Tag Archives: 8 ways

8 ways to be productive with the next half hour

1. I’ll get some sleep as soon as I finish this post.

2. I wrote to Lowell, briefly, and a couple other people.

3. I still need to read the chapter, maybe in the morning.

4. I worked on the January project while driving this morning, realizing that it needs to start in December. I’ll tell you about it soon.

5. When I go to bed, i’ll probably take Psalm 4 with me.

6. Piles? What piles?

7. We walked through the “Oasis”, the four of us. That’s what they used to be called. Covered bridges, they span the tollroad in Illinois and house restaurants, restrooms and signs.

“Velcro available at gas station..”

We looked and laughed, all of us. Nancy and Andrew moved on. I pulled out my phone. Hope laughed. “I knew you would,”

I’m so predictable.

The sign? I don’t know what it means. My guess, because it was on a storefront at the oasis for EZ-Pass units, is that it is referring to the velcro for attaching the automatic toll-paying unit to the windshield.

8. A list? As a previous boss who spend time as a school principal used to say, “Your plan for the day evaporates when you get out of the car in the parking lot.”

She was right.

Thanks for playing.

Good night, everybody.


8 ways I could have been productive with the last half hour

1. I could have slept.

2. I could have written a couple emails to Lowell and others.

3. I could have read a chapter in a book I need to review.

4. I could have picked a name for a new blog project I want to start in January.

5. I could have meditated on one chapter from the book of psalms (111, more precisely).

6. I could have sorted out one of these piles.

7. I could have written a compelling post about the velcro sign.

8. I could have clarified my task list for the day.

In fact, I spent thirty minutes wandering, and all I got was this lousy post.

Unless, of course, it changes how I approach the next 30 minutes.

What’s in your next 30 minutes?

8 ways goes parenting

I write elsewhere on occasion. This week I took my 8 ways series to GNMParents.com with 8 ways parenting is not like real life.

Here’s a sample:

3. In real life what you wear matters most when you are a teen. In parenting what you wear matters most to your teen.
4. In real life sleeping late is a weekly reward. In parenting, sleep is a weekly reward.

For the rest of the list, head over here.

8 ways to waste the rest of summer vacation

Kids are headed back to school soon. Around here, the first schools started today (but most wait until next Monday). So there isn’t much time left to waste. But here’s how you can make the worst of it.

1. Get into an argument.

2. Be paralyzed by your fear that you are a terrible parent.

3. Let your kids watch the Olympics while you do important work on your blog. (Oh wait. That’s what I’m doing right now).

4. Ignore your 21-year-old when he wants you to go along to buy a bicycle at Target. (Almost did this tonight. When I asked him why he wanted me to go along, “um, we can spend some time together.” Duh.)

5. Don’t even think about playing Scrabble. The real kind. On a board.

6. Forget about that Hawaiian shaved ice that you always get every summer.

7. Count the minutes until the kids go back. Hey. Be wild. Count the seconds.

8. Make sure you decide that minutes aren’t worth spending and that you might as well just try better next year.

8 ways liz strauss tells a story.

jon liz annIt’s Liz Strauss’ birthday today, July 3.  Liz changes the world for lots of people. Including me.

Here are 8 ways:

1. Liz tells it. Liz is constantly telling. Posts. Comments. Conferences. Tweets. Emails. DMs. Not words out of place, not words out of thoughtlessness. But she is willing to shape the world by talking.

2. Liz tells it like it was. Her dad built a community. Her dad kept a saloon. This story shapes her community, inviting us in, reflecting the love she knew.

3. Liz tells it like it isn’t (yet) She calls a bunch of us successful and outstanding bloggers. Truth is, we aren’t. At least not when she first points to us. At least some of us. There are millions of bloggers. Many of them have incredible numbers of views, of revenue, of links. Much more success than many of her SOBs. However, more than she realizes, her naming us is part of moving us to success, perhaps not in any of those measures, but in adding value. To life.

4. Liz tells it like it could be. She offers an idea and then suggests how that idea could play out. Like the wisdom of crowds. She reminds us that it’s about people, about listening to people. It could be chaos, crowds. It could be mobs. But Liz reminds us how to keep it wise.

5. Liz tells it like is should be. Every Tuesday night, she invites people to an open comments night, a place to come and talk. As anyone who has been there will tell you, “The rules are simple – be nice.”

6. Liz tells it like it like it is in the mirror. If you read her blog, you are occasionally stunned by her willingness to say, “I messed up.”  Sometimes I want to argue with her. But usually I’m grateful for her modeling of the reflective authenticity she invites the rest of us to consider.

7. Liz tells it like it we want it to be. We want to deal well with difficult people. We face them all the time. But we don’t know where to start (or don’t want to remember.). So Liz, she gives us that starting point. Simple and clear.

8. Liz invites us to tell it. All the time. She is inviting us to tell, to talk, to be. She points to a street called Hope and invites to walk along it and then tell her what we see.

At least, that’s what I think.

What do you think?

8 (little) ways to do something big

flowerWe’ve got a long weekend coming up (at least in the U.S.) We want to rest, to celebrate. But we are driven enough (and if you are reading this, you have a sense of drive) to do something productive, to make some kind of difference.

Try one of these.

1. Teach a kid how to tie her shoes.

2. Wash the inside of your windshield.

3. Sign your name to something. (a card, a letter, a “New Half Year” list of resolutions, a revolution)

4. Put your arm around someone while watching fireworks. (Make sure you’ve met)

5. Fix a meal for someone who can’t (grilling counts.)

6. Donate $5 to the frozen pea fund (or blood).

7. Spend 10 hours intentionally offline. (even if there IS wifi available).

8. Read one chapter of something to someone. (Here’s a fresh take on a somewhat familiar chapter if you don’t have anything)


For more 8 ways, see the 8 ways page

8 ways people talking about intentional social media strategy may be right.

jon and texasYou know, them. The people who suggest that you can be thoughtful and strategic about this blogging stuff. I mean, the people:

  1. like Joanna Young, who suggests that you can generate a month’s worth of posts in 30 minutes. She talks about creating a mindmap with the theme of your blog. I tried it one day, while driving. I wrote one phrase, “affirming words” on the middle of a post-it index card. I generated 5 post topics in four minutes. They wrote themselves quickly and they actually were thoughtful and connected and significant.
  2. like Liz Strauss, who suggests that you can build an editorial calendar for different days, and that you can map out a month of blogging activities and control your blogging time rather than having it control you. A month ago I started a theme for Sundays. I’m working through the week the same way. (Note: the calendar idea is near the bottom of the post. It stayed with me for months before I realized that I could do it, too.).
  3. like Chris Brogan, who suggests that you stop just thinking about your personal brand and instead, actually do specific things in social media. I discovered that I have several things covered, but that I need to be more specific about a few more.
  4. like Becky McCray, who says that we need to learn to say no. Actually, Becky has said a lot of things to help me focus, but that’s one collection.
  5. like Rob Hatch, who is proof that people on the other end of social media are people. There are other examples, and you know who you are, but who’d have imagined Brogan’s and Hatch’s and Swanson’s in the same physical space at the same time?
  6. like Cheryl Smith who started a blog intended for public consumption but didn’t tell anyone about it until she had written enough posts to prove to herself she could. That kind of patience has borne fruit for her. (And she let me look ahead of time and helped me find some words from Isaiah that I had been trying to remember for months.)
  7. like Paul Merrill, who I finally believed about turning off the comment approval. It has freed up conversation wonderfully. (In the process, I also finally got wordpress set to email me each comment so I know. It hadn’t been working before.)
  8. like these faces who remind me by their daily patience and love that the core of social media is the social, not the media.