Productivity Booster: Making time to do the GUNNA projects
by Louise D'Allura on December 9th, 2013

Each month I take time out to watch at least two TED talks because I love the perspective, inspiration, learning and ideas they provide.  Far more interesting than TV! 
This TED talk below - THE POWER OF TIME OFF - gives some insights into those GUNNA projects and how to get them done -  you know the ones I mean – I’m going to do this – when I have more time. 
My takeaway after watching this talk was there is no better time than today to get started… and that we don’t HAVE to wait until we can do what Stefan in the TED talk did….
So, meet Stefan Sagmeister  - a New York based designer – who shares his innovative approach of taking 5 years off his retirement and inter dispersing a 1 year ‘sabbatical’  every 7 years in his ‘working years’! 
When you boil it down, in my book a sabbatical is just another way to get those GUNNA projects done!  He shares examples of others who had gone on sabbatical to write a book or others who build it into taking a few months out of every year to do the R&D work/ those projects that are important to move you forward.
In the 17 minute TED talk he shares:
  • the value that planning his daily routine had to his results during his sabbatical (this works in daily life too!)
  • how a ‘going with the flow’ approach didn’t work (true in daily life too)
  • how he mapped out a schedule to different types of thinking work/ work! 
  • how his sabbatical gave him an opportunity to do different sorts of work – not just the everyday tasks - i.e. thinking work, learning to meditate and different design work. 
What was MOST impressive was hearing that everything he designed in the seven years AFTER the first sabbatical in some way came from THAT year!   Amazing isn’t it? 

Here is the link incase the video has issues!

Watching this video really got me thinking about:
1)    What are my GUNNA projects I KEEP PUTTING off ?
2)    What THINKING WORK do I need to do that will make a difference in my daily life?
3)    How can I DO a ‘sabbatical’ too?  I really love the idea of two months of project work every year or saving up for 7 years to take a year out!
4)    How can I INTRODUCE elements of a sabbatical into my life so I don’t have to wait 7 years to get something done?
This TED talk really got me thinking - I was motivated to think about how to integrate some practices into the 6 week driving holiday we are currently on (December 2013).  Before we went away I had some goals of what I wanted to do - away from the day to day and when I was going to focus on these tasks (wee hours of the morning):
  • Explore and reflect on some truths and hard lessons on the state of my own balance
  • Habits and routines I wanted to re-introduce/ cultivate.
  • Cultivate a regular habit of writing.  (It is one of those tasks I procrastinate on).
Here is a strategy I came up with to integrate it a bit more of the Gunna Projects in the day to day.  Not ground breaking, but I am still sharing it!
1)    Take yourself out of the day-to-day to think on the things you really would love to do (e.g. use brainstorming/ vision boarding).  If you know already go to #2

2)    What can you do in your everyday / month to work towards it? For example, Is it allocating some time every day to achieve something e.g. 500 words on a page for your book?
  • What values and priorities do you need to elevate to achieve what you want? 
  • What do you need to cut out?  What do you need to ask for help with? Who do you need to get to step up? Who do you need to become to do this?  How do you need to behave to keep true to your big picture?
3)    Do you need to get a mentor, coach or buddy to help you map out the steps or help you keep accountable to your dream?
  • I get stuck on the HOW so this is helpful for me
  • If limited time is a factor, I’ve found investing in advice makes a huge difference to get unstuck and moving forward – for me anyhow!
I’d love to know what project you’re wanting to tackle and how you’re thinking about tackling it?

Posted in Getting Stuff Done - Task Management, Work Rest and Play - Energy Management, Routines / Habits - Self Management    Tagged with no tags


Peter Sobczuk - January 10th, 2014 at 11:00 PM
Hi Louise
This is a wonderful newsletter... I have enjoyed it very much... Kind Regards
Louise D'Allura - January 12th, 2014 at 3:21 PM
Thanks Peter for taking the time to read and comment. I thought you might enjoy the idea of a sabbatical!
Louise ;)
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