Chasing the Nile Valley Sunbird

Like the rest of you, I’m always working on being more in balance with my life. 

It sounds so simple – like a five-year-old balancing on a garden wall. But balance in the 21st century is a bit like discerning the call of Nile Valley Sunbird in the heart of Cairo (one of the most intense urban environments I’ve ever encountered). It requires focus, and you have to know what you’re listening for.

I was recently inspired by yet another “10 Things” post, this one by J.T. O’Donnell at Careerealism. Her approach to getting things done? A balanced, daily to-do list of 10 things.

“Yes,” she says, “there are days when I don’t get them all done, but I do my best to deliver. The list could be longer. But if it was longer, I wouldn’t be as good as getting them all done.”

And in the end, I suspect, it all comes down to establishing a direction and making incremental progress on important things each day.

With that in mind, I spent some time building my own list – inspired mostly by a year of working with my balance coach, Philip Davidson. My list is weekly, but my goal is to review and act on it daily. And I’ve clustered it into three categories.

Be More Intentional

  • Review my calendar and set my intentions for each interaction.
  • Review Floricane’s business goals, and identify (and act on) at least one task each week to advance Floricane’s business goals.
  • Check in with Nikole around our personal goals, and agree on the actions we will take to achieve them.

Connect with Others

  • Spend time connecting with my daughter, wife and son, and being curious about what matters most to them each day. Create space for their eyes to shine
  • Reconnect with two friends or former colleagues in a personal way, and remind them that they matter to me –- and why they matter to me.
  • Touch base with each member of the Floricane team on their work, and with each Floricane client on our work. Listen more, talk less.

Be Healthier

  • Do something physically healthy –- the gym, a walk, yoga, eat a better breakfast, get more sleep.
  • Do something fun –- alone or with others.
  • End each day with appreciation, especially of my family (and tell them).

Grow My Brain

  • Read something that has absolutely nothing to do with work – a poem, a work of fiction, a piece of long-form journalism.
  • Write more. Letters, blog posts, poetry.
  • Explore a physical place – the details of a downtown street, a museum, a new city or place.

If I do each of these things more consistently well each week, I am convinced I will more clearly hear the call of the Nile Valley Sunbird! Or have a better, more satisfying year. 

Want to know what the sunbird sounds like? Here's a video of one in downtown Cairo.: