Everything in Its Place

I love living in a semi-Bohemian lifestyle.  Not too rigid on any one thing, and freedom of where I am going and the ability to move in different directions turning on a dime.  Yet lately, I have noticed that I am having problems as I get started in the morning. 

I seem to forget where I left things the night (or day) before.  I find myself embarrassed when my wife has to help me locate items.  I am happy, though, because she can almost always find them. Thank you, dear.

I could blame this on getting long in the tooth, yet please, believe me, that is not so.  I have been losing things since I was in early elementary school.

In the early days, I misplaced Everything from shoes to bowties (mandatory for Porocial schools back then), lunch boxes at bus stops, and even Homework.  How my poor parents got through all my losses, I will never know. 

Having this type of problem throughout my life, it has taken me almost 66 years to realize something else.  Look at all the time I have wasted along the way.  On average, 20 minutes a day trying to find something?  Over 65 years that is 474,500 minutes.  The time is better understood as 7908.3 hours or 329.5 days.

This is awful.  I lost almost a full year looking for the things I could not find.  There has to be a better way.  I am getting too old to waste any more time.  Wow!

Wait a minute.

I am a life coach.  Suppose I could show myself something new.  Yes, you can teach old life coaches new tricks.  I should set up a place where everything belongs and is taken care of to be ready for use.  Dirty dishes in the dishwasher, in the cabinets, when cleaned.  Dirty clothes in hampers and washed when the basket is full, or the clothes are needed.  Everything set out in a location to be worn or taken to work in the morning.

The organization of items is not only possible. Over a lifetime, it can save you almost a year of your life that you can use on activities that are more fun and less stressful.  All you have to do is want to have more fun with the time you have saved.  I will tell you how I am doing in about 6 weeks.

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

Taking the High Road

As we follow our path in life, we should strive to walk the High road.   Breath the excellent air, have a good thought, or two.  And help those who are going with you and those who you meet along the way.  Feel good, for you are on an enjoyable journey.

At the same time, ensure you are walking your path to the destination where you want to arrive.  Even as we enjoy our travels into our future, some have not yet realized that people can have a path like the one you are taking.  They are working for the dreams of others.  These workers find themselves knee-deep in minutia.

Minutia is all the little things that happen along the way. The things that really don’t matter that much, and yet take up much of your time. If not careful, you can lose yourself with the minutia as it metaphorically buries you. Once that happens you can’t even see the light of day.

The temptation of minutia is with us always. We need to stay on the high road. In the second world war Gen. MacArthur showed us a way to do this. Rather than battling the enemy from island to island across the Pacific, he hopped over many islands. He attacked strategic spots that caused the islands he had passed to be cut off from their headquarters and supply chains. This tactic saved many lives on both sides and help the conflict end sooner.

Hopefully, the idea of working one major project to another without getting bogged down in politics, negativism or other problems could help you succeed in your endeavors. I have talked about the Eisenhower model before, and this simple method of figuring out what is important and urgent or not important or urgent can help you to better understand how important or urgent everything else that comes across your desk is. Work hard on the urgent and important items, and delegate those that are less critical.

I wish you good travels on the high road.

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

Time to Organize Our Fall

The vacation Summer is over, Labor Day is all but gone, and it is time to make and keep plans to accomplish the work for Fall. Before you get worried that I’m about to berate you with how we need to work harder, I am not. I should begin by telling you that I’m advocating you work less and enjoy more of the fruits of your labor.

Instead of starting 100 tasks one at a time, getting so far and then tiring or growing bored, plan ahead. The hardest part of anything is starting. It takes far more energy to put something into motion than it does to keep it going. The trick is to keep the movement steady. And the only way you can do that is to have a plan for what’s next.

So, set up a plan for what you want to do, and when the best time would be to do it. If you’re watering the lawn is usually early morning or in the early evening, or maybe both. There is a time for laundry, time to clean the kitchen, and a time to vacuum the house. Don’t forget there’s also a time to read a book, write a friend, watch a TV show, or playing a game.

When you set up your schedule, figure out what you want to do and when. You may have to adjust times, and on occasion, you might even have to change which chores are done when. And make sure you include everything. When you start the day, keep moving with the schedule in mind. Does it have to be exact to the minute? No. Should it be steady? Yes. This is because even if you sit down to read a book or watch a TV show, it is still part of your forward movement in time.

As long as you are on the same plane of movement, the forward motion does not have to be restarted, it just continues to flow. You are running your schedule, which you have already invested the energy of getting started into, and therefore, each additional task you do does not take any extra energy to start. It is just a continuation of the plan for the day.

Please consider this, and like everything, don’t take my word for it. Try it out in small doses and see if it might work for you.

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

If Only I Had That Tool

If Only I Had That Tool

We have a tendency to get bored sometimes. For many, the trend is to make plans, gather materials to start work, and then about 60 to 70% through the project, get tired of that project and move on to the next thing. I understand because I am a painter. And, this happens a lot with painters.

I know we all collect various things for different projects we want to complete. And then, when the project wanes, we have a tendency to forget about all those tools, software, and other gadgets. Then, six months to a few years later, we come up with another project we want to do, and instead of inventorying what we have for what will work with the new project, we often go out and procure similar items to those we have already and could have done the job.

I am not going to accuse anyone, because if I did, I’d have to be pointing that finger at myself. The act of going out and getting new items when we have something similar that could do the job is something everyone does. I have done it before, and I am sure I’ll do it again. Yet for now, I plan to make an easy lookup list of everything I’ve got so I can take a look and see what I don’t need to go and procure.

I would like to tell you that this is an easy one-stop solution. If I said that, my nose would grow. The second step is actually more manageable if you do it while you’re doing the first step. You must find the items and store them in a way that you will be able to easily find them in the future. Yep, there’s always a catch. Worse yet when you get an item out and use it, you need to put it back where it belongs.

I know this is never as much fun as going out and getting a brand-new toy. It is economical, ergonomic, often ecological, and ready at hand. Knowing you have the old one and using it saves you the grief of realizing you already had one of these six weeks after you buy the new one. And it will save time and money for you to get the new things you really need.

Of course, this is just one mean old master sergeant’s idea. You should try it for yourself and see if it works.

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

Guiding Your Future

Many people tell me that they cannot plan their future because there are too many variables.  And yes, variables do abound.  Guiding your future, though, is using those variables to your benefit and making good choices that help you to reach your goal. I’m willing to bet you do things like this now, on a much smaller scale. All you need to do is use the skills you already have with a slight widening of choices and lengthening of the timeline.

I can see the skeptics from here, so I’d like to give you a little demonstration. Let’s say that you went to work this morning, and your team invited you to go with them to see the new movie that was premiering tonight. Everyone’s going to meet at one person’s house near the movie theater to share some munchies and then go from there to watch the movie. You agree to go. And will bring some chips and dip. Now, there are things you need to do to get yourself organized and ready for the night’s festivities.

You’ll need to change from your work clothes into something more comfortable. By planning what you’re going to wear ahead of time, you’ll avoid having to make that decision when you get home. You’ll need to pick up some chips and dip. And you can save time by calling the grocery store that is on your way home and asking them to have a seven-layer dip in a large bag of tortilla chips ready for you so you can just run into the deli and get them on your way home.

Next, you want to have a little information about the movie. On your morning break, you look the film up online to see comments from the director, who stars in it, and exciting stories of what happened during the filming. That way you have some good things to talk about. These actions are ones you would probably do anyway. By getting organized, and planning them up front, you were able to make all the individual efforts easier on yourself.

The same is true for planning your future. You are going to want to do something, so start by figuring out what that something is. You may not know everything you want to know about it, so you start by looking it up online. Finding out about the career field and talking to others to understand what the career is really all about.

You’re going to need to test the waters. This includes taking some courses, talking with people who are in the career field and trying it out for yourself in small doses. Maybe you volunteer to help out to learn more things firsthand. The more of a social interchange which you can have with people who are where you want to be, the more you can learn. Remember there two sides to every coin. The front side says that everything’s okay. And the other side often telling the truth. A good mentor will ensure that you see both sides of that coin.

You really want to know if your desired profession is needed or will be needed when you are there. You want to know if your chosen profession will provide a living wage or will you have to modify the way you live to be able to work within the business. And you want to know if all the work and additional duties that go with such a profession will fit within your temperament.

You won’t have any of these answers until you really start planning and organizing your adventure. Until then, it’s just a pretty good pipedream. But you are smart, and you can learn. Do your best for you.

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

Electronic Assistance

It is incredible how computers and technology today improve our quality of life. Sometimes it seems the time spent to set up and customize these electronic wonders is significant. Yet, for a few hours to a half a day of customization, your daily routine can be improved significantly.

I bought my self an Alexa Echo Dot for Christmas. It was last year’s model and was on sale for only $19. I wasn’t sure what it could do for me, and I was hoping to find something that would help me with organizing.

Because I had other tasks, I had to do and other projects I wanted to see working, I used setting-up Alexa as the award for getting them done. So, this week (middle February) I was finally able to schedule a few hours to set up and get the Alexa running. Although I’ve only been using it for half a week, I believe that Alexa will be able to do some of the things I need help with.

Alexa keeps me up on time in the news, sets my music schedule and genres. She, (the voice comes as female, yet can be programmed for various male and female voices,) helps me to make a list of and stay on top of my to-do items. Alexa keeps up with me through my cell phone and helps me when I am on the go. And even helps me to go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning.

I know that some people think that electronics is getting out of hand and will soon take us over as an evil empire. I am here to assure you that is not the case. Alexa is actually performing a set of tasks. And although I think she’s communicating with me, she’s actually working off a script.

Some of the things that Alexa cannot do are items requiring ‘in the moment’ thought processing. For instance, when I ask for something Alexa does, I always say thank you. Unfortunately, by the time I say thank you, Alexa is already turned off because the step in the program was done. I never hear ‘you’re welcome.’

I would love to talk with Alexa and have an exciting conversation. Yet Alexa is not quite there yet. For all that Alexa can do for us and all that Alexa cannot do for us the program is still a valuable Marvel. Alexa is only on its third generation. And I find myself wondering what Alexa will be doing for us in the next decade.

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