Category Archives: Lifehack

15 No-Brainer Methods For Leading An Incredibly Average Life

Average People
Most people are average, and you can be too.
Don’t worry: the world was built to cater to average people!

 

So, here are my top 15 no-brainer methods for leading an incredibly average life:

  1. Pay $30+k to ‘find yourself’. Go to University because you’re supposed to and you have no good ideas for what else to do with your life anyway.
    Don’t worry: Take out student loans, you’ll have lots of time to pay them back.
  2. Get a job and work 45+ hours / week, because – “hey!, everyone needs a job” right?
    Don’t worry:  You may hate it, but at least you have a paycheck.
  3. Head into the ‘office’ every day for the next few decades and sit in your cubicle – or, if you’re ‘lucky’, your open office seating. Check off boxes on a never-ending todo list and jump through hoops.
    Don’t worry: you can surf Reddit, check Facebook and play Solitaire when nobody is watching.
  4. Live beyond your means. Buy a fancy car, a big new TV. Put it on your credit card!
    Don’t worry: It’s kind of like free money and your friends will be impressed with all your ‘stuff’!
  5. Watch commercials, billboards and magazine ads, trust marketers to tell you the truth about life and how to make yours more fulfilling.
    Don’t worry: You deserve some luxury items after all your hard work jumping through hoops and checking boxes all day and ‘they’ said it was cool!
  6. Don’t push the envelope, try new things, voice your opinions.
    Don’t worry: Your favorite restaurant will always serve your favorite dish just how you like it.
  7. Accept what everybody tells you at face value and don’t bother spending any time thinking about other peoples motivations.
    Don’t worry: Everybody you meet has your best interests at heart.
  8. Concern yourself about what other people think.
    Don’t worry: Your boss, your friends, your parents, and most of the people you pass on your way to work everyday know what’s best for you.
  9. Develop a regular weekly schedule. Plan out meals, social events and all activities well in advance.
    Don’t worry: It’s important to always know when leftover night falls.
  10. Never travel anywhere truly foreign. Other people can be strange and have nothing to teach you.
    Don’t worry: Trips to all inclusive resorts and package cruises are nice and affordable and you’ll be able to rub shoulders with other people who jump through hoops and check off boxes most days.
  11. Have some kids. Stick them in daycare. Put them in school. Trust the system.
    Don’t worry: The system has your child’s best interests at heart.
  12. Watch a lot of TV and movies – The new golden age of television is here!
    Don’t worry: It’s great quality family time right? Besides, at least you’ll have something interesting to talk about over the water cooler between hoop jumping and box checking.
  13. Don’t bother wasting time thinking about life and what you really want out of it.
    Don’t worry: Things have a strange way of working themselves out for better or worse and at least you didn’t waste any time planning for it.
  14. Spend a lot of time day dreaming.
    Don’t worry: Dreams can be very fulfilling, and they’re a great way to eat up some of that 45+ hours a week jumping through hoops and checking off boxes.
  15. Live in the same city you grew up in. Forever.
    Don’t worry: It’s comforting and you’ll know everyone.

American Mailboxes - Hope Street ... Tired Of Inequality? (September 12, 2013 3:05 AM) -- Read an excerpt of Average Is Over ...Don’t worry: Life and everything in it seems to pander to the average. Average is easy. Average is safe.

But…

Average is incredibly boring. Average is completely un-fulfilling.

 

Thanks for visiting and don’t forget to change the world on your way out!

If I don’t wave back…

 

I’ve come to the realization lately (there was no real lightning bolt moment, it was a discovery that dawned upon me slowly) that I have some of my best, most lucid thoughts while driving around.

Many of my “Ah HA!” moments come to me somewhere along Steel Street; about the half-way mark on my drive home.

I don’t know what it is exactly, but it’s true.  Maybe it’s the fresh air (I drive with the windows down typically) or empty mind state (by your 30′s driving doesn’t take much thought, esp. on a well travelled route), or some combination of other factors…

Whatever it is though, I drive with a notepad and a digital recorder lately!

I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you see me on the road and wave, don’t be upset if I don’t wave back, I’m probably deep in thought.

Where’s your ‘Thinking Spot’?

GTD – Step 1 – Prioritize

On Tuesday I talked a little (ok, maybe a lot) about GTD.

To reiterate… Step 1 is all about taking care of the important things first.

And doing it is easier than you may think. I made this little image, printed it out and hung it on my wall (There has to be a name for this, I know I didn’t invent it!):

(* update – sorry, it won’t let me embed it! so I linked to flickr)

(* update 2 – added the image!)

That’s it.

Now EVERYTHING (and I mean everything) gets a label of 1 to 4. Everything I need to do that is going to take me more than 15 minutes goes on an excel spreadsheet and receives a rating of 1 to 4; then:

Things that receive a # 1 Get Done First.
Generally things that receive a # 2 Get Done Next, followed by things that receive a # 3.
And of course things that receive a # 4 get thrown out right away (very little gets a number 4).

It’s easy, it’s helpful, and it makes a huge difference.

Getting Things Done

Wired man

I am Zen… I’ve discoverd my Tao… I GTD (Get things done)

Oh wait, reality’s setting in, yup, work’s still piled up to my eyeballs.

-sigh-

I love dabbling in new things & I love multitasking (I get bored if I’m not busy), but I have a problem.

Lately… ok, for years now… I’ve had some issues Getting Things Done.  Not that I don’t get things done, I do, but my list of things that NEED gettin’ done seems to grow faster than my list of things gettin’ done.

And I can’t stop.  Everyday brings new things to look at, play with, test, tweak, fix, and before I know it I’ve yet another thing on my GTD list.

Unfortunately, at least for me, a really long GTD list is a little depressing.  I know I can’t realistically get through it ALL, and if I try I won’t be able to really dig in and get it done in a way that would make me happy.  Pretty soon I stop doing the basic stuff (like trying to stay organized) because it all starts to feel like too much work.  And the snowball grows.

Eventually I get frustrated with my list of half completed projects, crumple my GTD list into a little ball (metaphorically speaking) and toss the whole thing out the window so I can start fresh; generally losing some things that really SHOULD have gotten done in the process!

So what do we do?

Todays world demands us to do things bigger, better, faster and more frequently, and many of us are happy to try and oblige.  But at some point it starts to feel like we’re going to, crack, explode, go crazy or otherwise expire.

Maybe it’s just me?  Maybe I’m the only one trying to fit way too much into way too little (time)?

I doubt it, most people I know are in the same boat to some degree or another.  Very few people are really good at just one thing, love to do that one thing, and spend all their time and effort concentrating on that one thing… It’s just not human! ;)

So again, what do we do?

Well, in the infamous words of Bob “Baby steps to four o’clock”.

Starting today I’ve decided (this has been building for awhile, I’m not making a rash decision :) to make some changes:

  • Less clutter
  • Fewer superfluous activities
  • More directed effort
  • More ‘work smart’ effot
  • More GTD!
  • More zen in my life

I’ve been agonizing over where to start for a while and am in the process of making a list of steps, but I think the best way to start is One Thing At A Time!  So, as of today, I’m going to be exrutiatingly meticulous with Step 1:

Taking care of the MOST important things first.

I already try for the most part, so it should be a relatively easy transition. It’s funny how so many of the less important things seem to take care of themselves eventually!

Step 2 will be:

Wake up at a consistant hour

I know this may sound like an irrelevant thing to worry over, but I get out of bed anywhere between 6:30 and 9:30 and the fluctuation really effects my day to day patterns. My goal is to get up everyday between 6:45 and 7 am.

Step 3 is Declutter

Both work and living spaces.  I’m bad. Really bad.  Not unorganized, but definitely cluttered (my parents, were they present during this conversation, would likely chime in right about now with some kind of ‘PackRat’ type comment)

But before I can get this far I need to deal with Step 1.

Starting now.

And right now the most important thing I can do is go home and spend a few hours with my kids!  Tomorrow I’ll talk a little more about How I plan to go about Step 1.

Wish me luck!

The new and improved ScribeFire

I love Firefox.

I have plenty of other browsers installed, some are good, some less so… but I’ve never found anything to coax me away from Firefox.

Believe or not though, this post isn’t about why I love firefox, but rather it’s addon capabilities.

There are a lot of smart folks who have produced a lot of smart addons that make my day to day life easier and more productive. (I’m sure most of those smart folks don’t read this blog, but if you do, THANK YOU!)

Specifically, the reason for my little ode to Firefox came about because I just installed the new version of ScribeFire.

I used to use ScribeFire back when it was called Performance or Performancing and for one reason or another stopped (I honestly can’t remember why). But I came across news on the newest release today and reinstalled it… and what a treat!

ScribeFire is a Firefox addon that provides you with full posting capabilities from any webpage.

Once you’ve set it up to talk with your blog (took about 15 seconds) you can create posts/notes/drafts/pages from anywhere! No more copy and pasting from one tab or window to another!

And the ScribeFire WYSIWYG is significantly better than any built in blog editor I’ve used before.

Other features from ScribeFire:

…categorize and tag your blog posts, upload images, set the timestamp of your posts, save works-in-progress as notes, post an entry as a draft, share your posts on social websites, and upload files via FTP.

You can also open multiple posts in ScribeFire at the same time, copy text from a website and preserve the sites formatting, copy text as a quote with attribution, supports common keyboard shortcuts, call up old posts in the ScribeFire interface, flip between code and design views, pull in images or video from flickr or youtube instantly and even promote your post via several social bookmarking sites right from the interface.

I love the fact that ScribeFire is tabbed and isn’t locked to the page you are on, so you can do some research, opening each source in a different tab, and then open ScribeFire and flip back and forth between all your sources, pulling what you need without interrupting your blogging interface!

A couple of funny things I did notice already (hey, nothing’s perfect right!?)…

  • Some tags, like heading tags, are absent from the interface and you will need to code them directly (not a huge deal).
  • If you accidentally use the wrong formatting somewhere, clicking the same button doesn’t UNDO it, you have to flip over to code view and delete the associated tags

All said this is a great addition to Firefox for any blogger and I heartily recommend giving it a try (I’ve only been using for 1/2 an hour and look what I have to say!)

This is the best lifehack/workhack tool I’ve tried out in a long time!

Twitter and Social Media

A new friend on Twitter, Christine Taylor, or MouseWords as I know her on Twitter (if you are on Twitter you should friend Christine!), recently asked me a few questions after I live-Twittered the birth of my third kid…

A Baby Girl!

A daughter, born January 11!

I’m going to dig (that’s dig with a single ‘g’) into the whole social media question more in the coming weeks and thought these questions were as good a place as any for me to get started…

Why Twitter our child’s birth:

This was our third child and one of the things that we noticed the first two times through was that there were always people we forgot to phone right away.

Social media provided a great way to remedy the problem.

From my cell phone I uploaded images to my flickr account, and sent regular updates via twitter.

I also setup my twitter account to forward to my facebook profile status.

It turned out to be a great way to include our family and friends (new and old) through the whole process without having to worry about who to call next!

An unexpected side benefit was the fact that it was really exciting for us to read the real-time encouragement and congratulations sent back to us via facebook and twitter (funnelled back to my phone via text messaging).

We were really happy with how it turned out and happy to share with everyone!

What is your opinion of Social Media’s influence on society in general?

For the general public, Social Media provides a variety of great and fun tools to stay connected with friends and family as well as connect with lost friends and acquaintances. I think SM services are getting more savvy all the time and we’re going to see more and more platforms that ‘do it all’, which will be a good thing; preventing us from having to log into 10 different sites to check up on all our friends.

From a business point of view, Social Media is becoming more and more valuable as more of the general public integrates their lives in the social web. SM is quickly changing the way we look at and think about media and its influence on our buyers.

Look at it this way… When most people make a purchase, it’s an emotional decision, and logic generally only enters to justify the transaction. As a company, we need to connect with our customers more powerfully than our competitors have in order to create a brand loyalty that will see people through a transaction. The better the connection we’ve made, the greater the emotional tie people have to our brands; and social media provides incredible ways to communicate and connect directly with the people who are already looking for us.

I like to tell people that in the wild pre-internet days companies would communicate with their customers via ads, in print, TV or radio; a communication style that isn’t unlike standing on top of a soapbox and yelling through a bullhorn, hoping your voice will be heard by the right people. All the advances, and globalization of TV and Radio that occurred by the end of the last century didn’t change any of that… they just provided bigger and bigger bullhorns to yell at audiences through.

But SM HAS changed all that. Social networks and social media and the internet in general allow us to find the people who are already interested in us and our products; talk to our customers one-on-one; and even proactively find disgruntled or dissatisfied customers instantly!

SM will likely never replace the 30 second spot (TV commercial), but any company that doesn’t invest a little time and energy to at least BE where their customers are, are going to find themselves losing out to their more savvy competition who realize Social media is an increasingly integral part of any marketers toolbox.