Archive for November, 2011


Tasks will never get done

I feel rather negatively about tasks lately.  My tasks list increases 4 or 5 tasks for every 1 that I get done.  The more and more I add the more paralysed I become.  Some notes about a task list.

* Because people see a task list does not mean they will do anything about it.

* Somehow force a day where no new tasks are added to the list (this seems impossible in a retail setting)

* Group certain tasks together:  In my tasks I have ORDERS: for ordering products, RESEARCH: for a client that needs to know something, and STICKY NOTES: task that just have what sticky notes all over my desk and monitor say in case any of them actually had something important on them.  ORDERS are more important than RESEARCH people expect product by a certain time, RESEARCH questions from customers are more forgiving than product orders.

* Take advantage of you time:  I run into the problem of not wanting to get started on ordering items because a customer will walk in the door and thwart whatever I was doing, so I just don’t get started unless I have a lot of time. Well in retail that is impossible to tell and thus crippling in those responsibilities.  I will be trying harder to sneak in those time to hack away at the large task list instead of adding to it.

* Let go of work if you have to let go of work anyway:  Every night as a looming task list haunts me at the end of the day I think to myself that when I get home I am going to work on all those tasks.  Then I get frustrated as I am home and have to help cook, wash dishes, put the kid to bed, discuss finances and take out the trash…then I am tired and want some of that rest and relaxation that people need after working all day.  I learned that if I am needed at home then I have to leave the work behind, perhaps if the tasks cannot be completed at work during the work day, then something else needs to be done, maybe another person hired or others trained and assigned certain tasks.

Writing books…I think almost anyone with any level of ambition has wanted to write a book.  About what? At first that doesn’t really matter.  Why?  Well that may matter a little more.  If you want to write a book for the sake of writing a book, the you might end up writing a book about writing a book (writing a blog post about it is much easier and less time consuming).

I think a big why is that we are creative and brilliant people, we want to have a testament that we made something cool, that the content of our minds are something that contributed to the human experience.

Now is the best time to do just that, there are no barriers to writing, nothing stopping you, in fact the very opposite is true, there is a word processor of some sort on almost any electronic device.  There are endless places on the internet, for free or paid, to write in many different forms.  I am most excited about the Kindle self publish that is available.

A funny thing is that with so much available, there is a lot written that is dribble, indeed what you are reading now may fall in that category for you at this moment.  But being as there are no barriers, there is no quality control.  So now, more than ever, we have to choose what to read, because to read it all would make you stuck reading and never doing anything else.

I have a few different ideas for books at the moment, one about making peace with software….kindle funny and don’t have much content for it, I would love to do a zombie book, but dunno how to be completely original in that, and a book about raising up from the ashes of mediocrity, which is the one that I feel most compelled to write.

Lucky for me I can make a few drafts and get a lot of feedback from almost anywhere, and then make the book a lot better.  Good luck in your writing!

I really like Google, I like their email and the cool no Social network they put out, I like all the neat stuff they are doing and the wicked awesome mobile Android OS for tablets and phones.  I was very disappointed with the product of their Google Music.

First off it does not work at all in Canada…the border is about four hours away, Hawaii is in the middle of nowhere yet the music can’t make it farther north?

Second off, the music only works when you are connected to the internet….so it is a streaming services but with songs you downloaded to your account.

Okay that is all I really got for now, I understand that music is a touchy thing legally, and that Apple is in control of all that now, but as long as you have no DRM on the music and allow it to go to whatever device or platform, I am fine with it.  I was just really excited for Google music and only had a few minutes to play with it in the States, so I guess I gotta look more into it.

 

This book was lent to me by a sweet older lady who I was teaching how to use an iPhone and iTunes, we somehow got on the topic of finances and investments and she found that I was extremely weary of risk.  She lent me two books and then left for the States for the winter!  One of those books was called “The Templeton Plan 21 Steps to Success and Happiness.

Minutes after starting this book I decided to make a mind map on Thinking Space (the Android app) and was good too because I had a lot of notes to take.  This book was a shot of adrenaline into my stagnating self improvement regiment that I have neglected from time to time.  Such simple concepts such as “Using what you have” and “Putting first things first” liberated my mind to focus and not worry so much.

Strangely enough it seemed like a very light read, I was able to finish it in three days only devoting a lot of time to it on the third day.  The book took endless examples from the life of John Marks Templeton, which the lady who lent this book actually heard speak a few times in person.  The book was published in 1987 when I was only 3 years old!

The whole experience around this book has been a fascinating one, and the book is well worth the read, every bit as good as the Dave Ramsey and Dan Miller books I have read before for financial and business inspiration.

Here are some quotes that I have gleaned from this great book:

“The most wonderful thing we can experience is the mysterious.  It is the source of all art and science.  He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.”

– Albert Einstein

“Nobody can think straight who does not work.  Idleness warps the mind.  Thinking without constructive action becomes a disease.”

– Henry Ford

“Most careers are made or marred in the hours after supper.”

– C.R. Lawton

It is really hard to describe all the benefits of this book without copying the content word for word, so just read it, funny to think that an older books is every bit as helpful as any of the newer books…

Vacation Annihilation

I have been back from my vacation for 2 days now, and I still really struggling at work, the first day back my brain was all but shutdown, I couldn’t even think straight for most of the work day, I had left some things undone, and while the tasks were in a public place for anyone at work to see, I did not invest the time to get anyone to own those tasks, so none of them were done.  So Monday was crazy catch-up day.  So I have thought up some pointer for myself and for others who care to heed them about going on vacation.

*  Prep a few work days in advance, get all the tasks down in a publicly accessible forum (well public for your company I mean) and then give an update to your manager, boss or co-workers on what you have already done, and what needs to be done.

*  Do all you can so you have no tasks left, if you have tasks left over inform others you work with that they will not be done unless someone else does them…(If you have the authority or you think others will actually do it, you can assign tasks out to your co-workers)

*  Stop taking task a few days before you leave:  If you tell someone you will get them a quote the day before you leave, no matter how well intentioned you are you will forget as you are driving to you holiday destination.

*  If you can help remotely great, if not don’t worry about it, it took me 3 days to stop thinking about work while on my week vacation, and I still didn’t help at all while I was gone.

*  Get good sleep when your vacation is over, if you act like you are still on vacation the night before going back to work, you will have a rough day….a very rough day.

*  The second day will always be better than the first:  So you just get back from vacation, it was fun, carefree, and rejuvenating, then you get back to work and it is the opposite of all that, you can’t help but think I got to get out of this job of this life etc etc.  Then the second day things will calm down, you will have things under control…at least to some degree, and you will remember that you get paid from that job and it is not all that bad….if not go read “Quitter” by Jon Acuff again or for the first time.

So letting my nerdy over documenting tendancies take hold I made a mind map for my trip to Utah, below in the picture you will see that I did not get to everything, but mostly everything, Accomplished things are in blue and non-accomplished things are in red, and after the fact I put a strike-through on them.

So I went down to Utah for my inlaws American Thanksgiving, the trip we had perfect weather, the week long stay was awesome, and the trip back home (the 16 hour drive) also had perfect weather.  There were no issues at the borders, life was grand…then about 15 minutes before making it back to Drumheller, Alberta… A deer materialized out of nowhere, I barely had time to realize it was a deer, we hit and the deer went flying, it did not wake my 2 year old daughter and after my wife and I found that we could still drive the car we both realized that neither of us had an adrenaline rush which usually accompanies such an accident.

Dunno what to take from this experience really, every morning when I look out the window I think, “stupid deer”.  But I suppose this goes to show that you should be ready for anything at any stage in any trip….

I struggle a lot everyday, I struggle to wake up in the morning, I struggle to get excited for the day, I struggle to stay positive dealing with customers or getting more tasks from my boss and co-workers.  I really struggle with the fear of mediocrity.  That I will wake up at a future date and lament that I did not do more, or try harder or kept at it.  How do I combat this?

Reading,  reading is the constant that recharges me when my batteries for life are low and drained.  Reading energizes my mind with information, examples of acts well done, and possibilities for myself that I have not yet imagined.   It combats the endless negativity that is the norm in everyone’s sayings and mentalities.  Reading is an amazing thing since you can fully control what you read and how to internalize that information.

I just finished reading “The Templeton Plan” a book on success written in 1987, which many of the same principles were in a book by Dave Ramsey titled “Entreleadership”.  I also read “Quitter” by Jon Acuff about using your day job to reach your dreams.  Not all the books I read where business inspiration, before these books I read “Fight Club”, “Choke” and “Survivor” by Chuck Palahniuk.  They were a little gritty, but still activated my mind to viewing life through a different lens than my own.

Then before that I think I was reading the first Harry Potter book and then I got part way through the second and then lost interest…and I am trying hard to read the Bourne Identity book, but it is a really long one, and much different than the movie that I saw multiple times before ever obtaining the book.

If you struggle with a lot of thing like I do, start reading, and probably more so of the inspirational books that will help you out of your funks.  But reading at all does wonders for the body and mind.  Let me know of any good books that you come across.

It was really interesting to have my older brother tell me the story of a customer who bought a phone from me via a sticky note conversation.  I did not remember this until my brother told me more of the details.  This gentleman comes into the store and I am stuck on the phone, I know the guy so as soon as I recognize that I will not be able to get off the phone in any timely manner I grab a sticky note pad and write “What’s going on?” and hand it over, he looks at it for a second and then writes something back to the effect that he needs a phone, so we write back and forth and by the time I am off the phone I am activating a new iPhone!

I was pretty proud of myself when my brother said, “Yeah I could see that.”  This is a case where I did something a little strange to perform better than I usually do at my job, and it was a memorable experience..(more so for the customer in this case I suppose).  I think that us office dwellers need to reflect from time to time and take pride in the great job that we are doing…if you have no great experiences to draw from, then make them, just try, instead of getting stressed out (a past time of mine when I am not careful), go above and beyond and make a story, even if you forget it I am sure someone else will tell your story for you.

Yes it may be harsh, but I tried putting the excel spreadsheet in the Excel 2003 format, tried getting better Office suites from the Android market and oddly enough it crashes every time (something is fishy about this), then I got the Amazon app store and I could get other office apps, but the charts in excel still do not show up correctly!  Are there limitations on the chart size, are charts just not allowed?  I cannot see an office app being any good if charts are off the table (haha good pun).  Someone help me out please!?