When I was about 22 years old, I had a stupidly underpaid job as part time personal assistant to a pretty high powered intellectual property lawyer babe. My ADD loved this job because I would bounce around from unpacking from her ski trip to ghost-cooking a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner for her new boyfriend to stealing office supplies to running errands around the Financial District. While I would do this I liked to imagine myself in parallel realities, living out short versions of what I considered to be the freaky lifestyles of the business people surrounding me. On these jaunts I went several times to the Franklin Covey store, which is like a shop of all different planners and organizational tools, based on the ideas of Stephen Covey, who wrote that pretty popular book ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’.
I like inspirational tidbits as much as the next pseudo professional person, so I would always take one of the little cards they had at the counter and ruminate on the idea. This was my gateway drug to actually reading Covey’s book, my first self-help book, from which I took away one idea, an idea I still use when I’m trying to be effective till this day: the idea of First Things First. It’s an awesome idea, so simple and smart, right? Like, look at your to-do list and the things you should handle first, while you have the most time and energy are the things that absolutely essentially must be handled that day. Or the things that will set in motion other things you need to follow up on later, things that you desire to unfold effectively throughout the day.
When setting priorities, I still try to stick with that advice. First Things First. Or, if I’m feeling intimidated or stuck with whatever task should be at the top of my list, I will pick a warm up task that is easy or fun to knock out, one that won’t take too much time and will help build momentum by giving me that satisfying ‘check it off!’ feeling.
My relationship to business and financial self-help books (exactly similar to parenting books) has remained the same: I kind of love them, I kind of feel freaky reading them, and I generally find myself with one real gem of an idea that I take away. It’s usually an idea that is deeply useful, and makes the time spent reading the book worthwhile, but it also makes most of the actual experience of reading the book feeling like ‘yeah yeah yeah get to the point…’.
I bring these gems into my own life, weaving them into my web of personal philosophy, and I often bring them into the lives of my clients through my coaching. I know many of my clients are not going to make the time to read a book about business or finance or effectiveness, and surely not a stack of them. It’s hard enough to find time to read a bit for pleasure, and probably more personally inspiring to do so. I’m kind of a nerd about this stuff, so amassing more tools for organization gets me pumped! I hope to bring some of these tools into your lives, and give you more time to nerd out about what truly gets you pumped: being an herbalist, or a chef, or a teacher, or a bike mechanic, or a jewelry designer, or a porn star, or a documentary maker, or an acupuncturist. Instead of having to add ‘read business books’ to your be a successful person to-do list, you can spend a much shorter amount of time reading my blog post going ‘yeah yeah get to the point’ and most satisfyingly, it will arrive sooner. I hope the things that inspire me will resonate with you as well, as you traverse this road to getting your professional on.