One of my goals for 2008 is to become more efficient. Bottom line is that I want to be effective in all that I do, and being efficient is part of that bigger picture. I want to get the most out of my time, energy, and effort. Some of the unexpected changes and demands over the last 18 months have led to greater discipline in some areas and less in others. I want to honor God in all that I do and how it is done. I want to lead well in this area and set the pace for my team.
It is time to dial some things in, so here is what I have been doing the past eight weeks to become more efficient.
I have re-read Getting Things Done. This is a great book that provides excellent guidance in organizing projects, prioritizing what to do, and effectively establishing action steps. A few years back I was an ardent follower of this system, but slacked a bit over the last year. Back at it full steam now and I am really seeing the difference. A decent summary of the book here.
I started using Vitalist. This has been a great tool for implementing the principles of GTD. In the past I have used Outlook for this purpose, but Vitalist is much better.
I moved to a ZERO BASED INBOX. My email Inbox was getting the best of me, but no longer. I make several email dashes a day, deal with each item and keep it empty. Sure it feels better, but the real win is that I don't read certain emails over and over again, and thus I am more efficient.
Prioritized a clean desk. Up until a few years ago, this was a non-negotiable for me. I had to have a clean desk. However, it has become a bit messy over the last two years. Reading that a messy desk can waste as much as three hours a week inspired me to get back to a clean desk. I should point out that I have not yet arrived in this area, but I am getting close.
Going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. I am trying to max out morning hours more than I have in the past. Typically, I would go to bed about midnight and wake up between 6-7am. Now I am trying to be in bed around 11pm and wake up at 6am.
Eat less and exercise more. When I am disciplined physically, it has tremendous carryover into other areas.
Financial Peace University. I will write more on this later, but Carol Ann and I have been following this diligently (most of the time) over the last year and it has been a huge help.
I broke in my new Running Shoes given to me by my daughters for Christmas. This is my second pair of Wave Riders and it is hard to imagine running in any other shoes. They are light weight, sturdy, and feel great. They make me feel fast too, but that is up for debate.
My extraordinary wife Carol Ann and I had our first date 25 years ago today! This is not her favorite picture, but I love it because it makes me smile! It reminds me of her expressions when we first starting hanging out in high school.
Our first date was one of the best days of my life. We were already close friends and the date seemed to take it to another level. It was obvious that God had brought us together. The fact that I ended up with Carol Ann is proof that there is a loving God!
Way back in grade school I remember the challenge associated with giving the required "bring to class for everyone" Valentine. Many of those little Valentine cards said "be my Valentine", which of course was not cool to give to another guy. Truthfully, it was also a bit intimidating to give to most girls. I mean, you did not want some 4th grade girl to get the wrong idea and start making wedding plans.
I was always on the lookout for a Valentine card that said,"Happy Valentines Day. I am only giving you this card because the teacher and my mom said that I had to. In no way do I have any feelings for you whatsoever!" Surprisingly, I have yet to find that card.
I think that this is what ruined me in regards to cards. I hardly ever give a card to Carol Ann. I don't believe in cards. If I want to say something meaningful to Carol Ann, I will say it or write it myself. I don't need someone to do that for me, make it fancy looking, and charge me 5 bucks!
Carol Ann does not get a card... but she did get my heart. And the truth is, since Valentine's Day is a big deal for us, I always give it my creative best and it has worked out well. This year I decided to put a big bag together of stuff that Carol Ann loves, but I don't like or consider frivolous. What better way to say I love you!