Bacana Notions is the name of our short ‘n sweet weekly blog.  We aspire to have each Notion in some way capture the essence of the Bacana vision statement.

no·tion noun \ˈnō-shən\ an impression, a concept,
a theory, a whim, or a belief held by a person or group

A Bacana Notion could spark a new thought or give you a grin in the middle of a long day.  It may even provide you with that helpful advice you’ve been waiting for.

you are the only one who can do this

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”
– Joseph Campbell

I dye my hair. I have tattoos. I prefer a motorcycle or walking for getting from point a to b. Though I pride myself on my professional attitude and work ethic, I dress casually – no suits for me. These are all superficial attributes, but they feel like good road signs to my personality.

My clients are wide-ranging, but I would say that the majority of them don’t have tattoos (that I know of!) and have a far more corporate sensibility to their wardrobes.

What is common amongst us is a communication, a listening without judgement. My clients value my coaching greatly, and I learn things from my clients every day.

I am still on a journey of personal growth, but I am in a place these days where I accept and am deeply happy with the person I am. This shows in my work and relationships with my clients & colleagues.

Being who you are in the truest way shines through in your work. There is an automatic sense that what you say is genuine.

There are certainly aspects of every professional field – accepted practices, thoughts, protocols, etc. – that deserve consideration and respect. But only if you can genuinely be you within your field can you find that click, that connection with those you’re aiming to serve.

yours to do. or not.

Need is unending in this world. There are always going to be endless donations to make, endless care-taking opportunities, endless favors for a friend or family member, endless time to spend on anything and everything. Always. And we all want/need to make a contribution. Of course we do!

But sometimes it can feel like there are so many things and people pulling at us, needing our time and attention. What I find useful when I feel unsure of taking something on or saying “yes,” is to get quiet with the question, “Is this for me to do?” The question isn’t always easy. And the answer certainly isn’t always easy. But what I do know is that the real and true answer can only come from me.

And your real and true answer can only come from you.

spring cleaning for your email

Spring is here in all its budding glory. This is the time when many get into the mode of spring cleaning. Clearing out clutter from our homes, spiffying up the task list, and so on. Why not do a little spring cleaning on your email?

When you are working on a project, are you using your email inbox as your task list? Stop that! Email is an amazing tool for communication, but it’s not an efficient task manager, and it’s not a focused workspace at all.

To really do some spring cleaning, you have to address 2 things: (1) cleaning out everything from your inbox and (2) where to put the active stuff you need to work on.

First, choose your tool for where you want to work and how you want to manage tasks. I use a combo of Asana & Evernote that works really well for me. Some of my clients have focused entirely on Evernote, and that works really well, too. So that’s what I’ll refer to below.

Set a block of time on your calendar to work through your inbox. This isn’t time you’ll be doing a lot of answering; this is time when you’ll be spring cleaning, putting things where they ought to go.

If your inbox is overwhelming and huge, set up folders by year or by quarter. Then drag all the emails from the corresponding timeframe into the appropriate folder. And schedule time blocks on your calendar for addressing each folder. Step by step, people. This doesn’t have to happen all at once.

As you sort through your emails, follow these guidelines:

  • DELETE — If you don’t need the email anymore, delete it. I love the delete key. Simplify and focus on what really needs your attention
  • FILE — If you just want to keep the email for reference, file it away.
  • ACTION — If it’s an email that needs action, forward it to your working tool (like Evernote). That is where you’ll be addressing it. At that point, if you just need info in the email for the action step, delete the original email — you’ve got it in Evernote now. If the original email needs a reply (when you’re working on that task), then that one stays in your inbox until the reply happens. (After the reply though, file or delete — bye-bye from the inbox!)

In Evernote, create 2 sets of notebooks: active notebooks and archive notebooks. Your active notebooks correspond to your various projects. This is where you send emails that have action items. When you’re working on that project, you’re in that notebook only — a space that you control and that allows you to have single-focus.

When you’ve completed an action item, there are parallel guidelines for what I recommended for email above. If you don’t need the note anymore, delete it. If you need to keep it for reference, move it to one of your archive notebooks.

This is all about creating a space that you control, a space where you can give your full and direct attention to the task at hand.

Other people choose what gets sent into your email inbox. Let go of that, and take control of how and where you work on your computer.

Time for some spring cleaning!!

spring tree

humanizing a hero

I have many heroes, heroines, teachers, and role models. They inspire me and help me to see what’s possible.

Recently, I’ve seen aspects of a role model that I, frankly, don’t like. But does that mean she ceases to be a role model? Not necessarily. I can’t expect my heroes and role models to be perfect any more than I can expect myself to be perfect.

Sometimes the people we admire most show us who we can be but sometimes, I suppose, the people we admire most can show us who we don’t want to be. And isn’t that valuable too?

balancing care for your business and care for your clients

This is a tangent to my post on balancing self-care with service to others. But it focuses on the service to others part. Within that, you also have 2 pieces to balance: taking care of your business and taking care of your clients or customers.

When I work on time management with my clients, at some point in the process, I’ll have them create a broad brushstrokes template calendar of what they would want a month to look like. In the course of this activity, it’s easy for them to put the primary attention on scheduling time blocks to get things done for their clients. And a smaller amount of time is allotted for the tasks to take care of their own business.

In the course of an actual day or week or month, it’s not unusual for new needs from a client to take precedence over plans to work on business development or manage important administrative aspects of your business. As time goes on, the feeling of overwhelm and being behind for their respective businesses increases. (And yes, this happens to me as well!)

It is certainly important to take care of your clients at a high level. Your clients are the life blood of your business. But without a healthy circulatory system, there’s nothing for that blood to run through.

Try this… Think of your own business as another client. If it helps, think of your business as a client with an urgent project. How would that change how you schedule? How you move things around on your calendar to accommodate new needs? Can you allow your business to take priority when it needs to?

The moment you realize that taking care of your business (and yourself) is equally as important as taking care of your clients, it will change how you schedule your time. It will bring things more into balance.

celebrating a rejection

I saw a play recently that was absolutely lousy. Lousy. A friend of mine had auditioned for it a few months before and had been rejected. She had found this rejection quite upsetting. But the play ended up to be lousy! And she ended up having all sorts of neat experiences that she wouldn’t have had if she’d been in that lousy play! I want to go back in time to when she was suffering from rejection and give her a glass of champagne. Hoorah.

Rejection can be something to celebrate! I mean, hey, putting oneself out there is something to celebrate in itself. And who knows what that rejection will open up for you in terms of opportunity? My next rejection will be a celebration. Perhaps a glass of champagne. Or, even better, a trip to Coney Island.

coney island

the balance of self-care and service to others

One of the cornerstones of the coaching I do with clients on time management or business structure development is this: Find the balance between self-care and service to others.

Without the self-care, your internal well gets depleted, and you’re left with not enough to actually give to your clients. Thinking of it this way removes any trace of that mistaken view of self-care being selfish.

As you plan your daily or weekly schedule, this needs to be reflected in how you spend your time. My rule of thumb is that I have the capacity for 1-3 main tasks for my business each day. Any more than that, and I’m not keeping things in balance, resulting in a disservice to both myself and my clients.

We tend to be pretty good at focusing on the work we need to accomplish each day. I’m going to trust that you have that answer and know that it is key. But just as important is this: How are you taking care of yourself today?

are you talking to yourself?

My friend Naomi (the Bacana prez) and I are great at brainstorming together. It can be a real art form when you find the right collaborator.

And there have been a few times lately that I’ve actually been brainstorming by myself. Aloud. I can’t believe how productive talking to myself is! And how much I surprise myself with the words that come out of my mouth!

Talk it out. Even if you’re alone. Who knows what you’ll say?

leaving a wild mark

As I passed Nunhead Cemetary walking home one day, I was struck by this image of gravestones being tangled in wild growth. What occurred to me seeing these gravestones is that these physical marks are being integrated back into the earth. The static memories are changing and becoming part of an evolving and growing thing. There is beauty in that.

Many of us wonder what legacy we will leave; what will our mark be on the world? But what if it’s not about leaving a finished, static marker, but rather introducing an idea that grows into something new and wonderful?

I’m curious to apply these thoughts to business and my relationships. So that my business, my services, my creations aren’t statically mine. They are ideas that have been passed to me from various sparks or research or inspirations; they are ideas that I am nurturing and giving to those around me for further growth and change.

In this moment, I think I can leave the most significant mark on this world by letting go of the need to leave a mark. I’m not sure that I’ve fully integrated that yet; it’s just something I’m pondering.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  How do you hope to leave a mark on this world?

nunhead

out of the mouths of…

The New Year’s Resolution for my 5-year-old nephew: “Learn how my new Pez dispenser works.” This goal is not only doable and exciting to him, but it also involves a tasty treat once achieved.

Sometimes we grown-ups set enormous goals for ourselves that make us miserable and then, when not achieved fully, put us into a situation of self-inflicted disappointment. Can’t we throw in a few small goals sometimes too? Ones that, well, are doable and exciting and involve a tasty treat once achieved?

Next month, I’m going to spend a long afternoon in a museum. And I’ll bring my journal so I can sit in their cafe for a bit, enjoying a treat and writing about my visit.

Damn.

I think I just learned something about goal setting from a 5-year-old.