Monday, 24 February 2014

21 Photographs to date

4 goal setting rules. January 10th 2014
Analysis versus feelings. November 21st 2013
                                                          Solve your cash flow crisis with factoring. January 15th 2014

How can you take control your emotions by become rooted in yourself. December 20th  2013

Dealing with difficult people. January 6th 2014
                                                                               Dealing with difficult situations. January 4th 2014.

                                                                         My glimpse of death November 2nd 2013

 How do you decide the most important aspects of your concerns right now? December 12th 2013

Some people have the influence of trees. February 5th 2014

How I learned to stop procrastinating and love letting go. December 8th 2013

                                                                        Memories are made of moments. October 10th 2013

How to say what you need. December 29th 2013

                                                                        What you can do about the stress in your life

How to succeed at everything. January 13th 2014

                                                 The sole trader January 23nd 22014
Time management. January 20th 2014

                                                                              The twitter trap. January 19th 2014  

Words that can get you into and out of trouble. December 26th 2013

Sunday, 23 February 2014

The solo sole trader. 6 Thinking Hats

                                                             Artwork by M'reen
The solo sole trader.

You are setting up business out there or in your home.
Or you have a position within a company
or organisation that leaves you somewhat isolated.

In such a setting you need to be your own coach, cheerleader,
board of directors, counsellor, devil’s advocate and inspiration.

It has been found that in many small businesses the proprietors are not playing to their skills
but are washing toilets and emptying bins. 
They are not running the business as the business is, in fact, running them.
Or they are not ‘getting through’ to their staff or indeed to their self.

If this is the case then I suggest that you read the book: 
The Six Thinking Hats by Edward De Bono.
Don’t grown and think ‘yet another thing to do’ or ‘I buy them and never read them’
this book can be read very quickly and the ideas implemented straight away.
It really is a case of ‘a stitch in time saves nine.’
The de Bono Group LLC describe the process thus:
“Used with well-defined and explicit Return On Investment success in corporations worldwide,
Six Thinking Hats is a simple, effective parallel thinking process that helps people be more productive, focused, and mindfully involved. A powerful tool set, which once learned can be applied immediately!
You and your team members can learn how to separate thinking into six clear functions and roles. Each thinking role is identified with a colored symbolic "thinking hat." By mentally wearing
and switching "hats," you can easily focus or redirect thoughts, the conversation, or the meeting.”
You can look this up on the internet or buy the book, which is reasonably priced and very easy
to read. It provides a way for you to think about all the different ‘sides’ of your proposed action. 
Staff meetings will be over in a productive but very short amount of time.
For the solo sole trader it enables you to discuss with 6 ‘other you's’ in order to arrive 
at a fully functioning decision.
You might also like to consider another of his books.
The six value medals, I do not know this in detail but it looks to be really valuable – no pun intended.

You obviously need to look after your physical and emotional health.
Consider taking the train as opposed to driving or taking the scenic route. These have been proved to be valuable strategies for your physical and emotional health with the bonus that you can have uninterrupted thinking time. In my nursery school we all took it in turn to clean the bathroom and this was valuable thinking time with no home worries to get in the way. Time tabling time to read your favourite magazine serves the same purpose. However, if you spend too much time doing the suduko then there is something else going on. In which case you might find it useful to look up to find a potential solution.

M’reen Hunt

Perhaps you’d like to check out my sister blogs:            gives many ways for you to work with the stresses of life       describes the steps to reading in the way your mind prefers          just for fun.

To quote the Dr Seuss doctor himself, “The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn; the more places you'll go.”

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Find Your Life Purpose

Find Your Life Purpose

Why is it so difficult to find your life purpose?
We make our choices and create our life path based on well meaning guidance of parents, teachers, peers, media and society, we rarely make decisions based on who we really are or what we really want to do in life and as a result we live a life through a lens based on other people’s Ideas for us!
Really? Yes really.
And guess where they get their ideas from? Exactly.
Now do you see the problem? And to add to this mess we add superstitions and beliefs that are not even our own to the mix and BOOM disaster!!
Not letting go of self interests, so you can recognize who you truly are, your authentic self, your values, desires and fullness of your love generosity and empathy is also another reason that contributes to you not finding your purpose.
The truth is, your purpose comes from within you. Just like the keys that you think you have lost searching the whole house for, only to find they are in your hand!

Why does it matter anyway?
It matters because you do. Your happiness, fulfillment  peace, clarity and direction, making a difference in the world and freedom depends on your living your purpose.
In this Guide you find outlined the necessary ingredients for finding and living a life of meaning & purpose, a life that is right for you after all YOU are unique.
1. Values
We have talked about this before and the importance of finding out what your values are. They are the reason you do what you do and the decision you make are based on what values you are running your life. It doesn’t matter if they are not what your true values are but you live by these anyway.
What I mean is even if you have not taken the time to find out what your values are; you live by a random set anyway.
So the key is to identify your values that come from who you really are so you can begin to live your life how you truthfully want to, making decisions based on what you stand for and what you want to do not what someone else has forced told you to. Values are what keep you staying true to yourself.
2. Self- Actualization
Also known as fulfillment or expression & realization of your full potential. According to Abraham Maslow each and every person is seeking to fulfill certain needs, when one need is fulfilled a person seeks to fill the next need toward the point of Self-Actualization.
These 5 stages are as follows:

The key is to work towards having all your basic needs met then you can make progress to self-actualizing by doing what you really want and becoming your true authentic self. It’s a process and takes time, but making progress towards who you really are, living a life you really want to is worth it.

Self-Actualization comes from within, deep thought about who you are and what this life means to you.
3. Strengths & Passions
When you find your strengths and passions and find a way to make a living doing what you love ‘work’ is no longer work at all. You will wake up each day energized, fulfilled, satisfied and living with purpose.
To find your strengths take either of these tests:
Free Strengths Finder Test
 Free Aptitude Test
They are free and you may be surprised at you results!

Ask other people what your strengths are or what you are good at, again you may be surprised.

Other questions that will help:
In what way do you love or enjoy helping others? (Teaching, looking after children, cooking?)
When do you feel the best? (what are you doing? Experiencing in your life?)
What are you naturally good/gifted at?
What gets you excited or passionate?
What do you love talking about with others what topic do you always gravitate towards?
What do you love to learn about?
What fascinates you?

4. Taking Action –Goals
Your life purpose involves taking action towards some kind of devoted cause; your WHY for doing what you devote your life to keeps you going.
Setting goals and reaching them allows you to keep moving forward with purpose. You know where you are going and you have put plans in place to ensure you get there.
In this guide you can learn all about how to do this effectively. Actually the guide is pretty hot and exciting to do! (also comes with a downloadable workbook)

In short other components include:
Being happy
Meaningful relationship
Work that matters (as discussed comes from strengths/passions)
Elimination of fear

But let me also ask you this killer question that will give you something to think about, and even might end the search for your reason for being:
If you had all the money in the world what would you be doing? Think about that!
Also take note and answer this:

Are you excited to tell people what you do? If not then you are wasting your life.

Lets Close

I have covered all the elements of finding and living your purpose, each section of course has so much more to dive into and master.

Perhaps you’d like to checkout my sister blog
and find easy, fast and efficient ways of working with the issues or little unpleasantness’s in your life.
I am now featuring aspects of my upcoming internet programme to teach Inner Mind Reading.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Accountability: If It Is To Be, It’s Up To Me

Accountability: If It Is To Be, It’s Up To Me

When things get messed up—and they do—some people respond with lying, denying or minimizing their own responsibility.
Leaders know that to be respected or trusted they must be accountable.
They must be willing to be responsible even before they know how things will turn out.
If it is to be, it’s up to me:

Accountability starts with you. It means you are responsible.
It’s not so much a way of thinking as a way of being, and it starts from within.

Accountability is about being reliable. Ask yourself “Can people count on me to do what I say I’ll do, as I said I would do it?” You must always keep your word.

Accountability is ownership. It’s the willingness to hold yourself to account,
it means taking totally ownership no matter the mess up.

Accountability is about creating clarity. When you are accountable you clear up the gaps and voids of expectations and what you are going to be doing.

Accountability is about trustworthiness. When you are responsible and you make a commitment, you hold yourself to a high standard where others know and can trust in you.

Accountability is a partnership. Partnerships are about support and mutual accountability;
when you are held accountable by a partner, it’s important to recognize and respect the power
of their intention and respond with appreciation rather than anger.
Successful leaders front load accountability into their leadership development.

Being accountable begins with accepting responsibility and leading from a place of action.

Perhaps you’d like to checkout my sister blog
and find easy, fast and efficient ways of working with the issues or little unpleasantness’s in your life.
I am now featuring aspects of my upcoming internet programme teaching Inner Mind Reading.


Sunday, 16 February 2014

Why SMART Goals are Dumb

Why SMART Goals are Dumb

Logical Framework Project Management expert Terry Schmidt challenges the popular SMART goal mode; by identifying the necessary missing concept that makes it incomplete. Follow the strategic logic as Terry introduces SMART goals. Adding this new concept gives managers and project teams the ‘secret sauce’ for project and strategic success. 8 minutes long.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Do You Struggle to Make Conversation? A Menu of Options for Small Talk.

                                                        Photo: mi_chillin, Flickr

Do You Struggle to Make Conversation?  A Menu of Options for Small Talk.
Small talk can be a big problem. I want to be friendly and polite, but I just can’t think of a thing to say. Here are some strategies I try when my mind is a blank:

1. Comment on a topic common to both of you at the moment: the venue, the food, the occasion, the weather (yes, talking about the weather is a cliche, but it works). “How do you know our host?” “What brings you to this event?” But keep it on the positive side! Unless you can be hilariously funny, the first time you come in contact with a person isn’t a good time to complain.

2. Comment on a topic of general interest. A friend scans Google News right before he goes anywhere where he needs to make small talk, so he bring up some interesting news item.

3. Ask a question that people can answer as they please. My favorite question is: “What’s keeping you busy these days?” It’s useful because it allows people to choose their focus (work, volunteer, family, hobby). Also, it's helpful if you ought to remember what the person does for a living, but can’t remember.

4. Ask open questions that can’t be answered with a single word.
    See the blog: How to ask questions 31/01.14

5. If you do ask a question that can be answered in a single word, instead of just supplying your own information in response, ask a follow-up question. For example, if you ask, “Where are you from?” an interesting follow-up question might be, “What would your life be like if you still lived there?”

6. Ask getting-to-know-you questions. “What internet sites do you visit regularly?" "What vacation spot would you recommend?” These questions often reveal a hidden passion, which can make for great conversation. I'm working on Before and After, a book about habits, and one side benefit is that I have an excuse to ask people about their good and bad habits, and their answers are inevitably fascinating. Plus people enjoy talking about their habits.

7. React to what a person says in the spirit in which that that comment was offered. If he makes a joke, even if it’s not very funny, try to laugh. If she offers some surprising information (“Did you know that the Harry Potter series have sold more than 450 million copies?”), react with surprise.

8. Be slightly inappropriate. I can’t use this strategy, myself, because I don’t have the necessary gumption, but my husband is a master. Over and over, I hear him ask a question that seems slightly too prying, or too cheeky, and I feel a wifely annoyance, but then I see that the person to whom he’s talking isn’t offended–if anything, that person seems intrigued and flattered by his interest.

9. Watch out for the Oppositional Conversational Style. A person with oppositional conversational style (I coined this term) is a person who, in conversation, disagrees with and corrects whatever others say. If you practice this style of conversation, beware: other people often find it deeply annoying.

10. Follow someone’s conversational lead. If someone obviously drops in a reference to a subject, pick up on that thread. Confession: I have a streak of perversity that inexplicably makes me want to thwart people in their conversational desires–I’m not sure why. For instance, I remember talking to a guy who was obviously dying to talk about the time that he’d lived in Vietnam, and I just would not cooperate. Why not? I should’ve been thrilled to find a good subject for discussion.

11. Along the same lines, counter-intuitively, don’t try to talk about your favorite topic, because you’ll be tempted to talk too much. This is a strategy that I often fail to follow, but I should follow it. I’ll get preoccupied with a topic -- such as happiness or habits -- and want to talk about it all the time, with everyone I meet, and I have a lot to say.
How about you? Have you found any good strategies for making polite chit-chat?

Perhaps you’d like to checkout my sister blog
and find easy, fast and efficient ways of working with the issues or little unpleasantness’s in your life.
I am now featuring aspects of my upcoming internet programme teaching Inner Mind Reading.

Monday, 10 February 2014

3 Steps To Overcoming Your Fear Of Failure

                                                    Getty Images/Mohd Rasfan

Elle provokes some practical thought and with only three points to play with cannot offer the scope of a book on the subject. As a therapist I feel it of paramount importance to point out the implied emotional confidence of Acceptance, Adjustment and Adaptation. Without this confidence these attributes would be difficult if not impossible for some to appreciate and implement.

3 Steps To Overcoming Your Fear Of Failure

Sometimes, you have to just go for it.
I find softball in Central Park daunting. I strike out all the time but I am inspired by the book "Moneyball" and look forward to my time up at bat. Success at a start-up can have similar strike-outs.
Prior to launching my company, Lexion Capital, I knew the grim stats. After five years, 39.6 percent 
of finance, insurance and real estate companies will be out of business.
And it isn’t just my industry — 41.1 percent of retailing companies will close, 47.6 percent of services companies will fold, and 48.4 percent of manufacturing companies will shut their doors.
What is the best way to overcome a fear of failure? Cultivate the confidence to be able to
embrace failing and to learn how to pivot when things don’t go your way.

Step 1: Acceptance
Remember when you first learned to ride a bike? No one expected that you would get it right away. 
In fact, they expected that you wouldn't. That's why there are training wheels (and nowadays, helmets, knee pads, elbow-pads, etc). Similarly, there are business plans, beta launches, and feedback 
before you launch for real.
Accept that you don’t have all the right answers right off the bat. But with time, the training wheels could come off. When you learned how to ride a bike, you learned how to brake and that leaning left 
or right helped around corners. How? You’d fallen a few times, gotten back on, and figured it out.
I don't bike through the pretty trails of Illinois anymore; I'm now on the mean streets of NYC.
Like anyone, I do sometimes fear falling — but the key to success is knowing that if I fall 
I can simply get back up.
In other words, what goes down does indeed come back up. You will be able work out the kinks
in your business. And just like riding that bike, you always need to watch out for cars and other unforeseen business obstacles. The hurdles ahead will constantly change, and you need to remain agile and focused.

Step 2: Adjustment
Sometimes even the best laid plans need some tweaking post-launch.
I know a group of entrepreneurs who dreamed of creating the perfect neighborhood spot to meet for drinks. New to the bar business, they focused their enthusiasm and attention on the creative end 
of their endeavor, the menu planning, styling, and aesthetic details that would comprise their scene. 
It was amazing — on the surface.
Behind the scenes, their plans were not as airtight. They laughed off some of the tried and true tricks of the trade, like measuring bottles of alcohol by weight to prevent employee theft, because at the time it seemed preposterous that such a thing could bear any significant consequence on their bottom line. They were wrong. Nothing was monitored and their upscale martini lounge was very popular but not profitable. Faced with failure, the team was forced to take a good hard look at basic business facts.
They made adjustments to optimize and reduce expenditures and adopted the standard practice
of measuring bottles by weight. Things slowly started to turn around.
Though everything they had focused on had succeeded, the essential foundation of their business failed. But the group managed to channel that failure productively, learning from their stumble 
rather than letting it trip them up completely.

Step 3: Adaptation
Failure needn’t lead to extinction.
Animals use adaptation to survive in their ecological niche or habitat and so can you.
I have a dear friend who opened a restaurant, totally beating the organic, free-range foodie trends here in NYC. He was a trendsetter, but in some ways his concept was too early and too costly.
On the brink of going under, he examined his books and realized that his most successful aspect
was catering, a very minor focus. So he switched focus.
I'm happy to report that as a specialty catering business, his company thrived. Though his initial concept, in restaurant form, was not right for the mass market at the time, he unwittingly tapped into the perfect niche market: early, enthusiastic tribes of organic foodies, who proved evangelistic about his farm-to-table fare. Not only is he still in business today in a notoriously fickle industry,
he has even expanded as a supplier to restaurants that serve organic specialties.
Did his restaurant fail? Yes. But when he reviewed that failure through a strategic, creative lens,
he saw the seeds of a different successful business. One that has grown several streams of revenue, and allows him to do what he loves and believes in.
He fell, but got right back up.

Perhaps you’d like to checkout my sister blog
and find easy, fast and efficient ways of working with the issues or little unpleasantness’s in your life.
I am now featuring aspects of my upcoming internet programme teaching Inner Mind Reading.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Finding Inner Peace

                                                           (not my painting or photo)

Finding Inner Peace. 
Curtis H Stamey shares his simple ritual for finding inner peace and letting go of the stress
and negative energy that we collect throughout our daily lives.

In the midst of turmoil, stress and anger I discovered a simple process that fills me with peace.
It has become a ritual that begins every new day. I find that:
*      it removes all the negative baggage I have been carrying
*      it cleanses my mind of all of the negative words, thoughts and feelings that oppress me
*      it cleanses my spirit of all the negative, foul and ugly stuff that sticks to it through the day
*      it erases painful memories and prevents nightmare dreams
*      it connects me with my creator: my true source of wisdom, love, forgiveness and healing
 I’m sharing my ritual with you here in the hope that it will help you too, find inner peace.

Step One: Sit in Silence
Though my healing journey I have grown to love silence and to respect its healing power. 
In silence, my spirit experiences the love of my creator as the two become one in perfect union.
In silence, your spirit can embrace the author of your being without the distraction of words,
visions or the spectrum of feelings.  
Silence allows your spirit to be refreshed and renewed; it allows your body to heal.
Make sure, as far as you can, that there is no music playing, that there are no sounds invading 
the room where you sit.  Imagine the silence as warm rays of sunshine gently flowing over you.

Step Two: Empty Yourself of You
In just one day we can collect so much negative junk.  There are hurtful words from
other people.  There are happenings that discourage us and make us feel sad, angry,
and even worthless.  There are mistakes we make and their consequences. 
There is old baggage from our past that we haven’t got rid of.
There are worries about money, relationships and our future.
The first thing to do is to empty yourself of you.  Empty yourself of all of the negative junk. 
Empty yourself of your ego, your resentments, and your failure to do what love requires. 
Empty yourself until you are completely empty.

Here are some ideas to help you:
1.     Visualization exercise – Close your eyes and see yourself covered with mud from head to toe.  Imagine walking out of your house into the rain. Feel the heavy weight of the mud.
            Feel the raindrops as they touch your body and wash the mud away. 
            See the mud fall away as the rain washes your body and feel yourself getting lighter
            and lighter as the mud is all washed away.

2.     Physical exercise – Tighten your fists and hold them in front of your shoulders with your elbows bent.  Slowly open your hands as you relax and straighten your arms.  
      Allow your hands to fall to your sides.  Repeat this exercise 3 times.

3.     Kenpo focus exercise – Breathe in slowly until your lungs are filled with air then breathe out slowly until your lungs are empty of air.  Repeat three times to feel empty and relaxed.

Step Three: Wait Patiently
It took me a long time to learn patience. 
It means stepping out of ‘Success World’, 
a world full of deadlines, and leaving my stress behind. 
Learning patience taught me an odd lesson, a paradox of being:
When we take our time and don’t rush, we get a lot more done.
The end result is that we are able to do what we do so much better.

The most important lesson we can learn from patience is that everything happens when it is time.  Patience is a way of being; we don’t lag behind, but we also don’t get ahead of ourselves. 
It is the symmetry of every part of our life being in balance and in the right proportions. 
Patience is the state of being where we receive all good things.
When you sit in your daily ritual you must never hurry, all you must do is wait patiently.

Step Four: Be Open to Receive
The opposite of openness is bracketing.  Bracketing is a controlled way of thinking that always sees, hears and feels things from a fixed point of view.  It filters out new ideas, other points of view
and resists any kind of change.  Bracketing says, “That’s the way I see it.”

It is often very difficult to be open to new ideas because it feels like a risk because our point of view feels safe and normal to us.  Being open means that we might have to change and we don’t know what we will become. It may require you to experience some chaos in your orderly world.  But, as you learn and grow, you may find yourself able to admit that parts of your point of view are wrong. You may also find that discovering and adopting a new point of view sets you free and teaches you how to be a better person. It’s also an “I am right and you are wrong” kind of thing. 
But once you start taking that risk it can open your eyes to a new world, a world that is a feast for divergent thinkers and creative minds. 
Openness sets all of us free to have new journeys of learning, growth and meaningful change.
Openness is an essential part of this simple process because it allows us to accept everyone for whom and what they are and to celebrate our differences. This harmony leads to peace because
it allows us to discover the beauty of being connected without any fear.

When you sit in silence and wait patiently you are open to receive. Wisdom, Joy and Peace
So to recap, the simple steps to inner peace are:
Sit in silence.
Empty yourself of you.
Wait patiently.
Be open to receive whatever comes.
Feel yourself being filled with wisdom, joy and peace.
Don’t try to control this process. 
It’s not important to analyze it or create expectations of what you want to happen. 
It’s not about you.  It’s all about your connection with your creator.
To be clear, this is not a religious process. I’m not preaching. There are a lot of words/names
for what I connect with through this process and each of you has your own. Twelve step groups call it, “Your higher power” but you might call it “God” or “Allah” or “the Universe” or “Source” or you might call it nothing at all but simply recognize the feeling.  It’s all about the connection we make.

Perhaps you’d like to checkout my sister blog
and find easy, fast and efficient ways of working with the issues or little unpleasantness’s in your life.
I am now featuring aspects of my upcoming internet programme teaching Inner Mind Reading.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Some People Have the Influence of Trees

Beach wood near my home in Newmarket. Uk.
Photo taken by M'reen

Some People Have the Influence of Trees
In a discussion with an attorney a while back, he told me about a client who routinely included him 
in their business planning sessions. He was puzzled because they didn’t seem to require his input
on many of their discussions. This caused him to doubt the value he was giving them.

I told him a story about attending a client’s son’s little league baseball game. During the game
her husband and the other fathers were busy yelling instructions. Meanwhile, the mothers were shouting encouragement. This exemplified two types of support: instructional (direct)
and emotional (indirect). The sons played better because not only were fathers giving tips
but moms were demonstrating their love and support through encouragement.
Knowing someone about whom you care is supporting you is a powerful motivator.

I then connected this to trees. When businesses hold retreats to do their planning, they often leave 
the work environment for a serene setting. The setting often has trees. Now, the trees don’t offer any practical business advice but they create an emotional environment conducive to planning
very much like the mothers were doing for their sons at the baseball game.

Relating it to him, I said that most likely the clients just felt better by having him there.
While they might not acknowledge this consciously, they will rationalize his attendance in some way. 
In this way, he was like a tree. While he might not provide any practical business advice,
he was creating a situation that encouraged his client to plan better.

The attorney chuckled and said he felt better about charging his fees, but the point is
that some of us have the influence of trees. Our mere presence can make people do better;
we don’t need to offer any pragmatic tips.

Perhaps you’d like to checkout my sister blog 
and find easy, fast and efficient ways of working with the issues or little unpleasantness’s in your life.
Also find some Inner Mind Reading stuff too :) 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Being Present Is A Great Present!

                                       "Oh my, I could write so much in support of this article." M'reen

Being present truly is a great present!
Take a moment and say ‘Hello’ to your throat, your nose, or your toes OR how about your teeth, 
your feet or the way you feel. Something will present itself in that moment.
It’s a fact, if you tune into your body and just wait and be present, something will present itself.
It’s a matter of practice, perseverance and a little bit of non-doing.
So, what are you willing to say hello to today?
Just reflect on how often you say hello to your body, once a day, once a week, possibly never?
Our bodies do so much for us each day and yet we don’t even take notice of it nor do we take time 
to thank it. As you sit or lay down connect to your body, a body part, a sensation or a feeling
and just say hello. Smile gently at yourself, at your inner self and let the hello resound loud and clear inside of you as you are right now in this present moment.

In these moments we can be so quick to judge and analyze and try and figure out what it means
and how it all works. Let that go and just be with your resonating Hello! Let the discovery begin 
and let the parts of you that want your attention start to make themselves known.
Everyday, as you meet people, you say hello, out of respect and courtesy.
Don’t you think your body deserves that same attention? A connection, an awareness, a moment
of being with our body can go a long way. I invite you to try it.
I leave you with one of my quotes.
Enjoy your hello moment and remember to say hello every single day!
“Saying hello, letting go and taking in what you know, your body can guide you down the right path 
if you let it go.”

Related articles
The Body doesn’t lie (

Perhaps you’d like to check out my sister blog
which takes advantage of the experience and expertise of others.

Monday, 3 February 2014

If you manage your time terribly, you’ll get more done

"Out of context but I particularly like this bit of the article:
To-do lists are best if you cannot remember where you put them
The great thing about writing something down is that your subconscious brain will stop obsessing about it and you can relax and go to sleep or the movies or whatever. But the bad thing about to-do lists is that you might feel compelled to do all those things. Luckily, I’m great at making and losing lists. The list helps me get to sleep tonight and then tomorrow when I cannot find it I only do what
I remember to do, which turns out to be the important things." M'reen

If you manage your time terribly, you’ll get more done
Brooke Alle

I’m terrible at doing what people tell me I should do, but I still get things done. I’m not sure why this is, but here is my best guess:

I manage my desires more than my time.
In high school, I never seemed to find time to do homework I didn’t want to do. It got so bad
that in 1969 my high school calculus teacher, Mr. Foster, told me that if I did one single homework assignment, he’d base my grade on my tests—meaning I’d get an A. But if I continued to do absolutely no homework, he’d base my grade on the homework and give me a zero.
So I decided that if I was going to do only one homework, I would make it suitable for hanging
in a gallery. I spent a big chunk of my savings to buy a mathematical font attachment for my parents’ IBM Selectric and I typeset my answers. In my dad’s sculpture studio I was able to use fixative to emboss my answer sheet and mount it on a wooden backing that I carved by hand.
Mr. Foster was so thrilled that he wore my homework around his neck the entire day.
Other teachers saw it and they all demanded one homework from me, too. Damn!

To this day, before doing something I don’t want to do, I try to transform it into something I’m eager to do. For more on this I refer you to that great 20th century philosopher, Mary Poppins, who said, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and—SNAP—the job’s a game!”

Don’t do hard boring useless things
My friend, Ken Caldeira, runs a very productive lab at Stanford. He once told me that many academics get bogged down with really hard esoteric problems nobody cares about, even the researchers themselves. He told me he only wants projects that are fun, impactful, and easy.

If someone is paying you to do hard boring useless things then you need to have a conversation
with your boss. If you are a student going into debt to have people give you hard boring useless assignments then perhaps you’d be better off dropping out.

You don’t need to finish what you start
Recently, a successful businessman told me that a few years ago he was diagnosed mid-life with ADHD. This helped explain why his personal and business life was such a mess; he was always starting things but he never finished them, and that would drive everyone around him nuts.
He told me his therapy began with a year of Ritalin, then a year of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and then finally his business itself became his therapy. He explained that the drug gave him
a break from himself, and the CBT helped him re-frame his circumstances. Finally, he realized that most people are great at finishing what they start but they have a hard time getting started.
So he starts all manner of things and gives his projects to other people to finish. They are happy,
he is happy, and his business has really taken off.
As he exemplifies, the biggest problem with ADHD isn’t so much that you have it but that everyone around you hates that you have it. Just think how much better things would be if schoolmarms would stop guilt-tripping the rambunctious and just let them start running the world as soon as
they are ready.

Clear thinking saves time
I once asked Dennis Shasha of NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences how
he accomplishes so much and still has time to help so many people. He said, “I focus on what I do best—usually thinking through a problem, writing something clearly, or programming in K.” I also try to think clearly, and for problems that cannot be expressed with words I use APL, which is a forerunner to K.

Having time for people saves you time
The more you do for others the more they will do for you. This saves you time.
Kind of obvious, if you think about it.

Don’t lie
Living in a fictional world is exhausting and a huge time sink. Don’t do it.

Manage people
If you want your life to be about being of use to other people then there is only a very limited amount of time management that makes any sense. Other people have needs and present opportunities on their schedule, not yours. You need to get good at managing those people
and the time will take care of itself.

Learn how to say “no” and this will allow you to say “yes” much more often. I once asked a friend
to do a favor for me that would have taken him about six hours. In his e-mail turning me down
he said that while many people might say “I don’t have time,” that would be false; he has the same amount of time that we all do, and although it would be possible for him to do what I asked,
he chose to spend his time differently from the way I’d hoped.

Perhaps you are not used to such forthrightness, but interestingly if you treat people honestly
in this way then you’ll find it strengthens your relationships rather than hurts them.

But don’t manage other people’s time
When I asked my friend to do something for me, I was trying to tell him what to do with his time. When he told me “no” he was not telling me what to do with my time, he was telling me
what he did not want to do with his time.

And if you are a grownup, stop torturing the little ones. My parents let me have a childhood,
which is an age-appropriate thing for me to be doing at the time. They forced me to do chores,
but they didn’t make me do much of anything that was “for my own good.” Summer, for example, was for getting into trouble, getting out of trouble, and not telling my parents about it. This was fine with them as long as the lawn got mowed.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was first released in 1952, the year I was born. It was 130 pages long and listed 106 mental disorders. By 1994, when my sons were children, this manual had grown to 886 pages and itemized 297 disorders, some of which I think are fancy names for what Mark Twain used to define as a boy, namely: “Noise with dirt on it.” A new DSM has just come out and I suspect they have not added Time-Obsessed Parenting Syndrome, and they won’t until someone comes up with an expensive drug for it. But there is a cure: just stop.

To-do lists are best if you cannot remember where you put them
The great thing about writing something down is that your subconscious brain will stop obsessing about it and you can relax and go to sleep or the movies or whatever. But the bad thing about to-do lists is that you might feel compelled to do all those things. Luckily, I’m great at making and losing lists. The list helps me get to sleep tonight and then tomorrow when I cannot find it I only do what
I remember to do, which turns out to be the important things.

Also, keep “did” lists. If you track all you’ve already done, the little bit still to do will seem less daunting.

Structured procrastination
I am writing this story for Quartz because I should be getting ready for a presentation instead.
But I am sick of thinking about that so I checked my inbox for something fun to do and found
a request from my editor at QZ. This is how my life works; nearly everything I’ve accomplished
has been because I was trying to avoid doing something else.
John Perry, a professor emeritus at Stanford, calls this “structured procrastination” and he has
a website and even a whole book about it. Someday you should read it, unless you’re behind
on a deadline—in which case you should read it right now.

What is time good for anyway?
What are we talking about anyway? We are talking about your time on earth, so before you decide on how to manage your time, you need to know what you want your life to be about. You cannot have it all and therefore if you concentrate on one thing then something else will have to give.

For example, if your life is about checking chores off of a to-do list then you will probably have less time to explore unanticipated opportunities. And, if you are more of an explorer then you’re likely
to leave undone the things you were working on when you received the call to adventure.

Perhaps you’d like to checkout my sister blog
and find easy, fast and efficient ways of working with the issues or little unpleasantness’s in your life.

Further down you will find:
Time management – some potential options. 20/01/14
Time Management and the Twitter trap. 19/01/14
Powerful goal setting rules. 10/01/14
How to say what you need. 29/12/13
Words that can get you into and out of trouble. 26/12/13
How to say ‘No’ at work in a way that helps your career. 24/12/13
How I learned to stop procrastinating and love letting go. 08/12/13
The art of resting fully. 29/11/13
Take back your power. 09/11/13