How to Plan an Ideal Week: The Incrementalist, Ep. 8

If you feel overwhelmed and off course, weekly planning helps you to take control and get back on track. The lack of a plan or the plan itself could be your problem. Cultivate purposeful work and intentional living with a review of your past week and a preview of your upcoming week.

Consolidate by planning your ideal week, designate by prioritizing your tasks with the weekly review, and activate by beating interruptions and distractions. Streamline your to-do list by connecting to your heart, mind, and body and the cosmos.

What do you want to have done in the week? What are the big things you can do to call the week a success and make it great? 

Unexpected things will come up. Tasks will take longer than you expected. Distractions and interruptions will pull you away. But you’re more likely to accomplish what you must when you plan for it and begin with the end in mind. 

In episode 8 of The Incrementalist podcast, I discuss achieving more by doing less in a week. You will learn: 

1. How to consolidate by planning your Ideal Week 

  • The concepts of batching and theming
  • The categories of front stage, back stage, and off stage activities
  • The use of color codes in your weekly plan or calendar to reflect focus areas

2. How to designate by prioritizing your tasks with the Weekly Review and Preview

  • The best times to do a weekly review and preview
  • The six steps in a weekly planning session: list your biggest wins; review the prior week; review your lists and notes; check goals, projects, events, meetings and deadlines; designate your Weekly Big 3 things to accomplish; and plan for self-care

3. How to streamline your to-do list

  • The four areas to help you design your week and your weekly to-dos: body; mind; heart; and the cosmos. 
  • The importance of margin or buffer time

Resources Cited: 

  • Michael Hyatt, Free to Focus: A Total Productivity System to Achieve More by Doing Less
  • Kate Northrup, Do LessA Revolutionary Approach to Time and Energy Management for Ambitious Women

To listen to episode 8, How to Plan an Ideal Week, click here.

Cheers,
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

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The Busyness Trap, Minnesota CLE, 2021 Family Law Institute, March 15 to 16

Minnesota CLE’s 2021 Family Law Institute is completely online this year. It’s the best way to ensure you are up to date on all the latest cases, legislation and other new developments in Minnesota family law. It also provides practical instruction on dozens of important topics, as well as extensive written materials. 

If you register for this online event, I invite you to attend Breakout Session E at 2:15 – 3:15 p.m., in which I will present on The Busyness Trap: How to Reduce Overload and Create Space for Things that Matter.

Attendees have the opportunity to view the video recording with live written Q&A to claim CLE credit, which they will not receive if they watch the recording at another time. 

Here’s a description of what The Busyness Trap will cover:

The path to being a diligent and effective lawyer involves reducing overload and creating space for things that matter. Yet the emphasis on billable hours and “presenteeism” continue to prevail in the legal industry.

Lawyers who work more and stay longer at the office – often at the expense of their personal health and well being – are typically viewed as more successful, productive and committed. But when you’re in the busyness trap, you are less able to do high-quality work, think creatively, and solve problems with the greatest impact and least resistance.

In this presentation, you will learn effective ways to:
1. Cultivate productive habits by focusing on your top priorities, limiting your to-dos, keeping a startup and shutdown routine, and matching your tasks to your energy cycles;

2. Tackle the problem of facetime cultures and 24/7 accessibility by setting realistic expectations and healthy boundaries;

3. Collaborate and communicate in moderation without having emails, phone calls, meetings and interruptions take over your day; and

4. Take restful breaks and regain lost momentum on important projects.

Click HERE to get more information on this 12-credit online CLE event and to register for it. 

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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

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Deadlines and Daily Habits, Minnesota CLE, Ethics Fundamentals – Safekeeping Property, Collecting Fees, Acting with Diligence, March 24

On March 24, Minnesota CLE will host Ethics Fundamentals – Safekeeping Property, Collecting Fees, Acting with Diligence via live webcast. This is a 3.0 ethics credits event that runs from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. 

There are three separate 1-hour sessions in this special credit CLE, including my presentation on The Ethics of Deadlines and Daily Habits – Discovering the Essence of Diligence

Below is the description: 

An attorney’s ethical duties of diligence, competence and communication are paramount in client relations. Yet we often struggle to fulfill these obligations. Deadlines are often associated with heightened stress, time crunches, and external pressures beyond your control. But by using external deadlines to your benefit and setting self-imposed ones effectively, you help fuel productive action. Deadlines – in combination with daily habits that enable you to pick, prioritize, and perform your big tasks – are the essence of diligence.

Click HERE to learn more and to register for this event. 

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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

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Time Blocking and Time Boxing to Get the Rights Things Done

How do you make time for important projects or tasks that need attention now?

How do you stop working on a project once it meets the required standard, rather than waste time perfecting it?

Time Blocking and Time Boxing are two planning techniques that you can use separately, but complement each other. Time Blocking is making time for a project. It hones your focus to meet the highest quality standards. Time Boxing is limiting the amount of time you spend on a project. It pushes you to complete a project that meets acceptable standards.

Time Blocking helps you to get unstuck, stop procrastinating, and move forward on a project. It makes time and space for tasks that need attention. It’s a way to chunk projects into smaller parts so it’s easier to start and make steady progress. 

You set time blocks with a start time and end time to work on a specific activity. You could single focus on one difficult, high-leverage project like a strategic marketing plan, or batch process similar, low-level tasks like responding to emails and returning telephone calls. You can move around time blocks if true emergencies and unexpected delays come up. You can schedule new time blocks if you need more to finish the task.

Scheduling a time block goes beyond making a to-do list. It tells you when exactly you will do a task, in what context and under what circumstances, and for how long. It encourages you to take deliberate action steps and to block out distractions and interruptions.

Time Boxing helps you to stay within scope, avoid perfectionism, and finish and deliver a project on time. It puts time constraints on projects that tend to take too long to complete. It takes advantage of Parkinson’s law, which states that work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion. Having a cut-off time to stop working on a task makes you more mindful of the value you bring, rather than the hours you put in.

A timebox can be as short as 15 minutes to several months, depending on the activity or project. One project might take one or two steps, while another requires hundreds of steps. A timebox has project milestones, deadlines and deliverables. 

In episode 7 of The Incrementalist podcast, I cover:

  • The Pomodoro Technique, a popular method for time blocking
  • How time blocks help you do deep work, improve your ability to focus, and make progress on the right things at the right pace for the relevant deadlines
  • The core problem with the billable hour model
  • How time boxes help you to be more efficient, intentional and results-oriented

Resources Cited: 

  • Francesco Cirillo, The Pomodoro Technique: The Acclaimed Time-Management System That Has Transformed How We Work
  • Cal Newport, Deep Work (Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World)

To listen to Episode 7, Time Blocking and Time Boxing to Get the Rights Things Done, click HERE.

Cheers,
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

SUBSCRIBE           CONTACT

Immigration Reform Update: Earned Path to Citizenship and Repeals of Certain Inadmissibility Bars

On February 18, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 was introduced in the House by California Congresswoman Linda Sánchez and in the Senate by New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez. The White House first announced the bill on January 20, which was the first day of the Biden Administration.

The bill is 353 pages long. It contains sweeping provisions that, if passed, will overhaul many parts of the U.S. immigration system.

It seeks to give certain undocumented immigrants Lawful Prospective Immigrant (LPI) status and an 8-year path to U.S. citizenship; allow eligible DREAMERS, TPS holders and farmworkers to immediately apply for permanent residence; repeal the 3/10 year unlawful presence bar under INA 212(a)(9)(B) and the permanent bar under INA 212(a)(9)(C); and create an exception to the misrepresentation of citizenship bar for any person who was under age 21 when the false claim was made.

In Episode 8 of The Legal Immigrant podcast, I focus on the following provisions in the reform bill:

1. Section 1101, Adjustment of Status of Eligible Entrants to that of Lawful Prospective Immigrant (LPI), and Section 1102, Adjustment of Status of Lawful Prospective Immigrants

  • Provides earned 8-year path to citizenship for certain undocumented immigrants who have been present in the U.S. on or before January 1, 2021, and certain persons who were removed from the U.S. on or after January 20, 2017, but were inside the U.S. for at least 3 years prior

2. Section 3104, Promoting Family Unity

  • Repeals the 3/10 year bar under INA 212(a)(9)(B) due to accrual of more than 180 days of unlawful presence in the U.S. prior to departure
  • Eliminates the permanent bar under INA 212(a)(9)(C) due to illegal re-entry following more than 1 year of unlawful presence or following a removal order 
  • Creates exception to the false claim to U.S. citizenship bar under INA 212(a)(6)(C)(ii) for persons who made the misrepresentation when they were under age 21

Key points to consider: 

1.  The Immigration Reform bill is bicameral (introduced in the House and Senate on February 18), but is not bipartisan (sponsored by Democrats only and no Republicans). 

The comprehensive nature of the bill and the big changes proposed will make it harder to get the necessary votes. Moderation could be needed especially when Democrats have a slight margin in the House and a 50-50 split in the Senate. Vice President Harris has the tie-breaking vote.  But a supermajority of 60 senators is normally needed to pass major legislation in the Senate.

To move forward, the full legislation might have to be split up into separate smaller bills, or get added to the budget reconciliation process. Some Republicans have voiced opposition to the Biden Administration’s approach to immigration reform. 

2.   Even if the law is passed and signed by the President, it may take up to a year for the new rules to be drafted.  And it will take some time for the new application processes and forms to be rolled out and implemented. The applicant will also have to gather documents, including evidence of identity, proof of physical presence in the U.S. for the period that is required by law, and supporting records for any waiver of inadmissibility that is needed. 

3.     If you already qualify for another way to immigrate to the United States, such as by employment-based immigration or by a legal, bona fide marriage to a U.S. citizen, it’s better to use the existing path instead of wait for the results of this reform bill. 

4.     You must not deliberately fall out of status or illegally re-enter the U.S in the hope that you will be eligible for LPI status or other immigration benefits that have yet to be passed into law. Unlawful presence and illegal re-entries to the U.S. continue to have serious immigration consequences unless the law is amended to get rid of them.

Resources cited: 

For more information on inadmissibility waivers, see:

Consent to Reapply for Admission – I-212 Waiver: Remedy to Overcoming INA 212(a)(9)(A) and (C) Bars

When do you need an I-212 Waiver (and how do you get it)?

What should you do to get your I-212 Waiver?

When do you need an I-601 Waiver due to immigration fraud or misrepresentation (and how do you get it)?

When do you need an I-601 waiver due to unlawful presence (and how do you get it)?

212(d)(3)(A) Nonimmigrant Waiver: Advantages and Disadvantages

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The Legal Immigrant podcast and this article provide 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. The sharing or receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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