Ten Natural Laws

The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management (Business Plus, 1995)

This is one of the best books I’ve ever read on human behavior. It still shapes a lot of how I interpret why we do what we do. It’s by Hyrum W. Smith, the founder of Franklin Quest, the company that would later put the “Franklin” in “Franklin Covey”.

The first half of the book is mainly about defining a guiding purpose for your life, and how you can use that purpose to guide your actions. He walks you through his experiences in creating his own personal constitution (mission statement), how to set goals that you really believe in, and best practices for daily planning.

The second half presents the Reality Model, a framework that helps you interpret, predict, and shape human behavior. The model applies to individuals and organizations of any size—a family, a team, a company, or a country. You will not only gain insights into your own behavior (insight that creates the ability to change), but also an understanding of why your spouse, friends, and coworkers make the choices they make. That understanding has a powerful effect on your interpersonal relationships.

I’ve heard Hyrum speak a good number of times—always on tape, never in person—and his voice comes through when he writes. He has a fresh, relaxed tone that makes what could easily be an obtuse topic very approachable. The examples he shares are memorable, and will get you to reflect. More importantly, you’ll want to make changes in your life so that your living lines up with your core values.

Building Relationships One Deposit at a Time

Who Would You Cross Time and Space to Help?

The Doctor Who episode “Silence in the Library” (s4e09) contains a fascinating demonstration of Emotional Bank Accounts. Professor River Song calls the Doctor for help. Without knowing who sent the message, he cancels a trip to the beach to help her.

River knew the Doctor. She trusted him with her life. With everything. She would follow him to the end of the universe—and they had been there together. They were both time-travellers, who built a relationship despite meeting each other out of sequence. There, in the Library, the Doctor was just meeting River. He didn’t know her yet, didn’t know if he could trust her.

She had an incredible balance on file from him. He had no record of any deposits she had made. To survive, she needed him to be more than the Doctor. She needed him to be her Doctor. How do you establish a lifetime of deposits into an emotional bank account like that? Especially without spoilers?

Photo ©2015 BBC

Photo ©2015 BBC

Creativity is intelligence having fun.

Albert Einstein

Remember Everything with Siri

Let Your Digital Assistant Remember It For You

The other day, I was listening to a book on the way home, and the author said something profound I wanted to remember. I was only two blocks away. “I can remember this for two blocks; then I’ll pull out my phone and write the quote in Evernote.”

Then I got stopped at a light. “Perfect! I have a chance to do it now.” I pulled out the phone. Woke it up. Tweetbot was still open. “Oh, right. I wanted to read that article later. Let me add that to Pocket…” Done. Pressed the home button. “When did I get a text message? Maybe it’s from my wife. I’d better check, in case she needs me to swing by the store on my way home…”

You know where this is going. You’ve been there.

Capturing an idea as soon as you have it is key to peaceful productivity. You want to be able to forget everything you need to do and trust that you’ll remember at the right time.

Siri is great at helping you remember what you need to do. Just ask. She’ll remind you.

Siri on iOS 9

There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience.

French Proverb

Why You Need Feedback

5 Ways Another Perspective Will Help You Grow Faster

Have you ever performed a task so many times, you “could do it blindfolded”?

In 1947, Life Magazine asked some of the top comic strip talent in the U.S. to draw their beloved cartoon characters while blindfolded. The results were varied. Dick Tracy was almost flawless and Dagwood was still quite recognizable. Most looked like Picasso had reinterpreted them.

When they can see what they’re doing, these guys are great artists. If you remove that feedback—being able to see what they’re doing—their results go downhill quickly. If you’re not getting feedback, your results are suffering just as much.

Dagwood Blindfolded

Debugging Your Life, with Colter Reed

Next month, I’ll be speaking at the University of Wyoming’s homecoming in Laramie, WY. I will be speaking on Debugging Your Life—how the same principles that will improve the quality of your software can be applied to improve the quality of your life.

In this dynamic and engaging presentation, you’ll learn:

  • Five principles of software engineering you can use today to start improving your life.
  • The six product specifications you should be working from.
  • The four types of work you engage in, and which one doesn’t make a difference.

Debugging Your Life, with Colter Reed
Date: Friday, October 16, 2015
Time: 3:00 pm
Where: Classroom Building, room 129

You can’t talk yourself out of a problem you’ve behaved your way into.

Stephen Covey

Productivity Comes from Planning

Without a plan, you’re just busy.

There are over 87,000 flights in the US every day. Every one of them takes off with a clear destination in mind.

Once they’re in the air, the flight plan largely gets set aside. Winds blow the plane off course. There are storms to go around, and other planes to avoid. A plane spends 95% of its time off course (to pick a round number), but through constant adjustment, it still arrives at the intended destination.

Have you ever wondered what the point of planning was, if you knew the plan was just going to be thrown out the window? You may have felt like it wasn’t worth it, and that time could be better spent just diving in and getting started.

Having a plan helps you get more done with less effort. And when things go wrong, you’ll know how to recover and get back on course.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/Matus Duda

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/Matus Duda