It’s Thanksgiving time here in the US, time to feed the people again. Perhaps the most American of holidays, at least we try to make it that way. Everyone has things to be thankful for, everyone should have the opportunity to feast a little for the holiday.Everyone has things to be thankful for, everyone should have the opportunity to feast a little for the holiday.
Food drives to provide Thanksgiving meals, these happen all over the country. Generous people helping others, it’s one of the most heartwarming, and hands-on way to connect with others, if only through a little charity.
And so right here at home, here’s how it goes, Thanksgiving food boxes for 150 families. Via the Cupertino DeAnza Lions Club. GOOD.
Back in the Fourth Grade I remember the class, “Study Skills.” It was the first time I recall being taught the concepts behind good learning, good practice, instead of the topics themselves.
From then until now I’ve been on a periodic yet constant journey of trying to make the most of my time. I’ve found repeatedly that I get a buzz from the organizational effort, the IDEA of organizing things. But the proof is in the pudding, in the habits you create and then stick-to to get your work done. That’s where the magic, where the peace of mind, where the productivity is.
And here I am again, fine-tuning, recommitting, adjusting my practice to be more productive. Work Life has morphed to where I MUST tighten up my practice, because it’s a little too loose and floppy just now. And floppy and loose is no place to be when work gets busy.
The fundamental lesson just now is this:
Use the most simple and reliable tools to manage your activities to be effective and productive.
Technology is cool and can certainly make you more productive and efficient.
The To-Do / Task List on Microsoft Outlook is a GREAT tool. Integrated into the email client tens of millions of folks use at work, it’s a fantastic way to harness the information already in email to organize, remind on, and tackle work tasks.
That said, it’s not as effective as a pad of paper and a hand-written list. Using a hand-written list, you can easily determine if something from a fresh email is already on your radar or not. If so, retain the newest email with the necessary information; but otherwise, don’t create a redundant to-do task. Seems obvious enough, but with a hundred emails a day plus, often with a “dialogue quality” that muddies things a bit, well, things get muddy pretty quick.
On the paper list, your tasks are easy enough to keep track of. You can update with new info from email, but not add redundant tasks and topics to your list of things to-do.
And so? So, you can stay focused on the things that need to get done. And for sure there are many things to get done. And with a Master List, you’ll get the job done.
Make your Master List today. I just did. And USE IT.
As a vegan to drift off this came to mind; from The Muse himself; some six hundred years ago written, two score years I heard it for the first time.
“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.”
I’m a little too young to have been an active listener to “Lights Out!”, the famous early horror radio show from the 1930’s and 40’s, but I recall my folks talking about it. And I do remember Bill Cosby talking about it in his famous bit “Chicken Heart.” I listened to hat bit over and over, and laughed anew every time. That funny story made my heart sing!
This piece isn’t about that radio show, however. It’s about learning good habits, including turning the lights off when not in active use. It’s a little about how we might attempt to teach our kids these values, how we might instill in them the lofty and also practical benefit of such a habit as turning the light off.
I find myself walking around the house pretty well constantly turning lights off on rooms where no one is.
It’s a simple lesson. Turn off the light if no one’s in the room. Learn that lesson, and apply it regularly. That same mindset can be applied to leaving the water running, and monitoring the thermostat. Using natural resources carefully, thoughtfully, that’s the underlying ideal I’d like our kids to absorb, and practice every day.
Walking around the kitchen this morning, I noticed a piece of broken tortilla chip; when I saw it I remembered seeing it yesterday. At the time I thought, “Let’s see if anyone else picks it up. No one did. So this morning, I picked it up and threw it away. There was a bit of wrapper next to it, too. That went to the trash as well.
That’s another fundamental ideal. If you see garbage, pick it up and throw it away. This approach might well apply only in your home, but on that planet. How much cleaner would things be, how much healthier would nature be, if everyone did that? And the pre-step of course too: Don’t litter.
So the turning off the lights, picking up around the house, and everything in between; do a little more, or at least, do what you should do. I know it’s often more complicated, but maybe it shouldn’t be, influencing our kids. Just do what you should do.
[Disclaimer: I suspect some reading this piece might object to even mentioning Bill Cosby in a positive way, given his falling from grace and crimes for which he’s been convicted. That said, he was also one of the great comedians and entertainers of his era. I do not condone in any way his behavior otherwise, Full Stop.]