65: We're Off to a Banner Start

by Max Leibman


If you only listen to one final episode of Priority this week, make it this one! Eighteen months after taking to the digital airwaves, the Priority team finishes the podcast with an appropriate topic: how does one actually finish a big project? 

Max revisits strategies he has shared previously: committing specific blocks of time to work, focusing on only a few must-do projects, and taking advantage of random moods and inspirations to “finish things on a whim.” Caitie, meanwhile, considers her relationship to her work—finding the part of the project she can’t stop thinking about, paying attention to how long things actually take, and being kind to herself along the way. 

How will it all end? Will our hosts triumph over evil (or at least over self-derailing jokes and asides)? Join them one more time to find out!

Links: 

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen | Amazon

"Sisters-on-Law or Sister-in-Laws" by Catherine Soanes | Oxford Dictionaries

P.O.D. | Wikipedia

"Banner Start" | Master Russian

The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar | Amazon

Priority Episode No. 2: "[verb] the One You're With" | Previous Episode

Terminator (Franchise) | Wikipedia

Priority Episode No. 33: "Because Future" | Previous Episode

Write Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day by Joan Bolker | Amazon

Priority Episode No. 35: "Six-Foot To-Do List" | Previous Episode

The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling | Amazon

Richard Scarry's Busy, Busy World by Richard Scarry | Amazon

"Red Cross Apologizes for 'Racist' Water Safety Poster" by David Mikkelson | Snopes

"Law of the Farm" by Stephen R. Covey | San Jose State University

"The Ant and the Grasshopper" | Wikipedia

"The Scorpion and the Frog" | Wikipedia

Priority Episode No. 44: "Better Early Than Ever" | Previous Episode

Gollum | Wikipedia

Priority Episode No. 60: "Stay in School, Kids" | Previous Episode

"'Pics or It Didn't Happen' - the Mantra of the Instagram Era" by Jacob Silverman | The Guardian

Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland | Amazon

Yesterday's Weather | Scrum, Inc.

"The Busy Person's Lies" by Laura Vanderkam | The New York Times

The Secret (2006 Film) | Wikipedia

Esther Hicks | Wikipedia

"Guilt" | The Abe Forum

Priority Episode No. 41: "Being Into Things" | Previous Episode

"Finding 'Getting Things Done Fast'" by Merlin Mann | 43 Folders

Jim Jones | Wikipedia

The Clockwork Muse by Eviatar Zerubavel | Amazon

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg | Amazon

"Singing in My Sleep" by Semisonic | YouTube

Osmosis | Wikipedia

Cthulhu | Wikipedia

America's Funniest Home Videos | Wikipedia


64: Pages and Pages of Anger

by Max Leibman


We now join our episode synopsis, already in progress!

Picking up where they left off last week, the Priority team discusses work in process. What do you do with your unfinished projects? The spectrum of management strategies runs the gamut from the Gantt chart to the stack of papers on your desk, and our hosts have explored all points in between. 

Caitie shares a cautionary tale about a treasure trove of half-formed ideas she once lost, and comes to the vaguely Buddhist conclusion that—important or not—unfinished work is fragile and impermanent. Max shares strategies he has seen work (including ones he candidly admits he doesn’t implement well).  

Ultimately, we learn to minimize work in process when we can, contain and secure it when we can’t, and to never, ever, include the word “Final” in a file name. 

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63: Just Like Grandpappy Did

by Max Leibman


Can a preliminary sketch still be considered “art?” (Given how little editing Max does some weeks, our hosts hope so!) An exhibition of unfinished works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art inspires this episode’s topic: rough drafts. 

Caitie reminds us to appreciate our drafts, or even our rough-around-the-edges finished projects; a rough approximation is sometimes the best we can do and helps get us to something better. Max, meanwhile, points out that everything is a draft—even the most polished product represents where the creator stopped working, not some Platonic ideal of what it could be. 

From Kanye West to Harper Lee, and from Kevin Smith’s Clerks to refugee scientists’ unfinished studies, the Priority team contemplates and celebrates the imperfect and incomplete. These works which may be stepping stones to something better, but in any case are better than nothing. 

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62: Lean Into the Band-Aid

by Max Leibman


How bad could it be? This week on Priority, our hosts explore the worst things that never happened! 

Caitie, in town to work an intense short-term contract, joins Max to discuss how depleted she feels. There’s just one hitch—she actually doesn’t feel half bad! Despite being good at managing her energy and boundaries, Caitie reflects on how often she overestimates how taxing a busy schedule or challenging conversation will be. Max wonders if the key is a loss of perspective, and recounts how he recently caught himself preparing for battles that only existed in his head. 

Humans turn out to be surprisingly bad at affective forecasting, or predicting how we will feel in the future. The Priority team doesn’t arrive at a solution, except to remind us to lighten up: it might not be as bad as we expect.  

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61: Caitie Watchers™

by Max Leibman


Where does the time go? The week, forty-five minutes of Priority’s time went into discussing Laura Vanderkam’s “The Busy Person’s Lies” and 168 Hours. She believes we have more time—and less work—than we think we do. 

Put your torches and pitchforks down, folks—as we will discover, Vanderkam knows of what she speaks, having studied the research literature and many individuals’ time logs. 

This inspires a lively discussion of various time-tracking schemes our hosts have attempted. Caitie reports a healthy balance of work and sleep. Max—a new dad—seems a little, well, less balanced. 

Caitie suggests that the secret may be to “get salaried, but think hourly.” In other words, get as much control as you can over your own time, but spend it as though it were still finite and measured—because ultimately, it is. 

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