Blog – Blogging

Same Motion, More Action By John Sarvay | January 15, 2014

Twitter led me to something useful today. (Really, Andrea Goulet Ford did.)

Lately, I've been pondering (more on that later) some of the things that keep me from taking more action. There are many drivers -- habit and inclination among the stronger, but also too many choices or options, a dash of guilt and a need to look busy. What in the world am I talking about?

Well, there's my commitment to maintaining this blog, as an example. I have a list of about 40 potential blog posts that I recently revisited and revised. In the time I spent editing the list of blog posts, I could have written three posts. Or the new Excel spreadsheet I developed to track Floricane's cash flow, when what I really needed to do was build a budget for 2014.

This evening, Andrea retweeted a link to a blog post at Buffer by James Clear with the provocative title, "The Mistake Smart People Make: Being In Motion vs. Taking Action." Here's a snippet:

Motion is when you’re busy doing something, but that task will never produce an outcome by itself. Action, on the other hand, is the type of behavior that will get you a result.

Here are some examples…

  • If I outline 20 ideas for articles I want to write, that’s motion. If I actually write and publish an article, that’s action.
  • If I email 10 new leads for my business and start conversations with them, that’s motion. If I actually ask for the sale and they turn into a customer, that’s action.
  • If I search for a better diet plan and read a few books on the topic, that’s motion. If I actually eat a healthy meal, that’s action.

Sometimes motion is good because it allows you to prepare and strategize and learn. But motion will never — by itself — lead to the result you are looking to achieve.

It doesn’t matter how many times you go talk to the personal trainer, that motion will never get you in shape. Only the action of working out will get you the result you’re looking to achieve.

My first impulse after reading Clear's piece was, "Yeah! I need to do less motion, more action!" And then I settled down, and remembered how I am fundamentally wired (read: motion, not action). I need motion. Processing my way through my work is core to what I do. Abandoning the side of me that researches, studies and explores options would be a mistake.

No, I need the motion I have. But I also need more action.

And that's my new motto for 2014: Same Motion, More Action.

Go read the whole thing, and then decide if you're ready to act more. (Or, if you act too much, maybe you need to put some more motion in your life.)

The Cost of Efficiency By Theran Fisher | January 13, 2014

I like to think that I am an efficient person; or at least I try to be. For most routine tasks in my life I have created a standard way of completing them, I utilize various apps and software programs to stay on top of my ever-growing To Do list, and my desire to organize my life borders on obsessive compulsive behavior. In fact, now that I consider it, I spend a potentially inefficient amount of time thinking about how to be more efficient. But we’ll leave that for another blog post.

Earlier this week, Caroline and I attended an event where the guest speaker is a recognized efficiency expert. He’s written books on the subject and specializes in email efficiency, which is the one area of my life that I have given up on trying to manage. Needless to say, I was eager to here him speak and went prepared to have my life transformed.

The majority of the tips and tricks he presented simply utilized many of the built-in features found in most email clients – rules, templates, shortcuts, etc. Some I had never considered using before and so I took note, but my life was not yet changed. Then he brought up the subject of returning to a massive inbox after being out of the office on vacation or a business trip. I slid closer to the edge of my seat with anticipation.

When leaving the office for an extended period, the speaker suggested creating a new rule that automatically places all new messages into a folder. A nice psychological trick I thought, you return to an empty inbox and can then sort through your emails at an appropriate time. But then the speaker threw a curve ball: ignore the folder with all of the emails from your absence. Completely. Just forget it even exists. In his opinion, the majority of the emails are junk and those that are important can be ignored until the sender contacts you again.

This notion of increasing your own efficiency at the expense of others’ efficiency didn’t sit well with me and I have thought about it a lot over the past few days. What I’ve come to realize is that I do this kind of thing all too often. I like to keep certain office supplies near our worktable, so I move them there without telling anyone else. Now everyone else has to spend time hunting them down. Or I schedule a doctor’s appointment for my sons, but put it on my personal calendar and not the family calendar shared with my wife and she in turn schedules a second appointment.

The realization I’ve come to is that my efficiency is not simply dependent on what I do and how I do it. Nor is the efficiency of those around me solely based on their actions and decisions. Efficiency, evidently, is a team effort. So, to the rest of the Floricane Team, where would you all like to keep the stapler?

New Project: Building a Community of Support By John Sarvay | January 7, 2014

With one of the most complex acronyms ever -- MRSDVCC -- the Metro Richmond Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Coordinating Committee's core purpose is to create a safe networking and collaborative space for people working in the sexual assault and domestic violence arena. The all-volunteer group has been around for a number of years, but recently experienced some drift in focus. We spent an afternoon with a handful of members last fall, and are reconvening for a pro bono afternoon of facilitation with more members in January. We hope to help the members establish a more sustainable foundation for their important community building work.

New Project: VCU Office of Health Innovation By John Sarvay | January 6, 2014

We're excited to be spending time with the team at VCU's Office of Health Innovation again this winter, facilitating a team session designed to revisit and build on the strategic plan we helped the group develop in 2012. While the group's core organizing focus was to help the university move through health reform implementation successfully, they really live at the intersection of community engagement, data analytics and collaborative partnerships.

New Project: Setting Priorities with SAGE By John Sarvay | January 6, 2014

One offshoot of our strategic planning work with the Gay Community Center of Richmond is a bit of pro bono strategizing with another organization serving Richmond's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community -- Richmond's chapter of Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE). SAGE is the nation's largest and oldest organization focused on improving the lives of older LGBT adults. The Richmond chapter of SAGE operates out of the Gay Community Center of Richmond, but has its own unique partnerships with area organizations. During an evening of facilitated discussion, we'll be helping a small team from SAGE focus on opportunities to focus the chapter's work in 2014.

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