Saturday, August 25, 2012


I am up early today with the goal to get caught up from my time away.

I notice an interesting phenomenon.  I have an email file of emails that need my action.  Many of those are now 2 weeks old.  And what I am finding is many of them now do not need to be dealt with at all.

Part of what causes me to me responsive is the vision of myself as being fast and available.  I am pondering if that persona is actually hurting my productivity.

One rule to get over procrastination is to ask the question:  If I leave this, will it get worse?  Perhaps I should be asking:  If I leave this, might it go away.
I read a book last night and this morning - Resilience - Why Things Bounce Back by Andrew Zolli.

The title caught my attention.  I have always believed that that ability to bounce back from life's failures was tied to success.  As a result, I always seek ways to be more resilient.

But it was not what I expected to start.   The stories related to resilience of the economic system and of ecosystems.   Both topics of high interest to me.

Much of resilience has to do with interrelated systems.  On ecosystems in agriculture, it told of the dependencies on monocultures and the risks that brings to our food system.  Of course this is a topic near to me.

I returned to my gardens after being away for 2 weeks to find that the lush climate for growing vegetables also is lush for growing weeds.  Unbelievable how fast things grow here.  Despite the overgrowth, tomatoes, beets, carrots and squash are all flourishing.  Beans are trying to produce a second crop.  Potatoes need digging.  It is wonderful.

It was not until about page 120 that it got the the parts on personal resilience that I was looking for.   At some level, I knew all the keys and know to strengthen them.  Resilience can be helped by social networks and meditation both of which can be consciously worked on.  

The book was not explicit on health but I am a great believer that health (which we can influence a lot) helps a lot with resilience.

I did find the book to be an interesting read. 


And the resilient Josh turned one.


At 3:24 PM, Anonymous Alex Revai said...

Hello Jim,

I admire your wonderful honesty. Even as a Time Management "guru", you have no hesitation to admit some of your own "shortcomings". Specifically, what you wrote about your action-marked email pile.

Here are a few suggestions:

1. While processing your in-box, stop and think for a few moments whether an item you are about mark for action really needs you to do something / anything.

2. Don't set your self-expectations (as swell as the expectations of others of you) too high, just for satisfying your ego that you are "responsive" and "available".

3. Any item that you mark for action (because it supports your business and/or personal objectives and/or commitments)should be moved to your calendar (if you know when you want or have to deal with it) or to your To-Do list (if you don't yet know the date you will (have to) deal with it. I.e.: don't create another pile of email (even if in a dedicated folder) for actionable email. I'm sure you know that email can be moved (or copied) by drag and drop in Outlook.

4. Any items that ended up in your To-Do list should be prioritized and moved to your calendar once you decided the date/time you want or need to deal with it.

5. Remember: going from to-do to done is via the calendar. If it's not in your calendar, there is a 75% it will NOT get done.


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