The book binge continues. High calories for the mind! In the past month I’ve read three more self-development books.
“The One Thing: Surprisingly Simple Truths behind Extraordinary Performance” opened my mind to the importance of blocking time. This seems so simple, yet something that I really do not do well. Perhaps it’s that fatal desire to be everything to everyone, feel important and convincing yourself that you can do it all. It made me think about all the times I’ve said yes – which forced me to say no to things that I really wanted, or could have kept me on pace to achieve a goal faster.
To experiment and put it to the test, I’ve blocked out 8 hours each week. It seems small but that’s half of a Monday, and half of a Friday, for when I work from home. My goal is to use the time to catch up on THE LIST – the ridiculously long to-do list that seems to grow faster than I can write it, do it, or check it off.
The results have been promising but not perfect. I have had less meetings, but in 2 weeks still have not yet had a full 4 hours uninterrupted. I think expanding the time blocks to 3x week will help – plus I need to be much stronger in just declining those meetings and making myself unavailable. More to come on that one.
Next I moved onto “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown. I’ve listened to several podcasts, interviews and TED talks by Brene. I got over my trepidation on the topic of vulnerability as I kept noticing it more, realizing “oh my god!” – that’s the way I want to be. The people I admire are vulnerable, and when I’m at my best, ego is out and I’m putting myself out there. It was a good book with a few insights that stayed with me. When discussing women and shame, “a sticky complex spiderweb of layered, conflicting, competing expectations that dictate who, what and how we should be.” Every choice has a consequence. The truth is that we have to live our lives for ourselves, and when we realize it, embrace it and go all in, we are at our happiest. Being whole and real improves our relationships, our physical and mental health.
The chapters on parenting were so dead-on. We have to “mind the gap” between what we say and what we do, as our children watch… and watch…. and listen. There is no time when you are off. No time when you can take that short cut of just half-truths. Our consistent day in and day out behavior sets their foundation that they build the way they see the world.
I’ve always been described as optimistic, and that means that my hopes are high. Some people see it as unrealistic and can very cynical about that, but it’s not how my mind works. I thought Brene’s research on hope was very interesting. “Hope isn’t an emotion; it’s a way of thinking – a cognitive process.” She describes hope as happening when I know where I want to go. I know how to get there. I’m persistent and can tolerate disappointment. I believe I can do this. It made me think about the work I’ve been doing with helping others incorporate healthy habits into their life. They need hope, and it is something you can train your brain to do.
The “Four Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss is much better than I expected it to be! I kind of got hooked on his podcasts on a recent road trip. What’s interesting to me is that Tim’s approach to time management focuses a lot on ACTION. Like, just stop reading and writing and thinking and do it! Start today. It’s a nice follow up to “The One Thing” because both dig into why you need to own your time and not give it away for anything. “The Four Hour Workweek” has some strategies to liberate you from the restraints of big business and office jobs (partially), using this to improve your effectiveness, and giving you freedom to spend your time remotely on what you really want to do. I thought a lot about the time robbers – email interruptions, in-person interruptions, other people’s priorities shifting yours and taking away your ability to do what you could have done.
Anything good you’re reading that I should add to the list?