Monday, January 26, 2009

What's for Breakfast?

What’s for breakfast, good question? No one contests that your first meal of the day is probably the most important, but what to have is the bigger question. The answers really run the gamut of people’s tastes. Some skip breakfast, others have coffee and donuts; others hit the local fast food place for the breakfast value menu. Some of us cook something simple, instant oatmeal or a couple eggs.

My breakfast varies, most days I start my morning with 2 poached eggs on toast, sometimes instant oatmeal. Usually I’ll have an energy drink (check out the vitamin content) for a quick wakeup then choose the rest of my breakfast.

Now, here’s your chance to share your breakfast recipes. Don’t be shy my breakfast plan sometimes gets skipped and sometimes I eat a bigger breakfast that is more nutritional. Please share, perhaps we can get breakfast tips from each other.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Create systems to Simplify

What’s the best way to get things done, is it the easiest way, or is it the “old fashioned way”, do you have to sweat and toil because that’s the only way? I guess the best way is to have a system, a way of organizing tasks and getting them done. It seems a bit disconnected and calculating, but in the end when you have a plan of action or a routine to deal with various tasks that you encounter it becomes easier and you have a sense of satisfaction. A system helps you to get a task done quicker with less stress which allows you to take advantage of opportunities that reveal themselves to you.

Let’s start by, figuring out where we can develop routines and systems in our life. Some general areas that particularly lend themselves to routines:

1. Internet “surfing” and email, these things can easily be batched and scheduled to get the most from them.

2. Morning tasks, such as; showering, breakfast and making lunches, etc.

3. Pm tasks that could be used to facilitate morning tasks.

Other items can be put into lists and worked into routines on a different scale, such as monthly items, bills, auto maintained services and other regular appointments. These logically tie into annual lists. The reason for the lists is to quantify your tasks and appointments so that you now have more control by knowing what’s coming at you.

The list process also gives you the opportunity to “pare” down your activities to the most effective and to eliminate the least effective or useless tasks. There are many methods for making the decision of what to use and what to get rid of, the 80/20 principle, Parkinson’s rule, are the most prominent.

Myself, I’ll use self-questions to make the decision, basically asking is this working for me or is there a better way. These questions also bring me back to ways of eliminating stress because I’ve made the decision to continue to do this particular task and I know I can always come back to this and change my mind if some better method comes along.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Simple hacks for your calendar

A calendar is the best life management tool you could ever use, but don’t let it get out of control, it could easily leave you in a spin.

Any type of calendar, the free one you get from the drugstore, the pocket planner, the pda, or something on your computer or cellphone. It doesn’t matter; just find a system that works for you, so it’s okay to experiment. My self I have a relatively simple set up, but it works for me:

1. I use Outlook on my computer while I’m offline.

2. Online I sync with Plaxo, an online calendar and contact manager.

3. My cellphone with internet.

Outlook is an interface that I’m comfortable with and you could substitute any scheduling program you’re more comfortable with, such as iCalendar or one of the many personal info managers available. I’ll input all my contacts, my tasks and todo info and my appointments, plus any other time defined information then I’ll sync with Plaxo .

Now that I’ve done that, the information is available online, so I can get it on my cellphone or at an available computer with an internet connection. This also works in reverse; anything I input to Plaxo on my phone can be synced to my home computer when I get back home.

Some people use an even more simple system, a calendar with space for making notes, marking when bills are due, and maybe, a notation of a special event that occurred on that date. Then, near the end of one year and the beginning of another they’ll go through and record pertinent information from the old calendar to the new one. Thus, they have a record of last year and already know when something is coming up in the New Year.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New for 2009

I was thinking about what the subject of my next post should be when an unfamiliar car came up my driveway, I went out to intercept them.

To my surprise, it was a father and his young son, the father was driving his son around canvassing the neighborhood to see if someone might want to purchase “farm fresh” eggs from the boy. In an instant I realized, that before me was a young business person in the midst of his first start up venture. I told the boy I couldn’t purchase any eggs at this time, he then handed me a business card and said thank you. I looked at the card, it had his business, his name and contact number, and was affixed to a magnetic backing, I was impressed.

After they had left, I went back into my home realizing that this was just the beginning, because like that young man, I to was in “start-up” mode with my writing. In today’s economy, the powers that be are saying we’re in a “severe recession”; to many of us it might even seem worse. In the Depression of the 30’s many fortunes were lost, at least that’s what our history books tell us. I don’t recall much information of the fortunes that were made as a result of that economic event, but I’m sure there were some. There’s a new attitude emerging in the world, it has to do with people looking for a chance to do better, to find new ways to affect their life circumstances in a positive manner.

This is why I write this blog, to showcase the information and experiences that I see around myself and to send a positive message.

I’ll close with a quote credited to Albert Einstein, someone who was very thoughtful, at least in my opinion.

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”