Make 2021 Better Than 2020!

An idea for having a good and prosperous one

Identify the roles where spending your time will matter most.

You get to choose how and where you are spending your time. There are so many options that it can be overwhelming to narrow the options and commit. In the face of this reality, a key success factor is how well you choose what to say “no” to. (Don’t forget to have some white space)! A framework is needed to help you prioritize so that you wind up satisfied with most of these decisions. Having named roles such as “spouse”, “parent”, “friend”, “electrician”, “church member”, “daughter”, and so on, helps you spend time on/with people and things that you decide are most important. This prevents regret as well as providing the satisfaction of a life well lived over time. Whether you are planning your day and week or responding to a request from someone else, you can be more confident in the “yes” or “no” you say to spending your time on a project or task.

Choosing Outcomes for Our Roles

“I want to spend time with family and be there for my son”. “I’m going to serve on a church committee”. “I want to enjoy my hobby”. These are examples of initiatives that can help you confidently create projects or respond to ideas/requests from others. As Stephen Covey implored, “Begin with the end in mind”. Planning and spending your time with “the end in mind” for each of your roles is an important aspect of this. Say “no” to things that don’t fit…unless they are so overwhelmingly compelling that you think them worth of creating a whole new role and perhaps diminishing or replacing an existing role.

Create a “Time Budget” for your roles

You don’t need a strict “budget” per se. You need a guideline so that each role regularly commands some of your time. This helps you avoid looking back some months (or even years) later, and say, “I regret neglecting that”. You can even prioritize the time budget so the most important roles and projects still receive time and energy if unusual external forces unexpectedly intrude on your schedule. You then can say “no” to things that are still important and painful to put aside…but you’ll know they are the right things to “not do” until later.

Re-schedule Important Things

When you decide to do something other than what you planned, you face the biggest opportunity for future regret. One of the most common errors in time management is not to analyze and decide what to do about planned things that did not get done. Choose promptly whether/when something should still be done and you will enjoy greater consistency and integrity in meeting the commitments you make to yourself and others. This will ultimately lead to greater overall integrity in each of the roles you choose to fulfill.

Jeff Linroth – Longmont

Working vs. Fighting

Most things are far better “worked for” than “fought for”

Working for the Outcome

We work to achieve outcomes on the job or in business. We also work in relationships, in volunteer efforts, and in other environments. This is a tried and true method for getting things done when sustained effort is required. It is not often dramatic but it is virtuous. It also can involve collaboration and teamwork. We hear and see a lot of speech that implies quick fixes. It is worth reminding ourselves that “less talk and more work” is a good priority for our behavior. Also it is also good to reserve our attention and praise for quiet, steady progress rather than the noisy, sometimes flashy and ostentatious proclamations that cheap and lightening-fast communication enables.

Fighting for the Outcome

So often we hear that “I’m fighting for this” or “we will continue to fight” or “You’ve got to fight”. Our speech seems to glorify fighting. It may sound glamorous but it’s often just an unconscious reach for dopamine. It subtly suggests the need to overcome opposition and/or adversity. The truth about many situations is that they simply require sustained hard work and delayed gratification. This is not usually a combination that produces excitement or anticipation. We’ve conditioned ourselves to imagine that when we hear someone is going to “fight” for something we imagine something more productive than “working” for something.

“Win-Lose” vs. “Win-Win”

Something else subtle and unhelpful happens when we use the phrase “fight for” instead of “work for” or “work toward”. We imply that we are in a “win-lose” situation, where someone else must “lose” if we are to “win”. We should avoid a “win-lose” mindset (which is often followed by “win-lose” approach) because the opportunity for partial success and/or compromise is reduced. There are a few situations where there can (and should), only be one winner. They are much more rare than our current popular mood might suggest.

Most things are far better “worked for” than “fought for”

Jeff Linroth – Longmont

Staying Organized

There is no shortage of people (and books), that pledge help and tools to get organized. It’s hard enough to get organized. It can be particularly hard to stay organized. One of the biggest reasons is that the benefits cited are often short-term and the techniques offered are tactical. The headline is usually some form of “stress relief”. See the “Spare Capacity” post for an idea about achieving longer-term more durable stress relief. Along with the tactical, there must be strategic, long-term analysis and thinking.

What helps us STAY organized?

In two words: Knowing Why.
Having one or two or more long-term benefits in mind (to go along with the short-term ones), will help us keep up the consistent delaying of gratification that is required to stay organized. In “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Stephen Covey advised, “Begin with end in mind”. Asking ourselves about the time between now and our death is a great place to begin.

A couple of High-level Questions to consider:

“What are my values?”

When I look back on my life…
“What significant things will I want to have done?”
“How will I want to have been?”

“In what roles will I be most effective and efficient?”

When you have identified values most important to you and chosen roles in which to engage, you will have context for saying “no” to things you otherwise would have wrongly said “yes” to and saying “yes” to things that fit well into the person you want to be.

What do you think about this topic?

What has worked for you?

Jeff Linroth – Longmont

The Land of Can

The Land of Canaan was a large and prosperous country. Today I propose that we can bring great and varied forms prosperity to everyone else as well as ourselves if we become citizens of “The Land of Can”.

The Land of Can

What is this Land? It is comprised of wonderful human beings who persist in the face of adversity…large or small. They hail from “The Land of Can” because they consistently and demonstrate that they have the skill and the will to do what a situation calls for. Their actions and their attitudes also lift those around them to have persistence and an upbeat disposition…especially, in the face of challenge. Citizenship in this land is difficult to obtain and it requires maintenance. Perseverance, patience, the ability and willingness to endure pain, and delayed gratification are important character traits here. The rewards, however, often dwarf the prices paid. They can include lasting peace of mind, deep lifelong friendships, professional respect, financial success, and many many other profound meaningful outcomes. Ultimately citizens live a meaningful life. The rewards can also extend far beyond the individual citizen and those nearby. The entire human race is sometimes advanced by the sustained actions of one or more “Can-ites”.

The Land of Can’t

From time-to-time we encounter people who hail from “The Land of Can’t”. They are prone to make excuses and to discuss the why’s and wherefores of why they didn’t or won’t do something (sometimes it’s a thing they committed to do or are reasonably expected to do). Excuses are a prominent feature among these citizens. This citizenship is easily obtained. In fact it is where almost every child begins. For countless reasons many reach adulthood and are still spending most of their time in this land. It is a difficult citizenship to renounce…but it is worth the effort!

Both!

The truth of the matter is that many of us hold a “dual citizenship”. We want to be from “The Land of Can”! But we find ourselves revisiting “Can’t land”. That’s just part of being human. Let’s resolve to maximize our time in “Can land”.

  • Jeff Linroth Longmont

Love is a Verb

Much is made of how important it is to tell people you love them. This is indeed very important…but it must be preceded by deeds.

Not only is love a verb…it is an action verb. If you want people to believe you when you say “I love you”, consistently extend yourself for their benefit. Be considerate of them when you decide what to do for them. Suffer for them and with them when appropriate. Study the topic of love…much has been written about it. Act on what you learn about love…prioritizing what you think best and what the other person thinks best.

My favorite treatment of the verb love is found within Scott Peck’s “The Road Less Traveled”. Please contribute one or more of your favorite writings or presentations on the topic of the verb love.

  • Jeff Linroth Longmont

Spare Capacity

Benefits of Spare Capacity

Operating with spare capacity provides a lot of things. Insurance, peace of mind, the ability to respond to the unforeseen, and endurance. It is hugely helpful to have spare time, spare financial resources, and spare emotional capacity. Remember, however, it’s all just time. 🙂

The False Virtue of “Busyness”

It has somehow become a badge of honor to be busy. The busier the better. The downsides to this are too numerous to list. Three big ones are:
A. Shorter lifespan
B. Inefficiency
C. Being unreliable
It is often accompanied by the unpleasant feeling of doing many things and doing none of them particularly well. It is a bit like sprinting all the time. Figuratively speaking, the “over-busy” person is often emotionally (and sometimes physically) “out of breath”.

Balance Over Busy

We use other names for spare capacity…”white space on the calendar”, “savings in the bank”, “psychological resilience”. Let’s resolve to build and maintain spare capacity. We can do this by consciously planning a balance of work and play and rest. This “balance over busy” approach will give us strength and commitment when adversity comes – whether it comes to us, to others, or to our communities.

  • Jeff Linroth Longmont

Ignorance of the Law…

Is no excuse. And yet….

We do not teach our citizens about the laws. We don’t require our them to demonstrate knowledge of the laws of the land at all. Why not?

If we say to ourselves that “it’s too much work” or “it’s too complicated”, should we contemplate making it easier for the average citizen to learn?

  • Jeff Linroth Longmont

It’s all just time

Time management…we are all encouraged to manage our time and use it wisely. Likewise with money. We are supposed to “manage” it. In particular, we are to spend it wisely.

It helps to think of money as your claim on someone else’s time…your ability to get others to spend their time creating a product or service that you want or need. If you see yourself as deciding how or whether you will ask someone else to create or do something for you, it will help you be wise in spending it.

  • Jeff Linroth Longmont

Forgiveness

We all need it. Let’s start by offering it. It takes next to nothing for small things. Forgiving small things builds momentum to forgive larger things. It’s worth remembering that most people have good intent and don’t mean harm.

  • Jeff Linroth Longmont

“I want to see the country”

It’s a phrase many of us have heard…usually accompanied by “When I retire and have time to travel”. A great way to “see the country” before you retire…is to take a different route each time you travel by car or train. An easy way to do this is to “collect counties”. Try it!

  • Jeff Linroth Longmont

It’s all just time

Time management…we are all encouraged to manage our time and use it wisely. Likewise with money. We are supposed to “manage” it. In particular, we are to spend it wisely.

It helps to think of money as your claim on someone else’s time…your ability to get others to spend their time creating a product or service that you want or need. If you see yourself as deciding how or whether you will ask someone else to create or do something for you, it will help you be wise in spending it.

  • Jeff Linroth Longmont

Welcome to Leaving It Better, LLC!

What Longmont and Jeff Linroth try to do!