Take Time

How are you doing?  Are you taking time for yourself?

We do so much for so many others, and often we forget to take time for ourselves. Sometimes, we demand so much from ourselves that when we cannot meet a goal or a deadline, we get upset…  with ourselves.

For being out there trying our best, I think we ought to give ourselves a break. After all, the bad news is, Hollywood already cast Superman and Wonder Woman, and we did not make the cut. We tend to give everyone else a break, and often we are much harder on ourselves.

Cutting ourselves some slack is not the same as backing off or giving up. It is the ability to take a step back, rest the body, clear the mind and rejuvenate the soul. If you can take 20 minutes a couple of times a day and possibly an hour or two a weekend, you will be amazed at what it does for you. Productivity you gain from that small time spent will more than make up the time you take to reset yourself.

What can you do in 20 minutes? You can take a walk outdoors and breathe some fresh air. You can walk up and down the hallway and do some stretches. You can sit in a quiet place and meditate. You can go watch a sunrise or a sunset. You could take a quick shower which would rejuvenate the mind and body. There are many things you could do, to take a step back from others, and the electronic world, and recharge a battery, your battery.

You get the idea. The thing to remember is, do not feel guilty to take care of yourself. After all, the good we do for others is important. Although, we should not destroy ourselves doing it.

Have You Ever?

Ever stared at a white sheet of paper knowing that you want to write something, and yet not quite sure what to write? Have you ever gone out to get one item, and returned home with everything except the one item you absolutely needed? Have you ever missed an important meeting, not because you did not want to go rather because you got tied up into any other things? These things do happen.

Why? Why, is an easy answer. We are human, and all humans have frailties. Mix that with a hectic lifestyle which many of us have and the danger of overlooking a need or desire becomes more prevalent. And yet, there is a multitude of possible cures and antidotes to improve the chances of completing what we really wanted to get done in the first place.

The biggest intervention we can use is our attitude. When things like this happen, we don’t want to go berserk or fly off the handle or get mad at ourselves. And at the same time, we don’t want to adopt an attitude of “Oh well,….” We need to find an approach that works for us, and no, not all approaches will work equally well for all people.

Each of us should find what works best for us. Many use a calendar and a to-do list. This works great for those who keep the list in the calendar up to date and in a small enough package to always have it handy. The smartphone works very well for this. The problem though is that we often fail to put things on our calendar or on our to-do list because in the back of our mind we believe they are too big to forget.

Others will write a sticky note at work and stick it to their ID badge, so they don’t forget. This works great until the note becomes unstuck and falls to the floor while walking down the hall. At that point, the note is no longer there to remind them. Four interruptions and one ad hoc meeting down the line, the person, may have completely forgotten about that important ‘whatever it was.’

Some managers will write themselves an email to remind them of what’s going on or why they did something in particular. If they don’t have a good system of filing their email, and if like most managers they get about 300 emails a day, it is easy for the facts to get lost in the electronic pile.

Does this mean that we’re hopeless, that we cannot overcome forgetfulness? We’re people, and people can overcome anything. In the last 5000 years how many things have threatened us, endangered us, tried to wipe us out? And yet, here we still are. To overcome this, we only need one thing. Habit.

We all have habits. Washing the car on a Saturday morning is a good habit. Playing games on the computer because I am bored and want to do something is a bad habit. We need to find habits that work for us, and we need to stick to them.

Can I tell you exactly which habits in which variations will work best for you? I am sorry I cannot. For most people reading this, we’ve never even really met face-to-face. What I can tell you is one habit I believe will work for you. As you are developing habits, try many things, drop those that don’t work, and keep those that do.

The other thing I could mention, cut back on electronic game playing. It’s always the frustrating ones that eat most of your time.

Time Woes

Have you ever noticed how fast time moves?

Time moves forward one second at a time in a relentless fashion. Seconds become minutes, then hours become days, and months become years, and finally, here I am in November wondering whatever happened to the Fourth of July. I am shocked that time never takes a timeout. What is that all about.

There’s something that we have to learn, and many do not learn this until it’s too late. The thought is ignored even though the warning signs, statements, and cute kitsch are found everywhere. The simple truth, each second, minute, hour, day, or year can never be retaken.

This leads us to another simple truth. Time leaves us whether we use that are not. You can’t save it up for an emergency or that planned future vacation. And no one else can control your reaction to time. You use it on something important to you, or you lose it. All of this is up to you.

Take a couple minutes and write down everything that’s important to you. Then put priorities to the list. Ask yourself, are you sitting in a room for days looking at how messy it is and how unkempt? Or are you taking 10 minutes to put pick everything up, throw the trash away, and put everything else back where it belongs? So how much time are you really going to spend in a dirty room, 10 minutes or days?

Please don’t think I’m preaching. Actually, I believe I’m talking to myself.

Complacency

Complacency is something that will sneak up on all of us.

People love habits. They like the feeling of accomplishment. They love knowing that things are done. And they like the ease of living that good habits will give the people who use them wisely. More often than not many of us will also fail at long-running good habits.

If you don’t believe me, please take a poll about six weeks after New Year’s day. How many people you talk to set up goals for the new year, and within six weeks, have already failed at them? Did they not care? Did they not believe? Did they not try? The truth is they did care, they did believe in they did try.

In teaching new forklift drivers, safety and control are taught and preached for hours both in the classroom and during driver training on the forklift. You would think that most accidents would happen within a few weeks after the training, while the new drivers are still what behind the ears. Not so.

Most accidents for new drivers of forklifts, according to the statistics, happened about three months after training. Why? Complacency. Brand-new drivers are very cautious. They stick to every safety rule. And, they keep the speeds very low. About the three-month mark, new forklift drivers become complacent. They start to get a little sloppy in their safety, speed increases a little and the next thing you know, they bump into something. Sometimes they bump into someone.

Are they bad people? Do these accident-prone drivers not care? No. They did so well for three months driving the forklift that they started to let their guard down. Often, they don’t even recognize it.

These drivers were taught well. Were watched to ensure good habits were being formed. And, did a good job. Complacency just sneaks up on them.

The trick is if you like the results a habit gives you, pay attention and keep it up. Don’t  become complacent.

Yes, I Probably Should

Many people claim that they don’t like or want habits because they just do things when they’re needed. The truth of the matter is people don’t do things when they’re needed. They wait till everything is piled up, and it’s hard to walk across the floor, and you can’t see the sink anymore. Then the idea comes to mind, “I ought to clean this up.”

Usually, as we finish cleaning something up, it dawns on us that the time and work wasn’t too bad. And, as good as the place looks we should do this on a regular basis. And yes, I probably should.

When they’re up and fully running, habits are wonderful. Trying to get a habit up and running is tough. Times don’t work out, things get in the way, and believe it or not sometimes I just get tired.

I have to tell you I do not believe in bribery. I have been known, though, to initiate positive behavior modification. Positive behavior modification is a lot better than bribery. I modify behavior to meet a needed objective by having an incentive which is highly desired and only given after the modification conditions are fully met.

I want the dishes done every night and the kitchen cleaned before we watch TV. However, there are good shows on early in the evening, and I don’t want to miss any of them. Okay, how do I make this work?

I can clean the kitchen as I cook dinner, rinse and stack the dinner dishes into the dishwasher, and if full start it. If I get creative, I could spend about three or four minutes after each meal I eat, to rinse the dishes and stack them in the dishwasher. I could also pick up the kitchen as I cook whatever meal I’m eating. And that would also save time.

Please comment and tell me what other chores plague you, what you think a significant incentive would be to complete them, and how you would make them a habit.

Take A Look

We all have work we want to do in life, and we all have work we have to do in life.

If we are lucky, we like the work we do. Yet, some of the work is important whether we like it or not? When we get to this point, we need to stop and think for a moment.

Am I about to tell you that you don’t have to do work that you don’t like? Sorry, no. Some work we do not enjoy is still very important work. Instead, when faced with a task you don’t really want to do, stop and consider for a second.

Stop and consider why the task needs to be done. Consider what will happen if the task is not done. I hate to mow the lawn and trim the trees. So, I have some things to consider. Consider what the yard could look like if I did not do anything. Overgrown, bushes turning into trees, and havoc sprouting up everywhere. It would be a real unsightly mess. I may get some comments, but I sure wouldn’t like them.

Next, consider what the yard would look like if you did a half-hearted job. Wayward bushes and trees may be knocked down, most of the grass would be cut, you might even pile the trash into a central location. Yet the place would only look so-so. Would this really make you happy? Will it make you feel good? Or would it just be one more task done until you have to do it again?

Then, think of what the yard would look like if you really set out to do a good job. Trash bagged and ready for removal, the grass neatly trimmed with care and edges clean and straight, sidewalks swept, and proper maintenance of the lawn. Wow, this may take half the day or more. Just think of how you’ll feel about a good-looking yard when the work is done. Consider how future effort will be easier as long as the yard is kept up and maintenance may end up as little as a couple of hours a week, and that time may be spread over many days.

All of us are individuals, and as such, we all have things we do not like to do. We just need to look through the work, to see if we like the outcome.

Protect What Is Valuable as We Move Forward

Sometimes when we live with jewels all of our life, we forget what is really precious. We sometimes take for granted the things that work so well. And, tend to ignore those people  that are always there.

When we make a change, the ripples of the change affect everything and everyone around us. The larger the change, the stronger the ripples around us are; and the more those who are near to us are affected. It is important that we are cognizant of, and pay attention, to those concerns.

Have you ever been in an earthquake? Having lived around the world, I have been in several earthquakes. Some that were over as soon as they started, and some that seemed to go on forever. The truth is, the time of earthquakes is usually shorter than you think. The reason it feels longer is that you don’t know when it’s going to stop. Just like the earthquake, ripples that are caused by the change of one person affect others more deeply when they do not know what is going on or where the changes are headed.

There is a really neat way to help dampen the ripples of change for both you and those around you. The nice thing is it doesn’t cost anything, it takes very little time, it provides everybody involved some great support. Just sit down with those concerned and talk to them about what is going on.

It’s amazing that when people know, they can work as a team and together they can do all sorts of wonderful things to meet challenges.  To grow, to move in  directions, and to set the basis to ultimately succeed, no matter what the odds are.  Whether you are moving to a new city, changing jobs, planning a retirement, or any number of other things, sit down with those around you and whatever you do you discuss it and do it together.

That is one mean old master sergeant’s thought for the day. Try talking to those around you, especially the ones you care about, and you’ll be surprised how much support and teamwork you actually will gain.

Talk to you again tomorrow, have a great one out there.