Tag Archives: 3-2-1 method

What You Know is Useless (Or Why You Shouldn’t Bother to Think)

3792260561 1ccba560dd o d What You Know is Useless (Or Why You Shouldnt Bother to Think)

… Without Action.

Regardless of how much you learn or how much self reflection goes on in your head – if you don’t put it to action you might as well not be thinking.

Knowledge is power.

Buddha: What we think, we become.

Our thoughts are one of our greatest resources, yet they easily become an escape – a prison in which we gladly lock ourselves.

In relationships, lifestyle design, business, health – whatever aspect of life – we escape into our thoughts as a means of avoiding the world around us.  We embark upon a quest to live among the clouds and believe we are flying when we are really falling.

Falling into complacency, habit, unconsciousness.  We fall into a life where we are no longer the governing force and become governed instead.

Is that how we want to live? In our heads – in the clouds of thoughts, drifting along in our own passing fancy?

That’s not how I want to live.  Regardless of how much positive thinking I have, if I don’t get down to business I’m really just full of it, pretending to be what I’m not.

When you learn something new, it is then that you must be bold and give that knowledge life.  Put yourself out there with the possibility of failure and stand a chance of understanding the knowledge you possess.

My most recent example:

I recently finished Keith Ferrazzi’s book on networking, Never Eat Alone, and began taking action on the information.

Networking, staying connected, being social with strangers – these are things I’ve usually been bad at or that make me uncomfortable.  Yet, something different was driving me to put into action the things I was reading about.

With each step where I reached out, called an old friend, sent followup messages, and talked to strangers, I felt emboldened to reach higher, extend my knowledge further and connect with the people I know and meet everyday.

Until I found myself sitting in an airport in an hour long conversation with a japanese student about our own lives, interests and family.  We struggled over the language barrier.  We managed to laugh a bit.  I even shared with her the information of a friend of mine who runs a photography blog when she expressed her own interests in photography – she was new to the area and would be there a while, and I believed she would benefit from knowing this particular friend.

The faster you put newly acquired knowledge into practice the faster you get past the stumbling stages and can excel at applying that knowledge.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

~Johan Wolfgang von Goethe

Reach out and engage with the world, even if your knowledge is imperfect, even if you have self doubt.  Recognize that it is there and then act anyways and own it.

What have you learned that you’ve been neglecting to act upon?

Don’t ask yourself why, you’re only escaping again with self-justifications.

Go. Do.

If you need to: 3-2-1 Go!

Flickr photo by hathu-.

Slacker Reform History Round Up

For many of you Slacker Reform is relatively new to you, however it began in earnest back in 2008 as a WordPress hosted blog as personal outlet for my development.  It has since shifted focus into helping create a revolution of Slackers bent on finding their passions and doing what calls to us and not what is assumed by society.

So here is a round up of some of the most popular articles from Slacker Reform’s history and some worth exploring.

Back in November I found this TED talk with IDEOs CEO Tim Brown on Creativity and Play.  While the talk is highly entertaining it is deeply insightful on how adults often stifle the urge to play.  Are we that afraid of being appropriate all the time?

December found me with the urge to play and Play Auditorium, an exceptional game from Cipher Prime, hooked me in with the beta.  It is now out in full release with 70 plus levels blending music, physics and problem solving all in one.

In January I was dancing a lot and an article by Garr Reynolds caught my attention on Wynton Marsalis’s book on how jazz music can be the catalyst for change in your life.  Finding an improvisational form of art which requires a high degree of skill really opens up your personality in ways you wouldn’t expect.

The 3-2-1 Method is more a trick of the mind than a system of productivity.  It’s a way to get over that little mental roadblock that stops you from starting.  I’m no productivity guru and I never want to be but this one definitely helps me keep some of the easy mundane tasks in check.

In February I found myself explaining my vagabond life to people more and more so I wrote the How To: Living Out of a Suitcase 101 guide to help explain it.  While I recently talked about this process in my most recent video blog, this How To is much more detailed on how I went from having a full apartment in Montreal to living out of a suitcase and vagabonding through the U.S.

Thanks to a Christmas gift I took up calligraphy in January and by March I was practicing regularly.  It helped me find peace of mind when I struggled with loneliness and lack of focus.  This is how calligraphy helps me clear my mind.

April was a busier month at Slacker Reform.  I reviewed Jonathan Mead’s e-book Reclaim Your Dreams.  I wrote about making sure It’s Our Time and Our Focus that matters in maintaining momentum.  And I called out three Nonconformists who really stand out: Clay Collins, Chris Guillebeau and Jonathan Mead.  Two of whom I’ve recently interviewed and Chris is on the list to be interviewed soon.

I skipped May entirely.  Actually I told you to Skip Work or School or Life and walk the world a while.  You could even tell your boss (or other authority figure dictating your time) to e-mail me since I gave you permission to say “I Don’t Care [today is for me]“.

And while it is still June, I’ve been videoblogging more consistently and while it’s a new trick for me, Tricks Are For Kids.

If you’ve enjoyed any of these articles please Stumble This.

Maintaining Momentum: It's Our Time and Our Focus

Time management and focus are two key factors to maintaining momentum in any creative process.

Every day I have to battle the urge to put something off; whether it’s writing, exercise, choreographing, or some other endeavor. I am a slacker and it is my internal battle to overcome; to count down and do it.

These are a few things I do to try to keep myself on track and going.

3 Steps to Better Time Management

1) Learn to Batch Process

Batching ProcessesBatching is a phrase used in production which has been adopted by the productivity community.

Typically batching involves setting aside a specific amount of time for a single process.  This is often for repetitive processes such as e-mail, bills, photo processing, reading Twitter messages, and so on.

If I step out of my writing process for five minutes to check my Twitter account it will often take me ten or fifteen minutes to get back in the writing groove.  Add in a couple times checking e-mail, Facebook, etc. and I’ve slowed down my writing process by an hour or more.

Batching out a block of time to check e-mail, read or respond to Twitter messages, etc. keeps me from interrupting my regular work flow by going back and forth between different activities.

2) List 3 Important Tasks

I find this one particularly helpful and one that I’m most often to lapse on.

It takes only a few minutes to write out these tasks the night before in my notebook but when I wake up the next day I have a manageable and effective list of activities to perform in my day.

These tasks should be ones that are going to (a) make you feel fulfilled having accomplished them; (b) produce major results; and (c) be reasonable in a days time frame.

With this list written down I’m much more likely to commit segments of my day to following through on these actions.  Without a list my commitments are amorphous and it is hard to block my time.

3) Plan for Downtime

Lastly make sure you are reasonable with your time.  Plan in some down time, whether it’s with family, friends or by yourself.

Free time and leisure time is essential to the creative process.  Our brains work in the background when we take time to relax so don’t micro-manage your time.  Give yourself some leeway in your schedule so you can take fifteen minutes to sip your cup of tea and decompress.

I am a huge fan of downtime, perhaps because I’m a slacker or perhaps because I just like enjoying my cup of tea, but it is essential to my day to have it.  The challenge is just to make sure that my entire day doesn’t become downtime.

3 Steps to Better Focus

1) Minimize Distractions

Zen Pond - Not All Zen MastersWe are not all zen masters capable of performing in perfect focus while being surrounding by all the distractions of the world.

Especially with the number of devices and services vying for your attention at any given moment (phone, e-mail, twitter, facebook, youtube, etc.) when it is time to focus let them go.  They’ll be there when you are done.

So don’t have fifteen browser windows open with e-mail, facebook, and twitter all in clicking distance.  Close those browser windows, turn off widgets which pop-up notifications, and turn off Outlook reminders.

The one that gets me all the time is my phone.  I text a great deal with my friends.  Yet when I need to focus and a text comes in I’m lost for fifteen minutes fiddling with my fancy iPhone.  Turn it off, put it out of sight.

Lastly, be in control of your creative environment.  Wear headphones.  Close doors.  Get in your zone and don’t leave it.

2) Be Prepared

At least the boy scouts had something right.  Be prepared for when you need to focus.

If you need a piping hot cup of coffee at hand (like me) make sure you have a carafe sitting next to you so you can top up that mug as you drain it between paragraphs.

Take the time to setup your creative environment with the materials you need.  It’ll pay off to have a few extra things on hand that you might need instead of interrupting your flow and leaving your workspace.

For some people this means having a particular mug, a special pen, their favorite kind of notepad, or other ritual devices.  Make sure you have them with you.

3) The 5 Minute Rule

If you find yourself losing focus, use the 5 Minute Rule.

Say to yourself, “another five minutes,” and keep at it for another five minutes.

Often I’ll find that by the time five minutes has passed I’ve worked through that momentary disconnect and have gotten back on track.

Sometimes you’ll work another five minutes and still be losing focus.  Then, maybe it’s time for a little break and some downtime to recoup.  But usually pushing through that wall will open you up to a whole new field to run in.

You’re Not Alonehammock 300x225 Maintaining Momentum: It's Our Time and Our Focus

Time management is my greatest struggle.

I don’t like having a set schedule most of the time, I’ve lived on my own terms time wise for a long time and it has been enjoyable yet detrimental to my effectiveness in various ventures.  Using a few guidelines to keep me in check help me focus energies.

What are some of your time management and focus hacks or tricks to keep you on track?

The 3-2-1 Method

The 3-2-1 Method of getting things done is perhaps quicker and more effective than any other system I’ve come across.

It’s not for complex tasks but the simple ones that confront you in your daily life which you put off over and over even if they’d only take a minute.

My friend Gina familiarized this method with me back in January and all credit goes to her.

It goes like this:

When confronted with an issue which will only take a moment to resolve yet which you are reluctant to do get in your head for a few seconds.

Count down.

3

2

1

Then do it. Say it. Write it down. Type it. Send it.

At the beginning you might have to count down a few times or maybe count down from ten but I’ve found when I’m stuck on something 3-2-1 gets it done.

What methods do you have to get things done that aren’t to do listing or high setup productivity systems?