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The Importance of a Central Project List

The Importance of a Central Project List

I can’t escape the fact that having a real centralized project list for the things I’m doing is helping. I want to believe that I have tons of excess capacity in my brain. I want to think that I remember everything I’ve got on the go. But I don’t. And maybe you don’t, either.

I’ve recently started using the Mac program iGTD as a central repository. It does a great job of sorting out contexts and projects such that I can sort things by project or context and get whatever done that I can. I’m sure you can recommend the PC or LINUX equivalent in the comments section, right? But to me, it’s not about the software. It’s about the way one uses the product to create a workflow. Here’s what I’ve been experimenting with:

30 Minutes in the Morning

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I wish I could use less time to do this, but I find that if I give the first 30 minutes of my morning towards wiping out my inbox and either turning the mail into projects or acting immediately, it goes a long way on improving my day. So that’s what I do.

  • Open email
  • Process mail into a project –> add to iGTD or
  • Act on mail immediately: respond in a way that closes the loop with the other person.
  • Close email and try to forget for an hour.
  • Try to nail some action on a project, hopefully in order of deadline.

Nothing magical here, but getting into the rhythm of it is where the power comes in. I’m starting to come to my iGTD project list to look for what needs doing. And when I identify that something’s not there, I put it on to add it to my active queue.

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Perform Project “Blasts”

Instead of focusing on any one project, I scroll through my project list and try working on closing out the ones due next, and/or the ones I think I can complete in short order. I try to do a mix of these and a few swipes at tasks on REALLY BIG projects. Because I’ve got this set up as projects with tasks underneath, it’s as easy as working on Next Actions. This requires discipline. I find that if I don’t break a project into tasks, then I don’t dig in as quickly to take a next action on something.

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Daily Review

I do a weekly review, but I also do a daily endcap to see if I’ve moved the ball forward on enough of my projects. Because my particular work is almost always scattershot, I look to see that what I’ve done has had any impact on a daily basis. Thus, I can try and influence my next day more.

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Your Thoughts and Improvements

This is the system I’m using to manage my workload right now. How are YOU working? What are you doing differently? Have you tried a program that you like more than iGTD? Talk about it. We’d love to hear.

Chris Brogan blogs at [chrisbrogan.com]

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Published on July 22, 2019

The Secret to Success Is Failure

The Secret to Success Is Failure

You see a job that you’d love to do; and, you decide to go for it.

You submit your application, and then are pleased to find a few days later that you’re invited for an interview. This goes well, and you begin to have quiet optimism that a job offer will be coming your way soon…

It doesn’t.

Instead, you receive a letter saying thank you — but, they’ve decided to go with another candidate.

At this point, you could allow yourself to feel defeated, sad, and perhaps even a little angry. These are normal responses to bad news. Yet, it’s not wise to let them fester and disrupt your goals. Successful people don’t let failures kill their dreams.

Sure, they might temporarily feel deflated. But, very quickly, they pick themselves back up again and begin planning their next steps towards success.

How about you? Do you currently feel embarrassed or guilty about failing?

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Don’t worry if you do, as most of us have been programmed since childhood to see failure as a bad thing. Yet, as I’m going to show you in the next few minutes, this programming is dead wrong — failure is actually an essential part of success.

Don’t Be Tempted by Perfection

The first thing I want you to think about is this:

Resisting failure is, at its core, seeking perfection. And, perfection doesn’t exist.

That’s why perfectionists are also likely to be chronic procrastinators.

As Psychology Today noted in their article Pitfalls of Perfectionism, people who constantly seek for perfection stop themselves from engaging in challenging experiences.[1] That’s because these perfectionists are less creative and innovative than the average person — plus they’re less likely to take risks. Add these factors together, and you have someone who is overly focused on their own performance and is always quick to defend themselves. Unfortunately, these traits prevent them from having the necessary focus when it comes to learning new tasks.

Let me be clear: Striving for perfection is not the same as striving for excellence.

The former is a fool’s quest for the unattainable; while the latter is really just about doing our very best (which we can all obtain).

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And, there’s another problem that perfectionists have to deal with. Namely, when they fail to reach their ideal, they feel dejected and defeated. And — as you can imagine — repeat this often enough, and these people can end up feeling bitter and depressed about their lives.

So, forget about seeking perfection, and instead, focus on always doing your very best.

Why Failure Is Good

I recently came across a Forbes article Failing Your Way To Success: Why Failure Is A Crucial Ingredient For Success[2] that helped explain why most people are opposed to failure.

The article referenced the work of two world-renowned psychologists (Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky), who were awarded a Nobel Prize for their work. They discovered something very interesting: the effect of a loss is twice as great as the gain from a win.

Have you ever thought about that before?

What it means is that failure has a far greater negative impact on us than the positive impact of an equivalent win. It’s no wonder then that most people are afraid to fail.

And, here’s where it gets interesting…

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Amazon (which along with Apple, Facebook and Google, is considered one of the Big Four technology companies) has a culture that is tolerant of failure. And Jeff Bezos — Amazon’s founder and CEO — believes that this culture is one of the main reasons for the company’s big achievements over the last 25 years. In a letter to shareholders, he said:

“Failure comes part and parcel with invention. It’s not optional. We understand that and believe in failing early and iterating until we get it right.” 

The truth is, failure can open up a world of exciting opportunities for you.

How does it do this?

By constantly showing you new avenues to travel on. And, by helping you learn from your mistakes — so you can be better next time around. It also helps you identify what’s not working for your life, and what is.

So instead of seeing something as detrimental to success, you should see it as a tool FOR success. A tool that will help you to continually refine your journey in life.

If you still need some convincing that the secret to success is failure, then take a look at the following excerpts from our article 10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On:

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• J.K. Rowling encountered a catalog of failures shortly after graduating from college, including: being jobless, the breakdown of her marriage, and living as a lone parent. However, instead of giving up on life, she used these failures to propel her to write the Harry Potter fantasy series — the best-selling book series in history.

• Walt Disney didn’t have an easy start either. He dropped out of school at a young age in a failed attempt to join the army. Later, one of his early business ventures, Laugh-o-Gram Studios, went bankrupt. He was also fired from a Missouri newspaper for “not being creative enough.” (Yes, you read that correctly.) Was he defeated by these failures? Just ask Mickey Mouse.

• Michael Jordan had this to say about the power of failure: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Embrace Failure, and Prepare for Success

I hope this has been an eye-opener for you.

Failure has long been branded a leper; but in reality, it’s a healthy, essential component of success.

The trick of course is to develop the mindset of a winner. Someone who sees failures as stepping stones to success — and defeats as important learning experiences.

So, are you ready to embrace your failures and take the proud road to success?

I sincerely hope so.

Featured photo credit: Bruce Mars via unsplash.com

Reference

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