Archives for Unclutter Your Life in One Week
Below is another excerpt from my book Unclutter Your Life in One Week — this time on how to efficiently participate in a meeting.
This is from the Wednesday chapter, “Communication Processes” section:
“You might not realize it, but meeting attendees have some control over how quickly a meeting runs and they certainly impact the quality of the discussion.
- Be prepared. Read the agenda at least a day in advance of the meeting. Come to the meeting with relevant materials. Have a pen and pad of paper with you. Turn your BlackBerry to vibrate. Know who else will be at the meeting. Know the goal of the meeting, its location, and its start time. Arrive at the meeting on time.
- Respect others. How many times have you been in a meeting where a presenter has had to repeat information because Gary and Stephanie were focusing on their laptops instead of paying attention the first time something was said? Not only does this type of distraction waste Gary’s and Stephanie’s time, but it also wastes the time of everyone attending the meeting. Focus your attention on who is speaking. Make eye contact. Show that you’re listening. Avoid making snide comments to your neighbor. If you’re having trouble concentrating, write down in excruciating detail everything the speaker is saying. It will give you something to do, and you can review your detailed notes later if you spaced out on what was being said.
- Think before you speak. Before you contribute to a conversation in a meeting, ask yourself: 1) Is this comment helpful and relevant to the topic being discussed right now? (If it’s not, save it for after the meeting.) 2) Will this comment be helpful to everyone in the room or just one individual? (If the comment is only helpful to one person, save everyone else’s time and talk to that specific person after the meeting.) 3) Can I craft my comment so that it takes less than thirty seconds to express? (If you can’t, keep crafting. If you’re not presenting, your comments should be brief.)”
What do you do during meetings to help speed them along? Add your ideas to the comments.
The following is an excerpt from my book Unclutter Your Life in One Week, which comes out next week on November 3. If you have pre-ordered the book, THANK YOU! and also don’t forget to sign up to receive the special PDF bonus worksheets. And, to let you know, the electronic Kindle version is now available for pre-order (still no word on the other e-book formats).
Now, on with the excerpt from the Thursday chapter, “Working While at Work” section of the book:
“… try these strategies for improving your productivity when you don’t really want to work:
- Similar to what you might do when exercising, play music with a fast rhythm.
- If you drink caffeine, consume it in small, frequent amounts instead of just one large cup at the beginning of the day.
- Set time-specific goals in two-, five-, or ten-minute increments. Identify what you want to accomplish in a very short amount of time, and then set a timer and go for it.
- Isolate yourself. Remove the desire to procrastinate by not having any other options but to work.
- Acknowledge that you’re procrastinating. Often, just realizing that you’re putting something off is enough to get you working.
- Challenge a colleague to see who can get the most work done in a set time period.
- Ask someone to help you stay accountable. There are professional motivators who will call you once a day to see how you’re doing, but a trusted and willing friend or coworker can do the same thing for free.
- If the task doesn’t require much though, listen to an audiobook while you work. Agree to only listen to the book when you’re working on the project you don’t want to do. This way, you’ll be interested in hearing more of the story each time you take on the undesirable task.”
The following are the most common questions I have received about Unclutter Your Life in One Week since I signed the contract to write it almost a year ago. If I don’t answer your questions in this post, feel welcome to leave them in the comments. I’ll try to check in over the course of today and tomorrow and respond to the questions that have been asked there.
- Is the book a reprinting of posts from the website?
No. Obviously, it is the same message and tone as the website, but the vast majority of content is new for the new medium. “The Weekend” chapter of the book does include a portion of the text from the post “Saying farewell to a hobby,” and that is because a.) it’s my favorite post of all time, and b.) it fit in perfectly with the chapter.
- Will there be an electronic version of the book?
Yes, and it should be available for pre-order this week. I’m also under the impression that it is going to be available in the three most prominent electronic formatting types. I have no idea what the price will be through the different retailers. Prices are set by the publisher and retailers — unfortunately, authors have no say in how the prices are set.
- Will there be an audio version of the book?
Simon and Schuster doesn’t decide what books will be released as audio books until after the first wave of hardcover sales. I don’t know what formula they use to make this decision, so I won’t even try to predict the answer to this question.
- Can I see some of the text from the book before I buy it?
Yes. Currently, Amazon.com has a chunk of the chapter “Foundations” up on its website. Go to the book’s page, and click on the link “See all Editorial Reviews.” An excerpt of this chapter should appear after the advance reviews.
- Is the David Allen who wrote the Foreword to your book THE David Allen?
Yes. I am truly honored that he wrote the Foreword. His book Getting Things Done is a life-changing text.
- Can you print the Table of Contents?
Here is an abbreviated version –
- Erin’s Story
- Monday: Your Wardrobe, Your Office, Your Reception Station
- Tuesday: Your Bathroom, Fixing Your Files, Household Chores
- Fall Cleaning Guide
- Wednesday: Your Bedroom and Commute, Communication Processes, Kitchen and Dining Room
- Thursday: Living Spaces, Productivity, Your Home Office
- Spring Cleaning Guide
- Friday: Scheduling Strategies, Work Routines, Living with Clutterers
- The Weekend
- Celebrating and Maintaining Your Success
- Did you write this book?
- Is it available outside the U.S.?
Yes. It should be available November 3 in Canada, Australia, Britain, and most other English-speaking countries. Foreign rights are still being negotiated, but I know a publisher picked it up in France and others are in the works.
- Will you do a book tour?
This questions receives a big “sort of” as an answer. I didn’t want a book tour in the traditional sense because sitting in a bookstore talking about my book for 45 minutes is not really my style. Instead, I’m going to have casual meet-n-greets in bars. A small bookseller will have books available, people can talk to me one-on-one, and readers can also get to know each other. Once these dates are set, I’ll post them on the site. As of right now, these happy hours are being planned for New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Kansas City, and Los Angeles. More cities may be added.
Yesterday morning, my UPS delivery woman crushed my productivity when she brought me advance copies of my book:
I couldn’t stop staring at the books in the box. I was transfixed. I may have even cried a little — okay, more than a little. Writing a book has been at the top of my life’s to-do list since the first time I ever made a life to-do list. And writing this specific book has been a goal since I began my personal uncluttering adventure. Seeing the finished book in print and being able to hold it in my hands was one of the most incredible moments of my life.
Unclutter Your Life in One Week would not be possible without you, Unclutterer.com readers. In fact, you’re the first people thanked in the acknowledgments section of the book. As a sign of my appreciation, I want to offer you all something in return. I wish that I could give you a discount on the book, but the publishers and retailers have a tight lock on that part of the process. So, here is a special bonus that I can give without ruffling any feathers:
If you order Unclutter Your Life in One Week online before it is available in stores November 3, I will e-mail you PDF copies of the worksheets in the book as a free, special bonus. Simply fill out the special bonus form to redeem your PDFs. For those of you who have already ordered the book, feel welcome to fill out the form to get your copies.
All PDFs will be e-mailed to you on November 3. The PDFs are copies of worksheets in the book so that you don’t have to recreate them on your computer to use them — I’ve done the work for you already.
I have decided to do this promotion on the honor system. I am trusting you and taking your word for it that you ordered the book. And, along those same lines of the honor system, I’m also requesting that no one posts these PDFs online after you receive them. I want to offer something special just for Unclutterer readers, so I hope that you respect my requests.
This is a limited offer and it will disappear the night of November 2 from the website.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some of the book’s content on the site, answering your questions about the book (for example: yes, my publisher has assured me that there will be an e-book available for pre-order and yes, it is being translated into French), and letting you know where and when I’ll be talking about and signing copies of the book. Thank you, again, for being such wonderful readers and making all of this possible.
(Thanks also to Tyler Cowan at Marginal Revolution for the special bonus idea.)