Many people get stuck prioritizing, because to say “yes” to one thing is to say “no” to another. That “no” feels like giving up something that’s important. Faced with the need to prioritize, your subconscious exclaims: “But I want them all.” Of course you do. Let’s stipulate that everything on your wish list is something […]

Here’s a common problem: you wake up at night, working through a difficult conversation you are going to have. You find yourself wide awake, in a loop where you keep trying out the conversation in different ways. Or maybe it’s not a conversation, it’s a tricky decision. You imagine making different decisions and what the […]

One of the problems of having many projects at once is that there’s a tendency to churn — to work a little on one, then a little on another, without making good progress on any. The general solution is to prioritize: to choose one project (or one chunk of a project) to work on first, […]

Now that I live in Florida, I pay a lot more attention to hurricane season than I used to. The season started early this year, which put me in mind of the lessons I learned when Superstorm Sandy hit New York City in 2012. At the time, my husband and I were living in midtown […]

A while back, I realized I needed something to help reinforce my intentions when I didn’t seem to be following through on them. For example, I intended to work on a big project, but I found myself doing some little tasks, or taking a longer break than I really wanted or needed. The problem for […]

It happens to all of us. You decide your priority, you sit down to work on the project, and for one reason or another you go nowhere. Maybe you’re not doing the work — you’re resisting it. Or maybe you’re doing it, but slogging along without much to show for your effort. When a general-purpose tactic like […]

Whether you grow or stagnate as you get older depends on how and when you rethink settled issues. An issue is settled when you evaluate it in the full context of your knowledge and conclude it is true or false. Some conclusions get settled for life. Philosophical issues such as the value of honesty or […]

I like to quote Voltaire, who said, “No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.” And true to that idea and my calling, whenever I have a problem, I think about it. A lot. In depth. Until I have a solution. This is a virtue. It is my willingness to continue thinking and find my way around mental and existential obstacles that underlies […]

At times you will face conflicts between short- and long-term priorities, such as: “I want to __[insert major goal here]____, but right now I need a job.” “I want to start ___[insert new long-term project here]____, but right now I’m just keeping up with day-to-day stuff.” “I should save for ___[insert financial goal here]___, but […]

If you want to do creative work at a high level, you need to spend significant time developing your skills. There is no substitute for practice. Some people would say you need self-discipline to develop the skills. Others would say you need self-control to put in systematic effort. I use neither of those terms because […]

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