Smatterings is a column here at My Pleasant Places in which I comment on a selection of my favorite and/or most informative or inspiring articles read on the web during the past week or so. I like to pass on to my readers good posts and articles that have helped me in some way, and I also enjoy the opportunity to “put in my two bits” on a given subject. Even though I may have read these posts within the past week (or so) does not mean that they were published in the past week. I’m not trying to be “cutting edge,” just helpful. I welcome your comments.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a “Smatterings” post, but I’ve read some thought-provoking articles lately, so I simply must share. But before I get into my Smatterings, first I’d like to mention that I often share a smattering of info in an even more abbreviated form on MyPleasantPlaces Facebook page throughout the week. If you do not follow MyPleasantPlaces on Facebook, please consider this my invitation to you to be my Facebook friend by visiting this page and liking it. When you click the link, you should see the page below. Click the “Like” button (which is circled in red; do you like my artwork?).
Now, before you leave the page, please go one step further (and this suggestion is also for those of you who are already MyPleasantPlaces Facebook friends and followers). After you have liked the page, hover over the “Liked” button. You should then see a list of options like those pictured below. Click the option, “Get Notifications” (again, indicated by my fancy artwork). Unless you take that small step, you’ll not see MyPleasantPlaces posts on a consistent basis. I think this is Facebook’s way of coercing businesses and people with “business” pages (though I don’t consider my blog a business) to pay for getting their posts into followers Facebook feeds. I’m not up for that at this point in time. I’d rather just suggest you take that extra step. Will you?
Now that we’re friends, please comment now and then both here on the blog and on the Facebook page. I love hearing from you. Truly!
Now, on to a smattering of interesting articles that I have read recently.
There were several things about this article that intrigued me. For one thing, there were some interesting statements that were more than a little startling. For example, “…the average high school kid today experiences the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient of the 1950s.” Really?
The premise of this article is that, though we are busy people these days, we actually have more time than we think. But there are circumstances that have become our “normal” in modern life that deceive us into thinking we are busier than we really are. I was convinced of this truth back when I read 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam and immediately was inspired to make better use of my time (What Would You Do If You Had More Time?).
From that premise, the rest of the article is about reclaiming the time that you have and capitalizing on it. The suggestions in the article appear to be an outline of a whole book on the subject, Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte (you could say that the article is a smattering of the book, and this post is a smattering of that smattering). (And, by the way, because I got so much out of this article, I have checked out the book at my local library and am now in the process of reading it. This is one of the ways that I build my reading list. See So Much to Read, So Little Time.)
I’ll list “the 7 Ways” mentioned in the article with a comment or two of my own, and then you can check out the article and see if you, too, might want to look into the book that it references.
1. Write it all down. This is also a principle from organization guru David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. Writing things down makes perfect sense. Part of what stresses us out is an unconscious fear of forgetting something important. If we create systems for remembering everything–as in recording it somewhere–then much of the stress diminishes. (Three Principles of Time Management)
2. Prioritize. We can’t do everything, so we must decide in advance what’s non-negotiable, what must get done, and do that first. Too often, we sacrifice the important for that which makes us “feel” more productive. I got a smile from the way the author summed it up: “So you need to prioritize or you will have a clean garage but get fired from your job. (Moving from “Urgent” to “Important”)
3. Make things automatic. Ah, yes; habits. One of my favorite subjects. If we remove the personal debate that we often have with ourselves regarding whether or not to do the things that are the most important to us, then the battle is more than halfway won. (Building Values into Habits)
4. Work like an athlete (sprint, rest, sprint…). There is a rhythm to how we work best. Learn it, and we’ll get more done in less time.
5. Switch to single-tasking instead of multi-tasking, which, by the way, is a myth! (Multitasking Mayhem).
6. Only handle it once (OHIO).
7. Have leisure goals. I just recently wrote about how “I compete with myself” in my running, and it enriches my running experience. (Another Life Lesson from Running). I totally buy into the idea of “leisure goals.” It doesn’t make the leisure more like work, it makes it more meaningful–and fun!
Do one of these 7 ways of increasing your time stand out to you? Do you already practice some of them? If so, please share in the comments how it has added time to your day or at least how it has made your time more enjoyable and less stressful.
At one time or another, we all need to be creative geniuses. Right? But how do you turn it on? That’s what this article is about. It suggests six different routes to creativity–and they’re not what you might expect.
I can say that I have experienced at least three of these methods on a small scale, but since I don’t consider myself a creative genius by any means, I’d say that I could use a little inspiration. Therefore, I chose one of the suggestions, combined it with something else I saw on TV this past week, and went out and bought myself a hula hoop!
Read the article and you’ll figure out which suggestion I am going to deliberately implement into my office and see if I can’t create some more creativity!
I was moved by this article. It speaks to my core values. The question the author refers to in the title is, “in the service of what?” He writes about people that our world considers very successful–Michael Phelps, Michael Jordan, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, etc–and the accomplishments they have accrued. And then he asks–and I paraphrase–”But what’s it all for?” Or, as he puts it, “In service of what?” I would add: What does it matter? What difference does it honestly make in the grand scheme of things?
We celebrate and envy people’s extraordinary individual accomplishments and successes, but the pleasure they derive from their efforts is often surprisingly fleeting. And there is a reason for that. What generates an enduring experience of meaning and satisfaction in our work is the sense that what we’re doing really matters — that we’re truly adding value in the world.
I wholeheartedly agree with the author on this point. I believe we are only truly fulfilled–over the long haul–when we add value to our world, to our sphere, to the people in our lives. I take his premise even further, though–further than ‘how does it serve others’–and look at my work (and life) from an even larger perspective: What does He think about what I do? What does my Heavenly Father have to say about it? Did He mandate it?
Yes, I want to make a difference in this life, but I don’t only want to live for the difference I can make in the here and now. I have much grander aspirations. I’d like to exponentially multiply my investment of time, energy, money, etc. and know that what I do will matter even after I have crossed over from mortality to immortality?
Does this seem a little lofty or far-fetched? The Bible says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Col 3:23-24; underlining is mine). The end result of that kind of living will eventually result in a “well done” on the other side.
This slant–what does He think?–on the way we work and on the way we spend our time, in general, dignifies even the most mundane tasks. So the most important question for me is not “In service to what?” but more aptly, “In service to Who?” Does He approve? Does He mandate it? If so, then I can unreservedly throw my whole heart into it! Not only will it benefit the others that I will doubtless serve in the process, but I will reap the benefits forever!