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Welcome to ProcessImprovement.Me.  Each week we will post between one and three blog posts on change, how to improve at something in life or business, or learning something new.  Please join us and participate in the comments.  We would really like to hear your thoughts.  You cannot post a comment on the home page (just the way they set up the site.) All the other pages do afford the ability to post comments. We recommend you use the Blog Page for this.

Please join us, have fun, and interact with others in the same kindness that you would like others to interact with you.

Time to Think

We are in a battle for lives, ours, and the lives of those we know and love.  We need to stay hunkered down in our abodes, separated and safe.  The isolation gives us time to think.  And, time to think, if left on its own, can be a fearful experience. The mind, wondering without direction, will develop its own scenarios.  Some types of thoughts that might seem real are only a culmination of the tribulations we imagine.

I would like to propose we give our minds diversions which we monitor.  True, streaming our favorite entertainment can do this.  The problem is that outside stimulus only reaches so far.  The brain will grow bored with it.  I recommend we put the mind to work and see what it can do for us.

We might take a look at what interests us, and how we can make an item, process, or new invention better.  Is there a way of doing something that would change lives for the better?  What is the next gadget that will be in demand?
How can you save your neighbors’ time, money, or work?  How are you going to help make the people want to exert to be more fit?

If you only had the time?  I think we have it.  If you only could do some research? On the web. If you only had some people to help?  Friends on social apps.  If you only had an idea? Run a focus group on a group chat or video conference.

We find ourselves in a strange state.  For all that is going wrong in the world right now, we can reach out and help one another.  We do this, not with a physical presence. Instead, we meet with the virtual realm we have built to bring us closer together.

Thank you for being with me today.  I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Stay Strong

They say that this week will be one of the hardest and saddest for America.  And that well may be.  We need to keep our faculties about us and understand that we need to be stable and supportive.  There are some things we must keep in mind.

We did not cause the pandemic that we face today.  And we could not have stopped it either.  If anyone could have seen this happening before its initial outbreak, then someone would also be winning the power ball each week.  The truth is no one can accurately see the future.

Many will want to blame, and yet there is no one here on which to pin the blame. There will be time to ponder what-ifs later.  That is for another talk.  This week we have better things we need to be doing. 

We may lose some good folks this week.  We need to remember them.  Think of the good those leaving us may have done, and how much better someone’s life was because they made it so.  I always pray their good deeds remain not forgotten and that they find themselves welcomed wherever they go from here.

I know the fight we face right now to save who we can, will be hard and painful.  I know the odds seem stacked against us.  Yet, I believe we will do the best we can and put our full mental and emotional weight behind the brave angels who fill our medical battlefields and tend to the sick and terminal.

We need to stay strong for those in the heat of battle. We need to believe that miracles, although rare, are never impossible.  We also must care for our needs and those around us, so we are ready if needed.

We have faced hardships before, that is how most of our countries came to be what they are today.  The pandemic is one more hardship that we face and will be better because we refused to let it beat us.

Thank you for being with me today.  I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Happy Minds Are Busy Minds

It is crucial that, in any crisis, you acknowledge the problem.  You do all you can to solve the issues that are present, seen, and unseen.  And then the most challenging part comes. You need to stop dwelling on the micro-details of each thing that could go wrong and find something to do while the event plays out.  If you do not give your mind something else to do, it will entertain itself with what-ifs.

I think some of the actions we are seeing from the top leaders are diversions to help us have other things on which to maintain focus.  And, yes, we need distractions.  One thing you can use as a change is to clean and possibly rearrange your house or have the kids design a better way to layout their bedroom. 

Another thing you can do is look at your work and what you would like to do if your company does not open after the pandemic.  I worked at a workforce center in 2008 – 2015.  I saw good people make simple mistakes that kept them from being hired into good jobs.  

I will go into more detail on this later next week and the week after.  For now, do not worry about your work; there will be jobs.  And try not to worry about pandemics.  The best way to lower worry is to stay focused on what they tell us to do and keep our minds busy with something positive.

Does anyone have a good mask I could make or use?

Thank you for being with me today.  I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Setting the Standard

I am a real proponent of distance education.  In this electronic age, we blame so much of our electronic use for causing everything from bad habits to addiction and poor eyesight. Our use of phones, tablets, and laptops now turns to help keep education alive when it is unhealthy to have children in physical classrooms.

I did much of my Master of Arts in Adult Education and Training on distance learning.  With a worldwide shortage of teachers, training on the web is a way to help everyone learn.  This connection to knowledge has great potential for teaching all age groups and many skills.

If parents want to impress their young learners, I challenge them to learn something new on the web.  You do not have to enroll in a university.  There are many free and almost free sites on the Internet where you can find something exciting and learn it.  Pick something that you have always had a desire to know.

I know many of us are working from home these days.  Think of what it might mean to your kids if the whole family spent an hour or two a day learning around the table.  Everyone would be working on their classes, and the thought that everyone, even mom and dad learning, could be a real emotional victory.  It might be something that could unite a family and show how important education is for everyone.

One thing I have learned is that we are in an age of continuous learning.  We cannot rest on what we know today, because tomorrow will overtake the old knowledge with new ideas and new facts.  Our knowledgebase grows that fast these days.  What you may teach your kids about learning with an exercise like this may give them an insight that will power them throughout their life.

Thank you for being with me today.  I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Cabin Fever

As our days of quarantine stretch into another four weeks, we need to remember that the good or bad that we experience is not in our surroundings as much as it is in our mind’s eye.  Wherever you are, your next month could be better, and it could be much worse.  Whatever you are experiencing, is controlled more from your head and less from your four walls.

Some people would hate being in a royal palace, and some would be happy in a barn stall.  Your domicile is just that, a home.  Apartment or estate, your place of residence is only that, the place where you live. Whether you are happy with it or not is up to you.  This function lives in your brain.

Make a list with three columns.  What you like about your surroundings, what you do not like about your surroundings. The third column is what you can change about your surroundings to make them more desirable for you. Remember, the problem is more profound than just someone or something.  The problem is the results of some action or interference, which prevents you from your desired goal. 

Look at the list from time to time to see how you can minimize the actions that give you discomfort.  As you do this, try to be mindful of your effects that cause others the same angst that you are feeling.   Consider what you can do to minimize their negative feelings. Also, consider the idea that if they felt better, you might feel better.

Thank you for being with me today.  I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

How Simple?

Are you tired of how something works?  Want to make a change for the better? There is no time like the present to do so.  We need to accept that until you take a stab at fixing what bothers you, that item will just continue to be an annoyance.  If you are staying home anyway, why not be a little productive. Changing something for the better is a good act that will exercise the mind and help take your thoughts off other, less appealing, matters.

Remember, I told you earlier this week,  we have a fabulous computer, and it usually has a less than stellar memory system?  That is true.  Therefore, I suggest we start with some paper and writing implements.  Find a writing pad or notebook, some pens, pencils, markers, or whatever you are comfortable using.  The use of a computer, smartphone, or tablet is also encouraged for doing research, talking to mentors, and mock-up drawings.

Start by writing about what it is you want to change, make better, or invent.  Use the five W’s (who, what, when, where, why, and how).  Try to give an overall view of what you want to do and specifics on how the change will work.  Your work, at this point,  does not need to be perfect, just do the best you can, as you work through this, things will change.

Do your research.  Identify not only how your ideas will improve the task, why will it improve the lives of others? When will people use this new item or technique? And what the positive differences are, and how these differences will benefit others?  You can set out with some theories and then prove them as you go.

Please don’t be surprised if your idea takes several tries and revisions to get right.  Remember the vast number of tests Thomas Edison went through to settle on tungsten as the filament for the light bulb.  The trick is not to give up.  If you believe in something, continue on until you have the right solution.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Brainpower

You can do more than you think.  You will not do what you need to, though, if you can accept what is.  You have to start by realizing the status quo is something you cannot stand, and you want something different.  Dishes get washed when you are upset with a dirty kitchen. 

When the problem happens on many occasions, then a habit is developed. ‘I will clean the kitchen and wash the dishes at the end of each day. I do this, so the kitchen is clean at the start of each morning.’ Wala, a habit is born.

The harder an answer is to find and establish, the more displeasure you must have with how a problem affects you.  The world is never changed by those who can live with the present circumstances.  It only gets better when someone refuses to bend to the will of the commonplace and forces a change for the better.  If it bothers you badly enough, you will stop complaining and do something about the problem.

Many of the people who have made significant changes in our way of living are considered grouches.  They are only people who have found what will work better and refuse to allow anything else in their offerings to the world.  These forward thinkers toil to provide us a better way.

We, too, can provide our take on how things should work.  It is good to find better ways and efficient protocols for the things we do in life.  Remember, though, that the price we pay to succeed is often the obstinance to accept anything less, and that takes some doing.

Thank you for being with me today.  I hope to be with you again tomorrow.