Monthly Archives: January 2021

How to Prioritize What Matters: Listen to The Incrementalist, Episode 4

If you feel overwhelmed or you’re constantly rescheduling tasks, you are probably overestimating what you can do each day.

Practice Essentialism: do less, but better, so you will have the highest-quality results, with less stress and less friction. And figure out the One Thing you must do now and do that.

With incremental progress daily and weekly, you can create big results with small and consistent actions. Laser-like focus on your core work add up to make a massive difference in all areas of your life.

When we look at a clock – digital or analog – we see the seconds, minutes and hours passing. The day starts and end, regardless of what we do. The clock tells us we have 24 hours in a day.

Of that, we need about 7 to 8 hours of sleep, 1 hour for a lunch break, and a few more hours for daily routines, errands and so on. We have distractions and interruptions. Also, we’re human: our energy and focus ebb and flow throughout the day. 

The maximum time you have for your Most Important Tasks is around 8 hours per day. Your MIT is your core work or your high-value, high-leverage activity. This contributes directly to your success. It helps you create the most important, desired results. 

In this episode, I discuss how to set your priorities, which starts with the Brain Dump, continues with the Priority Matrix (Eisenhower Complex), and ends with blocking time and matching your tasks with your energy and focus levels, your environment, and your circumstances. 

I cover Essentialism, which involves distinguishing the vital few from the trivial many, and making the necessary trade-offs to tackle what truly matters.

I explain why you need to align your actions with your One Thing, which is what you can do, such that by doing it, makes everything else easier or unnecessary. 

Resources Cited: 

  • Greg McKeown – Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less 
  • Gary Keller and Jay Papasan – The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results 

Dyan Williams

P.S. If you like the show and want to help keep it going, please give it a 5-star rating and positive review on Apple Podcasts (from ITunes) or other app! Thank you to all who have expressed their appreciation since the launch. And special shout-out to Graham for the first posted review!

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Dyan Williams is a solo lawyer who practices U.S. immigration law and legal ethics at Dyan Williams Law PLLC. She is also a productivity coach who helps working parents, lawyers, small business owners and other busy people turn their ideas into action, reduce overwhelm, and focus on what truly matters. She is the author of The Incrementalist: A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small Steps


Form I-129F Approval + K-1 Visa Grant = A True Success Story

A U.S. Consulate issued the K-1 fiancée visa to our client, after it denied her requests for an F-1 student visa renewal. The switch allowed the applicant to avoid the INA 214(b) requirement to establish nonimmigrant intent. The setbacks were overcome with careful documentation to support the Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), and thorough preparation for the K-1 visa process.

The applicant first consulted me after the U.S. Consulate used INA 214(b) to twice deny her requests for the student visa renewal. She had assumed USCIS’ approval of her application for F-1 reinstatement — after she fell out of status for three years — would automatically lead to the visa issuance.

After one more failed attempt to get the student visa, we agreed to switch to the K-1 visa based on her recent engagement to her U.S. citizen fiancé.

I advised the applicant and her U.S. citizen fiancé on the Form I-129F petition, including the documentary evidence to submit to get an approval. It took four months for USCIS to approve the petition, which is the first step in the K-1 visa process.

Within a month, we received notice from the National Visa Center to proceed with the next step of filing the Form DS-160, K-1 visa application. After receiving all the forms and documents, the U.S. Consulate scheduled her for a visa interview in April 2020.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions that began in March 2020, the Consulate cancelled the interview. At the time, our client was also traveling in Europe and got stuck there for several months.  The K-1 visa interview was eventually rescheduled in December 2020. Our client was also able to return to her home country in time for the visa interview.

I counseled her on submitting the DS-160 visa application, the police certificates, the medical exam report, and the Form I-134, Affidavit of Support.

I confirmed that her prior F-1 visa refusals would not be a problem. She had fallen out of F-1 status for three years, starting in 2015. She departed the U.S. to visit her family abroad, after USCIS approved her Form I-539 application for F-1 reinstatement. USCIS agreed her failure to maintain status was due to circumstances beyond her control.

Her being out of status for three years did not make her inadmissible for 10 years under INA 212(a)(9)(B). No USCIS or Immigration Judge had officially found that she violated her F-1 status, before she filed her Form I-539 application. Under the policy that existed at the time, she did not accrue unlawful presence toward the 3/10 year unlawful presence bar. She also had no other inadmissibility grounds, such as a criminal record or fraud/misrepresentation to obtain a U.S. immigration benefit.

The U.S. citizen petitioner was unemployed and did not meet the income requirement to sponsor her. But her uncle agreed to submit a Form I-134 as a joint sponsor.

I also advised the client on what to expect at the visa interview, including questions on her U.S. visa history, biographic data, and her relationship with her US citizen fiancé.

Despite the obstacles in her case, she was finally issued the K-1 visa in January 2021. She has 6 months to enter the United States on the K-1 visa before it expires.

Upon arrival in the United States on the K-1 visa, she will have 90 days to marry the U.S. citizen petitioner. Following the marriage, she may file a Form I-485 application for permanent residence. If the marriage occurs outside the 90-day timeframe, she may still file for the green card, but the U.S. citizen must file a Form I-130 petition with the Form I-485 application.

When she submits the I-485 application, she may include a request for a work permit and travel authorization. The K-1 visa is for a single entry to the U.S. and does not provide work authorization. While her green card application is pending, USCIS may process her work card and travel document.

If the marriage occurs and the I-485 application is approved, as expected, our client will become a permanent resident of the United States. If the marriage is at least 2 years old at the time of the I-485 approval, she will get a 10-year green card without conditions. Otherwise, she will get a conditional residence card valid for 2 years. She will then need to file a Form I-751 petition to remove conditions and maintain her green card status.

This is a true success story.


Dyan Williams

Founder & Principal Attorney
Dyan Williams Law PLLC
(612) 225-9900

For more details, listen to Episode 5 on The Legal Immigrant podcast.


From K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa to Green Card

K-1 fiancé(e) visas aren’t just for mail-order brides (but still carry strict requirements)

Coming to America to Get Married and Get a Green Card: B-2 or K-1 Visa?

Coming to America to Get Married and Get a Green Card: B-2 or K-1 Visa? – VIDEO


This article provides general information only. It is based on law, regulations and policy that are subject to change. Do not consider it as legal advice for your situation. Each case is unique and even cases that seem similar may have different outcomes. The sharing or receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.


Breaking Bad Habits: Listen to The Incrementalist, Episode 3

Building good habits is essential to make a change and sustain a healthy and productive life. Sometimes we also need to break bad habits. They tend to serve you in the moment; the immediate outcome feels good. But over the long run, bad habits hurt you or benefit you very little.

Like good habits, bad habits also give you a dopamine hit. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is often called the feel-good hormone. Dopamine fires when you get the thing you crave, and when you anticipate getting that thing. 

A dopamine hit is not the same as true happiness, say Dr. Jud Brewer, director of research and innovation at Brown University Mindfulness Center, a psychiatrist and an expert in mindfulness training for treating addictions. To break everyday addictions and bad habits, he recommends you step out of the reactive pattern and just be present with whatever comes up. Use your natural curiosity to learn about the habit loop while you’re in it and become aware of the results of your actions. 

There are 4 laws of behavior change, says author, speaker and entrepreneur James Clear. If you want to build a habit, you make it Visible, Attractive, Easy and Satisfying. If you want to stop a habit, you invert the laws. You make it Invisible, Unattractive, Difficult and Unsatisfying. 

You might think you have to replace the habit with another to break it. But this is really a last resort. You can untangle the bad habit when you stay mindful, get curious, and invert the 4 laws of behavior change. 

Learn how your mind works, so you can work with it.” – Dr. Jud Brewer

You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” – James Clear

 Resources Cited:

  • Jud Brewer – The Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love – Why We Get Hooked and How We Can Break Bad Habits
  • James Clear – Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

Here’s to breaking bad habits,

Dyan Williams

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Dyan Williams is a solo lawyer who practices U.S. immigration law and legal ethics at Dyan Williams Law PLLC. She is also a productivity coach who helps working parents, lawyers, small business owners and other busy people turn their ideas into action, reduce overwhelm, and focus on what truly matters. She is the author of The Incrementalist: A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small Steps


The Legal Immigrant Podcast: Episode 4 – Section 204(l) for Surviving Relatives

If the petitioner or principal beneficiary in an immigrant petition dies, may USCIS still approve the case? May the surviving beneficiaries still immigrate to the United States? In some cases, section 204(l) relief is the way.

Section 204(l) of the Immigration & Nationality Act allows certain beneficiaries (and derivative beneficiaries) to continue with an Immigrant Visa request or Adjustment to Permanent Residence application even after the Form I-130 petitioner (or principal beneficiary) has died.

Unlike the survivor benefits for widow(er)s of U.S. citizens, and unlike humanitarian reinstatement for principal beneficiaries of approved petitions, section 204(l) relief protects a broader category of persons if they show they resided in the United States at the time of the death, and they continue to reside in the United States.

Section 204(l) provides benefits not only when the U.S. citizen or permanent resident petitioner dies, but also, in some cases, when the principal beneficiary or principal applicant dies. It allows eligible derivative beneficiaries to continue with the green card process even if the principal beneficiary dies. Derivative beneficiaries are applicants who cannot be directly petitioned for, but may join the principal beneficiary of the petition based on a spousal or parent-minor child relationship.

In episode 4 of The Legal Immigrant podcast, I discuss who may be eligible for 204(l) benefits, the residence and admissibility requirements, the discretionary factors, and how to apply for the relief.

For more information, see:

Section 204(l) Allows Certain Surviving Relatives to Become Permanent Residents Even When Petitioner or Principal Beneficiary Has Died

Section 201(b)(2)(A)(i) Allows Certain Widows or Widowers of U.S. Citizens to Become Permanent Residents Even When the Citizen Has Died

Humanitarian Reinstatement Allows Certain Principal Beneficiaries to Become Permanent Residents Even When Petitioner Has Died

If you like the show, please go to Apple Podcasts, log into your ITunes account, and leave a 5-star rating and positive review. Or share and rate on another app. This extra step will help grow the show and help others find the information they need! 

Many thanks,

Dyan Williams

Founder & Principal Attorney
Dyan Williams Law PLLC

Listen to The Incrementalist: Episode 2, Building Good Habits

Whenever we want to make a change, we tend to think in terms of goals and outcomes, hopes and dreams. It’s good to know the results we want. But how do we get there? It starts with building good habits that add up over time to create success as you define it.

A habit starts with a conscious decision and becomes automatic through a 3-step loop (cue, behavior, reward). Building good habits allows you to make changes without relying on willpower and motivation. 

In this episode of The Incrementalist podcast, I discuss how motivation, ability and prompts drive behavior, using Professor BJ Fogg’s B=MAP formula. I also cover the ABC (Anchor, Behavior, Celebration) method to create new habits and sustain momentum.  Make the new behavior tiny with the starter step and by scaling back.

Excellence comes from the actions you do habitually, consistently, repeatedly – not from once-in-a-while acts.  Being the best version of yourself and having self-mastery stem from your habits. 

Resources Cited:

  • Charles Duhigg – The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
  • BJ Fogg – Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything
  • David T. Neal, Wendy Wood, and Jeffrey M. Quinn, Duke University, Habits – A Repeat Performance, Current Directions in Psychological Science, Volume 15, Issue 4, August 1, 2006
  • Magic Weighted Blanket

Music by:

  • Sebastian Brian Mehr

Happy habit-building,

Dyan Williams

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Dyan Williams is a solo lawyer who practices U.S. immigration law and legal ethics at Dyan Williams Law PLLC. She is also a productivity coach who helps working parents, lawyers, small business owners and other busy people turn their ideas into action, reduce overwhelm, and focus on what truly matters. She is the author of The Incrementalist: A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small Steps