Monday, February 24, 2014

7 Lessons from my Clothesline Obsession

Yes...I am obsessed with clotheslines.  I LOVE THEM!  I am a clothesline-aholic and have absolutely no intention of recovering.  I get great joy from just watching my clothes blow in the wind.  There is a feeling of simplicity and peace that comes from my clothesline.  I can sit endlessly on my deck watching the wind in my clothes (many times with a beer in hand)...and oh, the smell of clothes fresh from the line!

I can't be sure where these feelings come from but I presume it has something to do with my childhood.  I grew up in an extended family environment.  We lived in sort of our own little commune of our family (6 kids), my aunt and uncle's family (4 kids) and my Grandparents.  Our three homes shared a lawn, driveway, well, sheds, wharf...and even clotheslines.  It took great coordination to be sure that all the laundry of the 3 families was done since none of the families had a dryer.  If the weather was even near fine there was always laundry on the line.  My prominent memories are of a diamond sparkled ocean with laundry blowing in the wind beside it. 

My Clothesline after a day at the beach.
Our village was very communal as well - it wasn't rare to come home and find all the laundry sitting in a basket in the kitchen,taken off the line by one of the neighbours if she felt the weather was going to turn...and we did it for our neighbours in kind... this was possible since no one locked their doors :)

A clothesline is a non-negotiable for me - I have a 75 ft one that I use year round.  So it could be the joy of seeing the beach towels after a sweet day in the water, or maybe even a frozen piece of clothing - or at times a full line of laundry on the ground as a result of an aged clothesline that could take no more.... then a new clothesline goes up and we start all over again.

These are the lessons that I have learned from my clothesline:

1.  Doing nothing is not non-productive.  Anything that brings you joy is worth the time it takes to do it even if it may appear to the outsider as "doing nothing".

2. A little extra work can sometimes bring great results.

3. Just because you can't see something doesn't mean that there's not something at work..(have you ever seen the wind?)

4. Looking out for each other reaps rewards all around.

5.  When negotiating, understanding what each person needs and wants is essential and will usually lead to a win, win... (a win, win, win in our clothesline case)

6.  Even when you seem defeated you need to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and continue the journey.  It cannot be perfect every step of the way and knowing this and making plans to deal with it will make the defeat minimal.

7.  Happiness, joy and success and individual - respecting and embracing this of others makes everyone winners.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Urgent doesn't always mean IMPORTANT - 6 Tips to get you to IMPORTANT

Taking control of how we spend our time one of the best changes that we can make for long term success.  We don't really manage our time, we manage our tasks and activities.  Too often our "urgent" tasks are those that have something to do with another person's goals and not ours.  There are 2 types of urgent tasks - 1. those we can't foresee...and 2. those we've put off or procrastinated getting done. 

Stephen Covey's time management quadrant process is a great way to put our activities into perspective.  Start categorizing your tasks within this quadrant and you'll quickly see that most of the activities that will propel you to accomplishing and reaching your goals are Important but NOT urgent...that's why most of us don't get to them.  There's no sense of urgency attached to them and are easy to put off.  Check this out and try it for a week or two and see what I mean.

Here's are 6 tips that will help you get to those Important activities that will change your business!!!

1.  start saying no...enough already, you really aren't superwoman!
2.  stop being a "time Pollyanna"... you really can't drive 100 km, see a client, drive 100 km back all in an hour - get real with your time!!!!
3. schedule appropriately in the first place- EVERYTHING you do has a timeline attached to it... figure that out when your scheduling anything.
4. stop procrastinating - this is another blog entirely... get help if you need it.. this is such a waste of time, energy, talent and angst.
5. stop allowing another person's priorities to become your priorities!  Know which important tasks you need to do each day and protect your time like a mama bear with her cubs.
6. if you starting setting a deadline on everything you do it will change your world - when you ask for something from someone else, put a timeline to it...when someone asks for something from you, put a time line to it.  When you write a to-do list put timelines to each task.  When you're working on a project put a timeline to each and every task for each and every person.  This alone will change how you spend your time.

Until next time...