Ending a Particular Nightmare: Managing the Particles

Getting Things DoneIf you are having the nightmare where you get to class and discover there is an exam that you forgot and did not prepare for and you are way past school age, then you need to learn to manage the particles. At the World Domination Summit, Jon Acuff recommended David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. I jotted it down in my notes and downloaded it later in Kindle. At one point in my life I had that nightmare on a recurring basis with a twist: I forgot that I was enrolled in the class and had not attended most of the semester.

I no longer have this dream because I have created systems that help me manage the particles. In the CTI Co-Active Leadership Program they challenged us to not put too much energy into managing the particles. Our trainers were concerned that we would substitute a focus on details for leadership that sees the big picture. You can carefully care for your calendar and never drop a ball, but without a clear leadership stake and a strategy for accomplishing it, and then the details are just particles. They admonished us to do more than manage the particles.

However, if you do not have a way to manage the particles they will undo your leadership. As Allen says:

“Managing commitments will requires the implementation of some basic activities and behaviors:

  • First of all, if it’s on your mind, your mind isn’t clear. Anything you consider unfinished in any way must be captured in a trusted system outside your mind, or what I call a collection tool, that you know you’ll come back to regularly and sort through.
  • Second, you must clarify exactly what your commitment is and decide what you have to do, if anything, to make progress toward fulfilling it.
  • Third, one you’ve decided on all the actions you need to take, you must keep reminders of them organized in a system you review regularly.

You must use your mind to get things off your mind.”

Getting Things Done, page 14

If this resonates and you could use a system for tracking your “open loops” and identifying your priorities, then read Getting Things Done. If you have figured out a system that works for you, then carry on and give this book a pass.

Finding my Voice at World Domination Summit 2015

Outside the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

Jon Acuff, author of several books including Do Over, anchored #WDS2015. He called us forth to rediscover our voice. He invited us to get back in touch with our 3rd grade self and ask if our 3rd grade self would be happy or full of regrets if we met him/her today. I thought back to my long drive to Arcata on Wednesday when I reconnected with an idea for a fictional story I want to write. My third grade self would say “work less and write more.” He went on to give us some inspiration and some tools (including a worksheet on DoSummer2015.com).

We were all abuzz about Kid President. Robby Novak, aka Kid President, and his uncle and producer Brad Montague taught us some dance moves. Then Brad explained how Kid President evolved into the phenomenon it is today. On the one hand Robby and Brad’s messages are simple: 1) Be nice or treat everyone like it’s their birthday; 2) You matter; your voice matters; 3) Sharing is good; 4) Invite everyone to the party; 5) Enjoy it. My favorite quote, and one that relates to the previous post on failure, “There’s always a reason to complain and always a reason to dance. Choose to dance.”

I discovered Chris Guillebeau’s blog and book Happiness of Pursuit last year. Through his website I discovered the World Domination Summit.The WDS asks participants “How will you live a remarkable life in a conventional world?” Intrigued, I tried to buy tickets last year and learned how quickly it sells out. So this year I signed up for alerts and set my calendar, then I bought tickets for me, Sarah and Marcos as soon as they were available. That was months ago, and I had to reconnect with my motivation. The speakers have made it easy.

I was especially inspired by Lewis Howes‘ moving presentation calling us to be super humans instead of super heroes. I added his podcast School of Greatness on Stitcher. There is another day of speakers and a few more world records to break.