Walk Your Talk

img credit: Charles Barsotti, New Yorker

img credit: Charles Barsotti, New Yorker

I love the saying, “Walk Your Talk” as a core value. This path of personal integrity can be tough to live, especially in today’s environment. And I’m not just saying in a world where we question whether or not the football was deflated on purpose.

I mean in a world of multiple, competing priorities. People are being asked to do more with less everywhere. Less time, less money, less staff, less volunteers, less “insert your need here”. And it’s easy to want to cut corners, but what about when you don’t mean to cut corners or miss that deadline? To me, that’s still failing to walk my talk (because if I promise to do it, I really mean to follow through), it’s just that how do you find the balance to under-promise and over deliver in a world that wants all of its Dom Perignon perks on a Miller Light budget? I have found myself having to triage my day and priorities list so that it’s not even the top 3 priorities that I get to tackle, it’s sometimes only one because it needs so much attention. On those days, I don’t feel like I walk my talk very well. I feel more like all hat and no cattle. And speaking with friends and colleagues, I know that I’m not the only one.

To better walk my talk of hyper-productivity and efficiency, I follow a number of time-discipline evangelists. Rory Vaden is one that has been popping up on my radar more and more. I was first introduced to him at an NSA event about publishing, which forever means in my mind, he’s associated with books (have you read his Take the Stairs, very worth it!). So, it took me a while to connect fully what he wrote his book about to the great snippets of his time management blog and podcast that drifted my way. One of the latest, which contained in my humble opinion, sheer brilliance, 15 permissions to give yourself that will improve your focus.

I swear this list was written for me, I think (not really, but still, wow). Number 7 just blinks at me every time i re-read the post:

“Take on 1 big project at a time and give yourself to procrastinate on purpose for others.”

Procrastinate on purpose, now there’s an idea. It goes against the grain for us hyper-productivity and efficiency crazies. I mean, only one thing at a time? How novel. Is that what it was like before email ruled our lives? I can remember that time, but very very faintly and always accompanied by the ringing of a fax line.

Number 14 (Relax when it’s time to relax so your brain can recharge and be focused when it’s time to focus) also strongly resonates. It was one of my new year’s resolutions (for the last 3 years it seems) to be more present. Between my focus on my work and my travel, my guilt always reassured me that I’m not present enough and focused on the things in front of me that don’t have to to do with business of business. Usually that’s when I’m trying to get my brain to relax and hang out with my kids or hang out with my husband, or just plain hang out. I mean, it took lack of wi-fi and an isolated mountain for me to stop checking email.

This week, I am going to try some of these helpful tips and give myself permission to better focus on the things that matter. And maybe shut off my email notifications and not multi-task. Maybe…

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