Things I’ve Learned from Podcasts – #9

Here’s the first 2017 installment in my series of posts about podcast episodes I’ve listened to recently, along with “my takeaways” from each.

Beyond the To-Do List, #136 – Minimalism: Joshua Becker on paying the proper attention to the right things.

Host Erik Fisher interviewed Joshua Becker, author of Simplify and The More of Less. While many think they need to pare down everything, get rid of everything, the interview

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highlighted that the goal is really not to eliminate everything, but to eliminate what is not necessary. Becker used the advance from his first book to found The Hope Effect, dedicated to improving the lives of orphans.

My takeaways:

* Thinking about your email inbox, paring it down, it’s not about having zero things in your inbox, but about having the right things.

* Life really opens up when we remove the pursuit of conspicuous consumption. That’s when work takes on a new meaning. Instead of working for the paycheck to buy more and more stuff, work becomes “Hey, how can I do my job in a way that benefits other people?”

* The only way to really determine what we need in life … is to go for a period of time without it.

* Challenge: Take a look at your life and ask yourself “What is one thing that I couldn’t possibly give up for the next 2-3 weeks?” and then try to do that.

* Alternative challenge: Find a new level of generosity in your life, whatever that looks like – time, money, etc.

The Accidental Creative with Todd Henry – 5 Non-obvious (but effective) habits.

Henry offers his FRESH concept — Focus, Relationships, Energy, Stimuli, Hours – for building practices and habits.

My takeaways:

* End with the beginning in mind. Related to what Ernest Hemmingway said – to finish your day just as you’re getting going in the middle of a project. That way, when you return to it, you know exactly what to do next and can continue on immediately. If you do this, you will never find yourself “stuck” on progress. When you finish for the day, always be thinking about where you will pick up next time.

* Close an open loop every single day. Is there a decision you’ve been deferring or some open-ended conversation that is weighing on you? When you have a lot of these, they cause stress. If you can close one open loop every day, this will help relieve that burden so you can better focus on your more important projects.

* Prune something. Over time, your commitments can accumulate and they can start to strangle you. Make it a habit to look at all of your commitments on a regular basis and ask “What can I get rid of?”

* Set time to get inspired. “What goes into your mind often comes back out again in the form of a new perspective or fresh creative thinking.” If you want great ideas, you must take the time to fill your mind with inspiring stimuli that will spark thoughts and help you think more systemically about your work.

* Engage in idea time. Schedule time to generate ideas. They aren’t going to just “happen” in the midst of an already bloated schedule. You must dedicate time to think about your important problems.

Bernadette Geyer helps small businesses, entrepreneurs, and creatives expand their reach through clear, concise, and compelling copy in English, so that they can attract more customers with consistent and memorable marketing content. Her “Rule Your Digital Domain” service helps businesses make sure their website and social media profiles are working to attract more customers. You can see her full list of services here.