Two Priorities: Day 6

1. Work

What? Work on a weekend? Yes, because this time I want you to do something that doesn't necessarily relate to your present job but to your ability to do jobs in general well and with less stress.

Stroll on down to the library or your local bookstore and get your hands on one of these books or something else that's been recommended to you to help build skills you want:

– Getting Things Done by David Allen (to help with prioritizing your time)

– Don't Sweat The Small Stuff or Don't Sweat The Small Stuff At Work by Richard Carlson (to help with general stress reduction)

– Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug (to help anyone who makes or works on websites do it better)

– Wishcraft by Barbara Sher (to help with identifying what you really want to be doing)


2. Home

Yay! You have time to work on a project if you want, I hope. Or you could go to the movies or take a long bath. Whatever. Enjoy!

Two Priorities: Day 5

1. Work

Carve out at least 30 minutes today to work on something which improves and demonstrates the skills which are required for the position you'd like to be promoted to.

Good candidates are things like being able to succinctly & effectively summarize a lot of information, giving better presentations, writing clearly (particularly valuable for technical folks, but also great for anyone who has to articulate what their organization is doing or hoping to do), and being a mentor.

2. Home

Get rid of or pass along another of those projects you put a dotted line through on your list and cross it off for good. I recommend this be the one that is taking up the most space or the space you most want to be using for other things.

Again, look at the starred projects and think about what you might want to work on this weekend. Is there a project you'd love to work on that's waiting for some supplies or other errand to move it forward? Weekends have opportunities for such things. Mmm, weekends.

Two Priorities: Day 4

1. Work

Time to put in some progress on those projects which your boss cares about and which have been waiting for a while and which can be completed in less than an hour. See if you can knock out two of these without negatively impacting other important things, but even one is good.

Be sure to send an email to your boss reporting on any significant progress.


2. Home

Clean up and/or optimize your project space for a bit this evening. Just vacuuming or sweeping if that area's gotten less pleasant to be in is good progress. Think about if there are things you need to change to make it easier for you to work on things in comfort.

I offered to store a folding table my boyfriend wasn't using and didn't have a good place to store and bought a better chair than the one I'd had. Since then I actually did scan some old photos that had been waiting years to get done and the space is very inviting to sit down and move other paper projects forward at last.

Two Priorities: Day 3

1. Work (or, for the retired & students, Projects You Do For Others)

Yes, yes, indeed, the time has come to slap down that project which nags at you most and which it will relieve you greatly to have completed. Don't let it take over your day if it would cause you other issues, but do put in at least 30 minutes moving that horrid old festering project closer to out of your life.

2. Home

Clean up/get rid of/pass along one of the projects you drew a dotted line through on your list yesterday. Cross it off thoroughly now.

Reward yourself with a little chunk of time working on one of your starred projects. Even if you only have time to look at it and write down a little list of what you want to do next, that's great. Thinking about a fun project as you head off to bed is nice.

Two Priorities: Day 2

1. Work

Today go back to the project(s) you identified as "that which your boss cares most about you having completed".

First, figure out the status and next step for it/them.

Second, if the next step can be completed in less than 30 minutes, do it or identify what needs to happen before you can move it forward.

Third, email a status report to your boss. "Hi, I thought you'd be interested in an update on what's happening with these projects…" Make sure it covers current status, next step, any actions required by others to move it forward, and when you're expecting to be able to do that step or meet with the others to get it rolling. Be concise; bosses really like having a clear picture from a brief message.

2. Home

Find all the open projects that are taking up more than a shoebox or a binder's space. Jot them down on paper. Mull them over a little.

Circle the ones that still matter to you.

Put a star by the ones that you'd also enjoy working on if you suddenly magically had a completely free day tomorrow.

Draw a dotted line through the ones that don't matter to you anymore.

Two Priorities: Day 1

1. Work (or, for the retired & students, Projects You Do For Others)

Carve 20 minutes out of your day somewhere (or stay late or come in early tomorrow if you have to) to think hard about a few things & take a few notes:
– that which your boss cares most about you having completed;
– that which nags at you most and which it will relieve you greatly to have completed;
– that which your boss cares about and which has been waiting for a while and which can be completed in less than an hour;
– that which will most help you be more efficient in the future;
– that which is a demonstration of the skills which are required for the position you'd like to be promoted to.

We're going to come back to these each day for the rest of the week, so keep these high-level categories in mind as you work through the days.

2. Home

Find that uncompleted project which is taking up the most space. Put in 45 minutes on it OR pack it up with a note to remind yourself of the next steps to do OR officially abandon it & get it out of the way.

Get inspired by a hero

As you move forward on your own path of making your life less the one you don't want and more the one you do, work in a little time and/or money to help someone else on the same route. We all do better when we all do better.

As we're all learning from discardian  acts and small habit changes, the little stuff adds up, so notice that the same can apply to huge efforts like eliminating poverty and debilitating health conditions.

There are some great inspirations in this area – I'm a long-time fan and donator to Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter's Carter Center, for example – and the latest one in the news is Bangladeshi microloan pioneer, Muhammad Yunus, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. I really like microcredit a lot as a concept and am active in it through Kiva, where I am an investor to a man named George Bomboko in Uganda. I put in $25 of the $450 he needed to start his business and he's already paid back about a third of that 4 months in on his 12-14 month loan period. I feel great about helping him out and about having this direct connection to someone else in another part of the world and am glad to know that even when I can only spare a few dollars, I can be doing something valuable.

On a local scale there are often good programs to provide emergency housing, showers, assistance with resume writing, etc. which can offer the kind of small help that allows someone having a hard time to get or keep a job. Just volunteering for them for a day or making a little donation of small things that will be handy for people who are homeless – disposable safety razors & travel packets of shaving cream, for instance – can give enough of a boost to help make someone feel things are getting better instead of worse.

Where do you like to make a difference? Are there organizations you donate to or volunteer with that you'd like to recommend? Chime in in the comments – and go make a little difference today somewhere!

Project Progress

There's a project you have that's in a partially-completed state. You know, that one you keep looking at all the time and thinking "oh jeez, I really need to get rolling on that".

Today is the day to work on it for 90 minutes straight. A good solid chunk of effort, that's what it needs.

You can go longer if you get inspired. 😉