Productive Flourishing http://www.productiveflourishing.com we help people start finishing the stuff that matters Wed, 06 May 2015 17:58:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Which Kind of Expert Are You? http://www.productiveflourishing.com/which-kind-of-expert-are-you/ http://www.productiveflourishing.com/which-kind-of-expert-are-you/#respond Wed, 06 May 2015 17:58:15 +0000 http://www.productiveflourishing.com/?p=23014 There are two types of expertise: functional expertise and accorded expertise. You can be an expert, then, by acquiring either functional expertise or accorded expertise, and neither one is better than the other depending on what you’re trying to do. Functional expertise is accrued through study, deliberate practice, and experience. While you don’t necessarily have […]

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There are two types of expertise: functional expertise and accorded expertise. You can be an expert, then, by acquiring either functional expertise or accorded expertise, and neither one is better than the other depending on what you’re trying to do.

Functional expertise is accrued through study, deliberate practice, and experience. While you don’t necessarily have to have mastery of a skill or domain to be a functional expert in the skill or domain, we most often associate functional expertise with mastery.

Accorded expertise, on the other hand, is accrued by some other person, organization, or institution that gives grants the title of expertise. If you have a degree, license, or certificate from any educational organization, you have accorded expertise. I’m aware that we could get into a semantic discussion here about whether accorded expertise is really expertise or just recognition, but I think that would betray our real world experiences that we’re prone to accept someone as an expert just because someone else points to them as an expert.

Where this all goes south on us is that functional experts sometimes aren’t accorded experts and accorded experts sometimes aren’t functional experts. Many MBAs find out the hard way that they have no idea how to run a business, especially their own. Many functional experts find out the hard way that going to get accorded expertise for what they already know is a disappointing waste of time.

And the more your life or career is off the beaten path, the more likely you are to have functional expertise that you won’t be awarded for. This simple fact explains why so many otherwise successful entrepreneurs, creatives, professionals, and leaders are so insecure about their capabilities, even when they have a track record of doing amazing things, compared to other less successful people who have the degree, title, or stamp of legitimacy from someone else.

In the most ideal case, though, you’re an expert because you have both types of expertise. You’re good at what you do or know what you know, and people know you’re good at what you do or know what you know because others have said so. Alas that the world doesn’t always line up so nicely with what would be ideal.

If you’re a functional expert but not an accorded expert:

  1. Don’t downplay your value and expertise because you don’t have the degree, license, or certificate. Be especially mindful about undervaluing yourself because of a lack of accorded expertise.
  2. As best you can, pick projects that touch a lot of other people — it’s more likely that connectors and salespeople will notice your capabilities and start according you expertise.
  3. Understand that a degree, license, or certificate can be valuable just because it opens doors for you — it doesn’t need to make you a better functional expert for it to be worth your while to pursue.
  4. Last point notwithstanding, be curious about what you might learn as you go through a formal education or training program. Being curious about what you’ll learn is a sure bet that you’ll learn a lot more than if you’ve already decided you’re a functional expert.

If you’re an accorded expert but not a functional expert:

  1. Get some projects under your belt pronto. Leveraging real-world success and know-how with your accorded expertise will be a huge win.
  2. Be patient with yourself if you’re feeling like all of your training, education, or preparation isn’t the predictor of your success that you thought it would be. If you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing, you’re part of a very big club of people in the same boat. See #1 above.
  3. Network with people who have more real-world experience than you do so you can figure out how the game is really played.
  4. Leverage the network power of your accorded expertise. Who are other alums, graduates, participants, or candidates that you can connect with to get your foot in the door at places you otherwise might not?

Which type of expert are you? Do you want to develop more in one area than the other?

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Episode 28: The Art of Being Unmistakable with Srinivas Rao http://www.productiveflourishing.com/episode-28-the-art-of-being-unmistakable-with-srinivas-rao/ http://www.productiveflourishing.com/episode-28-the-art-of-being-unmistakable-with-srinivas-rao/#respond Tue, 05 May 2015 17:55:48 +0000 http://www.productiveflourishing.com/?p=22937 Highlights of This Episode: Why he believes that when his work started to become more important than his surfing, the work started getting worse Why he went down the wrong (for him) path for a while, and when he realized that he needed to do something different How he created a safe place where he […]

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Srini Rao on the Creative Giant Show

Highlights of This Episode:

  • Why he believes that when his work started to become more important than his surfing, the work started getting worse
  • Why he went down the wrong (for him) path for a while, and when he realized that he needed to do something different
  • How he created a safe place where he could fail
  • Why we tend to project superhuman qualities onto people we admire
  • How to stick with projects long enough to evaluate whether they’re working
  • One of the most important things you can do for your creative work
  • How to do unmistakable work

“If you’re successful by everybody else’s metrics, what the hell is the point in that?” –Srinivas Rao (Click to share – thanks!)

About Srinivas Rao:

Srinivas Rao is the host and founder of The Unmistakable Creative Podcast and the author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller The Art of Being Unmistakable. He’s interviewed more than 500 insanely interesting people on the show, including bank robbers, performance psychologists, and entrepreneurs, all in the effort to inspire and encourage his listeners to stand out by being unmistakable.

Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Thanks for Listening!

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Make It to the Next Turn http://www.productiveflourishing.com/make-next-turn/ http://www.productiveflourishing.com/make-next-turn/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 18:00:55 +0000 http://www.productiveflourishing.com/?p=22990 Angela and I were hiking yesterday and the trail we were on was a dud. I checked the map and saw that the trail would eventually connect with another one by the river we were following, so rather than follow the trail, I led us down to the river instead. We scrambled down the bank […]

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Angela and I were hiking yesterday and the trail we were on was a dud. I checked the map and saw that the trail would eventually connect with another one by the river we were following, so rather than follow the trail, I led us down to the river instead.

Sandy River

We scrambled down the bank and I could see the turn in the river about a half mile off where the two trails were likely to intersect, but the river bank had a bunch of small turns created by boulders, eddies, and juts that prevented me from being able to tell if we could actually walk down the bank to that intersection. We’d just have to climb and step over and around rocks to get there, and all we could see at any given time was about fifteen meters ahead of us.

As we were making our way, I was reminded about how similar it was to some of the practices I’ve recently started. I’ve now extended my month-long project of blogging daily to an indefinite time period, and there are times that it seems really daunting. What if I don’t have anything to say? What if I don’t want to do it anymore? What if it displaces so much other stuff that things start breaking?

My project for May is incorporating movement (CrossFit, yoga, hiking, running, kettlebells, etc.) into my day every day while keeping up with my newer daily blogging commitment, so from the start of April until now, I’ve added, on average, three hours’ worth of time that I have to figure out how to fit in somewhere. What if that’s too much? What if I get too sore? How am I going to take an already full calendar and fit it all in?

My new daily commitments are like the river diversion. We just had to make it to the next little turn in the river to see what boulders we’d need to navigate to get to the next turn. Some of the banks in between turns were more hairy than others, but sure enough, there was a way to make it through every one until we eventually connected with the other trail. And in between, there was a boulder that provided a fantastic view of the river and hillside that we would’ve missed if we’d stayed on the original trail that wasn’t doing it for us.

The next turn for me when it comes to my dailies, then, is just the end of today. I’ll do what I can to do today’s dailies and make tomorrow’s a little easier. The intersection that is the accomplishment of my goals is down the river a bit.

For what it’s worth, our planners incorporate this mindset, too. If thinking about the year or quarter is too daunting, just focus on the month. If the month is too much, get down to the week. And if the week is too much, start where you are today.

There’s a lot of similarity between this post and Take the Next Small Step and Build From There because they’re both about acting on what’s right in front of you. The chief difference is that one deals with how goal creep keeps us from getting started, whereas this one addresses the concern that we won’t be able to keep doing what we’re doing. In either case, focus on your next few steps and see what happens so your stories don’t sap your energy.

If whatever you’re working on is starting to seem too daunting, focus instead on what it will take to make it to the next turn.

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What to Do With Your Loose Tasks and Projects http://www.productiveflourishing.com/what-to-do-with-your-loose-tasks-and-projects/ http://www.productiveflourishing.com/what-to-do-with-your-loose-tasks-and-projects/#comments Sat, 02 May 2015 05:47:32 +0000 http://www.productiveflourishing.com/?p=22970 Some tasks and projects fit nicely into broader goals, and other times, they don’t seem connected to bigger-picture items. When you’re looking at an uncategorized ToDo list, this isn’t that big a problem because it’s all work. The downside of looking at an uncategorized ToDo list is that it’s really easy to work on the […]

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Some tasks and projects fit nicely into broader goals, and other times, they don’t seem connected to bigger-picture items. When you’re looking at an uncategorized ToDo list, this isn’t that big a problem because it’s all work. The downside of looking at an uncategorized ToDo list is that it’s really easy to work on the wrong things just because they’re on the list.

One of the core tenets of what I teach about productivity and planning is to tie daily actions (tasks) to broader goals (objectives) by way of projects. Every action ties into some project that matters, which itself ties into some broader objective that matters. The upside to this method is that it helps you focus on the stuff that matters; the downside is that “loose” tasks and projects become harder to keep track of.

A student of the (free) Planning to Succeed e-course asked a question about this:

I’m working through this course. For background, I’ve been using the weekly and daily action planners since March, so in other words, I’d started really working with the planners before you launched this course. It has been helpful, although I’ve never succeeded in allocating time slots to daily tasks.

Both before and after I switched to the Planning Course, I’ve been perplexed about the relationship between monthly objectives and weekly projects. What do I do about all the projects on my plate that aren’t connected to one of my monthly objectives? Somewhere along the line, don’t I need to see everything that needs to be done, not just those items related to the objectives?

Example: my partner had a talk last week for which I needed to create slides. I included that talk in my list of Major Events, but I didn’t identify it as or include it in my list of Objectives. Yet I certainly needed to leave time in one of the weekly sections to create those slides. We can multiply this example by 3 or 4 times to cover the myriad things I’m involved with weekly and daily.

Yet if I include everything that’s on my monthly plate in Objectives each month, then I lose the meaning/importance of the Objective.

What follows is my response to her:

This is always a tricky one and the best I’ve been able to do is advise people to under-plan objectives and have a standing “Complete Recurring and Emergent Projects” objective listed to trigger a review of these projects. It’s a placeholder, yes, but it helps you make sure that you’re looking at it when you do the weekly planning. The  Action Item Catcher and Individual Project Planner can be a good combo to catch and process these things.

In any event, I’d risk having a trigger placeholder on whatever view you’re looking at, rather than leaving it off and hoping that you remember to account for them.

[I’m adding more here that I didn’t in email because she had greater familiarity with the system.]

So we’re all on the same sheet, here’s a picture of the block in question (from the Monthly Action Planner):

Screenshot 2015-05-01 at 10.44.03 PM

In her case, the project in question clearly fit with a broader strategic goal related to public speaking, so it’s not like she was wasting time working on something that didn’t matter. The problem is that it is but one of many projects that require some energy through the course of the month.

My suggestion to have a placeholder for these types of projects and actions is based on the block-based approach to planning that’s baked into the system. If we take our limited capacity seriously, we know that there’s only so much we can do, and when there are a lot of loose projects, allocating some of the blocks we have available at the monthly level is the best way to make sure we can see that we don’t have that free space.

Another scenario in which a placeholder can come in handy is when you have a backlog of projects to catch up on. If the focus of the month is going to be to catching up on those projects, “Work on Project Backlog” can be a great monthly objective that captures that. If you have a lot of projects to catch up on, you may have only that one other objective that month, in which case I’d suggest X’ing out the last three blocks in your objectives.

Sure, you could leave those blanks open, but that might not give you the at-a-glance perspective that you’ve got a busy month ahead of you with what’s already on the plate. You also don’t need to see all of your projects in the monthly objectives block to get a sense of how full the month is.

One last thing to remember: if you start laying out your weekly projects on the Monthly Action Planner and it gets filled up with projects that aren’t tied to your monthly objectives, you’ll either need to change those weekly projects, change your monthly objectives, or figure out some other way to get the work off your plate. There’s only so much you can do, after all, and the planners are designed to help you see this.

If you’re interested in learning more about making plans that work, you can join the Planning to Succeed e-course here.

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The Story About the Work Saps More Energy than the Work http://www.productiveflourishing.com/the-story-saps-more-energy-than-the-work/ http://www.productiveflourishing.com/the-story-saps-more-energy-than-the-work/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 06:23:23 +0000 http://www.productiveflourishing.com/?p=22939 When we look at the total energy required to get something done, the stories about the work always take up so much more energy than the work itself. The diagram below captures this idea — except it may not be to scale because the green circle is too big. For instance, when we look at […]

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When we look at the total energy required to get something done, the stories about the work always take up so much more energy than the work itself. The diagram below captures this idea — except it may not be to scale because the green circle is too big.

For instance, when we look at frogs (the work we don’t want to do), the dread:work ratio is always way out of whack; we can spend weeks dreading a 15-minute task. Many people’s stories about marketing and sales cause them anxiety when it’s time to talk to other people, even if those other people want to hear from them. Our story about what a reader will think makes us rewrite a passable passage 17 times when we should have sent it to an editor or peer reader after the third attempt. Your story about your self-worth being tied to how hard you work makes you work harder than you need to or makes you feel guilty when you’re not working.

There are several ways you can bring the total energy required down, closer to that smaller circle of work required (in no particular order):

  1. Prove your yaysayers right rather than focusing on the naysayers
  2. Assume you’ll succeed when you’re planning while acknowledging that it might not work
  3. Let go of the outcome and focus on the doing
  4. Keep your eyes forward
  5. If all else fails, just get up and take care of your people
  6. Take the next small step and build from there

As a case in point, I could’ve gone through and written new bullet points, but the only reason I’d do so is because of my story about needing to write more new stuff rather than reference stuff I’ve already mentioned. That doesn’t seem to be a particularly good way to model the message.

If you were to zoom up to your life as a whole, I bet you’d see that there’s a whole lot of unnecessary work caused by your stories, that you then attach even more stories to. If you’ve ever caught yourself in the suffering-martyr trap, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Changing your story about the work is often a much better way to get more work done than changing the work itself. After all, your story is taking up considerably more energy anyway.

p.s. It’s hardest to remember this when you most need to. Having friends who can ask you about your stories helps a ton. Please share this post with them so you have an easy reference point next time any of you need it.

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The Will Creates the Way http://www.productiveflourishing.com/the-will-creates-the-way/ http://www.productiveflourishing.com/the-will-creates-the-way/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 06:45:25 +0000 http://www.productiveflourishing.com/?p=22924 The last few posts of this daily blogging project have gotten harder to write each day. I am two posts off from meeting my goal, with this being one of those two. Today’s post has been hard because I had a bout of media-triggered insomnia that kept me up until 3:17, which meant that I […]

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The last few posts of this daily blogging project have gotten harder to write each day. I am two posts off from meeting my goal, with this being one of those two.

Today’s post has been hard because I had a bout of media-triggered insomnia that kept me up until 3:17, which meant that I got up late and didn’t have time to write, and then at the end of the day, I didn’t have the energy or bandwidth to write. I took a nap from 7:00–10:15pm so I could wake up refreshed enough to get this out the door.

While I was warming up, I happened to update a plugin on my website, but that update caused an error with my website’s back end such that I then couldn’t log in to write this post. Luckily, I knew the problem was related to that update, and I was able to contact Synthesis (my fantastic web host) and they had me up and running again in about 10 minutes.

So, here we are. I tell this story for context because I’ve also been wondering if it’s my old “quit when you’re so close to done” pattern at play at the same time that I’ve been dancing against the edge of self-care more than usual. When it comes to the sleeping-eating-exercising self-care triad, consistent sleep has always been the anchor for me, but that has definitely been off this month. The two big changes this month have been noticeably longer days (I stay up later and get up earlier) and this daily blogging project.

I know myself well enough to know that my wind-down time after writing is a few hours; I’m not one of those people who can quickly down-cycle after I’ve been focusing on something, so there’s no doubt in my mind that this project has altered my sleep cycles. I’ve taken a “let’s see what happens” approach, so I’ve gone with it because it’s been more important to really see what happens rather than suspect what might happen. I also wanted to see what happens if I lean into it, for the juice might be worth the squeeze.

Tonight thus presented a superficial conflict between self-care and goal accomplishment. The obvious third option was to take a nap and get up and get it done, but honestly, were it not for my commitment to write daily, I would not have pursued that third option. I would’ve just gone to bed. (Again, the power of public commitment.)

The whole website problem presented another easy opportunity to check out. I could have whined about my website being down and woken up tomorrow and figured it out. Instead, I was able to quickly determine the likely cause, even if I didn’t know how to fix it, and reach out to my web host to get it fixed.

The lesson, reaffirmed, that “where there is a will, there is a way” is not quite right. The will creates the way.

When it comes down to it, this whole project hasn’t been about blogging per se, but about rejecting old stories and writing new ones. Blogging has just been the vehicle. Nothing more ever needs to come from it than seeing that the old story about me quitting when I’m almost done is something that I can either reject outright or prove to be wrong. I am resilient, tenacious, and adaptable when I choose to be, and wise enough to know what needs to be finished and what doesn’t.

And so are you.

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A Brief on BOOST http://www.productiveflourishing.com/a-brief-on-boost/ http://www.productiveflourishing.com/a-brief-on-boost/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 06:50:26 +0000 http://www.productiveflourishing.com/?p=22913 One of the easiest ways to build teams is to gather a group of people committed to a similar goal and have them get through an ordeal together. It’s true of military units, sports teams, medical teams, and, well, any kind of team. A big part of the challenge with the groups we join in […]

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One of the easiest ways to build teams is to gather a group of people committed to a similar goal and have them get through an ordeal together. It’s true of military units, sports teams, medical teams, and, well, any kind of team.

A big part of the challenge with the groups we join in business is that they’re not actual teams, as they often aren’t united by similar goals. We show up, talk across each other, learn what we want to learn, and then go back to our own worlds. But we need people in our worlds with us, as scary as it is to let people in to see what a mess that world is (to us, at least).

I was thinking about this when I created the BOOST program last year. I wanted to create an experience where people came together to focus on certain goals and got through an ordeal together.

Today was the last formal meeting with the BOOST Alphas. They’ve been working and growing with each other for the last six months, and the combination of the projects I assigned them to work on, things that were happening in their own businesses, and life throwing a few of its own curveballs for each of them created both a group ordeal and individual moments when each participant learned to rely on the others. They’ve all had their individual spark moments and their were-it-not-for-BOOST opportunities, connections, or results.

It’s also been the most challenging group experience I’ve led in my business career because I wanted the focus of the experience to be on how they came together and supported each other, as opposed to how I supported them. I learned in my military career that my teams always performed better when I built them to perform without me, and I wanted to apply that principle to a degree that I hadn’t yet in my business ventures. That means I’ve spent six months inhibiting my urges to respond quickly, answer before others, and prevent the minor missteps that they all needed to make so they learned for themselves and with each other rather than by my telling them. I’m aware of how patronizing the last part of that sentence might sound, but there really is no substitute for having a safe place to fail and to be supported and learn from what you did. It’s what I wish I’d had more of when I started because it took me a few years to create it for myself.

You’d be surprised at how much harder it is than you’d think to step back and NOT micromanage a group’s experience. It’s so easy to insert your own need for relevance and validation into the pot, rather than trusting that people will speak up when they need you and that the group’s brilliance and generosity will trump most things you can come up. If you’ve ever been in a leadership position, though, you know how hard that can be.

I’m honored to have been given the opportunity and trust to lead my dear Alphas over the last six months and I’m so proud of how they came together. I don’t often directly express what goes on in my service work or the programs I lead, but I was thinking today that my reasons for withholding are part of my own story — and that story gets in the way of my living the values that mean more to me, like expressing gratitude, joy, and pride in the amazing people who grace my days.

Thank you, Alphas. Keep standing tall together, and I can’t wait to see what you create in the world. Today isn’t an end but a transition. :)

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Episode 27: Leveraging Your Quiet Power with Tara Gentile http://www.productiveflourishing.com/episode-27-leveraging-your-quiet-power-with-tara-gentile/ http://www.productiveflourishing.com/episode-27-leveraging-your-quiet-power-with-tara-gentile/#respond Tue, 28 Apr 2015 17:54:16 +0000 http://www.productiveflourishing.com/?p=22826 Highlights of This Episode: How Tara got started as an entrepreneur What her two hardest lessons were during the early years of her business What she discovered about business that was completely life changing for her How Tara’s background in religious studies helped, and also didn’t help, in her early years in business How Tara […]

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TheCreativeGiant-Tara Gentile

Highlights of This Episode:

  • How Tara got started as an entrepreneur
  • What her two hardest lessons were during the early years of her business
  • What she discovered about business that was completely life changing for her
  • How Tara’s background in religious studies helped, and also didn’t help, in her early years in business
  • How Tara balances being an introvert and doing the work she does in marketing, teaching, and public speaking
  • Why it’s especially important for introverts not to try to fit themselves into other people’s ideas about the way things are done
  • How Tara uses being a “control freak” to her advantage (it’s probably not what you think)
  • Which moment in Tara’s career had her thinking “this is the most amazing thing I have ever done” — and why it might surprise some introverts
  • What two questions Tara asks all of her clients to help them determine how they’re most effective at connecting with people
  • What Tara is most afraid of now in her creative work
  • What Tara’s biggest challenge is now

“It wasn’t about finding ways for people to give me money. It was about finding ways to create value.” –Tara Gentile (Click to share – thanks!)

About Tara Gentile:

Tara Gentile is a business strategist and the author of Quiet Power Strategy. She works with entrepreneurs and idea people to help them leverage their Quiet Power and build businesses that generate wealth, peace, and ease. Her clients learn to lead themselves and their businesses based on what makes them most effective and compelling.

Tara’s work has been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Design*Sponge, and the New York Times bestselling book The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau. Tara is a regular instructor on CreativeLive and speaks on entrepreneurship, money, and the New Economy all over the world.

Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Thanks for Listening!

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The Free Planners for May 2015 Are Available http://www.productiveflourishing.com/the-free-planners-for-may-2015-are-available/ http://www.productiveflourishing.com/the-free-planners-for-may-2015-are-available/#respond Tue, 28 Apr 2015 16:51:12 +0000 http://www.productiveflourishing.com/?p=22893 PF_planners_250x250The Free Planners for May 2015 are available. These planners are especially designed for proactive creatives, leaders, and entrepreneurs. Read more

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May is upon us! I hope April was good to you.

The free planners for May are available on the Free Planners page. (Click to share this – thanks!)

Also, I wanted to let you know that we’re ordering our last batch of printed planners for 2015. We’re not going to be ordering many more than what people buy so we don’t end up with a bunch in inventory. We’ll run orders 10am PT on Thursday, April 30th, so if you want to make sure you get a 2015 printed planner, pick yours up by then.

Go here if you want to make sure you get your 2015 printed planner.

May can be a tricky month for planning because of how disruptive it is. “Disruptive” isn’t necessarily bad, but many people have told me that it either gets away from them or that they underestimated the degree to which the parties, graduations, and it’s-awesome-outside brain impacts their plans.

If you sense that May might go sideways on you, too, I suggest intentionally under-planning for the month. If you’re using our planners, either don’t use some of the lines in objectives or write “MAY MARGIN” in one or two of them so you’re accounting for what may come. If taking an objective away feels like too much, take a project slot from Monday and Friday.

Better to underplan and have some margin than to overplan and not enjoy whatever it is that makes your plan go sideways.

Click here to download your May planners.

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Use Everything You Have to Be All You Can Be http://www.productiveflourishing.com/use-everything-you-have-to-be-all-you-can-be/ http://www.productiveflourishing.com/use-everything-you-have-to-be-all-you-can-be/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 06:06:14 +0000 http://www.productiveflourishing.com/?p=22901 I’ve started and stopped about six different posts this evening. Believe it or not, it’s not that I’m distracted, but rather that the ideas aren’t coming together the way they normally do. And I can’t blame the hard cider, either, because some of my best stuff comes out after a light drink. In any other […]

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I’ve started and stopped about six different posts this evening. Believe it or not, it’s not that I’m distracted, but rather that the ideas aren’t coming together the way they normally do. And I can’t blame the hard cider, either, because some of my best stuff comes out after a light drink.

In any other month, I’d simply close the computer and call it a night. But because of this daily blogging project, that’s an option I won’t give myself.

That’s the interesting thing about the power of public commitment. Let’s be real here: there are only a few hundred people who are following along actively enough to notice if I didn’t post tonight. I’m not sure anyone would call me out on it, either, due to their compassion and because it’s not nearly as important to them as it is to me.

None of that really matters, though, because I would know that I didn’t do what I said I would do. Whether my wiring regarding commitments to others is good or bad, it’s what it is. Best to play the card wisely since it’s part of the deck.

During a hike this last weekend, Angela and I were talking about the project and about what has made it work so well. A large part of what’s made it work is that the daily frequency has accelerated my forming the habit and the habit has been working for me, but the other major portion is that public-commitment piece. My ability to follow through on commitments to myself has never been reliable; over the course of a lifetime, I’ve checked my fair share of boxes, but there’s no rock-solid way to predict which ones I will check and which ones I won’t.

But it seems that the larger the number of people I commit to, the more likely it is that I’ll do something, assuming it’s something that aligns with my values and goals. I’ve known this about myself for quite a while, but I just haven’t tapped into it for a project in a while and it creates the type of motivation that fuels me to be my best.

It reminds me of a line from the Tao Te Ching: “Because the Sage is aware of her faults, she is faultless.” I’m by no means a Sage and I have plenty of faults I’m not aware of, but the real point isn’t about faults and deficiencies but rather about self-mastery. To be all you can be, you’ve got to use all that you’ve got – weird wiring and all.

What bits of your weird wiring are you not using? How can you use it to help yourself achieve your goals your way?

This post is part of the Month of No Hiding project. In short, I’m blogging daily to break the habit of hiding behind the science and tech of blogging. If you’d like to get updated via email when I publish new pieces, click here.

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