If you were alive in the 80s, then you know The Karate Kid. Our hero, Daniel, moves across the country, doesn’t quite fit in with the new crowd, and after spending countless hours doing chores for the gardener—Wax on! Wax off! Paint the fence!—he wins the day.
My friends and I spent countless hours that summer knocking soda cans off of fences with awkward crane kicks. Occasionally, we managed to hit the can more than we hit the ground.
Daniel didn’t understand the importance of mastering wax on, wax off. He thought Miyagi was stalling or even a fraud. He felt the pressure of the deadline. He was scared. He wanted immediate results without paying the price.
Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / oneinchpunch
What’s past is prologue.
Shakespeare, The Tempest (2.1)
After I finish writing a blog post, there are still 43 things I need to do to publish it. Some are pretty trivial, but they still need done.
I used to worry about making mistakes. Several times, I published a post without adding a more tag (
<!-- more --> — it’s a WordPress thing), or with an empty link (
<a href="">), or at an oddball time (right day, but 3:47 pm instead of midnight). Once, I even forgot to schedule the post at all—I left it as a draft.
None of these were a big deal and each was quickly and easily rectified. It was, however, increasing the cognitive load to publish a post, stressing me out, and making it take longer than I wanted it to.
So I did what any self-respecting productivity nerd would do: I solved the problem one last time by making a checklist.
Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / Andrey Popov
The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
In the movies, you know that moment when the bad guy goes down with one shot and the good guy turns his attention away too soon? You know what’s going to happen. It was just a flesh wound. Now the bad guy’s back, and he’s madder than ever. Our hero could have won once and for all if he’d just kept fighting a little longer.
Quadrant 1 happens. It’s not ideal. It’s not where we want to spend our time, but it happens. When a fire breaks out, it has your attention. You need to put it out before it spreads and causes more damage.
Once the fire is out, don’t leave it at that. If you go a little further, you’ll never have to face that problem again.
Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / auremar
There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
I’ve loved tear-off stationery pads as long as I can remember. You know the ones—they’re like Post-It Notes with a form printed on them. Shopping lists, to-do lists, packing lists, babysitter instructions… Once, my parents bought a “While You Were Out” pad to keep by the phone in the kitchen. I was thrilled.
Paper is powerful, and stationery pads give you a starting point to help you quickly create a powerful little document, sometimes as little as 3″×3″. You knew you wouldn’t miss something because you had a template. All you had to do was fill out the fields.
Fast-forward to today. The world is much more digital now but we have a lot of the same workflows—meeting agendas and minutes, quarterly reports, envelopes… Have you ever started a new document by creating a copy of and old document? You know how helpful it is to have a template to start from instead of starting from scratch every time.
Did you know the Mac has a built-in feature that lets you turn any document into a digital stationery pad? It’s a great way to get a jump-start on any workflow.
Photo Courtesy of © Adobe Stock / aleks_g