Even he failed – but made no excuse.

Tags

, , , , ,

A wise man once wrote, “I personally struggle with much of what I have shared (in this book). But the struggle is worthwhile and fulfilling. It gives meaning to my life and enables me to love, to serve – and to try again. The challenge to live with integrity is always in front of me.” (My italics.)

We all make mistakes. I recently made a monumental one. But the beauty of mistakes made by people with integrity is that (a) the pain is lessened because you know you can and will do better and (b) those who know you, know (a).

And we all make excuses. I have a philosophy on excuses. It goes like this – when you say why something happened and you acknowledge your part in it, that’s a ‘reason’. When you fail to acknowledge your own part in an error, you’re making an ‘excuse’.

The difference is subtle and relates to your integrity. You know when you are making one or the other. If you (normally) have a high level of personal integrity and you make an excuse – you know you’re doing so.

As alluded to by the writer of the opening quote, every moment is an opportunity to start again. Time, being linear, will not allow us to relive and repair the error before or as it is being made. But it does mean we can make a better decision, next time. Another of my favoured authors describes how trying to change the past is like firing an arrow into concrete – it bounces off and nothing changes. But firing an arrow into the future is like launching it into fresh earth – it can stick and be a guide. (I’m torturing the metaphor a bit, but you know what I’m getting at.)

I write on personal development and time management. Occasionally I will use current affairs to illustrate my points but the main focus is on counselling readers on a philosophy that might just improve their lives. Like them, I struggle with living 100% in keeping with the words I put on paper (except in time management, I’ve pretty much got that down pat). I occasionally make excuses for those times I fail to walk my talk as well as I should.

But I’m in good company. The author of the opening quote is Stephen R. Covey who, as you surely know by now, wrote the greatest book on principle-centred living ever written, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, which is NOT a business book, even though it’s usually found in that section of a bookstore. (Still, after 30 years in print.)

If HE found it hard, I’ll live with my inability to do the same. But that’s not an excuse. It’s an acceptance of my imperfections. I’m still going to try hard. And then try again. And again. For as long as it takes and for as long as I live.

And if, on the day before I leave this mortal existence, it suddenly all gels – it would have been worth the effort.

(Blimey. I even impressed me with that line.)

Try hard. Keep trying. Do your best, accept reasons and challenge your own excuses.

The people around you – family and friends – will recognise this when you occasionally err. And that, my friends, is amazingly consoling when you fail.

3R PNG V5

Demi and Aragorn tell us how to beat the Bell.

Tags

, , ,

Hell Week. A term made famous by US Navy Seal training, when B/UDS volunteers go to the selection course to find out if they have what it takes to be a member of one of the world’s most elite special forces units. Famously immortalised in the 1997 Demi Moore film, G.I. Jane, which also starred Viggo Mortensen (but you might not remember because he wasn’t Aragorn, yet).

There are a couple of scenes where the trainers show the trainees the Bell. Traditionally, trainees who decide part way through the training that this isn’t for them go to the Bell and ring it, announcing their shame-faced surrender.

I recently read a quote from a senior SEAL officer, and the gist of it was that he could tell the ones who’d take to campanology the minute he saw them. They would be very fit young men and women, but there was an air of pose, of mock strength hidden by all the shaped musculature. In essence, he suggested that for all that apparent physical tone, the motivation behind it was narcissistic and would fail at the first challenge. And he’s usually correct.

The true SEAL (and by extension Royal Marine, SAS Trooper, GSG9 Kommando and so on) has all the physical capabilities required of their role, but they also possess deep character strength.

I think they may also possess a mental approach which supports that strength. I think they know that when all is said and done – the pain stops, eventually.

They know that the discomfort, the effort and the pain are all temporary states. They know from experience that it’s hurt before, but it stopped hurting and normality returned. They know that this will be the case again and again, so they accept the agony. And, as we all know, next time the agony takes longer to arrive, takes less of a toll when it does, and dissipates faster afterwards.

If we just keep training. If we just do what have we do, and in doing so get better at it.

I truly gasp when I hear about people who sue their employers because of the stress ‘they’ caused by asking too much of the employee. It seems, more often than not, to be related to the levels of paperwork. When I read that I think of people facing bullets and winder how they feel about administration-induced stress.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m no saint. I do try as hard as I can (sometimes!) when training but I, too, fall into the ‘It’s all too much’ way of thinking and mentally stroll towards that Bell. But more and more I am beginning to realise that there is some – a lot of – truth in the expression ‘what doesn’t kill us makes us better’.

I wish I’d learned that 30 years ago.

When you’re in work and feeling the strain of the amount of work you have to do, or its nature, just remember that other, well-known tenet – ‘This too, shall pass’. It usually passes just after you walk out of the door of the office. Furthermore, remember that when you finally go, everyone manages without you.

(I have only had one call since I left work, and that was from someone who didn’t know I’d gone.)

‘Your’ important work gets passed to someone else. The world keeps turning. It’s a bit sobering but it’s also quite liberating. Apply that at home-time – the work can and will wait.

So I have two lessons, today.

Everything (including us) is temporary, including the ‘stuff’ we hate doing. And we aren’t the centre of everyone else’s world, just our own.

And you can’t really ring the Bell on that one.

An Ivy-League Level Education for £150.

Tags

, ,

Before I begin, can I ask a favour? Each day, LinkedIn tells me, a number of people whom I appreciate view my blog. That is very humbling. But what it doesn’t tell me is if they actually read them, or what they think of them.

Could you take a moment to like, share or comment on the posts so I know what you like, what you don’t, and what you may like me to write about in the future. Be mindful that the primary place for the post is my website threeresolutionsguy.com, so the subject matter should relate to time management and personal development but I am willing to tortuously twist any subject matter into such a theme. As you may have noticed.

Thank you.

 

On t’weekend I did the bike ride that nearly killed me in terms of effort. My patient and forgiving (but fast) friends suggested I resume using a tactic I have used before, which allowed me to maintain a level of fitness for cycling even though I never left my home. To be specific, I bought a spin-cycle about 2,500 static miles ago for less than £150 and I have got back in the saddle, if only to retrain and recondition by backside, which is the bottom-side for the interface between me and the narrowest bike saddle (knife-blade) created by man. (God bless Savlon.)

In only two days of using it I have noticed that even if I am tired when I finish, my knee, hip and ankle joints seem to be moving more freely that ever, as if an hour on the bike in the morning sets my joints up for the day, which is smashing.

But I don’t just ride. I watch telly. But not ‘just’ telly. Not MTV or the news or Doctors. No no.

Over the last two days I have revisited Stephen Covey’s Foundations of the Seven Habits (available HERE) while pedalling away. In the past I’ve watched time-management and personal development videos and DVDs, and I have listened to CDs and cassettes (yes, I have many) while sweating off the poundage.

You see, I am a student of the Sorebum.

(See what I did there, sounds like an esteemed French University. I shall use that again.)

There is no reason these days for people to sit around doing little or no exercise when for a relatively small outlay they can still sit, but also pedal, sweat, benefit, and learn from copyright theft on YouTube, making themselves better-informed people and, arguably, people of greater character. For the price of three months cheaper gym membership you can buy the one piece of equipment you need, plug in your tablet, laptop or whatever device you feel appropriate – and get cleverer, fitter and healthier.

And all at the same time.

How time-effective is that?

(My only bug with my bike is that I live in a small house and the garden shed I keep my bike in is b****y cold when I start off, and miles from my wi-fi hub. You should see the faces some speakers make when the signal drops.)

If you haven’t yet started that exercise regimen you KNOW you should, consider making it easier by bringing any equipment you need closer to your home, and reaping the reward of free training via YouTube at the same time. That could mean two hours or more of productivity done in just 60 minutes.

Then walk the blasted dog.

Argue

Maximise the ERM – the Emotional One.

Tags

, , ,

“ Income appears to buy happiness, but the exchange rate isn’t great.” Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener

Let’s gloss over the standard personal development book example of the multi-millionaire who isn’t happy despite his riches. That’s a bit cliché these days. Particularly if you conclude that it’s nice to arrive at your depression in a nicer car.

I am in many respects a lucky man. I’m not ‘rich’ in financial terms. But I have a paid-for home, and I have enough money, insurance and income to cover most potential challenges, along with a complete psychological resistance to spending any of it. (That’s probably the result of not having any for such a long time.) I also have a lovely family.

(Which is not to say that sponsorship so that I can take up motor-racing would not be gratefully received and wisely invested. 🙂 )

The challenge is that we all, I suggest, want more. That is a ‘good thing’. That is a ‘good thing’ because if we didn’t, many businesses would grind to a halt, people would starve because we weren’t paying them for those things we want.

Imagine Apple if no-one wanted the new iPad-that-looks-just-like-the-old-iPad 6 months after we got that old iPad? (And isn’t it interesting how spellcheckers recognise iPad?)

We all want more for another reason, and that is because we are, as a species, goal-oriented. Unlike my dog, who will sit there all day until I say ‘Tatters’ or move towards the cupboard where we keep her lead, we all want to do something. We want to get somewhere or something, or we want to be doing what floats our boat. Unfortunately, for many of us, that can only be achieved through getting the money to pay for it.

Which demonstrates that having money is not the objective. The objective is what we can get with that money. And it is completion of that objective that makes us happy – not the money, nor the work we do to get it.

Which in turn means that finding ways to be happy that don’t cost money is as valid and valuable a pastime as any other. (And such happiness, ironically, saves us the money we can spend on other things. Mind-numbing.)

Therefore ‘Being happy’ is the Ultimate Objective for our management of time and everything we do, we do towards that end. So it means that in order to spend as much of our time doing the things that make us happy, we need to minimise the time we spend on the support functions to happiness.

Which means maximising the productivity we are capable of in that minimum time spent being productive, so that we can maximise happy time.

(Read that again, or maybe three times – I had to.)

Time costs nothing. We all have exactly the same number of hours in a day. Bill Gates can’t buy any more than I have.

But he spends his time better than most of us, doesn’t he?

There’s the lesson for today.

Maximise the value of the time you have ‘making money’, so that the things that don’t cost money – love and happiness – can have lots of time spent on them.

“You want me to do what? With who? WHY!?”

Tags

, , ,

I am engaged in a newish hobby. In early 2018, my mate said, “Do you fancy coming on the Cheltenham Sportive with Mark Cavendish?”

I had no idea what a Sportive was, and (sorry) I had no idea who Mark Cavendish was. Turned out he is a Tour de France rider with a nice turn of speed. And a Sportive was an event where thousands of cyclists clogged up open roads and annoyed motorists. My mate went on.

“It’s £45, but if we book now it’s 10% off, so £4.50.” Note that at this point I had no bike, nor had I ridden one for quite a while.

“Go on then,” I said.

(In the event, Mark set off at the head of our peloton and we never saw him again until the end, when I had my picture taken with him. Which I will not reproduce here due to an unfortunate belly- gap in my Lycra.)

Cycling has since cost me about £3,000 in terms of bike, kit, other events and hotel stays, a near-death experience, neck- and bum-pain, hours of painful sweating – and a severe values problem.

I value my friends. I value health and fitness. I like spending time with my mates and I like feeling comfortable.

But, by heck, I find it really hard to cycle. I hate getting ready, I hate how much of the day it takes up when we ride 40+ miles. I’m not overly find of hills, particularly 1-in-14 slopes (‘That’s a cliff, mate’.) And now it’s winter (again), it’s even harder.

But I do it. I’ve committed to it, although it has become evident that I need a little bit more commitment if I am to find it less agonising – after the long rides, my day is gone because I have no strength available whatsoever to do anything meaningful.

I have to discipline myself so that, as Gary Keller and Jay Papasan say in their book, ‘The ONE Thing’, that discipline turns into habit, which is easier.

That’s a GREAT philosophy – applying discipline to something to the extent that it eventually becomes Habit. I write on this precise philosophy in my book ‘The Three Resolutions’, and support the idea that discipline gets easier as time passes. Which is why I bemoan the fact that I wasn’t told this when discipline was applied to me in HM Forces or the early Policing period. That imposed discipline, if accepted and applied, serves self-discipline, which in turn serves us.

And I am not talking about discipline applied to something you LOVE to do – that isn’t true discipline in the sense that you do something you otherwise would not do. True discipline means doing something you otherwise hate, because you know that doing so serves YOU.

And those you love, in terms of being a role-model of discipline to the degree that they don’t see it as (pause for Remembrance Day 2-minute silence*) discipline, just as ‘normal’.

So like many of you, I will do something (cycling) I am ‘not overly fond of’ because it shows respect for my friends, will (eventually) make me healthier and fitter, and gets me out of the house at least once a week.

What do you do, that you detest, that makes you better?

 

*Ironically, one of the ‘other events’ I mentioned was a cycling tour of WW1 battlefields and cemeteries. How coincidental I should write about this just as the world remembered the fallen.)

Time’s STILL passing.

Tags

, , ,

A blog from 2015……………………

“You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.” Benjamin Franklin

I chose this quote from the ‘father’ of time management to reflect how much I recognise that procrastination can be an obstacle to my success, although I don’t do it as much as I think I do. I put procrastination off whenever I can.

I was recently at an event run by John Grant, the founder of the YB12 – Your Best Year Ever brand, the brand of which I am proud to be a part (see HERE) and as he was speaking I made the following note on my course workbook:

“I don’t have time to wait to be the best I can possibly be.”

I am 53, with a birthday next month. Optimistically, that’s only 4 years older than Stephen Covey was when he published The Seven Habits. Realistically, I am 35 years older than Jenson Button was when he entered F1, so that’s a dream that isn’t going to happen.

Back to my point. We all have futures, most of us plan for them. Some have detailed plans, others have an ‘idea’ of where they want to go and will get there. Some have no idea. (Some of those wear sports clothes but never break into a sweat unless running from the Law.)

For so many, me included, the recognition that we have a future, and accidents and illness aside a fairly lengthy one, means that we also subconsciously perceive that we can put things off ‘just a bit’, as if we’ll still have the same amount of time left to complete that action as we had when we put it off! A day here and there doesn’t matter, after all. Or does it?

In our culture, a day frequently becomes a week – something we put off on Monday was “better done on a Monday so I’ll do it next Monday.” A diet starts on the first day of the month, so that’ll be next month.” Or a birthday. Or “It’s November the 1st today. Year’s almost over, and Christmas is around the corner, lots of planning to be done, etc. etc. so I’ll set some New Year’s Resolutions and start on Jan 1st.” Except we also know that Jan 1st means coping with the feelings, chocolates and booze left over from the night before and the 1st becomes the 2nd, and in no time at all – “Where has the year GONE?”

The likes of Bill Gates†, Steve Jobs, Gandhi, Franklin, Lincoln, Churchill and so on (pick your own) didn’t procrastinate. They took action. They took action and achieved more than most of us ever will, in some cases with no computers, no Internet, and no electric light . They maximised their use of time through planning and by NOT putting things off.

We all have a future. For some it will be longer than for others, so there’s no equality there.

But we all have NOW.

Use it better. ‘Cos it just passed you by at infinity times the speed of light. Another one went while you read that. And that. Ad infinitum.

 

I like it when personal development writers use Gates and Jobs as examples of people who succeeded without a degree. Pause. They were at Ivy League colleges. Clue: not cheap places, having money and connections helps, and they had to have passed seriously hard exams and processes to get in. The degree was a given, if they’d stayed.

Be like Elsa. Even you boys.

Tags

, ,

An interesting email from professional speaker Michael Heppell, this afternoon, described how leaves fall from trees. It was all scientific and stuff, and repeating the detail would be cheating, but the content made me think – “How much clutter do I possess?”, which in turn made me decide to ask you the same thing.

How much clutter do you possess?

As I sit in my office (third bedroom, annexed in a familial putsch which resulted in the inability of vagrant children to return home more than one at a time – which they have done, in shifts), I can see a pen holder chock-a-block with pens, letter trays full of stuff, chargers for various devices and a myriad of relevant files.

And that’s just the stuff I have to keep – the remainder of years of decluttering. I have two bookcases full of (mainly) my Seven Habits ‘collection’ that includes three autographed books and most, if not all their audio products and course workbooks (thanks, E-Bay), which is actually a testament to the hundreds of other books I have returned to charity over the years.

You see, my office is a relatively full, but nevertheless tidy reflection of my attempt at adherence to organised, principle-centred living.

But the rest of the house is testament to my spouse’s inability/unwillingness/stubborn refusal to get rid of the memories. Or tat. It’s subjective.

But my computer is full of e-clutter that I have to dispose of. So that’s tomorrow’s house-clearing task.

Anyway – is your home or workspace the same?

Have you kept everything you’ve ever recorded, completed, built, bought, written and read?

There is a theory that when we hoard clutter – and if we are honest a lot of what we retain is clutter – then we don’t own it.

It owns us.

My computer, for example, contains a hoard of old, written Personal Mission Statements and Value Statements. I have had terrible difficulty disposing of these and (probably) will only move them all to a memory stick when they ‘go’, tomorrow.

But they are holding me back because I keep rewriting them, only to find they haven’t really changed in tone or content since 2013. And because they are all there, I keep switching between them. It’s a silly, wasteful pastime and a small example of how retention of the ‘old’ can have an impact on the ‘now’ while also preventing, or at least hampering, the ‘next’.

A lot of the things we keep are ‘incompletes’, as many coaches call them. Things we intended to do but never did, but retain just in case we get back to them – where the reality is that we fear losing them, or at least fear the loss of time we’d have to expend if we DID, suddenly, decide that those three pages of the book we intended to write had to be rewritten from memory.

Look. All that tat? It’s like a password for an account we haven’t accessed since 2010. We haven’t needed it for 9 years, so its loss won’t be that much of a challenge. So as far as all that clutter is concerned, be like Elsa.

Let.

It.

Go.

The Philosophy of Armitage-Shanks.

Tags

, , , ,

In my ‘smallest room’, I like to keep a book handy for those longer visits where I can fill my mind while emptying other parts. As you may have surmised from the tone and content of my posts, I don’t like wasting time, and as my income and laziness have not yet stretched to having a door-mounted TV in there, reading is a great substitute.

Today, rather self-indulgently, I selected an old copy of The Seven Habits Workbook, something I buy from time to time to reinvigorate myself with some self-analysis. (I never seem to get to the bit on interpersonal communication, for some reason. Maybe that’s why I never listen.)

In the first pages, the book asks the reader to explore an event where their paradigms were changed because their first impressions were realigned when new information came to their notice.

My favourite example was the day I challenged some kids for throwing litter. Local shops suffered from youths ‘hanging around’ which resulted in repeated calls to police, which in that capacity I used to attend. Off duty one day, I was walking past a small group of teens when I heard a can hit the floor. I challenged the youths to pick it, probably quite brusquely, and they declined the offer. It was only as I stood there facing them down that I realised that the nearby litter bin was overflowing, and it was exceptionally windy.

They hadn’t dropped the can. Nature had.

I realised then, in my own AHA moment, what a paradigm is and how it affects our thinking. It is the way we see things, the lens through which we see and interpret what is happening. And like many lenses, it alters our vision. A lens can correct our vision, or warp it.

Yesterday, a politician was challenged for ‘something he said’. The reports outlined how he had insulted people who died in the Grenfell Tower disaster as ‘lacking common sense’. The funny thing was, he didn’t say that. People with an interest in challenging the politician – and the media, who can never let a fact get in the way of a good story – decided that ‘lacking common sense’ was what he meant.

You can see what he actually said, here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CT2z-TtgElU

(You can also look up a previous post from 2016 about The Donald on this site.)

The aim of today’s post is not to tell you what to think. It is to remind you that we ‘think’ through a lens created by our history, our references and our values. And, importantly,  so do others.

Which means that when we are told something by someone else they, too, are telling us through their paradigm of the way they see things – which means that what they are saying may – emphasis may – be based on a misunderstanding, a misinterpretation, or even on mischief.

It’s not always easy to spot, and if you consider that adding our lens to their lens may warp things even further, perhaps the lesson here is to be really careful when starting to espouse your opinions on ‘what just happened’, too.

The other thing I felt about this incident was how our ‘enlightenment’ on matters which should be dealt with ‘sensitively’ (i.e. less than truthfully?) has resulted in a massive increase in tolerance.

“You should be more sensitive, you ignorant fascist bastard!” Irony.

Isn’t it amazing just how thoughtful you become after reading a book when sat with your trousers around your ankles?

And on that image, I’ll let you go. Another toilet metaphor. I could go all day……..

48 years. Same tune, different words. Still true.

Tags

, , , , , ,

As an enthusiastic student of The Seven Habits® , and having shaken the hand of the great man himself, one of my pastimes has been to explore Stephen R. Covey’s earlier works and compare them to those with which many leaders and businesspeople will be more familiar.

I’d gamble most of you would be aware of the first Habit, ‘Be Proactive’, which uses the ‘you are the programmer’ computer metaphor to describe how individuals have control over how they live their lives – to a greater extent than they may otherwise have thought – because they have the ability to choose their response to what happens to them.

In 1971, I suggest, ‘proactivity’ the term was yet to be invented by Stephen Covey. But the idea of humans having ‘choice’ was not, and although the terminology has changed and become part of the business lexicon (like ‘journey’, which is now grossly over-used, so stop it), the concept remains valid.

In his work ‘How to Succeed with People’ (Deseret Books, 1971), a 2½ page chapter referred to how there is a gap between our knowledge about things, and our ability to act on that knowledge. He calls the chapter “Three Processes – Knowing, Choosing and Doing”.

He suggests that many of us fail in our efforts to be better despite the fact that we know what we should do, because there is a disconnect between that knowledge and our ability, or perhaps our willingness, to act on that knowledge. Put simply, our failures lie in how we choose, or fail to choose, to act.

Here’s a direct lift.

“Choosing means to pause and stand back for perspective, to think deeply, and then decide our own actions and reactions. Choosing means to accept responsibility for ourselves and our attitudes, to refuse to blame others or circumstances.

Choosing, then, means to commit ourselves strongly to that which we decide to do. This committing process often involves a real internal struggle, ultimately between competing motives or between conflicting concepts of ourselves.”

He goes on to suggest that making the better choice can break the binding power of habit, and it is habit that tends to keep us where we already are, and away from where we want to be. Moreover, habit teaches us ‘you’ve failed before, you’ll fail again’. As Covey also put it – ‘Private Defeats precede Public Defeats. Choice can over come the pull of habit.

Choice, therefore, creates an important link between the engine of knowing and the gearbox of drive.

The best leaders have the ability to choose well. Their better choices overcome the largesse and stasis created by habit, and habit is the enemy of change for the better. (While a great servant, habit is a poor master. Occasionally.)

Stephen Covey said that principles endure. The principle of choice – whether you use the expression ‘Knowing, Choosing, Doing’ or ‘Be Proactive’ – endures.

It’s fun finding that out by reading older works. Makes me feel all scholarly.

Monday. An opportunity, not a curse.

Tags

The most well-known time management thought-leaders recommend that the personal and professional planning process should be undertaken on a weekly basis, at a set time that you decide suits you best.

During that procedure, be it on Friday afternoon at the end of the past week, the Sunday morning when you’re at your spiritual best, or on Monday morning when you walk into a bucket-load of new ‘stuff’, the objective is to identify all the things you need to get done in that week and schedule when you are going to do them.

This is ‘great’ and ‘ideal’, and for many, completely inefficient. I’ll tell you why.

When I got up this morning I had three things I wanted to do, planned last week. I wanted to write this blog (done), start an amusing speech ready for an event in three weeks’ time, and clean my bike gear (done). By the time I’d finished breakfast I’d added several more things, and you can bet your bottom Euro that by the time I’ve finished this blog there’ll be a dozen more things on my mind.

Is that your experience?

Of course it is.

But does that mean that the weekly planning approach is wrong? No, it does not.

The purpose of planning a week in advance is to address those priorities which you have identified MUST be done, the vital stuff which is on your mind when you do that planning. Your planning will inevitably address all the incompletes from the previous week which were themselves priorities when they came into being, and which are bound to play on your mind when something comes to your notice to remind you about them.

What arises in the moment will be, almost without exception, things which can be done in a moment, or which can be planned far enough away to avoid their having an impact on the important stuff you’re doing this morning. They are either two-minute jobs which will fit into a gap in your day, or longer jobs which you can plan into larger time-periods in that day, or the next.

Or next week, when you plan that one.

The bit of guru-sourced advice which is rarely emphasised is that having done that weekly planning, start your day with a mini-planning session.

  • Look at all the tings you planned to do.
  • Add the new tasks to that list.
  • Then adapt your original plan if necessary to take in any IMPORTANT new stuff, and do any taskettes that are easily shoved into the gaps when an opportunity arises, but be prepared to drop them through those gaps until another day.

You have to decide for yourself whether doing the taskettes before you dig into the real work is better for you, if only because getting rid of them will clear your mid for better things, but that is a personal preference. Just don’t fall into the trap of ending the day with umpteen two-minute tasks done and no real work accomplished.

I know it’s Monday and you’ve already started. But think about this tomorrow when you get into work. Or today, when you get home, because stuff happens off-duty, too.

And you don’t want to get stuck in two-minute taskettes when your children want you to engage with them.

Because childhood happens once. The work will come again.

To summarise, then, a new motto for you.

Plan the ideal, weekly. Adapt to the inevitable, daily. Then focus on the important. Always.

You’ll discover that the opportunity created by planning overcomes that feeling of the accursed Monday.