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Old Aug 27, 2023 at 09:52 AM
  #741
 
On my Steinbeck thread I've copied in an article on dealing with pressured and busy times. That's me, yet again. I'll walk through it and comment for my own benefit. Thought it might be of help on this thread because it's about doing measly things, sometimes.

Quote:
Quick Summary
However much you try to slow down and avoid activities that consume time and energy to no purpose, there will still be occasions when you are going to be busy and pressured. That’s a simple fact of modern organizational life. So how to deal with it?

1. Always think ahead about the most likely consequences, not just the ones that you want to happen. The idea here is simple: to try to avoid causing yourself more problems and stress through a moment’s thoughtless action. One of the commonest consequences of being under pressure is a failure to look ahead. It seems so important to get a quick result. But cutting corners, taking risks without proper consideration, and rushing into precipitate action can all cost you far more time in cleaning up the mess afterwards than you saved at the time.
Ha, where was this advice a week ago? We've had our third MacBook adapter fail in less than a year (all after market) and I thought to get a refurbished one because they are so heavily tested before being re-sold. Ordered the MagSafe adapter ... we need the MagSafe 2 adapter, I am reminded after I open the package.

I think the key might be to take a Polish Minute as a last chance to catch unwanted results. A Polish Minute is a ritual moment of quiet right before leaving to house to review if you've gotten everything you require for the errands ahead.

Revu2

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Old Aug 27, 2023 at 12:53 PM
  #742
 
There's a story I heard about a child rushing up to the school house steps pushing their bike. The Assistant Principal was standing there and asked, "Why didn't you get on the bike?"

The kid replied: "I was running so late I didn't have time."

I get the point. Even pressed for time, taking time to bring in the right tools or help won't slow you down, but instead increase your pace.

I'm actually needing a tricycle or trike, AI is one wheel, support is another, and an assistant is the 3rd. AI is onboard and I'm getting better at my instructions. Support is onboard as my partner offered to help "any way she could." Support would be great, though how she supports me needs work, in my emotional opinion.

The 3rd, getting an assistant I'll make some effort on today and see what happens. Had one but she now has a full time job and once or twice she withdrew because of exhaustion from doing too much.

Venturing forth in search of a fresh and bright assistant. Wish me great success. Revu2

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Old Aug 29, 2023 at 11:23 AM
  #743
 
Oh brother, this is the one for me.

Quote:
2. It’s always worth taking ample time to get a message across to others. It’s the same temptation: to rush through some phone call, message, or conversation because you can’t really spare the time and you have so much still waiting for you to do. Resist it! If people can see that you’re harassed, they’ll often try to be helpful by saying they understand when they don’t. Few situations are more maddening than discovering, too late, that someone you were relying on for a key element in a project misunderstood what you said that you wanted.
I'm miss using speed reading. When I read email I need to get through 50 to 80 emails a day as quick as I can. My latest mistake is applying that same fast read to everything I read. This has had the follow muffs:
  1. mistook "calcium carbonate" for "sodium carbonate" at a sale at a massage supply store. I can't use the calcium version and because it was a close out sale there's no return. $10 lesson.
  2. read a friend's email as confirming morning meeting times when she'd written afternoon.
  3. ordered the wrong adapter for my macbook: the magsafe (1) and not the one I needed, magsafe (2).
Lesson and adjustment: BEFORE starting to read set approach: Is this OK for a skim and "star" or must I take my care?

link to post

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Old Aug 30, 2023 at 10:31 AM
  #744
 
Quote:
3. Consider every request to attend a meeting with the greatest skepticism. Your default position should be to stay away. Avoid any meeting with no clear agenda, no obvious ending time, and no purpose that makes sense to anyone except the organizer. Don’t assume you can go and quietly do work at the back. It’s more discourteous than staying away and it rarely works.
To underscore my seriousness about this, I've made a table with these 9 tips across the top and MR BIV in the first column. MR BIV comes from the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain and means M istakes, R ework, B reakdowns, I nefficiences, & V ariations.

I've picked the cross with avoiding meetings with I nefficienies. My pain is that 'meetings' are often fun! I mean meetings in the sense of a gathering of a group for any purpose. Like, to talk about film. Or a current one, we had tentative plans to go to a Tom Robbins (yes, the writer) celebration in a nearby town that I am weasling out of due to needing that time for work on a grant. Or even last night ... friend was performing with her band and I didn't go to her show because I have to protect my energy. Even yesterday after a nap I didn't have much focus so I did little things like attach a button and logged and filed receipts.

On the other fingers, I'm counting down my days to retirement. Around 122 today. Many, many meetings will be wiped off my slate.

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Old Aug 30, 2023 at 01:50 PM
  #745
 
What you wrote about is so true, and I can always use the reminder. For me it's often "did I remember to bring everything? Phone? Personal effects that I don't feel like posting here? Things I promised someone I'd bring?
I've been horribly lazy lately. I think part of it is physical - never mind the details. And part of it is mental. There are things I want to do that I don't know how to do - find someone to photoshop my cover art. Make my website - no I still haven't done much with it. I think I do know how to sign up with Pubby and find out what Amazon has that's like Pubby. Right now, I'm finishing the editing, which I know how to do, but once I'm done I will have to face the fact that I don't know . .. .
Success is motivating, and I think I need some success right now.

I'm thinking about Barbara Sher's comments about making lists that start at the end and work up the beginning.

Anyway, Good luck with all your endeavors.
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Old Aug 31, 2023 at 10:56 AM
  #746
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by delightful View Post
I'm thinking about Barbara Sher's comments about making lists that start at the end and work up the beginning.
Reverse Planning. Big fan.

About your other new challenges, those could be more fun than you might think. They're different, fresh skills, new connections to people.

My review quote today:

Quote:
4. Practice at least a dozen firm but polite variations on “no” until you can say them in your sleep. Then use them whenever needed—which will be all the time. The best way to stop yourself becoming overloaded is to refuse to take an anything else. If the person giving you yet more work is your boss, ask for clear priorities, explaining that you need be sure what to drop to make way for the new piece of work. You’ll be surprised how often this will make a boss reconsider.
I'm pairing this with 'V ariation' from the affirming side. Living in Seattle after moving here from NYC, I see lots of people confused about "No." They too often will agree to something and then later fail to show up or follow through. It wasn't till I'd found the book, "I Wish I'd Said That" by Linda McCallister that it finally made sense. The issue is what is the speaker intending. In the style she calls 'reflective' someone agreeing to something which they have some probability of failing to do is acceptable because their intention (probably out of awareness) is to keep THIS conversation harmonious. They feel a "no" would be disruptive and the other people might not see them in a good light.

At great expense (meaning my assistant did it) I've reproduced her test and listed a thumbnail of the scoring. Take a look.

Test (it's set to "viewer" make a copy to use)

Style Descriptions

Once had a great riff with someone as we fantasized about marketing a set of cards with variations of NO on each one. One for any occasion.

Here's a quote we might have used:

“Remember to act always as if you were at a symposium. When the food or drink comes around, reach out and take some politely; if it passes you by don't try pulling it back. And if it has not reached you yet, don't let your desire run ahead of you, be patient until your turn comes. Adopt a similar attitude with regard to children, wife, wealth and status, and in time, you will be entitled to dine with the gods. Go further and decline these goods even when they are on offer and you will have a share in the gods' power as well as their company. That is how Diogenes, Heraclitus and philosophers like them came to be called, and considered, divine.”
― Epictetus, The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness

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Old Sep 01, 2023 at 09:36 AM
  #747
 
Comment on yesterday: better left behind. I just couldn't settle in, made lots of mistakes, and had to deal with messes anonymous students leave as they move out. Stuff like blocking the sidewalk with furniture. Plus, in an effort to avoid mistakes I held up an email so I could review it later ... and there was no later and I forgot to send it!

OK, breathe.

Quote:
5. Learn the two key ways of reading: skimming for relevance and filleting for data. When you skim a document, your sole purpose should be to decide whether it contains anything worth reading. Let your gaze run down the page looking for key words and phrases. If you find any, put a small “x” in the margin and move on. Then glance over the number of “x” markings. Less than 5-6 means don’t mess with it further unless one of those is essential. Filleting is going back to the “x” marks and collecting the data you need. The best way is to make your own notes in a small book. Then toss the original.
Good reminder. I have many small books, but one main large spiral bound, college ruled notebook. One of the ways I "fillet" the data is by adding any quotes from books to goodreads or here on the quotes thread. I like the feeling of knowing where they are, that they are automatically tagged as my contribution, others can find them, and there's computer search to get back if I want.

Ah, reading, and other simple delights and pleasures are trimmed to their bones over the next several days. Yucky and I don't Like It!

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Old Sep 02, 2023 at 09:11 AM
  #748
 
Quote:
6. Don’t accept what you’re told on trust, save from proven sources. When you’re rushed, the temptation will be to “save time” by accepting what you’ve been told. Always check. It’s well worth the time. You’ll look an idiot if the information isn’t true, and no one will accept the excuse that you were in a hurry.
Ay! Dealing with this around data transfer from my mutual fund to my broker. The last time I called to find out what had gone wrong, the broker said they would put in another request to the mutual fund. And that I should allow 2 weeks before calling back. I called the mutual fund the next day and asked did they received the transfer request? Nope. It now took most of an hour with calls back and forth and then setting up a conference call. That whole dance was 2 weeks ago, and still the data hasn't arrived!

It works in the other direction, too. This week I called the recycling pick-up service to alert them that our bins were moved to the opposite corner of our driveway due to construction. Really needed during a busy week? I dunno, but it covered me in case they missed it and wanted to charge me for a return trip.

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Old Sep 03, 2023 at 10:51 AM
  #749
 
Quote:
7. Become familiar with the notions of estimates and orders of magnitude. You can often spot an error or problem almost instantly, without any calculation, by realizing that it is impossible. That’s especially true with numbers. If you know the answer has to be less than 10, and if what is on the page is 14.7, it has to be wrong. No more analysis is needed than that. One of the most useful skills I ever taught myself was the ability to estimate the order of magnitude of the right answer. I rarely needed to know any more to save myself huge amounts of time on analysis.
Yup. When I think of this I sense something is out of scale. As I collaborate a lot, I find aligning all team members at the right level of precision at each stage a continual dance. Around the drafting stages details like punctuation and grammar are dimmed because whole sections might be tossed or rewritten. After the rough work is done, structure and clarity rise to the prime seat. In the last stretch run to a launch grammar and punctuation get our best attentions.

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Old Sep 04, 2023 at 10:16 AM
  #750
 
Quote:
8. Know when to stop. The more you’re under pressure, the more you will be tempted to press on working well beyond the point where your attention and effectiveness begin to fail. Don’t do it. It seems as if it will help, but you’ll most likely either have to do all that work again or waste time clearing up the mess you made for yourself. And you’ll have denied yourself the rest needed even to do that properly.
Everyday question for me. My goal of working 4 hours a day on a grant is seldom reached. Some days I can't fit in more than 2.5 because of other interruptions. A long day might mean 3.5 hours, but then I must stop.

I stop less from today's momentum than to protect my tomorrow's store of energy. I've discovered that overextending leads to much worse results the next day. Say I work 5 hours on Monday. I wake up Tuesday tired out, and a mediocre half hour is hard because my mind feels like it's full of fog.

There are many options to pre-arrange with myself when to stop. Pick one, have back-ups.

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Old Sep 05, 2023 at 09:23 AM
  #751
 
Link to Article

Quote:
9. Coping with turbulence
Time is always as much subjective as objective and when we’re in a turmoil of short-term fire-fighting, it passes with such speed that it causes stress by itself.

If I had to sum all of this up as simply as possible, I would say that the key to coping with stress and pressure is:
  1. to do just about the opposite of what feels most called for: slow down as much as you can,
  2. look ahead as much as possible,
  3. drop everything non-essential,
  4. and do the rest as carefully and thoughtfully as possible
  5. So you only have to do any of it once.
  6. And always, always, try to avoid making yet more work for yourself by rushing, cutting corners, and making [avoidable] mistakes.
[I cut the parable of the kayakers.] I'm doing some of what he suggests: I'm nudging what I can out past the current due date (9/11 11.59 pm). I'm keeping tabs for later for other stuff. I'm clustering errands when I can. Some things I want to buy I can live without another week. Complicated follow-ups are pushed to next week. I've penciled in a fullish day off right after we deliver the grant. Feels good to list them, I'm offering myself credit.

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Old Sep 06, 2023 at 10:03 AM
  #752
 
Found this thread diary of FloatThruThis's 2023 goals. Definitely in the spirit of measly steps. Wonder if we might drop in and cheer her on sometimes?

I'm finding my daily warmup here quite the tonic. Turns out, amidst all this turmoil my bio-energy is in the down slope. Think today is the lowest.

Finding fresh joys in plain view. Like how much fun it is to sit around and talk! I have three places for that now: a Jung Society Cafe on Saturdays, my monthly mens group, and the weekly film discussion group. Might be interesting to arrange a week where I'm in this type of live & in-person chat each day.

Today the film cafe will discuss Sense and Sensibility (Ang Lee, 1995). First of a series of film adapted from Jane Austen's novels. The scriptwriter (and lead actor) Emma Thompson published the shooting script which I hope to pull from the library on my way to the meeting.

Last idle then to work: why did Jane decline marriage?

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Old Sep 07, 2023 at 08:03 PM
  #753
 
HI, R,

My creativity group is going great - so far at least. I hope people keep coming, and I hope they have fun.

You're right - learning new things can be fun. I still have computer - phobia. Editing is more fun than usual. I feel like I'm making progress. That's the fun part. Are you enjoying semi-retirement? It sounds as if you're ready for it.

I'm going to try Pubby. It's internet thing where you read other people's work and critique them, and in return, people critique your work. I want to get my stories as good as I can. If I'm going to get critiqued, I want the comments to be positive.
I have physical therapy (shoulder) and sleep doctor appointments coming up. I'm hoping there's something that will give me more energy. (not caffeine or other stimulants. I don't need to be any crazier than I already am. )

Okay, I'll try to get a little more done, and then that's it for the day.
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Old Sep 08, 2023 at 01:06 PM
  #754
 
The joke's on me: as a consultant I've been semi-working/semi-retired my whole career. The work is nearly always new enough that I have to immerse myself into it. After it's done, I might get a breath, or I might have to plunge into something else. When working hard I have to cancel stuff I really enjoy, or simply miss it. Hate that!

I'm working my brain to its limits through Monday at 11.59 pm, when we deliver the grant.

For a number of reasons, I let yesterday be a drift and low-focus day. Caught up via email with a few friends, and took a long bath.

Today, refreshed, I'm back on task.

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Old Sep 09, 2023 at 11:45 AM
  #755
 
Until yesterday, I had 2 credit cards with me. A personal one and another for getting things for the condo when I happen upon them. On Wed, I slept walked through 2 buys, apparently, because I used the condo card for personal purchases.

A lapse. Milton Erickson, a fabulous hypnotherapist, had a rule for his family: when you make an avoidable error, don't berate yourself too much, instead, pick a punishment.

I think his was cleaning the garage for X minutes, his wife's was darning socks. For me, this time, I'm going to memorize my 16 digit card number, exp date, and security code. 16+4+3 = 23 digits.

Getting to it.

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Old Sep 13, 2023 at 08:53 PM
  #756
 
HI, R,

I read your post and wondered what would be a good punishment for me. I decided it was doing the laundry - And then I remembered there was laundry that needed to go into the dryer or it would get moldy. Thanks, R.
Tomorrow, I go see the sleep doctor. Square Peg said he loves his sleep machine, and my friend Trisha said the same thing. So I'm hoping something good comes out of the appt.
I'm done spending big bucks on my house (I hope.) I've been doing cute girlie things. I have a metal heron in front of the house, and he's standing in a stream of blue marbles.
Writing is happening. it's not too interesting to talk about, but . . .
What else? Creativity group was a no-show. I hope next month will be better. Book club this Saturday, and my husband's high school reunion the Saturday after that.

No major disasters.
Happy semi-retirement.
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Old Sep 14, 2023 at 07:54 PM
  #757
 
Turns out, the visa card # was not too hard to nail.

It's xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx exp yy/yy cvv zzz

See. just 3 letters.

I think part of going to a sleep doctor is the inner feeling of living through a ceremony for diagnosis, treatment plan, and finally, a treatment!

Sleep soundly.

About writing. Exciting? I once read a writer describing her day. Not sure why. Ever so often she'd sit and write, or edit, or read.

It's really hard to show in plays and movies. In Hamilton, he's shown a couple of time neglecting his family to write. I think he wrote while walking like I see people reading books while walking. If pressed for time, I think he wrote different things with each hand. His biographer concluded that H. wrote as much as a human could given the technology of his time.

Since I'm a hack writer, having decided that editors and publishers were hard to find, and harder to please, and that the pay per effort was out of whack, I have to get myself to the task. Some days it's a breeze, some days it's harder. I'm never up for any awards, the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer, the Booker Prize, poet Laurette of Our Fair City. What would I wear to the Nonprofit Awards? Nominees for the best use of literature in a grant are ... Me, and a few other folks. Oh, the suspense.

And the winner is ... then I wake up.

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Old Sep 18, 2023 at 02:15 PM
  #758
 
I think of creative writing as similar to painting. An artist makes a sketch, then corrects the lines, adds shadows and reflections, makes corrections until the picture is finished. Writing is similar. You write the rough draft, correct the plot line, add and subtract descriptions, correct voice, rhythm, develop character, and correct typos, misspellings, and grammar mistakes. Editing is hard when you have to look for errors and seek out the imperfect. But it's heaven when you can find the answer and the paragraph that used to be boring wakes up.

ON a different note, the floor beneath my bathroom is rotten, and the toilet is leaking into it causing bad smells. More $$$$.
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Old Sep 20, 2023 at 06:36 PM
  #759
 
There was a book around in the 70's called "Future Shock." It talked about technology changing so fast that we can't keep up with it. You probably read it. Anyway, I identify with the feeling so much o the time now.

I tried to make a virtual doctor's appt. It didn't work because, they no longer accept a computer visit, They want you to use your phone app. If you try to hook up on the computer, the doc can't see you, and insurance won't pay for the visit unless the doctor can see you. So, after failing to hook up using my computer, I tried to use my phone. It's a smart phone, but it doesn't have the Stanford app. So I tried to book an appointment on line for an in-person visit. I finally got my appointment by calling the office and having a human make it for me. Yay! I love humans.

Usually, when I try to do something electronically it doesn't work. Most of the time it's because I did something wrong. I am not well-adapted to this era.
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Old Sep 22, 2023 at 11:18 AM
  #760
 
Hi Steppers. I feel your pain about making that appointment. There are rooms of whiz-bang coders asking that very question: how do we remove any pain points? And then they don't! They all are smart phone savvy and think: let's make an app! Ha!

I'm often "brittle" nearing an important work event (something due or a workshop to facilitate). Tiny bumps feel like quakes. Case in point: ordered printer toners, toner turns out to be crap (messy, leaks, streaks, print is gray/not black). Simple matter, return the toner, of can't eat the loss.

But, it's 10.30 pm, long day, challenging days ahead (always challenging days ahead). Got all these itty steps to do :: find the return button, follow their process, upload a couple of pix (take the pix, and to upload means shifting to another computer) print label and on and on.

And still I am without toner! Back to the top of That Process and begin again.

Yuksville.

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