The Ivy Lee Method and the Warren Buffett 25/5 Method – Make Decisions

The Ivy Lee method has been explained as 

  1. At the end of each work day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks.
  2. Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance.
  3. When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.
  4. Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.
  5. Repeat this process every working day.

James Clear explains this here.

This is similar to the Warren Buffett 25/5 method for longer term planning. 

  1. List the 25 most important things to you.
  2. Select the top 5.
  3. Avoid doing anything in the other 20 until you’ve succeeded at the top 5.

Both force you to make hard decisions and focus on what’s really important to you.

My Prayer

On Feb. 25, 2018, I was released as the Bishop of the Vernon Second Ward. You will find the thoughts and prayer that I shared in sacrament meeting below. I feel that it reflects some of what I have learned and felt during 5 years as a Bishop.

 

I am struck over and over again how the Lord can use us despite our weaknesses.

I have often felt and —I think— have been inadequate as a bishop in many ways.

There are times, usually when I’m overwhelmed by tasks and to-dos and meetings, when I haven’t felt like a Bishop.

But there have been many moments when, despite my actions and my inadequacies, I have felt love and I have felt the Spirit. In those moments, I have felt like your Bishop.

Sometimes, I don’t feel like a great “pray-er”, but over the last 5 years I have relied on prayer more than ever before.

I want to share my prayer with you today.

I am grateful for our Father in Heaven who knows us and loves us. He knows you and he knows me. He loves you and he loves me.

I am grateful for Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for us, so that through Him, our Saviour and Redeemer, we can return to live with our Father again.

I am grateful for the joy the gospel brings. I am grateful for the plan of happiness.

I am grateful for the miracle of forgiveness. I have seen it work in my life, and I have seen it work in yours. I am grateful for those moments that I have spent with you, when I have been witness to His embrace, when I have seen you encircled by the arms of His love. (D&C 6:20) THAT is when I have felt like a Bishop.

I am grateful that you have shared your lives with me, and that I have shared mine with you. I am grateful for our ward family.  “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” [Ephesians 2:18–19]

I’m grateful for the youth. I keep learning whenever I’m with you.

I’m also grateful for the not-so-youthful. When I’m with you, I’m inspired to fight the good fight, to finish my course, and to keep the faith. (Timothy 4:7)

I am grateful for how you serve. I have had the pleasure of serving with so many of you who make us all better. From counsellors and clerks to councils and teachers, I hope that I’ve been able to stay out of your way and not slow you down. 

I’m also grateful for how much fun we’ve had together. I hope that we haven’t been disrespectful, but “A merry heart doeth good [like] a medicine”  (Proverbs 17:22)

I feel about our ward as I feel the prophet Joseph must have felt about the Saints when he said, “…therefore let me be resurrected with the Saints, whether I ascend to heaven or descend to hell, or go to any other place. And if we go to hell, we will turn the devils out of doors and make a heaven of it. Where this people are, there is good society.” (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith) 

Lucky for us, we live in the Okanagan, which is a lot easier place to live than in hell … but it’s also a lot more like heaven with our ward family here. (The real estate, however, is probably more expensive here.)

I am grateful for my family. I am theirs, and they are mine. I proud to be a Poulin, and I love my family.  I’m also privileged to be adopted into the tribe of Salmon, by which name I am also known.

My children are growing up as part of this ward family. I love them and I am grateful for how you have taught them.

I am grateful for Jen. She is the love of my life. She is my guardian angel, reminding me what I need to do, telling me when my talk is too long, reminding me that I’m not that funny, but laughing with me when I am. I feel so much better knowing that she is there, helping me to be better. I suspect many of you feel that way too.

I pray that we will be one. I pray that we will be one as the Father and the Son are one. I pray that we will be one in Christ … and I pray that as we are one with Christ, that others may believe. (John 17:21)

The first and great commandment is to love the Lord, and the second is to love your neighbour. (Matthew 22:37-39) That is what a Ward family is about. Love God and love your neighbour. Be one.

I pray that we will “…preach nothing save it [be] repentance and faith on the Lord … [that we will] look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having … hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another. … And thus [become] the children of God.” (Mosiah 18:17, 19–22)

I hope that we can enjoy being good. And then be just a little better.

I pray that we will understand that we can change, that we are “free to choose”, and that we can, when faced with trials, “choose the good part” (Luke 10:42).

I pray that we can change our habits. I pray that we can grow, and know that whatever has happened, we can keep growing.

I pray that you and I will start where we are, turn to the Lord, and take a step with him. He will “make weak things become strong to us.” (Ether 12:27)

I appreciate the patience that has been extended to me. I pray that you will be patient with yourselves.

We all have made mistakes. Behind those good looking Sunday clothes and Sunday smiles, are often wounds and injuries that others can’t see.

Christ’s grace is sufficient for others, and it is sufficient for you. I pray that you will forgive others and forgive yourselves.

This is still my ward tomorrow just as much as it was yesterday. It’s your ward just as much as it is the Bishop’s. I pray that we will own it. I pray that we will look beyond ourselves, that we will “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees” (D&C 81:5).

I have been so grateful for your support and prayers, and I know that your support and prayers will now be with Bishop Whibley.

Jen reminded me as I prepared these remarks that no one will remember much of what I say here today, but she emphasized that we will remember what we feel.  I hope that that feeling is one of a loving ward family with one hope, one faith, and one baptism.

I pray that we will be one in Christ.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Near constant exertion

God has designed this mortal existence to require nearly constant exertion. I recall the Prophet Joseph Smith’s simple statement: “By continuous labor [we] were enabled to get a comfortable maintenance” (Joseph Smith—History 1:55). By work we sustain and enrich life. It enables us to survive the disappointments and tragedies of the mortal experience. Hard-earned achievement brings a sense of self-worth. Work builds and refines character, creates beauty, and is the instrument of our service to one another and to God. A consecrated life is filled with work, sometimes repetitive, sometimes menial, sometimes unappreciated but always work that improves, orders, sustains, lifts, ministers, aspires.

D. Todd Christofferson, Reflections on a Consecrated Life, October 2010

The accessibility of habits and grit…

It strikes me that two major determinants of success, habits and grit, are accessible to most people. Certainly, talent and intelligence will play a role in success, but I suspect they play more of a role in where we succeed, not whether we succeed. Those who succeed the most, I think, pursue their areas of special ability with good habits and grit. They recognize their strengths and follow them, but continuing to work on their weaknesses.

Much like the tortoise and the hare, those who continue to move forward may succeed despite an apparent lack of native ability. Fortunately, habits and grit can change, even if we can’t change your native ability. This is how we develop skills.

I injured myself today doing a deadlift where I didn’t realize how much of a jump in weight I was doing. I have worked hard to avoid injury in CrossFit, but I learned today that I will need to be more careful. I see the potential for learning a lot from this injury and how I might’ve avoided it. Injury can slow progress. We need to learn from these experiences and then carry on.

Two books to review:

The power of habit.

Grit.

Break Bad Habits with a Checklist

The idea of changing habits with a checklist is a powerful one for both individuals and organizations.

For individuals …

https://hbr.org/2017/02/break-bad-habits-with-a-simple-checklist

For organizations …

https://www.amazon.ca/Checklist-Manifesto-How-Things-Right-ebook/dp/B0030V0PEW

I need to have enough confidence in the checklist to trust it enough to discount my feelings in the moment in order to stick to my plan (that I have carefully thought through).

How To Start New Habits That Actually Stick

This blog post  is quite a nice summary of the most useful part of Charles Duhigg’s best–selling book, The Power of Habit.

When we are trying to be better, we usually focus on the decisions that we make. We hope that if we can just make better decisions, then we could be better people.

Habits, however, define much more of our day than our decisions do. The power of habit is part of the reason that changing our lives can be so hard. However, if we can understand how to change our habits, the power of habit can make change much more powerful and permanent.

Every habit you have has a

  1. Reminder,
  2. Routine, and
  3. Reward

You can take advantage of this to learn how to change the habits that shape your life. Start by looking at the habits that you have — analyze it. What is the reminder, the routine, and the reward? Once we identify the habit, we can start to think about how to change it.

You can take advantage of this to learn how to change the habits that shape your life.

If you want a short summary of this powerful book, I think that James Clear summarizes it well.