Tag Archive: productivity


Time with Benefits

Last Sunday I gave a talk in church. I was really grateful for the opportunity because it made me realize that I am rather unorganized with all my success information and that I lacked focus.

When writing my talk I wrote a little gem about time and procrastination. It had to do with washing dishes. Simply put, dishes may require about a half hour to wash, dry and put away. I do not like doing dishes but accept that they just need to be done. I procrastinate thinking that it will be easier later, or that maybe the wife will end up doing them. The gem I found is that a half hour will pass, I can guarantee it will pass in the next half hour that you read this or any time that you set a half hour timer…that half hour is starting now and will end in exactly a half hour.

THE DIFFERENCE is wither or not you did the dishes. The half hour that passed wither you wanted it to or not, could have yielded a benefit if you did something with it. Which comes to the point and fallacy about procrastination. You CANNOT SAVE TIME, and in many ways you cannot save your personal energy as well. If either fallacy were true we would have couch potatoes with all the time in the world and enough energy to run a triathlon any moment they wish!

Knowing about these fallacies have helped me tremendously. When I want to procrastinate I just remember that I want each possible hour or half hour to have a benefit when it passes.

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Can’t Blame Wife and Kids

Near the end of April my wife and kids went to the States to help my wife’s sister with her first baby.  I was excited for the time to get a lot done on my own projects that I thought the wife and kids were keeping me from getting done. I was even gonna have a little blog series on all the things that I did while they were away…sadly I didn’t really do much…

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Sure I did a lot of good work at my day job, but when I got home I spaced out.  And yeah I did clean the house, but really when it stays clean after you clean it, it is not as big of an accomplishment.  Probably the best thing that I did do was go exercise about three times in the week that my wife and kids were gone.

This was a fantastic eye opener.  Namely that it is not my wife and kids that are keeping me from getting things done…it is not that I don’t have enough time or that the conditions are not right.  The problem is with me and the habit that I have formed and concealed by blaming all other aspects of my life for the laziness that I excel at.

They have been back for a few days now and for whatever reason I am finally kicking myself into gear again to get some things (outside of maintaining my existence) done!

What habits or consequences are you suffering and blaming on others?

Social Media is a Big Investment

I see that everything is on either Twitter or Facebook. My kids diapers, the place that changes oil and even kids toys.

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I got on Facebook and Twitter quite a few years ago and was frustrated back then that social media was just everyone posting at you but no one ever listening. I swore off social media for awhile, just looking at it once in a blue moon.

Then I went on a reading binge when I had a Kindle for awhile. I read Michael Hyatt’s “Platform” and it, of course, stressed the importance of having a well maintained social media presence.

So I decided to get back into the game. But I know myself, I have super productive phases and then phases where I can only do the minimum. Lucky for me there is a service like Buffer that will queue up my posts when I think up a dozen in one sitting and spreads them across the days and weeks ahead when I don’t post at all.

I have been researching the negative affects that technology is having on actual social interaction and also seeing that unless you are a big company that can have a social media team, then social media pages and posts don’t make you sales or money.

I am not anti-social-media but I just want to take about the illusions that we have about it and how we should develop the discipline to waste our lives on it.

Do you think your investment in your Social Media usage is giving you a good Return?

Opportunity cost is a concept where you are missing out on something when you do something else.  So if you sleep in, you are missing out on what you could be doing in the morning, likewise if you get up early in the morning you are missing out on getting more sleep.

This is a concept to keep in mind when we are playing video games, watching TV or any other number of things.  Is there something else more productive that you can be doing or that really needs to be done?

Sometimes we just need to relax so don’t think that you can never watch TV because there is always something better to do.  But just don’t let the trash stink up your house cause you are watching the tube all the time.

Going along with this is how much you spend on things vs what you make an hour.  I make $10/hr washing dishes at night.  I got McDonalds that other morning and it cost around $10…so that took an hour of my income, it makes you think when you are not enjoying that hour at work…how far do you want to stretch that $10?

Just some food for thought, are you weighing the opportunity costs and using your hours of income the way you would like?

Having an Internal Website

For many of the places that I have worked I noticed that there was a lot of information about where to login and passwords and even resources that the company uses.  Also for myself there is a lot of information about what I teach and what I can do.  Plus there is a lot of personal stuff that I need to keep track of, thus I have created my own internal site that I can use for my entire existence!

First off make sure it is a nice template that you are working from, since you will be staring at this quite a bit.

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Then you need to have the main things that you focus on life.  I have my home page here and the links above you can see that I have Business Aspects, Reminders, My Projects, Blogging, and Metrics.

Business Aspects:

When you are trying to run the business of you there is a lot to think about.  Your mission statement, how you are marketing yourself, your clients, what you are doing to improve and so on!

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As you are developing your business you can continue to add to this page.  This is also very helpful if you get lost in what you are doing, or you forget what you are all about.

Reminders:

This is huge!  There are a million little things that we need to be mindful of throughout the day,  I always forget about them, so I made a reminder page with lists.  You will also notice that I added an audio player (this is easy with HTML 5) and this has a podcast that pertains to the list above it.  When I really can’t get into what the list is telling me I can listen to the podcast as a reminder.

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Blogging:

There will be no picture here because I have not worked on that page yet.  But there is a whole art form and science to blogging that is rather overwhelming to me.  So here I will have those aspects to look at when I am writing a blog post.

Metrics:

I love having this readily available!  The best way to do better at something is to keep track of it.  Here you can see my app ad revenue and my app sales (profit) per month.  This is also very useful when I want to show someone what I am doing and how I am making progress.  I also have how many Facebook and Twitter followers I have and a lot more that I am putting in later!

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Lesson Plans:

The last 2 pics I will show you have to do with my lesson plans for teaching software programs.  There is simply too much information for me to retain and recall.  Also it is really hard to switch gears from teaching web development to Excel.  So this solves that problem!

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At the bottom of my site are links to the various lessons that I teach, when I click on one I get this:

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These are not links right now, but when they are they will go to the part of the page with content to teach on these subjects.  Then when I want to go back to the top I will have a link under each subject that will take me back up.

Some Cool Stuff to Remember when Making your Internal Site:

*  You do not have to make it look perfect, this is not for the world, this is for you.  Add things as you think of them and as you need them.

*  Put this on your Android tablet!  I put this on mine and you can only view it correctly with Chrome for Android.  But my tablet is always on and always ready, I wake up in the morning and turn it on to have some direction and clarity about who I am and what I will be doing that day.

If you need some help on creating an internal site please let me know, I would be glad to give any pointer or help with development (as time permits).

Try Anyway

So I am a professional burn out.  That is all I know, it is either ramp up, amp up and get no sleep OR veg out, eat out and sleep all the time.  The one thing about all of this that is remotely redeemable is that despite the things about me that ruin progress for success, I try anyway.

I was thinking of changing my tagline to “try anyway” because that really is my motto, that is what I keep telling myself when I am mopy and get nothing done.  There is this mystical and super powerful gap between daydreaming something and then actually doing it.  How bizarre it is to me, that I can be sitting in front of the computer, day dreaming about a blog post that I want to write, thinking it over and enjoying how good it sounds in my head…all the while my fingers are doing no typing and that little cursor just keeps blinking and all my thoughts and anything that I can offer the world continues to live in a vacuum!

One way I have combated this is just doing something, and then giving it out to the world, more often than not it is not polished, and really seams cheap or quickly slapped together…many of my android apps can attest to this, and I am in no way saying that it is okay to settle for this kind of quality if I know that I can do better, but for my personal issues of struggling to even do something in the first place this really is better than nothing.  I hope to make improvements in iterations since when I at least do something I have faced that fear and that dread, that overwhelming feeling of incompetence, and did something  I have thousands (somewhere around 20,000) people that have downloaded my android apps.  If you know much about mobile apps you know that is not much, but it is thousands more than if I just in front of the computer daydreaming or just playing video games.

The reason for this post, more than anything, has been the books and the blogs I have been reading on how to blog better, get more followers, engage readers and how to be able to do something like this full time.  There are so many great suggestions and tactics that when I sit down to write I am overwhelmed, I think I cannot even start to write unless I have these big checklists…and hence I have not written for over a week.

I was thinking of writing a post titled “What Am I Doing?” and ask my readers what they expect from my blog, or what do they think I write about, what would you like to see and read?  I am desperate to find like minded peers, I am tormented by the fact that everyone seems to want to live such mediocre lives, that there is little to no drive out there and the really burns out my drive since it cannot find an outlet.

Thanks for reading and please let me know what you think or any suggestions that you have!

I gave my Android Tablet (the Asus Transformer) a harsh review the first few days I had it, but now that I am getting productive with it, I have much better things to say about, and the only way to explain it is the bag o’ tricks that it has now become for me.  Here are some of the ways that I have put it to good use:

*  Emails:  I have a widget that tell me about any of the emails I received and can view all of them in the email application.

*  Browser:  In the browser I have bookmarked my:
–  Android app publishing page
–  Android app sales page
–  Admob ad revenue page
–  My blog
–  My Banking
–  And of course some news sites

*  Notes:  The Super Notes app that came stock was pretty cool, but lacking in some odd areas such as wanting me to have pages instead of a continuous note.  So I downloaded Inkpad.  With this note taking app I am doing the following:
–  Ordering for the Computer shop I work for
–  Ripping up sticky notes that are cluttering my desk
–  Church meeting notes
–  Quick contact info
–  Blogging Ideas

*  Task N Todos:  This has been a great little app that gives me 3 categories I can put my tasks into and has a great widget that I can put on my desktop to be able to review my notes, right now I am using it for:
–  Work tasks
–  Personal tasks
–  Church tasks

*  Astrid:  This will probably replace my Task N Todos app, but in the free version the widget isn’t as big as Task N Todos widget.  Not doing much with it now but I believe that I will soon enough.

*  Tweetdeck:  While it seems that it was not designed with the tablet in mind it still works great to give me the feeds from Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare…(Buzz is no longer being done from Google).

*  Google Plus:  This of course is a great app for Google plus… BUT MORE PEOPLE NEED TO GET ON GOOGLE PLUS!!!

*  BeyondPod:  This gives me all the podcast feeds that I want to follow, have not had the time to listen to a lot of podcast but there will be some down time sooner or later.

*  Netflix:  What more can I say, I can get all the stuff I watch on my Wii on my tablet, just awesome, my wife and I catch a few Zombie flics will chilling in bed!

*  Gospel Library:  I am a Mormon and have my scriptures and other church publications all automatically on my tablet, and that saves me a lot of books to carry, and those books are not also read, but you never know when you might need to have one handy.

*  Polaris Office:  I am getting better with this but there are still many things lacking, but I am using it for Inventory, Company info and Phone prices (when it works).

The Polaris Office topic reminds me that I must stress that you should test something before trying to use it in production,  I had the excel spreadsheet of phone prices that looked pretty good, when I tried to use it to get a phone price I discovered that all the prices where “N/A”  the file was good but something happened that changed all the prices…so just double check that kind of stuff (and everything else) before you are in front of a customer or client and look stupid saying “Oh let me just find that for you on my tablet…oh nevermind that prices are not there…”

*  Thinking Space:  I got this on an App binge while visiting friends and family in Utah, and it is amazing, just amazing!  Download and unload your mind into it!  I now have a better grasp of the company that I am working for, the books I am trying to write, and my plan to get out of debt and build wealth, I cannot explain it in word…just get the app!

*  Calendar:  Pretty much the same as a computer or phone calendar, but just really handy on a tablet.

*  Skype:  On the Asus Transformer Skype is amazing, only downfall is not being able to kill the app if there is a problem.  But I was able to Skype with my wife and daughter in Canada while I was in Utah and it worked great….most of the time.

*  Maps: Being as I have wifi only tablet (I am not made of money here), I really need a map app that caches all the maps that I need, please advise me on a good one…

*  SharePlusLite:  Good app for viewing tasks and files on a SharePoint server, you have to purchase the full app if you want to do more.

*  Slacker/Pandora:  These are great audio streaming services based on a song or artist, Slacker works great in Canada and. of course, Pandora in the States.

*  Wordpress app:  This is pretty decent, could have more features but I need to work with it more to get the most out of it.

*  Kindle:  A great app that you can read all your kindle book, but I still like reading from the actual Kindle device.

I honestly think that I could not get along without my tablet now.  Sorry Asus for being mean to your Transformer Tablet!

Asus Transformer Review

So I got an Asus Transformer Tablet from my boss at work, we striked up a deal and I thought that it would make my work a lot quicker.  Now after having it for two days I have some thoughts:

The Cons:

*  The polaris office suite is awful:  I thought with the Polaris Office Suite that I could get a lot of work done, but as it turns out the spreadsheet software only displays the minimum.  And to enter data actually takes some time.  Also it is a pain to switch between documents, the software simply cannot have two instances of the program open. The charts in my spreadsheets are backwards and I cannot change it, very frustrating for when I want to get a point across with a chart.

* I cannot close applications:  I dunno if they are hogging memory the whole time or not, but when I tap the icon to see all opened (or maybe it is just recently used applications) there are a ton of them, so getting to the one I need is a pain.  When there are just too many I have to turn off the machine and turn it back on again.  If someone knows the remedy please tell me!

*  Not good writing:  I am trying to blog and take notes and all the good stuff, I even tried to write this post with the Transformer.  Even with the keyboard it cannot keep up, it omits letters I am typed and when it doesn’t miss something it takes a few seconds to render the characters on the screen.

*  No idea what browser I should use:  The stock browser is actually pretty good, but some sites it insist on the mobile version, it is a big enough screen that that shouldn’t be the case.  And when trying to blog inside the browser I cannot cut and paste!

 

The Pros:

It is not all bad…

*  Music player is cool:  The music player is cool and straight forward.

*  Portable:  It is nice to close it and not think about it again until need it.  To show someone some documents and whatnot.

*  The wife likes angry birds: It looks very vibrant on the tablet.

That’s all I can think of right now, this may be a premature assessment of the tablet but I thought I would get it and take off, there are a lot of things I would like it to do better for the cost of the item.  Let me know if there are ways that I can improve this device, thanks!