If you want to spend more time doing the stuff that really matters to you, you have to get good at saying “no” to the constant stream of invitations and requests that come your way. In my experience, being good at getting things done increases those asks exponentially — which means if you’re going to prioritize your own priorities, you have to learn to say no clearly and on the spot. (But if that’s too hard for you, say “I will check my calendar and get back to you ASAP” and then email and tell them no.)
“Many of us have an intuitive desire to please others, to explore every opportunity, to take on more than we can handle, and worry about the consequences later. But if you can master the art of saying ‘no,’ you can prevent your time and focus from being held captive by a constant barrage of requests and distractions.”
“[Y]ou can’t do it consistently without a plan.”
“If I wake up with a clear picture of my key priorities, I’m infinitely more productive and relaxed. What’s more, I’m also much better at deciding what not to do and which requests to turn down, because what I need to do is already mapped out — I’ve already decided. By contrast, kicking off the day without a plan opens you up to working reactively, letting other people’s demands dictate what you do with your day.” — Five ways to say “no” so you can finally reclaim your focus
Note: You can’t do ANYTHING important without a plan. If you care about it, plan it — prioritize it, put it in your schedule, protect it. And have a plan for remembering to keep on doing it, no matter what.
Turning from a crushed schedule to ponder and reflect in your journal may seem impossible — going from 60 to 0 in a few seconds.
Does your day have periods of calm, rest, focus? Does your child’s day?
Have you build in enough white space to process the things that happened during the busier times of the day?
Time not just to have an experience but think about that experience and what you might do with it or add to it to make it something more?
When you think about lying down during the day (as recommended by this article), do you automatically recoil? Does it seem lazy? Ridiculous? Impossible?
Do you invest in recovery? The wandering thoughts that often precede inspiration?
“With the advent of smartphones, hardly any vertical or horizontal position is safe from the disturbances of the outside world. We ruin our sleep by exposing our retinas to the bright blue light of our screens just before bed. We put our phones next to our pillows or on the bedside table, and our first action in the morning is to reach over to check the messages that have arrived overnight.”
“What do you do to put yourself in a reflective, unhurried state of mind?”
“We relax our state of hyper-vigilance, and our thoughts soar.” — Here’s to the lost art of lying down
We often talk about giving our children big chunks of uninterrupted time — and eliminating as many jarring transitions as possible, so the best play and work can continue as long as possible.
(Have you ever found yourself interrupting something you value in order to hurry on to something you actually value much less?)
“What are your hours like? A pile of pebbles — fragmented, shattered, a collection of short work moments? Or are your hours like a big rock — solid, whole, uninterrupted?
Do you have 60 minutes? Or do you have 15 minutes, 10 minutes, 25 minutes, 5 minutes, and 5 minutes?”
“If fragmented time was seen as the disease it is, it would be labeled an epidemic. No wonder people are putting in 80 hours just to manage to sweep up 30 good ones.
Time is the most precious thing there is, yet we split it up and give it away like there’s an endless supply. And whatever time you do have, you have even less attention.” — What’s an hour?
Remember, too: When children are trained to live their live in short segments, constantly interrupted, knowing that soon they’ll have to stop what they’re doing now and do something else, why would they relax, get into the flow, and invest in creating, thinking, problem-solving?
Many adults will tell you that children have short attention spans, but we *train* them to have short attention spans. Children can easily become engrossed in things that interest them, if we give them that uninterrupted, protected time.
What work could children do if they were given time and materials and supported by adults who valued their interests and ideas?
“…Dewey’s vision was that children learn by doing. Specifically, they learn by experimenting.
At the Lab School, this meant that children, from a young age, did laboratory-style work across a range of subjects. They did chemistry by working in the kitchen; botany was learned by growing plants in the garden.
Throughout, Dewey and his colleagues used terms such as ‘experiment’ and ‘laboratory’ capaciously. To them, every act of learning was seen as experimental in an important sense.”
“It should be obvious, in a sense, that children learn new material in ways that mirror the progress of scientific research.
What needs explaining is not how children came to seem like ‘little scientists’…but how they ever stopped seeming that way.” — How the scientific method came from watching children play
Children’s capabilities are enormous — we just need to support them.