Enticing aromas from that freshly ground kona coffee seduce my nostrils. I eagerly lift this mug of french pressed goodness to my lips and savor the flavor. My laptop has already been resting gently upon my thighs. Time to catch up on those RSS feeds. My desktop computer has been on the fritz lately, and rather than pull my hair out struggling to troubleshoot, I’d decided to take a mini-sabbatical from computers in general, including the still functioning laptop. Yes, quite a few unread posts await my attention. That looks interesting. I’ll star it and read it later. Eh, those news stories are no longer news by now. Mark as read.

Wait! What is that? Those are some familiar words being shown on one of my favorite blogs!

Leo Babauta at Zen Habits recently asked his readers to share their single best organizing tool or tip. And share they did! At the time of this writing there are 106 comments. He then shared some of the best of those tips. Mine appears as number 8:

Use the recycling bin/trash basket. Organizing unnecessary items is wasted energy. It is amazing how much more in control I feel just by ridding myself of now outdated articles I’d like to read “someday,” or countless meeting notes from which relevant action items have already been extracted.

This was the first time I’d ever commented on Zen Habits. Feeling a bit sheepish, I didn’t even link my name to my blog when I offered that tip. Zen Habits is a wonderful blog and one I frequent almost religiously for tips and advice. It’s just a couple of lines, but reading words I wrote on such a reputable site felt great.

27 Great Tips to Keep Your Life Organized

The other night some friends and I were discussing the draining power of negative people. Energy vampires are everywhere. They readily discover all flaws with the status quo in the office then resist any efforts to implement change. They seem to continually be cursed with romantic woes, none of which are ever their fault. Sometimes we all can get into a rut. Sometimes even the most optimistic person can notice only the negative side of things. I’m not talking about anyone undergoing an occasional spurt of negativity. But some out there are just plain negative. They seem to get very chatty when sharing problems but grow silent when discovering solutions or quickly discover why every offered solution won’t work. They are incapable of “seeing the light at the end of the tunnel” or finding the “silver lining”. If you give in to their negativity, they can quickly sap your thirst for life away.

So how should you deal with negative people?

Catherine Pratt over at Life With Confidence discusses 10 strategies on how to deal with negative people. Here’s one I plan to use the very next time I’m stuck talking to an energy vampire:

3. Say, “Now tell me something positive.”
Right after they’ve finished telling you some tragic story, say to them, “now tell me a positive story”. Some people have no idea how negative they’ve become. That’s what they’re surrounded by day in and day out so it’s just become a way of life for them. By being given the reminder, they may actually realize that being negative isn’t the kind of person they want to be and may start to work on becoming more positive. Or, they may decide it’s not worth telling you their horror stories because you’ll ask them to think of something positive. Sob sisters (always whining, feel the world is against them, feel they’re victims) will probably not find you very attractive anymore.

I’d like to add another bonus strategy.

11. Read the The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

This book focuses more on dealing with your own limiting self beliefs and achieving personal happiness. In doing so, you would be able to remain blissful even if surrounded by scores of negative folks. Simple yet profound, The Four Agreements is a book I constantly recommend.

How to Deal With Negative People [via Life with Confidence]

Bruce Lee undoubtedly has realized amazing success. Was he simply born with all of his talents and were his opportunities handed to him on a silver platter? Of course not! Life Coaches Blog reveals six things we never knew about Bruce Lee’s success. My favorite on the list is number 3: His greatest achievement came from a less than perfect victory.

As a bonus, the post includes a video containing rare Bruce Lee footage (albeit with horrendouse music…just turn the volume off).

What You Didn’t Know About Bruce Lee’s Kick-Ass Success [Life Coaches Blog]

As is often the case during my travel home from work, I let my mind wander. Today, my meandering mind focused a bit on leadership and the qualities of good leaders. Earlier this morning a brochure marketing an upcoming conference found its way into my inbox. Just before tossing the brochure into the recycle bin (the budget situation does, after all, make it necessary to ignore all travel opportunities) a quote caught my eye. I can’t remember the quote verbatim so I won’t do the author injustice by misquoting. The quote was good enough for me to open the brochure to the conference I could never attend and several more nice quotes pertaining to leadership graced the pages. The conference highlights the rising importance of leadership skills in IT executives. A noble idea, but that is a blog post for another day. Besides, work-related travel is out of the question, so I quickly jotted down those inspirational quotes to bring out again on a rainy day and finally proceeded with placing the brochure in the recycle bin.

A colleague likes to emphasize Habit #5 of the The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

Empathic Listening. Following this habit could bring about immediate results. How many times have you sat through a meeting which was unproductive mainly because two or more people at the table were interested only in pushing their own agenda rather than listening to what others had to say?

Jason Echols over at Black Belt Productivity believes that the most effective leaders let the best ideas win. It can be tough to let go of one’s own idea. But it takes a great amount of courage and trust to swallow one’s pride and create synergy to help accomplish another’s superior idea. If the other idea benefits the organization what would be remembered is the success. On the other hand, sticking stubbornly to that inferior idea could quickly create a reputation of being closed-minded. Interestingly, the first item on Echols’ list of creating this synergy is:

Leaders listen to all ideas.

Here I am, just a week after posting New Year’s Resolutions in which one resolution was to write in my blog at least once a week, and already I’ve almost let a week pass without writing a post. Any website, particularly weblogs, can be considered dead sites if not updated regularly.

Just why is it that so soon after making a written public commitment to something I have almost failed to follow through on that commitment? Quite simply, I have tended to be a perfectionist. In striving to find a perfect topic to post about or create something absolutely awe-inspiring, the inevitable result is that this search for perfection caused a hindrance of action.

You don’t have to be a perfectionist to empathize with my tendencies. Why do so many people fail to keep their yearly resolutions? That one cigarette leads to a return to the habit. One skipped workout leads to an unused gym membership. The frustration at perfectly following the resolution paralyzes progress in fulfilling the overall goal.

Many of my proudest accomplishments came about when I dropped the need to be perfect, stopped fearing failure, and moved forward. I’m no Edgar Allan Poe. Every word in my blog post need not be as significant as each word in one of Poe’s works of art. So, forgive yourself if you slip in that one smoke or sneak in an extra slice of cake. Accept that mistakes do happen and then move on. Don’t abandon your goals if you encounter a setback. Just remember to get back on track once you forgive yourself.