Category Archives: Uncategorized

Progress, Not Perfection, is the Way

When you set a goal, do you focus on what you have yet to achieve, or on the progress you’ve made?

How do you keep the momentum going when you’re not at your peak?

Do you measure success against an ideal, or against what you gained?

Small wins make you more productive, creative, committed, collegial, and focused. When you track the progress you’ve made, no matter how small, you gain confidence that builds on the momentum. With an incremental approach, you take daily actions that move you in the right direction, instead of take big leaps that are more likely to steer you off course.

In episode 39 of The Incrementalist, you will learn:

1) Progress comes from positive inner work life, which includes your perceptions, emotions and motivation levels.

2)  Favorable perceptions about your work and colleagues, positive emotions like joy and excitement, and higher intrinsic motivation lead to better performance. 

3) The most critical factor in shaping your inner work life is your sense of making progress in meaningful things. This is known as the progress principle. 

4) Defining specific targets and clear goals is a catalyst for progress.

5) As you set high and expansive goals, you need to also have milestones and mini-goals along the way to track your progress and to course-correct.

6) Focusing on your gains and progress is more effective than measuring how you fall short in comparison to external reference points.

7) Making mistakes and encountering obstacles are part of the learning process. By breaking big projects into smaller chunks, you give yourself more opportunities to make errors with lower stakes and fewer consequences.

Resources cited:

Music by:

To listen to episode 39, Progress, Not Perfection, is the Way, click here. If you prefer to read the transcript, go 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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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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How to Accomplish More in 12 Weeks Than in 12 Months

Do you often fail to follow thorough and take action on your goals?   

Have you been tracking your progress on big projects?

Are you in annual mode where you measure success at the end of the year? 

Do you wait until December to set new goals?

If you’re resisting what you need to accomplish, you might have given yourself too much time to execute your plans. New Year’s Resolutions and annual goals rarely get you to where you need to be and create the life you want.   

Move out of annual thinking and adopt the 12 Week Year. With this planning technique, a year is no longer 12 months; it’s 12 weeks. 1 year = 12 weeks, 1 month = 1 week, and 1 week = 1 day. You are no longer focusing on distant annual goals broken into 4 periods or quarters.

In episode 27 of The Incrementalist podcast, you will learn:

1) The advantages of a 12-week planning system to set and implement big goals

2) How your thinking affects the results

3) The key ingredients of a weekly plan and ways to make it work for you

4) The steps to creating and recreating a 12-week action plan

5) How shorter time frames prompt you to take action and avoid procrastination 

6) The importance of having a clear vision and defining specific tactics to get you where you want to be

7) Time blocking helps you control your day and carve out time to execute your plan

Resources cited: 

To listen to episode 27, How to Accomplish More in 12 Weeks Than in 12 Months, 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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Evening Routines and Rituals to End Your Day, The Incrementalist, Ep. 15

Do you wake up in the middle of the night stressing over what you didn’t get done or what you still have to do?

Are you checking your phone, scrolling through news feeds, and replying to emails as part of your bedtime rituals?

Do you wake up groggy and unrefreshed even if your bedtime began 7 to 8 hours ago?

The evening is your P.M. bookend to your day. Your evening routine is your “me time” at night that helps you to unwind, quiet the nervous system and prepare for sleep. How you end your day is essential to recharging from it.

Your shut-down sequence – before bedtime – creates the environment for you to rest, relax and sleep. Without a full rejuvenation overnight, it’s harder to take charge of your day.    

In episode 15 of The Incrementalist podcast, you will learn:

1. The importance of both productive tasks and restorative tasks in your evening routine. You need to review your day and plan for the next as well as relax and rest completely. If you wind down enough before your bedtime, you will have space for an effective evening routine. 

2. The value of sleep and how the sleep cycle works –

  • Stage 1 – alpha state
  • Stage 2 – theta state
  • Stages 3 and 4 – delta state
  • REM sleep 

3. Ways to create a sleep sanctuary to improve sleep quality and duration

4.  Key things to avoid in your evening routine – 

  • Screens (e.g. TV, computer, laptop, tablet, phone) in the 30 to 90-minute period before bedtime
  • Dinner in the 2 to 3-hour period before bedtime 
  • Vigorous exercise and full workout in the 4 to 6-hour period before bedtime
  • Caffeine intake after 2 to 3 p.m. or in the 5 to 8-hour period before bedtime
  • Alcohol consumption in the 3-hour period before bedtime

5. Key things to include in your evening routine – 

Productive tasks –

  • Review your day and preview the next day
  • Do prep work, e.g. pick out clothes and clean up your work space and living space
  • Learn new information or practice a hobby

Restorative tasks – 

  • Journal
  • Read fiction or other nonwork-related book
  • Enjoy a teatime ritual with noncaffeinated herbal tea (e.g. camomile or Valerian root) about an hour before you go to bed 
  • Do gentle movement or exercise
  • Practice relaxing breathwork
  • Pray or meditate or listen to mellow music

6. The advantage of a maintaining a consistent bedtime, synching with your circadian rhythm, and building good sleep habits

Resources cited: 

To listen to episode 15, Evening Routines and Rituals to End Your Day, click here. Subscribe to The Incrementalist at Apple Podcasts or other apps.

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

SUBSCRIBE           CONTACT