Category Archives: communication

How to Stay Accountable and Stop Self-Sabotage

Do your actions align with what you seek to accomplish?

Are you doing things or not doing things that undermine your stated goals?

What are your big assumptions that affect how you behave?

Are there hidden intentions that compete with your new habits and initiatives?

To gain traction and execute better on your goals, start with a 12-week action plan instead of a longer term, annual plan. Rather than wait an entire year to track progress and measure results, you do a formal review every 12 weeks.  And in the 13th week, you make a plan for the next 12 weeks.

As part of your routine, you score the week, plan the week, and participate in weekly accountability meetings (WAM). Stay accountable by owning your thinking, choices and actions. Keep your commitments by uncovering hidden intentions, internal contradictions and big assumptions that undermine your desired behavior. 

In episode 28 of The Incrementalist podcast, you will learn:

1. The benefits of making a 12-week action plan for the 12-week year

2. The weekly routine involves scoring the week, planning the week and having accountability meetings

  • The difference between measuring lead versus lag indicators
  • Why you will benefit from a daily review and weekly review to track your actions and progress
  • How a support group can help you when you’re struggling with accountability

3. Accountability is not about negative, external consequences or punishment for bad performance or rewards for good performance. It’s about ownership. 

4. Commitment means you keep your promises to yourself and to others. It is part of being accountable. 

5. Commitment involves:

  • Having a clear, compelling vision of what you want to create in life, which gives rise to intentional imbalance
  • Defining specific key actions to reach big goals
  • Counting the costs, including what you will need to give up and the obstacles you will face

6. The Immunity to Change model and how it affects your capacity to change

  • Competing commitments are for self-protection and self-preservation, but they often get in the way of your accomplishing improvement goals and making necessary change
  • The importance of hitting resistance straight on
  • Why you need to uncover hidden intentions, internal contradictions and big assumptions to execute key actions

7.  Lack of execution – not lack of knowledge, insight, ideas or network – is what most prevents you from aligning with your vision and implementing your desired actions

Resources cited: 

To listen to episode 28, How to Stay Accountable and Stop Self-Sabotage, click here. Subscribe to The Incrementalist at Apple Podcasts or other apps.

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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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Make Better Decisions Even When You’re Uncertain

Do you know how to make a decision when you have limited information and are pressed for time?

Are you curious to learn information that conflicts with existing beliefs?

Do you focus on the results when determining whether a decision was good or bad?

Are you willing to bet on the decisions you make?

When you’re making a decision on tough problems, you are always missing key information. Every decision is biased because it’s based on limited beliefs, assumptions and data points. You can never be sure of the outcome. 

A bet is a decision about an uncertain future. And decisions are bets in uncertain environments. 

As you seek to learn more, you start to peel back the layers. You become more skilled at finding different pathways and generating creative solutions to complex problems. When a problem cannot be solved with a simple technique or known procedure, being certain will block out conflicting and vital information. The more certain you are, the more-close minded you become. 

Being uncertain can be a key to success because it opens you up to new ideas, insights and information to create the best possible future. Thinking in bets improves your decision-making. You can embrace the power of saying “I am not sure” or “I don’t know.” 

In episode 25 of The Incrementalist podcast, you will learn: 

  • Life is like poker and decisions are bets in uncertain environments
  • Why uncertainty has benefits and how to embrace it
  • Some questions to ask when thinking in bets
  • The reasons you need to separate the outcome quality from the decision quality. (Hint: A good outcome can follow a bad decision and a bad outcome can result from a good decision.) 
  • The role of cognitive dissonance and motivated reasoning in decision-making
  • The advantages of getting out of your echo chambers and considering alternative viewpoints
  • Dr. Robert K. Merton’s ethos of science, or CUDOS approach, for group decision-making and dissenting to win
  • The 10-10-10 approach for your present self to make decisions for your future self
  • Why you need to break big stuff into small action steps to minimize high-pressure, high-stakes decision-making

Resources cited: 

To listen to episode 25, Make Better Decisions Even When You’re Uncertain, click here. Subscribe to The Incrementalist at Apple Podcasts or other apps.

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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 Affluence: Create Time to Be Happier

Do you wish you had more time to slow down, relax, and just be happier?

Are you always rushed and overwhelmed?  

Do you feel like you don’t have enough time to do it all?

Are you working longer hours as a way to make more money?

If you want to have a happier, more satisfying life, it’s better to value time over money. It doesn’t matter whether you’re financially secure or financially struggling.  Even when you control for income level, the more time affluence you have, the happier you are. 

Time affluence is feeling that you have enough time to pursue meaningful activities and enjoy leisure. You can exercise, move, relax, travel, volunteer, or engage in social relationships more.

Time poverty is feeling rushed, overwhelmed, stressed and overworked. It’s having too many things to do and not enough time to do them. You can be time poor even if you have loads of money.

In episode 24 of The Incrementalist podcast, you will learn:

1) How to create time affluence by avoiding time traps and staying out of time poverty

2) Why it helps to prioritize time over money

  • The benefits of having a time-focused mindset
  • The difference between a Taylor (who values time more than money) and a Morgan (who values money more than time)

3) How to find time by –

  • Time Auditing and Time Tracking
  • Doing pro time intervention 
  • Setting an Implementation Intention
  • Having a must-win activity
  • Reversing idleness aversion
  • Saying no more often

4) How to fund time by – 

  • Outsourcing disliked chores and tasks
  • Investing in time-saving products and tools

5) How to reframe time by –

  • Tying tedious tasks to broader goals
  • Pairing hard tasks with fun activities

6) The importance of having a long view, planning your leisure time and taking deliberate rest

Resources cited: 

To listen to episode 24, Time Affluence: Create Time to Be Happier, click here. Subscribe to The Incrementalist at Apple Podcasts or other apps.

# # #

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

Effortless Productivity

Do you believe your high goals have to be hard to accomplish?

Is it bad to seek out an easier path to get the desired results?

Does life have to be challenging and complicated?

After you’ve chosen the essentials, do you still feel overwhelmed?

It’s common to believe that any problem can be solved with hard, heads-down work. While diligence and determination are elements of success, you could also seek to make essential tasks easier to do.

We tend to think that important and valuable work has to be hard. This could be writing a book, leading a team, designing a new product, running a business, or preparing a presentation. But too much effort is counterproductive when it leads to chronic stress, health problems, sleep issues, and burnout. 

You first need to decide where to focus your energy. Once you determine the essentials, how do you make them as easy as possible to do?   

Work can be effortless if you break it down into small, easy to manage chunks. It can also feel effortless if you pair it with a fun activity. 

In episode 22 of The Incrementalist podcast, you will learn three big ideas for Effortless Productivity: 

1) How to move into an Effortless State (i.e., think the most essential things can be the easiest to do). 

  • Invert
  • Enjoy
  • Release
  • Rest
  • Notice

2) How to take Effortless Action (i.e., do find the easier path)

  • Define
  • Start
  • Simplify
  • Progress
  • Pace

3) How to get Effortless Results (i.e., get the right results without burning out)

  • Learn
  • Lift
  • Automate
  • Trust
  • Prevent

4) What happens next matters most. Whatever happened in the past pales in comparison to the power you have to choose what to do now.  Instead of working harder and harder, and exhausting yourself, you can choose a more effortless path. 

5) The Incrementalist ebook is on sale for $4.99, until June 20. After that, the regular minimum price of $9.99 will apply. You can find it at leanpub.com/incrementalist

Resources cited: 

To listen to episode 22, Effortless Productivity, click here. Subscribe to The Incrementalist at Apple Podcasts or other apps.

If you prefer to read, download transcript of episode 22.

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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

Find and Keep a Hobby You Love

How do you spend your free time? Do you have free time?

Do you practice a hobby when you break from your work, your business, your obligations, or even your passion?

When you’re not working, do you feel so tired or guilty that you can’t have fun?

A hobby is an activity you enjoy doing with little or no focus on the long game or the end results. You do it for fun or leisure in your free time. 

Your work or your business can be your passion. But even if you enjoy them, they are not your hobby. They come with risks and consequences that can affect your income, your reputation, and your status.  

A hobby and a passion can be related, but there are subtle differences between the two. A passion is a strong feeling for something you would love to do repeatedly and regularly. It could be your vocation or calling that transcends your profession or career. It is sometimes connected to your work, life goals or big dreams.

With a hobby, it’s easier to take it or leave it, depending on what’s going on in your life. When you already have a full schedule with many obligations and demands to meet, why would you add a hobby to it? If a hobby is something you can live without, why even bother having one?

In episode 21 of The Incrementalist podcast, you will learn:

1) A hobby and a passion might be connected, but are not the same

  • The difference between pursuing your passion like a profession versus like a hobby
  • The difference between a secondary, casual hobby and a primary, serious hobby

2) Why maintaining a hobby that delights you is a double-win practice for life and work

3) Hobbies fall into different categories, including –

  • exercise or movement 
  • outdoor recreation and activity
  • entertainment and information consumption 
  • collecting things
  • creative endeavors

4) The multiple reasons to find and keep a hobby you love – 

  • develops the meta skill of learning
  • enhances your creativity
  • boosts your confidence in all areas of life
  • increases patience and perseverance
  • builds resilience and willpower 
  • breaks monotony and gets you out of a rut
  • recharges your energy and refreshes you physically, mentally and emotionally 
  • centers and grounds you
  • builds connections and social bonds
  • makes you and your life more interesting
  • lets you have more fun in your life

5) How to rediscover or discover a hobby you love

6) Unnecessary creating is part of making big changes in small steps. In celebration of the 20th episode of The Incrementalist podcast, the accompanying ebook is now on sale for $4.99 (up to June 20). Check it out at leanpub.com/incrementalist

Resources cited: 

To listen to episode 21, Find and Keep a Hobby You Love, click here. Subscribe to The Incrementalist at Apple Podcasts or other apps.

If you prefer to read, download transcript of episode 21.

# # #

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