Most advice on time management needs qualification. This caveat applies to the oft-heard advice to decide how long you will take for a task and then just do it in that time. This idea sounds appealing. Consider how much easier your life would be if you could simply allot one hour to clear out the closet […]

To achieve a long-term goal, you will need to put in effort across weeks, months, and even years. That requires motivation for the long haul. If your motivation flags, you need to get strategic. You need to create a virtuous cycle of effort so that you are naturally motivated to put in the necessary work. […]

Whenever we experience a conflict, it can be difficult to figure out how to move forward. On the one hand, it is never right to mindlessly suppress what you think is “emotion” and go by “reason.” On the other hand, it is never right to mindlessly go by “emotion” and ignore “reason.” I put them […]

In my previous article, I recommended that you have a value orientation toward your past actions even if you made a mistake. If you’re feeling bad about something that happened in the past, there is something to learn about it and something to heal. Emotions only arise when there is a value at stake now.  For […]

In my previous article, I argued that you need to motivate all action by reference to values rather than threats. I explained how you justify the goal in terms of values before you act and then stay focused on gaining values while acting. In this article you will see how a value orientation makes a difference after you […]

In previous articles on “What is a Value Hierarchy?” and “How Values Form,” I teased readers with the idea that you can strategically reprogram your value hierarchy and I promised to write more on that topic. But first, there is a foundational skill that you need to understand if you are to direct the process. If […]

There is a productivity tool that I’ve been using faithfully for 20 years that I’ve never written up: the 2-Minute Rule, which I got from David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done.  He explains it in the context of processing a paper inbox: If the next action [on an item in your inbox] can be done in two […]

When you have limited time to get work done, you need to focus your effort and keep it on track. A 3-point plan helps you do that. I mean something specific by a 3-point plan. It is not just a list of three tasks. It is a prioritized, integrated list that captures your intentions for […]

Years ago I discovered what I have jokingly decided to call the “Pierced-Ears Principle.” The name comes from the story of what happened after I pierced my ears. First, the background. As I was beginning to do more public speaking, I started working to improve my style — dress, haircut, makeup, accessories, wardrobe. I used […]

Years ago, I read a book by a colleague who walked the Camino, a 500-mile trek over the Pyrenees in Spain, ending at the cathedral in Santiago. He reported that the next-to-last day was the hardest. He was tormented by the thought of all the unfinished projects of his life—the projects done 80%, put aside, […]

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