work on me now? Now? Now?”

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

Getting things done by adding levels

“Action leads to insight more often than insight leads to action.”
Dan and Chip Heath, The Power of Moments

In The Power of Moments, the Heath brothers have some great ideas about breaking big goals into small parts – and rewarding yourself along the way. They compare this to video games where you feel accomplished each time to go up a level.

Let’s say you’ve always wanted to learn to play that guitar you’ve had hanging around for years. In a standard scenario, you know to break big goals into small parts so you make a plan to:

  • Tune up the guitar.
  • Find a great book on how to play.
  • Find some online class options.
  • Commit to practicing for a half-hour, 3x a week.
  • Block out time this week and get to work.

This plan works great for the first week or two, but then it gets a little boring and you start to skip practice time. And before you know it, the guitar is banished to its case, collecting dust at the back of the closet. Continue reading