Topics: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Working With Your Strengths, Why Rules For Success Might be Flawed, Quiet Time
BY HENDRIK MUSEKAMP
Photo by Peter Nguyen
Hi all! It’s Friday. Hence, here is your weekly dose of hmx-weekly, a list of what I’m enjoying, pondering, or working on. Overarching tenet: Doing less, but better. Enjoy.
THE DISCIPLINED PURSUIT OF LESS
Ever found yourself spread to thin? I constantly have to “refocus”, and not get lost in endless preparation and research. When that happens I like to review the idea of “just in time” vs. “just in case” information mentioned in the four hour workweek:
Develop the habit of asking yourself, “Will I definitely use this information for something immediate and important?” It’s not enough to use information for “something”—it needs to be immediate and important. If “no” on either count, don’t consume it. Information is useless if it is not applied to something important or if you will forget it before you have a chance to apply it. I used to have the habit of reading a book or site to prepare for an event weeks or months in the future, and I would then need to reread the same material when the deadline for action was closer. This is stupid and redundant. Follow your to-do short list and fill in the information gaps as you go. Focus on what digerati Kathy Sierra calls “just-in-time” information instead of “just-in-case” information.
– Tim Ferriss
In addition, I reviewed Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. Author Greg McKeown elaborates on how to repeatedly re-clarify what’s essential to you, and how to execute effortlessly. Check out this short video on the essence of the ideas.
VIA SURVEY TO IDENTIFY YOUR TALENTS
Psychology has a reputation of finding flaws, and what’s wrong with people. Not in this case. Working with your talents and strengths is fun, and way more productive as opposed to fixing weaknesses. Yet, often we don’t seem to realize what our strengths are. The VIA survey takes a few minutes and gives a clear profile. In my case it approves other tests/diagnostics I’ve done so far. In addition, finding new ways of utilizing strengths has been shown to increase happiness.
USING STRENGTH IN A NEW WAY:
Clients choose one of their top strengths and during the week find a designated time to exercise the strength in a new way at work, home, or leisure. The exercise is to first go through a day (in real time or through recall) to identify situations where one’s signature strengths are already in action. Then the clients brainstorm new ways to use the strength (see case example of Bonita, described later).
– Carol Kaufmann, Evidence Based Coaching Handbook
This article, Boosting Happiness: One of the Best Exercises You Can Do, gives great indications on how to find new ways to put your talents to work.
ARTICLE I ENJOYED
Stop Reading Lists of Things Successful People Do This article on HBR.org gives good reasons to stop reading lists of what successful people do:
- Evidence is anecdotal
- Research doesn’t always transfer to different contexts
- Failures are silent
- Success is personal
THE BUSIER YOU ARE THE MORE YOU NEED QUIET TIME
“It’s about taking a temporary break from one of life’s most basic responsibilities: Having to think of what to say.” […] Even incredibly busy people can cultivate periods of sustained quiet time.
Suggestions are to “punctuate meetings with five minutes of quiet time, take a silent afternoon in nature, go on a media fast”, or “take the plunge and try a meditation retreat.” I’d love to do the latter, one day. So far the nearly daily calm is enough.
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