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2×4: An Interview with Patrick Rhone

2×4: An Interview with Patrick Rhone

    Patrick Rhone has a gift. He takes things that seem ordinary, things that are so easily overlooked and helps you to see the opportunity in them. He doesn’t tell you how to do this. He doesn’t give you the paint by numbers. He makes you do the work, but shares how he goes about doing it himself. As I said in my review of his latest book, enough, “Rather than providing a checklist for being more mindful, it felt as if I was allowed to examine the benefits from a more mindful existence.”

    Patrick shows you the potential in the ordinary and the ability to make everything, especially yourself, better. He’s also a voice of reason for needing less rather than more stuff to achieve that better self.

    Without further ado, here’s a look at how Patrick Rhone, the creator of Minimal Mac and the thinker behind the enough book and podcast approaches his creative and productive pursuits.

    Creativity

    Have you always considered yourself a creative person?

    Yes. I come from a family of creatives. My mother is an actress and director. Her mother was a world class concert pianist. So, it is in the genetics I guess.

    What mediums and inspirations do you gravitate toward to realize your creative goals?

    Well, as a writer I’m inspired by nearly everything in life. I’m in near constant search for an interesting story to tell and those can be had almost anywhere. Example:

    The magnolias, having suffered a few years of neglect, were beginning to look more bush than tree. Renegade shoots and leaves covered the bottom blocking the sun from the other plants below. Therefore, loppers in hand, I set out to shape them back into a more beguiling form fitting their true nature.

    That is simply the beginning of a story about my yard work from this afternoon. But, I also look for the often unseen connections between the mundane and the extraordinary.

    For instance, the story of trimming a tree in order to shape it and help it grow could easily be a metaphor for our lives and a possible path to self-improvement. Trimming the excess that is sucking energy from the trunk is a pretty good idea for our lives as well.

    As for mediums? Well, I like a saying a friend recently spoke to me which is “Paper is never passive”. I find much truth in this.

    If you had to point to one thing, what specific posts or creations are you most proud of and why?

    My two books — Keeping It Straight and Enough (note: please link to these???). Mainly because, well, writing books is a very hard thing. Writing a book one is proud of and that one believes can really make a difference is even harder. These two items represent the best of my work released thus far.

    Any suggestions for those who feel they may not be creative enough to unlock their inner artist?

    Sure. Stop lying to yourself. Sit down. Do the work. Seek constant improvement. Don’t be afraid of reaching out to those in the field you admire and ask for their suggestions. Take them to heart. Put them to practice. Then, sit down and do the work.

    Creativity is not a blessing, it is a habit.

    Productivity

    Can you describe your current personal and professional responsibilities?

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    There is not enough space for this but let’s try…

    Writer.  Podcaster. Blogger. Author. Essayist. Speaker. Technology Consultant. Father (of three, two are adults). Husband. Homeowner (of 3 houses). Lover. Fighter. Buddhist.

    How do you go about balancing the personal, professional and digital?

    With great care, some skill, and not nearly as much success as I would like. This is simply life and I do the best I can.

    What tools and techniques do you find yourself counting on to get through your workload?

    Pen and paper is essential. I always have both at hand.

    OmniFocus for when things get to big for even pen and paper to manage.

    I try not to remember life before my iPhone.

    What is the best starting point for the unproductive amongst us, who are looking to get more organized?

    Quantify everything that has your attention (or deserves it), decide what you need to do about it, then do it. That is the basis of every successful productivity method ever written.

      More by this author

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      Last Updated on October 15, 2019

      How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them in 7 Simple Steps

      How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them in 7 Simple Steps

      Where do you want to be 5 years from now, 10 years from now, or even this time next year? These places are your goal destinations and although you might know that you don’t want to be standing still in the same place as you are now, it’s not always easy to identify what your real goals are.

      Many people think that setting a goal destination is having a dream that is there in the far distant future but will never be attained. This proves to be a self-fulfilling prophesy because of two things:

      Firstly, that the goal isn’t specifically defined enough in the first place; and secondly, it remains a remote dream waiting for action which is never taken.

      Defining your goal destination is something that you need to take some time to think carefully about. The following steps on how to plan your life goals should get you started on a journey to your destination:

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      1. Make a list of your goal destinations

      Goal destinations are the things that are important to you. Another word for them would be ambitions, but ambitions sound like something which outside of your grasp, whereas goal destinations are certainly achievable if you are willing to put in the effort working towards them.

      So what do you really want to do with your life? What are the main things that you would like to accomplish with your life? What is it that you would really regret not doing if you suddenly found you had a limited amount of time left on the earth?

      Each of these things is a goal. Define each goal destination in one sentence.

      If any of these goals is a stepping stone to another one of the goals, take it off this list as it isn’t a goal destination.

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      2. Think about the time frame to have the goal accomplished

      This is where the 5 year, 10 year, next year plan comes into it.

      Some goals will have a “shelf life” because of age, health, finance, etc, whereas others will be up to you as to when you would like to achieve them by.

      3. Write down your goals clearly

      Write each goal destination at the top of a new piece of paper.

      For each goal, write down what is it that you need and don’t have now that will allow you achieve that goal. This could be some kind of education, career change, finance, a new skill, etc. Any “stepping stone” goals you removed will fit into this exercise. If any of these smaller “goals” have sub-goals, go through the same process with these so that you have precise action points to work with.

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      4. Write down what you need to do for each goal

      Under each item listed, write down the things that you will need to do in order to complete each of the steps required to complete the goal. 

      These items will become a check-list. They are a tangible way of checking how you are progressing towards reaching your goal destinations. A record of your success!

      5. Write down your timeframe with specific and realistic dates

      Using the time frames you created, on each goal destination sheet write down the year in which you will complete the goal by.

      For any goal which has no fixed completion date, think about when you would like to have accomplished it by and use that as your destination date.

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      Work within the time frames for each goal destination, make a note of realistic dates by which you will complete each of the small steps.

      6. Schedule your to-dos

      Now take an overview of all your goal destinations and make a schedule of what you need to do this week, this month, this year – in order to progress along the road towards your goal destinations.

      Write these action points on a schedule so that you have definite dates on which to do things.

      7. Review your progress

      At the end of the year, review what you have done this year, mark things off the check-lists for each goal destination and write up the schedule with the action points you need for the next year.

      Although it may take you several years to, for example, get the promotion you desire because you first need to get the MBA which means getting a job with more money to allow you to finance a part-time degree course, you will ultimately be successful in achieving your goal destination because you have planned out not only what you want, but how to get it, and have been pro-active towards achieving it.

      Featured photo credit: Debby Hudson via unsplash.com

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