A Republican, a Democrat, and Serious Election Tension in Our Home

I’m a Democrat and my husband is a Republican. It’s never been that big of a deal because we’re both pretty moderate in our beliefs and we aren’t really the kind of people to sit around debating for hours about the issues, so it was more of a cute thing we bragged about in our early years.

"I’m a Democrat," I would say and then look at my husband, "and he’s a Republican." Then we’d snuggle and everyone would laugh about how two people could have a bipartisan relationship in peace but the Senate can’t stop arguing. It was like a cool parlor trick.

My husband and I talked about who we will be voting for this year a little, but for the first time ever there was some tension in our conservation. I would say it actually bordered on a debate. He hinted that he might be open to voting for either candidate.

Abraham

~ This is Abe at their best, Abe at their most joyful, most hopeful, most supportive, most loving, most Source, most US!
If you would hold yourself still for a small time in your busy day, during your running around to prove to yourselves that you are indeed worthy, indeed able, indeed loved, you will feel pure love wash over you, in the instant that you reconnect with Source.

 

Enjoy.

 

Battling Information Overload

When I logged on to my computer last Monday, I had over five hundred emails in my inbox. Let me clarify: that’s just my work address I’m talking about. I keep separate email addresses for personal use and for Boss of You business, and those had full inboxes, too.Why the pileup? I had taken two weeks of vacation. That’s all. I had notified my clients I would be away, so very few of those emails were regarding active projects. And my spam filters were working just fine. It was simply an accumulation of two weeks’ worth of normal, everyday mail.

It took me several hours to sort through it all, and I was in triage mode, deleting many messages (such as newsletters) unread. By the end of the day I was dazed — and appalled by how little I had got done.And I came to a brutal realization: email was killing my productivity. This was not just a one-time fluke; every day I was subjecting myself to a miniature version of this soul-sucking process of reviewing way more emails than I could reasonably respond to. And it wasn’t just email, either: throw in RSS feeds, Facebook and Twitter, and the amount of input I try to process becomes daunting, to say the least.

Coincidentally, in the midst of my first-day-back-from-vacation chaos, I came across Beth Kanter’s quiz on information overload. I recognized myself immediately, and realized that what I was dealing with was not an email problem, but a problem of how to process increasing amounts of input effectively and efficiently.So I am making some changes. And I want to share them because I believe this issue is a common one among entrepreneurs in particular, who by definition wear many hats and have busy schedules. I’ll try and keep this brief in an effort to reduce your information overload, so here’s a quick list of specific actions that have improved my clarity of mind:

  • Unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe (and repeat): I removed myself from dozens of email newsletters. I took my inspiration from a recent closet purge, where I rid myself of anything I hadn’t worn in a year — in this case, if I didn’t either use the information contained within (i.e. act on it) or love the content, I unsubscribed. This meant saying goodbye to some email updates for causes I support, but that simply don’t make it into my list of top priorities, so it wasn’t easy. But it’ll make room for me to read the stuff I do get more carefully. (Some were easier to say goodbye to, like the newsletters published by stock photo sites. Yawn.)
  • Move stuff to personal email: In some cases, I couldn’t bring myself to unsubscribe, but I knew the email content was not immediately relevant to my work life. So I moved some stuff over to my personal email account, where I don’t feel guilty about sifting through things more slowly.
  • Reduce RSS subscriptions: Here I was pretty ruthless, because I have an on-again, off-again relationship with my RSS reader — so I often log in to find hundreds (or thousands) of unread items. I purged the holy hell out of my RSS subscriptions, including some (hello, Apartment Therapy) I love but that simply publish way more stuff than I can actually read.
  • Switch non-urgent emails to RSS: Next, I got a little more fine-grained, and reviewed my remaining email subscriptions to see if any of them would be better suited to RSS. The key question for me here is, "Do I want the publisher to push the content to me, or do I prefer to go find it when I’m ready?" There were more than a few cases where I felt I’d rather access it when I’m reviewing my RSS headlines, rather than being disrupted by a "new mail message" alert.
  • Convert emails in my inbox to actions: I had deleted and unsubscribed with abandon, but I still had a crapload of emails to deal with in my inbox. They ranged from time-sensitive client requests to old, old emails I’d held onto to remind me to look into something or other someday. It was time to review each email and determine exactly what the action was I needed to take. (For those of you on the GTD bandwagon, this’ll be an all-too-familiar concept.) Once I got through them all, I had a small inbox and a long (but much more easily parsed) to-do list. My inbox became far less onerous, and my to-do list now reflected all the things that had previously been held in the back of my mind.
  • Use other technology to store data: There’s a lot of stuff I had got into the habit of tracking and storing via email, even though I knew damn well it was not the best medium for it. For example, I frequently sent myself links to things when I didn’t have time to read them right away, or when I wanted to be able to access them from outside the office. Another example is event invitations – rather than plugging the event right into my calendar I’d hold onto the email. I’m determined to drop this habit. My helper apps are: OmniFocus (for personal task management… I *love* this app so much I want to marry it), Ma.gnolia (for social bookmarking), and a couple of awesome Firefox plugins: Read it Later (which lets you save pages to read later) and Foxmarks (which lets you synchronize your bookmarks on multiple computers). I use my iPhone as my calendar now (a big step as I was a long-time holdout with paper calendars), and I’ve got OmniFocus for iPhone which is so awesome it makes my little head spin with joy — but I don’t count either of those as essential to my productivity.

Once I’d made my way through my work inbox, I took the same approach with my personal email. I use Gmail as my personal email client, and I had been really lazy about archiving emails, so my inbox had a ridiculous number of messages in it. Step 1 was to mass-archive several hundred old, read emails that were cluttering up the scene, and from there the other steps were the same: unsubscribe, and convert emails to actions.If you can’t find time to do all of the above in one fell swoop, don’t fret; it’s taken me a week to get through them. Try taking one step a day, and see where you get to. In fact, definitely DON’T try and do this all at once; that would defeat the purpose. Your goal here is to reduce overwhelm, not add to it. Do a little, then sit back and admire your handiwork — or better yet, step away from the computer and do something much more fun.Additional resources:

Additional Resources