Someday/Maybe

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I talk a lot about the business of keeping busy on my blog (hey, the word busy is even in the title) but once in awhile you deserve a time out. I’m here today to give you permission to do just that. After all, what is the point in figuring out the most productive way to get things done if you’re not using that free time to cultivate fun and actually live your life.

If you feel that some excitement has been missing from your life lately, you need to create a Someday/Maybe list, like immediately. The idea is not an original one- David Allen introduces this concept in his book Getting Things Done (which I reviewed here)- and uses the Someday/Maybe list as a place to capture future projects and business goals.

I took his idea one step further and created a Someday/Maybe list of all of the things I want to do, and learn, and explore throughout my life. Sure, some of these hopes may seem unrealistic. I might not even get around to them in this lifetime. But it’s still fun to dream.

What’s on your someday/maybe list? Here’s a list of some of the things that you may (or may not) wish to include:

  • books that you’d like to read; movies and TV shows to watch; new music you’d like to listen to;
  • hobbies that you’d like to try; hobbies you’d like to improve; abandoned hobbies that you’d like to take up again;
  • restaurants/food/recipes that you’d like to try;
  • shows, festivals and exhibits that you’d like to attend;
  • degrees, certificates, or certifications you’d like to earn; seminars, courses or workshops you’d like to attend;
  • new languages or skills you’d like to learn or improve
  • vacation destinations- complete with people to visit, things to do and places to stay.

I keep a copy of my Someday/Maybe list in my Command Central binder to refer back to and revise every so often. It serves as a great reminder as to why I do what I do in the first place and those days when things get a little too hectic it feels so refreshing to take a moment to read it, and dream. On paper, your life has no limits. It’s a beautiful and freeing thing.

KBwB-BFlower-50What’s on your Someday/Maybe list? I’m dying to know. Maybe we have something in common! Share your thoughts below or keep them between us by sending them to keepingbusywithb@gmail.com. Your dreams are safe with me!

Wanna take a little peek into what’s on my Someday/Maybe list? Check out my Goodreads profile for my ever-growing list of books that I want to read (which is basically, like, all the books.) I’m also a little bit of a Pinterest junkie. You can see what’s been catching my eye on one of my numerous inspiration boards here.

The Serial Book Borrower

KBB_the_serial_book_borrowerThere’s something special about borrowing a book from someone in this day and age where so much of what we read comes from a screen. I’ve never really been a fan of e-readers (you can read my full confession here) and lending someone your Kindle doesn’t feel quite the same as having someone pull a volume off of their shelves for you, knowing that it’s something you’ll love.

It’s always interesting to see what someone has put aside for you because they think you’d enjoy it, or because they wanted to gauge your reaction. There’s a lot of books I never would have read had someone else not insisted that I read them. It’s funny how word-of-mouth is still the best form of advertising if you want to get a book read.

Expanding your reading repertoire is easy if other people know how much you love books. It isn’t unusual for me to leave a friend’s apartment without a stack of books in my arms. (I’m a also a bookshelf snoop, which doesn’t help.) I used to be such a serial book borrower that at one point in time the entire top shelf of my bookcase was devoted to stacks of books I had borrowed from friends and family, organized by original owner.

There’s even a few books of my own that I have loaned frequently to other people. They must have been so good that they have yet to be returned.

I’m always insisting that friends and family read the book before seeing the movie, so my copy of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell is off floating around somewhere, as well as my copy of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, although I must admit I haven’t seen the movie yet myself.

I’m bananas about books with interesting narrative structures and reading Jane Austen left me with the taste for epistolary novels (a rare art form these days!). As such, Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer are missing frequently from my shelves.

Sometimes a book has to be recommended to you by multiple people in order for you to bring yourself to read it, like Getting Things Done by David Allen (which I reviewed for the blog here). I had to read it twice before it finally “got it”; I’ve been lending it out ever since to anyone showing the slightest interest in it.

It’s amazing how another person’s perspective can transform you all in the simple act of borrowing a book. It’s fun to watch other people react to your choices, and react to theirs in turn. I end up reading so many things I wouldn’t have touched- books about politics, religion, science- and in some cases these books have inspired me to do more research on my own, or explore new territories I never dreamed would interest me.

If you’re looking for something new to read and you find yourself in a reading rut, I highly recommend adopting the attitude of a serial book borrower (like myself) and start asking people what they love. Join a service like Goodreads (it was life-changing for me, and I didn’t even get paid to say that) or simply start snooping their bookshelves. (Ask before borrowing!)

Who knows? The next book that someone picks for you might turn into something wonderful.

KBwB-BFlower-50Do you love reading as much as I do? Snoop my virtual bookshelves over on Goodreads, or visit the Book Section of my blog where I talk about all the books I’ve been reading- the good, the bad, and the non-fiction (which I read more often than you think!). All of the books I review are available on my Amazon store, where I do receive a small kick-back if you decide to purchase one. It helps keep food in my dog’s bowl, so she says “woof!” which I think means thank-you.

You’re probably far away which means I can’t lend you a book, but we can pretend like we can all the same. Comment below or drop me a line and tell me about the book you borrowed that changed your life.

Book Review: David Allen and the Weekly Review

 

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It took me a few years and a couple of re-reads of David Allen’s Getting Things Done before I finally started to appreciate why his “GTD” methodology has become so popular. (If you’re not familiar with it, you can take a gander at it here, but don’t worry- I won’t get into it too much for this post.) As much as I love productivity and organizing, I couldn’t wrap my head around it. Sure, it seemed like a great way to get a grip on everything that was going on in your head, but how could tracking all of those tasks possibly help my workflow?

Actually, it helps a lot. I realized the majority of my time was spent in crisis mode, approaching each project with the grace of a bull in a china shop because it needed to get done, like, yesterday. Long-term projects fell by the wayside because they required too many steps, and appeared insurmountable when lumped in with other tasks on my to-do list, like “get milk”.

Other than teaching me that projects like “design client’s blog” do not belong on the same list as “mail birthday card”, adopting (some) aspects of the GTD methodology in my life has allowed me to improve my workflow by breaking down larger tasks into their most basic parts so that I can better prioritize projects and strategically choose how much time I spend working on them.

One of the best things that has helped me is adopting the practice of a “Weekly Review” even though I avoided it for ages. Putting aside a chunk of time every week seemed selfish and unproductive. I convinced myself that planning work wasn’t actually the same as working.

But it kind of is. One day when I felt like I was finally about to lose my mind, I tried a Weekly Review in a last-ditch attempt to control the swirl of thoughts in my head. Taking a moment to take a step back and take inventory of upcoming projects, meetings, and appointments was like a ray on sunshine on a cloudy day. It gave me clarity and focus where I had previously lacked. In fact, it was such a great experience that I did it the next week, and the next week, and the next.

I’m not perfect; I don’t do a Weekly Review religiously (read: weekly). When I do manage to do sit down and do one, I try to make it seem less like a chore by grabbing a great cup of coffee and putting on some of my favorite music. I mute my phone, grab all of my supplies and give myself an hour or two of pure planning bliss. For me this involves updating all of my to-do lists, planning my schedule for the week ahead, syncing my devices and coordinating all of my calendars. Depending on my time commitment and energy level I use the time to brainstorm future projects, or process notes.

Instead of keeping the practice rigid I try to tailor each weekly review to whatever my current needs are, both personally and professionally. In that way I’ve become to think of it more like a date with myself and so far the relationship is going well- I like to think of the Weekly Review as a way to be kind to my future self so she has some direction to her days and is better equipped to deal with real-life interruptions and crises as they come up.

If you’ve ever found yourself staring down at your desk at the end of the day with no recollection of what you’ve actually accomplished, a Weekly Review is for you. If you feel constantly interrupted, the Weekly Review is for you. Are you the most super-organized person in the world with the prettiest, most colorful agenda ever (like myself)? The Weekly Review is still for you. Use the time and give yourself permission to dream, and plan, and work towards your goals. It’s one of the nicest things you can do for yourself.

And this kind of date is totally free.

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Psst- wanna see which books have previously graced my bookshelves? Click here. Want even more fun reading recommendations? I’ve got some for you here. Don’t forget to find me on Goodreads so we can snoop each other’s bookshelves and dish about our favourites.

Wanna know more about the GTD methodology? Getting Things Done is the book I revisit the most frequently, but you also may want to check out Ready for Anything and Making It All Work. Let me know which is your favorite. Happy reading!