Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Habits and Getting Organized

I'm not quite sure how Ron Friedman's Peak Work Performance Summit made it into my inbox, but as someone who is always trying to get better at the details of running a business, the whole deal intrigued me. Here's a guy who has written "The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace" and who knows a lot of experts in various fields who agreed to be interviewed for his Summit. Over 10 days in January, each subscriber had access to these video interviews, generally either three or four per day. It was free to sign up for the Summit and I had free access to all of the interviews in the 24 hour period in which they were aired. If you wanted unlimited access to all of them at any time, it was $149, proceeds of which were donated to charity.

I paid for the access so that I would be able to go back to my favorites at any time and also the ones that didn't apply to me right now but may in the future. Some of the interviews applied more to people who work in an office or who are members of a team, so not as directly influential on me. But then, I thought -- aren't I part of a team every time I go to a quilt shop and teach? I may want to look at some of those again, too.

All of the speakers were authors and I did buy some books. I'll tell you about the ones I've finished and then share more with you as I go through the stack. I was very impressed by the speakers that Dr. Friedman chose and definitely wanted to learn more from some of them.

Gretchen Rubin was definitely my favorite. Her common sense attitude toward our habits of daily life and the big changes you can make by tweaking them was a great book. There are a lot of areas with pink highlighter in my copy of "Better than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits -- To Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build A Happier Life". I also signed up for her e-mails and her weekly podcast "Happier with Gretchen Rubin".

My favorite sentence of the book: "Nothing is more exhausting than the task that's never started, and strangely, starting is often far harder than continuing". When I've got guilty thoughts swirling about the new class sample I need to do (lack of confidence in my technique?) or the caramel peanut butter truffles stalking me in the kitchen or the morning I really DON'T want to roll out of bed at 5am for that three mile walk, I think about different things she said and somehow persuade myself to get 'er done, including asking my husband to hide the caramels. Couldn't quite bring myself to throw them away!

I also bought the companion book "Better Than Before: A Day-by-Day Journal" to record the habits I'm trying to make or break, thoughts about them, etc. My first habit is more frequent blogging. When I first started this blog in 2009, I blogged every single day. Once you get away from it, though, it's really hard to get back to! So blogging at least three times a week is my challenge to myself. Quit sugar? Procrastinate less? One can only wish -- maybe I'll have to read the book again!

The next one that I read was by Dr. Jason Selk, a performance coach for top level athletes as well as Fortune 500 executives, and Tom Bartow, a winning college basketball coach turned financial advisor and business coach. With a forward written by John Wooden's son, Jim, every word was gold. I read it straight through and again, highlighted with reckless abandon. The reader is introduced to 8 precepts that the authors urge you to adopt as habits -- there's that word again! The authors recommend that you choose the habit that seems to be most needed in your life, business, family, etc. and follow it for 90 days. Then, once that habit is integrated into your daily life, choose another.

The one I chose is to, well, organize tomorrow today! In other words, each afternoon, choose three things that I really want to get done the next day and designate one as the most important. They call it the '3 Most Important/1 Must' and it's the priority filter that goes over the top of whatever to-do list I've already amassed for the day in my ever-present planner.

I read a couple of others on my Kindle --- kind of hard to take a picture of -- and I did a bit of highlighting there as well, but these are the two I read in January that had the most impact and that I think I will definitely read again.

So have you read any good books lately? Have any of them helped you with your resolutions, no matter what time of year you made them? Leave a comment below -- I'm always looking for my next good read!


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