Monday, August 28, 2006

Life Balance

I read a great book on the weekend called, "Stop Screaming at the Microwave!" by Mary LoVerde. This book is not one that I would normally pick up and read, but since I heard Mary speak at an YPO event, I was duly inspired. Most of her lectures and most of the book is about life balance (one of the courses that I failed).

The interesting thing about the book is that it has a number of time management tips. I think this is great because one of the things that I often tell people when they question my high drive and push towards time management and efficiency is "good time management allows you to spend time doing what you choose to do". So if they want to be more balanced, they should stufy time management more.

One interesting vignette in her book was a story about something her daughter did and her daughter said, "You're not going to use this story in your talks, are you?" I get the same thing about blogging. You have to be careful now, I own the media.

One concept LoVerde talks about in her book are connections and the need to connect, and connecting deliberately. Again there is interesting analogies to this and business networking which she even speaks about. The gist of it is having a good number of connections can help de-stress your life.

One slide that I am adding to my time management seminar is one that Mary calls micro-actions or inch-by-inch. Instead of trying to tackle the whole project, just tackle a small part of it. Simply start the task and the rest goes from there. One example she uses in her book is, "Microactions can work in any field. My husband uses them with the high school students he counsels. Seventeen-year olds have a thousand ingenious reasons why they have not yet applied for college admission. Instead of harping on them to fill out the application and warning them of the dire consequences if they fail to act in time, he asks them to bring in a postage stamp. He instructs them first to lick the stamp (they roll their eyes) and then place it on an addressed envelope in his presence. He reminds them that everyone who has graduated from college first put a stamp on an envelope and mailed in the applications. The kids think his advice is so stupid they mail in the forms. What else are they going to do with the stamped envelope?"

Mary also talks about rituals as a way of grounding us and helping us to be centered. I often talk about habits that could also be referred to as rituals and we are the product of what we repeatedly do. She talks about creating possible rituals.

Many interesting parallels in this book to some of my tricks and habits. And don't worry, I wont get too laid back.

I would strongly recommend this book.


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