How To Handle Difficult People With Grace

Eight ways to stabilize and improve the situation

We are all connected. No matter how independent we are, we still interact with coworkers, family members, friends, neighbors, and complete strangers. These relationships range from outright pleasant to downright obnoxious.

Any given relationship can vary. We’re emotional. We have good days. We have bad days. So does everybody else. When the relationship account balance is high, it feels like the good times stretch on and on. Things are clicking. You’re getting along great. Life is grand.

Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. When the balance is low, it feels like an ordeal that’s never going to end. Transactions that would have been neutral or a minor thing start getting amplified and everything starts feeling like a huge withdrawal. Pretty soon, the account is overdrawn.

It’s easy (and extremely seductive) to put all the blame on them. “They’re so difficult to work with!” “He’s such a jerk!” “If only she’d see things my way.” The truth is, it’s a lot more nuanced than that. Relationships are two-sided. You are proactive. You can choose whether you’re going to handle the situation with grace or make things worse.

Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / Korta

A More Powerful Way to Schedule Tasks in OmniFocus

How to set up Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Master Task Lists

Let’s say you need to return a book to the library by Saturday, June 24. If possible, you’d like to return it a few days early while you’re out running errands. Simple, right?

Most task managers can’t handle this. They only have one way to schedule the task: set a due date on it. But which date do you put down? It’s due on July 1—that’s when you’re going to have consequences if you don’t get it done. But you want to do it on Wednesday, June 28.

Most apps can’t handle this simple scenario. You have one field. You need to know the due date to plan properly. You can’t sometimes use that field to schedule tasks or you will never trust your system again.

My two favorite task managers handle this just fine: OmniFocus and my Franklin planner. OmniFocus has a defer date which lets you schedule tasks for a specific date, keeping the due date and the do-it date separate. This is a good start, but it’s limited.

How do you schedule a task for the week of July 17? Or 2018Q1? Or sometime next June (June 2018)?

Here’s how to configure OmniFocus to schedule tasks as powerfully and flexibly as a Franklin planner.

Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / Igor Negovelov

Three Levels of Planning that Will Bring Your Dreams Into Focus

The Power of Aligning your Day-to-Day with your Life’s Mission

When the lenses in a telescope aren’t properly aligned, it’s not worth much. The images are distorted and blurry. When they’re properly aligned—or collimated, to use the vernacular—you get beautiful images of comets and nebulae. Everything is in crisp focus.

Even when we have checked off all the boxes, we might end the day no closer to where we want to be than we started. The best way to kill our productivity isn’t to spend the day slacking off—it’s to be so busy dealing with gravel that we don’t have time for the big rocks.

The problem is that we aren’t focused. Our day-to-day actions aren’t aligned with our goals, dreams, and deepest values. Big changes don’t happen all at once. The small actions we take (or should be taking) every day add up.

Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / allexxandarx

Is Your Pride Keeping You From Reaching Your Dreams?

It takes a humble heart to be start the path to greatness.

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

How to Make Any Process Foolproof with a Checklist

Consistent Results with Less Effort and Stress

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