Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What You Allow Will Continue

There are things going on in your life that you do not like.  And, you created them either by ignoring them or tolerating them.

Sometimes it seems like this is a good choice.  A safe choice.  An easier choice.

But, it is usually not the best choice.

You're carrying a few extra pounds.  You put up with a mouthy teenager.  You spend a little more than you should.  You choose an extra hour of sleep over the gym.

It doesn't matter what the dislike is.  You created it.  It was your choice.

What you allow is what will continue.

That is the choice.

Friday, November 25, 2016

3 Things I Learned From My Foot Surgery

The Three Things I Learned From My Surgery

On June 6th of 2014 I had surgery on my foot. I was facing a recovery process that could be as short as three months or perhaps a year long. Either amount of time would be a lot for anyone with a busy life. I knew it would hurt and there would be challenges trying to get by on one foot for any amount of time. Along the way I learned a few things that I would like to share.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Do You Need to Make A Change??

Do you need to make a change?

This is a good question. But, it is the wrong question.

No matter what is going on in your life. Whether it is good, bad or indifferent. You are changing.

Whether you need to or not. Whether you choose to or not. Or whether you want to or not.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Little Things Do Matter

I am sure you’ve heard to not sweat the small stuff.

The slogan was made famous by Richard Carlson in his book of the same name.  And, this concept certainly has its times when it is useful.  But, at the same time, while you may not sweat the small stuff, you should remember that little things do matter.

The little things make up the big things.  Do you think $1,400 is lot for morning coffee?  Of course.

But, when you spend $4 at time it does really make a big difference.  And, after a year, it makes a $1,400 difference.

Little things do matter when they are done consistently.

Consider the things you do on a daily basis.  Some are good and some are bad.  Regardless of whether they’re good or bad, when you do them 365 times a year they add up.

Every day after work I dump all the change in my pocket into a cup in my dresser.  Every three or so months, I take this “pocket change” to the bank and deposit it into my son’s college savings.  Each time I do it is around $50.  It adds up.

One hour of the day is only 4% of the day.  What can you do in one hour that can improve your life or someone else’s?

Workout, read something meaningful, take a walk, write, or play with a child.  The list of little things is endless.  Unfortunately, they go the other way too.

Spend one hour watching meaningless TV, mindlessly surfing the internet, gossiping about the neighbors.  Do these things for a year and you will have spent more than 15 twenty-four hour days on them.  Does that sound like time well spent?

Little things do matter.

Choose yours wisely.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Time & Money

Time and money. Time or money. Time versus money. 

They are a paradox together and story half told apart. 

Which one should we value more? Which one do we need more? Can we have more of both? 

Who knows? Who cares?

You should. 

Money is the lubricant of life. Time is life itself. The two work hand and hand together and apart but always together as one. The relationship of time to money and money to time is as old as time itself. But, you could never use money to buy time. And, you could never sell time to make money. Yet money’s value will change over time. But, if one could stop time, then money would hold its value, at least for the time being.

Money may make you happy. That is the thought of many and the realization of few. Money is the hope of a tomorrow that is better than today. Money will solve our problems and cure our ills. Money will make us happy. And the chase of money becomes the chase of life, a race without a finish line and a chase to catch the wind. It ends the day you realize that life is about time and not money.

It is about the time you spend with family and friends. It is about the time you spend with your lover.

It is about the time you spend with you, alone. 

It is about the time you spend with your children for that is the time that slips away and makes you wonder where the time went. But, before you can think too long, you’ve run out of time. 

But, probably not money.

So, the question remains, time or money?

I have chosen time.

What do you choose?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

3 Ways I Make Workout DVD's Workout For Me

Workout DVD's can be all the rage.  The slick advertising has you thinking you'll look like those fitness models in no time.  And, it will be so much fun!

Think again.

Working out is uncomfortable.  And, it is supposed to be.  It wouldn't work if it wasn't.  But, it does make you feel good both mentally and physically.

DVD's programs like P90X, 21 Day Fix, Insanity and Jillian Michael's Total Body are all very different programs serving different market segments.  But, they are all the same in that they provide you with a structured approach to working out.  You don't have to come up with the program yourself.

Just hit play.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Post Election Grief

This election cycle has to be the most memorable.  But, not for the right reasons.

I don't ever remember protests after an election.  Are these people serious, delusional or just cry babies?

They are burning President-elect Trump in effigy.  If that was done to President Obama it would be labeled racism.

Blocking traffic and damaging property are criminal violations. They should be arrested and tried for their crimes.  How is that helping anything?

I anticipate that these activities will subside and people will move on.  It is much like the Kubler-Ross Five Stages of Grief.  Although this is not some great personal loss or setback.

First it was shock and denial.  The looks on media broadcaster's faces as the election results were coming in was priceless.  This can't be happening!!  When denial doesn't solve the problem that is when anger sets in.

Anger is what the protests are all about.  They need to blame somebody or something.  They scream "we are the victims."  This is ridiculous of course.  They are not victims, they are losers.  They lost the election.  And, apparently their minds.

Bargaining is the next step.  This is how they will learn to cope with the situation.  One of the ways to cope is to move to Canada or some other country.  I am available to help you move if necessary.

Depression sets in when the situation appears to be insurmountable or beyond hope.  This is often displayed as withdrawal.  Big Pharma has medicines for this.  And, thanks to Obamacare you can get the medicine even if it was a pre-existing condition.  BTW, Trump has stated he will keep this provision.

Lastly is acceptance.  Here you just make the best of the situation and hope that things will work out.

Of course, if Trump comes through on any of his promises, things will more than work out.  They will be great again.

Have an opinion?  Leave a comment.


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Donald Trump Put Me on a Diet

Even if Trump doesn’t get elected, he has already helped me.  Clinton, too.

Before this election cycle I tended to avoid the news.  I don’t watch much TV anyway.  It is too commercial-rich to deserve my attention.   But, even before this bit of media dieting, I really stayed away from any of the news programs.

The news on CNN, ABC, Fox and the like was just one long script what’s wrong with this world.  War, disease, death, destruction, famine, poverty and the Kardashians.  And, the local news is even worse.

So, I dropped the TV out of my media diet like it was junk food.

I used to listen to Sports Radio.  But, waiting through 10 minutes of commercials just to hear some whiny arm-chair quarterback criticize the moves of a head coach felt like slow-death.  Did I really wait just to hear this?  I want my 10 minutes back!

So, I put the Sports Radio right next to the Diet Coke in the trash.

I still wanted to stay up-to-date on current events.

So, on my browser I set up buttons to Fox and CNN.  May as well get both sides of the story right?  And this way, I could selectively choose what bad news I wanted to focus on.  After a while I didn’t even notice the banner ads.  Problem solved.  Or, so I thought.

Every election we get sick of the negative ads and accusations.  And, the lack of any clear-cut policy agendas about what they will do to save us.  But, this year was different.

Trump and Clinton have to have brought our election process to an all time low.  Now I didn’t even want to go on to the Internet for my news.  Put aside the fact that we must be the laughing stock of the world right now with these two clowns.  I just couldn't look at this political crash landing of an election any longer.

So, I removed the Fox and CNN buttons off my browser.

I thought I would miss out on so much.  Didn't happen.  It is hard not to hear what is going on in the world without becoming stranded on a deserted island somewhere.

What did happen?

At first, I kind felt disconnected.  Like, I didn't know what was going on.  Like I really needed to know every few hours.  But, that feeling didn't last.

After a couple of days, I didn't even notice if I was missing anything.  Between friends, families, newspaper headlines and social media I was getting all I needed.  It actually felt liberating.  And, I felt like my day-to-day became more meaningful.  And, hopeful.  But then something really interesting happened.

Walking by a TV one day something grabbed my attention.  Of course it was a bad story about a bad person who did a bad thing. I stopped and watched.  And, then got caught in the next featured disaster.  

It was the same positive-mood draining info featuring a Debby Downer that made Eeyore look like a motivational speaker.  It was just one negative story after another.  It started to turn better when the weatherman reported sunshine for the day.  But, even he couldn't help but bring us down by turning to a rainy forecast for the next day.  I walked away shaking my head.

Within minutes I started to feel sick like I just gorged on a Big Mac and Fries.  Ugh!  I guess my tolerance for this media swill had diminished.  So, it is back on the Trump/Clinton Media Diet again.  And, a return to hopefulness.

What has your experience been?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

4 Things that Make Email Work Better For You

Email can be such productivity wonder at best and then a total time-suck at the same time.  It can get overwhelming to deal with all the emails, appointment requests and task assignments.  Are there days when you feel like you’ve accomplished nothing because the constant email distractions?  Then you might have email fatigue.

If so, keep reading…

There are some tips and tricks that I have learned to use to keep email under control.  But, before I get into those, let’s make sure we understand what email is not meant to be.

It is not an instant message program requiring immediate replies.  You don’t have to answer every email every time you look in your inbox.  You don’t need to check it constantly.  I like what Tim Ferris’s says about email.  “Get off the cocaine pellet dispenser and focus on execution of your top to-do’s instead of responding to manufactured emergencies.”

There are a bunch of tips and tricks to managing email.  Here are a couple I use.

Shut off the notification feature.  This is easily the biggest productivity killer there is.  You can be cruising along and making fantastic progress on a project and this pops up.    

This is the cocaine pellet dispenser at work.  You can shut this feature off.  I shut this off in 2005 and have never used it since.  Guess what?  I never got fired or died as a result either.  Here’s how to do that:
shut off notification.PNG

Also, don’t forget about that little envelope that shows up in the tray too. Get rid of it!

Here is one disclaimer on the notifications.  There are going to be certain people that you want to know when you’ve received an email from them.  Your boss might be one of these people. My wife is another, for me anyway. For those emails you can set up an alert to pop on your desktop similar to a notification.  It will only happen for those people you choose.  You will be given an option to read it now or later.  You can go here to learn about that feature:  Outlook Rules.

Funnel low priority emails to a folder.  This is one method that keeps your InBox from becoming a cesspool of useless information.  Only allow higher priority emails to enter the InBox.  Again, you can use the Outlook Rules feature to do this.

Batch-check your email.  I look at email in the morning, at noon and before leaving for the day.  The rest of the time is spent on higher priority tasks. It takes some getting used to. But, when you see how much you get done, it is amazing!

Okay, someone got upset with you for not replying right away.  Apologize and explain your email approach and how it makes you super-productive achieving the company’s mission and goals.  Who can argue with that?

How can you make your email more effective?  I’ll work on that next.   Right now, I have to check email.

Leave a comment if you have other ideas that can help with managing email.



Tuesday, November 1, 2016

How To Say No Without Guilt

How do you say No without feeling guilty about it?

This can be a tough situation especially with family and friends.  You don't want to appear to be a jerk.  But, at the same time, you don't want to compromise yourself either.  It's a tough spot to say the least.

If you find yourself saying "yes" all the time you may be a victim of the need to please other people. When you do this you place their happiness above your own.  Doesn't seem like the right thing to do does it?   But, people do it all the time.  And, they usually regret it later.

It always seems like the situation surprises you too.

You unexpectedly run into your neighbor at the supermarket and you get invited to their pool party. You instantly recall the last pool party you went at their house and how you melted with boredom listening to her mother give you her complete medical history in the kind of gory detail that should be left in a laboratory.

You recoil at the thought.  But, before you can answer, your neighbor blurts out, "hey, my mother is going to be there and I remember how well you got along last time!"

Inside your screaming, No!  But, for some reason you hear your mouth say, "What should I bring?"

There goes your Saturday afternoon.  And, with it, your time and happiness.

But, if you could have said no, you would have a Saturday afternoon free of any chlorinated biopsy stories.

How do you say no?

  1. Be prepared.  Be ready to say no.  Don't let yourself be surprised.  Always have a ready answer.  It is easy to say, "I will have to let you know."  You can buy the time and the space you need to exit the situation.
  2. Place your happiness above theirs.  If it is not something you want to do or will enjoy to do.  Don't do it!  Simple to understand.  A bit tougher to execute.
  3. Keep your calendar filled.  Don't go into a weekend or any other day without some sort of plan.  Make the time people want from you a sacrifice.  You will look at that time a lot differently.  And, if it is truly something you want to do.  It will be worth the sacrifice.
  4. Do the things you want to do.  Not the things you should do.  Use your value system to decide what you do not society's.
  5. Stop worrying about what other people think.  You only have one life to live.  Yours. What other people do with their life is their business.What you do with your life is not just your business.  It is your responsibility.  You have to live with your decisions.
Lastly, don't look back.  Focus on what you decided to do and the good that came with it.  Looking back will only bring guilt and regret.