Saturday, September 20, 2008

An Unwanted HouseCleaning

Tuesday night before going to bed, I told my computer to do a type of system check, where it is supposed to check the hard drive for errors. The next day I pressed a wrong button and reformatted the hard drive.

Wednesday, Thursday and part of Friday I tried recovering files to no avail.

So Scott, where did you back stuff up? Uh, nowhere. 5 years of goodies that I'd transferred from one computer to another....gone.

So Friday morning I pulled out my previous laptop and discovered that sure enough, I wiped most of it clean, except for work emails.

And since January of this year I have been sending BCC's to a backup email account, "Just In Case".

So, it's the equivalent of a fire, computer-style. I will scour old emails and computers at work and rebuild work files.

And follow through with my back-up plan that I planned on doing.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Name This ICELAND Website!

I've been enjoying a trip to Iceland from the comfort of my living room thanks to my son Josh who is there for a few months. Click here to go there.

I Hope You Don't...

...have to do this anytime soon:

Mayday! Mayday! How to Land a Plane in an Emergency

Posted: 16 Sep 2008 10:21 PM CDT

maydaymayday Mayday! Mayday! How to Land a Plane in an Emergency

Image by Martin Hartland

We’ve all had the thought cross our mind while flying, “What if the pilot(s) somehow became incapacitated and I had to land this thing? What would I do?” Or maybe more timely for today’s world, “What if a terrorist takes over the plane and I have to save the day by knocking him out with a Chuck Norris-style thump to the head?”

You’re a hero, boo-yah! But, if the pilot’s unconscious, you may have to get the plane on the ground. Relax, it’s not as hard as it looks and if you follow a few simple steps you’ll be on the ground safely and in one piece for your press conference and hero shots.

Maintain Aircraft Control (Straight and Level)

2352334732_6b07d340ae Mayday! Mayday! How to Land a Plane in an Emergency

When you first arrive in the cockpit take the left seat if possible, this is generally where the Captain or Aircraft Commander sits and often has easier access to some of the instruments you’ll need to fly. However, the majority of dual seat aircraft can be flown from either side.

As soon as you sit down take a deep breath and look outside to see if the aircraft is in a dive (you see more ground in the windscreen than sky), climb, turn, etc. If it appears to be straight and level then don’t touch the flight controls, the autopilot is most likely on and there’s no need to interfere. If, however, the airplane is racing towards the ground or in a steep turn, then you need to use the stick or yoke (pilot speak for steering wheel) to bring it back to wings level flight. Just like in the video games, you pull back on the yoke to make it climb, push forward to make it descend, and turn it right or left to turn.

2064910616_b462c1db29 Mayday! Mayday! How to Land a Plane in an Emergency

If you are in the clouds and can’t tell the attitude of the aircraft, then it will be necessary to use the attitude indicator, also referred to as the artificial horizon. This is an instrument that gives a representation of the aircraft in relation to the ground and sky. If you’re on a jet of some sort, chances are high that it will be displayed on the screen directly in front of you. The “w” shape in the middle represents the wings of the aircraft, the brown represents ground and the blue represents sky. So if you see half brown, half blue it means you are in level flight which is what you want. If you see anything else, then make corrections with the stick as necessary to line up the wings of the aircraft with the horizon line.

Make a Radio Call

captsidewall Mayday! Mayday! How to Land a Plane in an Emergency

After you have the aircraft under control, the next step is to contact Air Traffic Control (ATC) over the radio to explain the situation and ask for help. The majority of aircrafts have a radio mic switch on the yoke on the back where your index finger would rest when you grasped it normally. The problem is that the autopilot disconnect switch is often placed on the yoke as well and without proper knowledge of the autopilot system, an inadvertent disconnect of the autopilot could result in a major disaster. A safer alternative is using the hand-held radio normally mounted to the left of the pilot’s seat just below the side window. Use it just like you would use a CB radio, push to talk and release to listen.

Try making a call on the radio frequency currently selected and see if you get a response. Say “Mayday” and state who you are and what has happened. Don’t worry about radio etiquette, it’s an emergency so just use plain English and tell them you don’t know what you’re doing and need some help, but don’t sound too panicked. You’re a man after all and completely in control of the situation.

After talking, remember to release the mic button to listen. If no one responds, try changing the VHF radio frequency to 121.5 MHz (this is known as “Guard” and is monitored by everyone). The radio unit will normally be located on the center pedestal in between the pilot’s and co-pilot’s seats or directly in front of you on the center panel.

Do What They Tell You

Just like in the movies, what happens next is various agencies will be notified of your emergency and they will find someone who is an expert for your plane to walk you through getting it on the ground. They will know the cockpit layout and be able to tell you where a button or switch is located and what you need to do with it. They will also be working in conjunction with ATC to navigate you to an airport where you will be able to land. As long as you follow their instructions to the letter everything should turn out just fine. You may not have the prettiest landing, but you’ll survive.

Get It on the Ground

16092172_db17936603 Mayday! Mayday! How to Land a Plane in an Emergency

The reality is that many of today’s jets are fully-automated and have the capability to land themselves or at least get you lined up on the runway center line on a proper glide path so that you can take over at 50-100 feet off the ground. All you will have to manually do is:

  • Flare (pull up slightly on the stick just prior to touchdown so the main gear hit first)
  • Fly the nosewheel to the ground (push the stick forward until the front touches down)
  • Pull the throttles all the way back
  • Step on the brakes which are located on the tops of the rudder pedals down by your feet.
  • If you find yourself veering off the runway then lightly step on the rudder pedals to steer yourself back to centerline.

You’ve landed! It’s incredible; you’re now the hero of the day, congratulations! Now before you go patting yourself on the back in your imaginary scenario, here are a few additional things to consider:

2341440460_c9694c6795 Mayday! Mayday! How to Land a Plane in an Emergency

Notes, Warnings, Cautions

  • Getting the landing gear down before landing is obviously a key part of the process, but has been forgotten by countless pilots. The gear handle is almost always located just to the right of the center console on the front instrument panel, basically just above the left knee of the co-pilot if he were sitting there.
  • 2185080208_81d644ba24 Mayday! Mayday! How to Land a Plane in an Emergency

  • In order to slow the aircraft to land you must employ various drag devices such as slats (normally only in very large aircraft) and flaps. These allow the airplane to maintain lift at slower airspeeds and allow you to keep the attitude level during a descent. These are generally found right next to the throttles.
  • Slats, flaps, and landing gear all have a max speed at which they can be deployed. It’s not the end of the world if you overspeed them in an emergency situation, but it should be avoided. If you aren’t in communication with someone that can help, look on the dash for a placard with the speeds, or a card with TOLD (takeoff and landing data).
  • If you can find the airspeed indicator make sure that you keep it within the green arc while flying. Just like anything in life, green is good, yellow means caution and red means dead. If you get too slow you will lose lift and stall the aircraft (trust me, this is bad and if you’re not a pilot, you probably won’t make it).
  • If you’re flying a commercial jet like a 737, a good rule of thumb is to keep it flying at about 200 knots if you don’t have flaps or gear extended, and 130 knots once you do and are making the approach to land. A smaller plane like a Cessna is stable on approach at speeds closer to 70 knots. Of course, if you’re talking to ATC ask them how fast you should go and they’ll hopefully be able to tell you.

2348405194_a6bc108a55 Mayday! Mayday! How to Land a Plane in an Emergency

Download Your Free Guide to Being a Gentleman in 2008.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Top 5 Computer Questions & Answers

From Kim Komando's weekly email:

I really do read your e-mail. I just don't have time to answer each note. I especially like the messages that go something like this: “So Kim, if you REALLY do read all your e-mail, answer me back as proof.” I don't think so.

In an effort to help many who dropped me a question over the past week, here are links to learn more.

• QUESTION: What were the sites you mentioned that print T-shirts and even help you set up your own shop? I want to sell my own designs for my school, church, team, poker club, etc. ANSWER: Click here to learn how to be a T-shirt mogul.

• QUESTION: I cannot afford Microsoft Office. You mentioned a program that works a lot like Office but it's free. Where can I find it? ANSWER: Click here to find not just one, but nine free alternatives to popular pricey programs.

• QUESTION: I am about ready to get a new PC. I heard you mention that we need to secure a new PC before putting it on the Internet. OK, how do I do that? ANSWER: Simply click here and you'll be well-informed and safe from harm.

• QUESTION: I heard you tell a caller to erase the hard drive before donating it. How do I get a pencil eraser on the drive? ANSWER: That's not exactly the type of eraser I was talking about. Eraser is a free program that is used to get rid of data on drives so I cannot be recovered. Click here for a link to the program and steps on how to use it.

• QUESTION: I lost every single picture from my summer vacation. I am devastated. I heard you say you can get these back. How much do I send you the memory card? ANSWER: Don't send the card to me. Instead, click here to read this tip about free and pay photo recovery programs.

You get this newsletter. Now, sign up for my other three free e-mail newsletters.

• Free computer or digital tip Mon-Fri
• Free cool site daily
• Free news links Mon-Fri

As always, I guarantee your privacy. Your e-mail address will not be sold, leased or given to anyone, ever!

Jump Starting

Hope you don't need to do this this winter, but in case you do:

How To Jump Start a Car

Posted: 12 Sep 2008 12:05 AM CDT

vintagejumper-cable How To Jump Start a Car

You’re walking out of your apartment and notice a good looking gal with the hood of her car open, looking at the engine with desperation. You go over and ask what’s wrong. The car battery is dead, and she’s late for class. She asks you if you can give her jump. You look down at the ground, kick some rocks, and offer to call AAA instead.

You have no clue how to jump start a car.

Every man should know how to jump start a dead car battery. You never know when you’ll need this knowledge to aid a stranded damsel in distress or help yourself. While jumping a dead battery is super simple, you’d be surprised by the number of men who have no idea how to do it. Even if a man has learned how to jump start a car before, it can be easy to forget what cables go where. Positive on negative? Ground the positive cable on the car with the good battery? Red cable is negative?

To help you avoid looking like a putz when asked to jump start a car and to help prevent you from shocking the hell out of yourself when you do it, here’s the rundown on how to jump start a dead car battery.

How to Tell if Your Battery Is Dead

Before you try jump starting a car, you need to determine that the battery is the reason the car isn’t starting up. If you turn the ignition and hear the engine cranking, a dead battery isn’t your problem and jump starting it won’t do a darn thing. However, if you turn the key and the car does absolutely nothing, then there’s a good chance you have a dead battery on your hands and jumping it may be your ticket to getting back on the road.

How to Jump Start a Car with Cables

Note: You should always carry jumper cables in your car with you. You never know when you’re going to need them.

needjumpercables How To Jump Start a Car

Don’t be this guy

1. Make sure both cars are turned off.

2. Connect one end of the red (positive) jumper cable to the positive terminal on the stalled battery.

jumpcar2 How To Jump Start a Car

3. Then connect the other red (positive) cable clamp to the positive terminal of the good battery.

jumpstart How To Jump Start a Car

4. Connect one end of the black (negative) jumper cable to the negative terminal of the good battery.

carjump2 How To Jump Start a Car

5. Then connect the other black (negative) cable to a clean, unpainted metal surface under the disabled car’s hood. Somewhere on the engine block is a good place. Unless you want to see flying sparks and a possible explosion, do not connect the negative cable to the negative terminal of the dead battery, .

carjump7 How To Jump Start a Car

6. Start the car that’s doing the jumping, and allow it to run for about 2 to 3 minutes before starting the dead car.
7. Remove cables in reverse order.
8. Keep the jumped car running for at least 30 minutes to give the battery sufficient time to recharge itself.

And you’re done. Give yourself a pat on the back for a manly job well done.

jumpercablebox How To Jump Start a Car

Unfortunately, jumper cables will not bring inanimate objects to life. Including hot model women you build in your lab.


The hardest part of the job is simply remembering where to put each cable. Many a man has broken out in a sweat wondering if he is about to make a wrong move and toast himself to a crisp. Here’s the good news: It’s probably impossible to electrocute yourself from jump starting a car. The battery might give you a big shock, but the voltage is too low to penetrate your skin and put you down for the count.

But no one wants to be on the receiving end of a zap, no matter how mild. So come up with a mnemonic device to help you remember which color goes where. I personally think: red=blood=life=positive/black=death=negative.

How to Jump Start a Car Without Cables

If you have a standard transmission car, you can jump start that bad boy without using cables. Here’s how you do it:

1. Find a stretch of clear downhill road.

2. Fully depress the clutch and put the car in first gear.

3. Turn the ignition to on.

4. Take your foot off the brake and start rolling down the hill, leaving the clutch fully depressed.

5. Coast down the hill until you reach 5 or 7 miles per hour.

6. Release the clutch quickly. You should feel the engine turn and start. If it doesn’t start the first time, depress the clutch and release it again.

7. If you don’t have a hill, get some of your buddies to give you a push and follow the steps above.

Got a story to share about when knowing how to jump start a car came in handy? Were you able to help a little old lady? Did you have to do it in subzero weather in the complete dark? Drop a line in the comment box and share it with us.

Download Your Free Guide to Being a Gentleman in 2008.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Name This Local Website-100

When I started this I expected to find maybe 20, 25 blogs that were updated regularly by Fort Wayne area residents. We are now at number 100, which is the last of the nightly updates of this feature, although I'll do a weekly update every Sunday. And in a couple of days I'll put all 100 in one post.

Click here to go to #100.


I seem to be doing a series on this subject....

5 Ways to Get Your Spark Back

Posted: 15 Sep 2008 05:10 AM CDT

Written on 9/15/2008 by Steve Errey who almost died at age 9 as he choked on a grape. Today, Steve is still feeling the effects of some extravagant spending but remains remarkably upbeat and positive. You can catch him at, The Confidence Guy.Photo Credit: antonkudris

True HappinessWe all feel low sometimes, right? Grouchy, fed-up and bored are all words you could use to describe what it’s like when you’re feeling in a rut or like you’ve lost that spark you used to have. Times like those are part of the deal with being human (sorry to break it to you), but you’ll run the risk of losing an important piece of yourself forever if those grouchy days and off-times merge together and last weeks, months or even years.

Here are five easy ways to get out of the rut and get your spark back.
  1. Shake Things Up
    If you’ve established systems and routines for getting things done it certainly makes life smoother. Of course, the flipside is that if you have everything tightly coordinated and run according to that routine you leave little space for anything else. You become blinded to any ideas or choices that sit outside of that routine, and everything you do every day becomes the norm. You end up running on auto-pilot, and it becomes your whole world.

    So start to shake things up. Make one or two simple changes to your day – whether it’s your breakfast routine, your radio station, workout schedule, route to work, lunch routine, etc. It doesn’t matter what the changes are or whether they're right or wrong, just make a couple of simple choices that will add some variety to your day.

    Doing things differently and changing parts of your routine instantly takes you out of the norm and allows you to shake off the things that make you feel confined. Stepping out of your routine puts you in a position where you're able to make different choices, see things differently and get a different result. It’s the starting point for having a different kind of experience.

  2. Remember Who You Really Are
    If it feels like your sparks gone then I’m willing to bet that you’ve forgotten who you really are, way down deep. Your values are the building blocks, foundations and cornerstones for who you are, they’re the things that are ten thousand feet down inside you that make you you. A value is something in yourself, in others or out there in the world that’s most important to you, and could include things like trust, capability, love, nature, family, innovation, fun and a million other things.

    Those times in your life when you’ve felt alive, buzzing or at the top of your game are times when one or more of your values are being honored, and it feels great because you’re simply expressing and living in line with who you really are.

    The times when you feel upset, angry or frustrated are times when one or more of your values are being denied, suppressed or repressed, it feels horrible because you’re not living in line with who you really are.

    Getting your spark back means connecting with your values using them every day.

  3. Get Some Nourishment
    Picture this. You're walking home from the market with a couple of bags of groceries, but the bags have holes in them. So there you are, happily walking along, leaving a trail of your things behind you. When you get home you unpack what's left and ask, "Didn't I have more than this?"

    Nourishment is about plugging those holes in your life and making sure you have things that keep you feeling nourished – nourished in your head, nourished in your heart, and nourished in your stomach. Remember that you can't give away what you don't have, and can't spend energy you've already spent.

    It doesn't have to be the big things in life that nourish you and it's often the simplest little thing that strikes a chord, makes you feel like yourself again, or makes you smile from ear to ear – calling a friend, talking a walk in the park or listening to your favorite song, for example. Think about what keeps you balanced, the things that relax you or make you feel peaceful. Think about the things that make you feel like you again.

    Yes, life is busy, but you need to prioritize your own nourishment or you’ll be running on empty. The fact is that you're important enough to spend time taking care of and because you're the only one of you there is it's your responsibility to make sure you're okay.

  4. Create Your Perfect Day
    This idea came to me a few years ago when a good friend suddenly asked me, "What would be your perfect day?" I'd never been asked that before and I found myself spontaneously making up a story – telling my friend about my Perfect Day from the moment my eyes flickered open at the start of the day to the moment my head hit the pillow at the end.

    I went through each part of the day telling her what I was doing, who I was with, where we were, how it felt and what happened next. Bit by bit and without even thinking about it, I'd put together a rich, colorful, exciting and comforting day, which still holds true as my Perfect Day.

    Just thinking about different parts of it makes me smile, makes me remember what’s important to me and makes me feel incredibly human. My Perfect Day has now become like a good friend of mine, a friend that I can call on whenever I want to.

    So what's your Perfect Day? Just shoot from the hip and see what comes out naturally for you. Write down words, ideas, themes or a whole narrative – even draw pictures if you want to. Have fun with it, play with it – it's your Perfect Day.

  5. Pack in More of the Three F’s
    Fun, Fulfilment, and Freedom – what I call the Three F's - embody a whole lot of what people are looking for in life. Here are some quick definitions,

    Fun, n. - A source of enjoyment or pleasure; playful activity.

    Ful-fill'ment, n. - To bring into actuality; to complete; a feeling of satisfaction at having achieved your desires.

    Free-dom, n. - The capacity to exercise choice, free will; frankness or boldness; the absence of constraint in choice or action.

    These 3 things have a massive influence on your experience of life, so think about it – where are you on a scale from 1 to 10 against each of The Three F’s? How much fun are you having right now? How fulfilled are you? How free do you feel?

    What would happen if you climbed a point or two on the Fun scale? What if you could add a point to your level of Fulfillment or Freedom? Chances are it would feel pretty darn good, so what one thing can you do right now to help you climb the Three F’s scale?
By themselves each of the Three F's are a powerful thing and can really help to enjoy where you are and feel alive. But when the Three F's come together . . .well, just hold on to your hat and keys because that’s one hell of a ride.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Name This Local Website-99

WANE TV Says Bye to Ohio?

It's a possibility, for some Buckeyes, like those in Van Wert. This morning I noticed an announcement on WANE, (Channel 15 for those of you with rabbit ears, or Channel 2 for those of us that have Comcast).

Here's the story from my email today:

LIN May Cut Time Warner Without New Retrans Deal
LIN Corp. may deny Time Warner Cable permission to keep carrying 15 of its TV stations unless they hammer out a new retrans agreement. Otherwise, carriage would end Oct. 2 in 11 markets. The affected markets are: Austin, Texas; Buffalo, N.Y.; Columbus, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Ft. Wayne, Ind.; Green Bay, Wis.; Indianapolis; Mobile, Ala.; Springfield, Mass.; Terre Haute, Ind.; and Toledo, Ohio. LIN TV has sought cash payments for multichannel providers and claims to have deals with other major cable, satellite and telecommunications companies.

Waking up is hard to do...

I found this bit of advice helpful the other day...

How to Wake Up Enthused Every Day

Posted: 12 Sep 2008 07:06 PM CDT

Written on 9/12/2008 by Ali Hale who writes about healthy eating for busy people at her blog, The Office Diet.Photo Credit: chazzvid

wake upHave you tried, and failed, to become an early riser? Do you set your alarm clock for 6am every day, only to hit “snooze” repeatedly until 8? It can be incredibly tough to crawl out from under the duvet and launch into the day, when all your good intentions have evaporated overnight.

But don’t beat yourself up for a lack of self-discipline, that’s not the reason why you’re struggling to get up. I bet there have been plenty of times in your life when you got up at the crack of dawn because you wanted to: your birthday, Christmas, the first day of a new job, etc., any time when you were just too excited to stay asleep.

So I’m not going to give you the usual advice of “go to bed earlier” and “set several alarms”, because that’s not what you need. Instead, you need to wake up enthused about every single day, so that you can’t wait to get going. And here’s how…

Start your day with something meaningful and enjoyable
It’s hard to jump out of bed when you know your first hour of the day will involve doing the dishes, taking out the trash and feeding the cat.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a fun, and meaningful, task to start your day. This could be anything you want. Most people find that either working on some sort of project (writing a novel, designing a website, etc) or carrying out a personal-development type activity (meditation, exercise, journaling, etc) is ideal.

Dozens of highly successful people around the blogosphere emphasize how important it is to start your day well: here’s quotes from just a couple of them who you’ll probably have heard of...
If you want a highly productive fast-tempo day, make that first hour as such — get up and go straight to work on your #1 project. – Steve Pavlina, The Rudder of the Day
Now, I have a renewing morning ritual, I’ve gotten so much done before 8 a.m., my kids are early and so am I, and by the time everyone else gets in to work, I’ve already gotten a head start. – Leo Babauta, 10 Benefits of Rising Early and How to Do It
Enjoy a good breakfast
As a health/diet blogger, I’m well aware of the importance of eating breakfast to kick-start your metabolism and get your body and brain into gear for the day. But as someone with a slightly greedy streak, I’m also well aware that having something tasty to look forwards to for breakfast can be a strong motivation to throw off the duvet and get into the kitchen!

Stock the cupboards and fridge with a few of your favorite breakfast foods: brands of cereal which you love, oatmeal (one of my favourites), fresh fruit, English muffins, pancakes, etc. You might just find yourself springing out of bed as soon as your alarm goes off.

Have a job you love
This tip isn’t so easy to implement – but it will make a huge difference not just to your motivation to get out of bed, but to your whole life. Spend your day doing a job that you love. If you hate what you’re doing for eight hours a day, five days a week, no wonder you want to stay in bed.

Why not read some of the advice on Dumb Little Man about figuring out if you should quit your job and finding your dream and living it? My one tip – especially for those trying to generate morning enthusiasm – is to devote the first hour of your day to finding and getting that job. For me, that meant months of getting up at 6am to work on my freelance writing and website portfolio before going to my day job. I was able to quit the day job and freelance full time just over a month ago.

Now that I have a job I love, and one where the effort I put in is directly proportional to the results that I get out, I find myself a lot more enthusiastic about getting up in the mornings!

How about you? Do you wake up tingling with excitement about the day ahead, or do you just roll over and curl up under the duvet again? What could you do to encourage yourself to leap out of bed at the start of each brand new day?


Monday, September 15, 2008

Name This Local Website-98

My friend J refs for them. Click here to find out who.

Attention Local Photographers

This is the event that you may want to attend:

UPDATE: As of 5pm, we have over 50 attending, and we have a few additonal seats/lunches available on a first come, first serve basis . Click here for details.

10 ways to be more productive

Check this out. If you simply implement one each week for the next 10 weeks, you will be much more productive.

Dumb Little Man - tips for life

Link to Dumb Little Man - Tips for Life

10 Ways to Simplify and Eliminate Waste in Your Life

Posted: 11 Sep 2008 10:20 AM CDT

Written on 9/11/2008 by Mike King. Aside from being a unicyclist and product development manager, Mike blogs at Learn This, a productivity blog for passionately learning career, leadership and life improvement tips. Photo Credit: Grahambones

wasteEveryone gets too busy. They pile up their tasks, responsibilities and often over-promise while struggling to maintain any kind of work life balance. It's a hectic lifestyle that many lead and while I've written some articles on how to simplify your life and mind to get around this, there are other ways to help address this problem with the work and tasks you face.

I learned a key principle while going through a training course for work and while reading Lean Thinking. The idea is to identify and eliminate waste. This can apply not only in a production environment like the book is targeted for, but in life in general. There is so much going on around us every day we need to really strive to find and eliminate the waste that consumes our valuable time in life.

Finding Waste
When I first read the book, I didn't connect the dots. Most people understand that creating waste in a production environment results in lost resources and money. However, as my thinking expanded outside of work, I saw areas of waste in everything. Some of the areas I quickly identified are:
  • Repetitive communication in multiple formats
  • Entry of data or documents in multiple locations/formats
  • Dependencies between people waiting for each other
  • Tools that make development slower or difficult
  • The workplace environment with policies / procedures that exist but are not always useful
  • Rework to fix problems caused internally
  • Rewrites of software due to unexpected changes
  • Failed attempts to solve a problem
The list could carry on for a long time in nearly everything we do. Anyone can find waste in life and there is always room for eliminating some of it. I've learned a couple of areas that drastically help with finding and identifying the waste we each experience.

Time Analysis

One of the best ways I know to find waste is to spend a week recording your actions in 15 minute intervals. I learned this technique from Peter Drucker in his timeless masterpiece The Effective Executive in a process he calls the Drucker analysis. You basically capture all your actions on a notepad for an entire week in 15 minute intervals. At the end of the week, you categorize your time spent and look at the overall time spent in each of those categories. Doing this will reveal a lot of time spent on things that don't really have any lasting impact or importance to you or others around you. Those are the areas of waste!

Ask Others
Another technique is to ask others what they think you spend most of your time on. Generally the impression you give others has some foundation so someone else's opinion on what you spend your time on is going to be fairly accurate. It may not be what you want them to see or believe, but it likely has merit from normal observation. Again, you can then classify this feedback into groups (if you ask multiple people) and collectively review all the things you spend your time on to see the areas that you consider to be waste.

Review Your Goals and Passions
Look next at your goals and passions in life. What are all the things that are holding you back from those? Everything that holds you back from what is important is potentially waste. For some people, critical thinking comes naturally so it's often a lot easier to explore the areas that are getting in the way of the important things in life and work. Create a list of 10-20 things that get in the way of your goals and passions and look at which of those you'd consider waste. It's quite likely that most of them are.

What is YOUR Life Waste Anyway?
The stuff you desire, dream for and long for are the areas you wish to experience more of. Maybe these are your adventures, travels, sports, family, friends, work, hobbies, etc. It's different for each person of course and the important items in your life are the things that are often the hardest to find time to do. All that stuff that gets in the way is waste. It can seem that daily activities are endless and that most people really don't want to be doing them. All these are waste:
  • Driving to/from work
  • Paying bills
  • Doing dishes and cleaning the house
  • Mowing the lawn and other yard work
  • Preparing meals and shopping / buying living essentials
Most people would agree with those areas that they don't have any real lasting value. More debatable areas of waste are often in our pastimes:
  • Watching TV
  • Surfing the web
  • Sleeping more than we need
  • Line ups and delays for simple things like coffee and lunch
  • Work
These are not considered waste for everybody but there is definitely some waste here, it just varies from person to person about how they feel about those activities.

All the other things in life that you HAVE to do may be areas of waste as well. Do they support some other activity that you want to do and spend more time at? Work perhaps? What about your lifestyle and how you manage your time to commute and look after your groceries and bills? All that is wasteful and is worth adding to your list so you can look to eliminate it next!

I was inspired to expand on this topic and build this list because of a post by Andrew Bolis from Personal Hack who wrote that the biggest productivity tip is elimination . My list however, looks specifically at the physical time factor and tasks undertaken in life that are wasteful. Here's my list:

10 Ways to Eliminate Waste

In order to eliminate waste there are many options, some simple, some drastic. Here are a 10 areas you could easily use to eliminate waste in your life.
  1. Don't be so Patient!
    Patience is definitely a virtue and it is something that most people who know me would say I have little of. The advantage of that however is that I don't have the patience to wait around for things. I see it as a huge waste and is an area I've learned to eliminate. I avoid line ups at all costs. I don't wait in lines for simple pleasures like a drink or lunch. I'm not a coffee drinker but I see everyday hundreds of people waiting in line at coffee shops just wasting their time! I grocery shop late in the evening when things are not as busy and lines are shorter. I go to the bank or go shopping when places first open so I can get in and out fast without having to wait in line. If you have less patience with day to day things it is easy to find places to eliminate waste.

  2. Just stop doing it!
    If you have the desire, motivation and will power, you may be able to simply stop doing things you consider waste. The article that is linked covers a bit more of the how to actually do this. If you can simply decide to stop something, it is the easiest way to eliminate waste from your life. Oh, and the quickest!

  3. Make Wasteful Activities More Difficult to Do
    You intend to kill (waste) 30 minutes watching TV but instead, you get drawn in and it turns into 2 hours. To prevent this, you can purposefully make a wasteful activity more difficult to do.

    For example, if you want to spend less time watching TV, you can put the remote in the garage for a month, or put a wall timer on the TV that automatically shuts it off every night at a certain hour. Even unplugging the TV so you have to find the cord and plug it in to use it will help you reduce the time spend in that activity since you can't as easily do the activity mindlessly. Move your couch so it doesn't face the TV, put a barricade in place that must be moved to watch or perhaps you might want to simply get rid of one or more televisions. If you have to share one or use it only in one place that is less convenient, so you won't waste nearly as much time with it.

    This tip works for any activity that requires some object or physical device. Pushing the 'power' button on the remote is too simple, make it tough.

  4. Be more efficient
    Unfortunately there are many tasks we don't want to do, but we still have to. If that's the case, we should look to be more efficient at them so they don't waste as much time. If you do a bunch of things at once, don't prioritize your tasks or just have a huge list of things to do, you will be switching back and forth which always add some waste. Learn to prioritize tasks and find ways to be more efficient with them and you can get done those wasteful tasks quicker. Look to find efficiencies in all your tasks.

  5. Focus on Finishing with Your Waste
    The last thing you want is to recycle your waste. Don't take on tasks and activities that are wasteful without following through and finishing them. Finish them so they are out of the way for good. If you deal with some of it, put it off and then have to revisit it, you start all over and things take more and more time to complete. Put your mind to finish with your waste and look forward to then having time made for the things you want to do.

  6. Double Up
    Even though I just listed in #5 to have focus, there are often times where your mind is on autopilot and you can easily multitask. For example, while doing house work or exercising, you could easily listen to music or audio books if those are things you enjoy and it allows you to turn time spent from be wasted to something you actually value. You can listen to audio books while driving or exercising instead of having to do that time separately and you will find even MORE time for the things you love.

  7. Reduce Your Travel Time
    A drastic change here would be to buy a house closer to work or change jobs so you are close to home. There are other ways to either reduce your travel time or maximize that time for other things. You could car pool or use public transit so you can multitask on your commute to work with other tasks. You could change your working hours so that traveling while traffic is light enables you to commute in less time.

  8. Take time to spiritually reflect on your life
    It's amazing how just a few minutes each day in prayer, meditation, or spiritual study can impact your ability to focus on what matters in life. The time spent doing this won't eliminate any other areas directly (unless it simply replaces them) but it will definitely give you more peace of mind and relaxation that will greatly assist you in simplifying your life and eliminating the things that are not that meaningful to you. If no time is spent thinking about your purpose and life goals, you will have a hard time identifying what is and isn't waste. Commit some time to reflect on your life and use that to eliminate the areas that don't fit your purpose.

  9. Find Someone else to Handle Your Waste
    You might have put a lot of your waste items in a must do category feeling that they are necessary even though you don't want to do them and would label them as waste. Well, the good news is that for what you consider waste, there is often someone out there would doesn't think that or might even value what you don't want to do. This is especially true with service jobs such as yard work. You don't have to do them yourself and there are companies and individuals who would welcome the work to take care of it for you. This is an easy way (even though it will often cost some money) to eliminate waste.

  10. Say NO!
    The most lasting way to eliminate waste is to learn to say no. Say no to buying new stuff you don't need, say no to tasks you don't want to do, say no to your habits that kill your time! Practice saying no to things you are comfortable eliminating and work to expand that no to other areas. If you can say no to anything that complicates and adds waste in your life, you can keep time available on the things that matter to you and to keep eliminating waste you already have. You certainly don't need to eliminate one area of waste and just replace it with a new one. You must be able to say NO when its wasteful to you.
So, those are the things I find work best to eliminate waste. What are yours? I'd love to hear if these work for you or if you have your own tools to eliminate waste. I hope this gives you a way to look for the things you can stop doing, can say no to and I encourage you to help others learn to eliminate waste as well.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Name This Local Website-97

Stuff I missed last night

I fell asleep, but thanks to, I got to watch it today:

Just a warning...

6 weeks before Halloween and there are already some folks in town that have started decorating their homes. That's really pushing it.

Saw this today. May it serve as a warning to those of you that overindulge in the Halloween decorating.

Don't Be A Whiner

It bugs me when I hear people whining. DLM wrote about this and other bad habits to overcome:

Dumb Little Man - tips for life

Link to Dumb Little Man - Tips for Life

Are You Behaving Like a Dumb Little Kid?

Posted: 08 Sep 2008 03:13 PM CDT

Written on 9/08/2008 by Ali Hale who writes about healthy eating for busy people at her blog, The Office Diet.Photo Credit:Raymond Brown

I’m sure you’ve noticed that little kids do some dumb stuff; they haven’t figured out how the world works, and they’re not good at figuring out the consequence of their actions. They sulk when things don’t go their way, they hate to lose, and they don’t know how to take care of themselves. That’s okay when you’re eight, but not when you’re eighteen or worse, 38. Some adults need to grow up and stop acting like dumb little kids.

Here’s a few dumb things that kids do. Are you guilty of any of these? How about your co-workers?

  1. Whining
    Things aren’t going your way? Don’t whine and whinge about it. If you constantly complain how much life sucks, your friends are going to feel miserable too. When something is making you unhappy, figure out a way to fix it. If you really don’t have any control over it (like the weather), grow up: you need to just accept it.

  2. Having a tantrum
    Even worse than whining is losing your temper in public. If you want to lose the respect of your colleagues or subordinates at work, throw a tantrum; not only will you make everyone uncomfortable, you’ll make yourself look like a dumb little kid who doesn’t know how to control himself. If you’re prone to flaring up in anger, then learn how to calm yourself down (walk away from a situation, or count silently to ten before reacting).

  3. Demanding “fair” rules
    Frankly, life can never be perfectly fair. From the minute we’re born, we have different opportunities and advantages in life. Have you ever noticed how little kids kick up a fuss if you alter the rules of a game to help out the smallest one, or to give a disabled kid a chance? Don’t be like that in life. If you’re a white male, maybe you feel that positive discrimination by employers is totally unreasonable – but remember that life starts off unfair.

  4. Shirking chores
    Okay, no-one loves chores, not even adults. And when you were a little kid, you probably tried to weasel out of the tasks your mom gave you. But now it’s up to you to keep your home in good order, and to make sure life runs smoothly. That means giving regular time to cleaning, grocery shopping, paying bills, and keeping stuff in order. Yes, it’s a hassle, but suck it up and just do it!

  5. Eating too much sugar
    Little kids love sugar – cookies, donuts, cakes, candy … But most parents have rules on how much they’re allowed to eat. Why? Because left to their own devices, kids don’t realize that eating five candy bars in a row will make them sick, or at the very least, horrendously hyperactive! You’re an adult, so don’t stuff yourself with foods that you know will make you feel bad.

  6. Wanting everything now
    Kids don’t have much impulse control. They’re impatient, and they hate to wait for something. They can’t look at the long-term picture. Have you grown out of this yet? Or do you still get frustrated when your blog isn’t in the Technorati Top 100 in your first month, when you don’t land a 6-figure job straight out of college, or when you have to save up money towards a big goal?

  7. Spending every last dollar
    Ever watched a kid open their piggy-bank and head to the toy store? Chances are, they’ll spend every penny they have. Little kids don’t have much concept of saving money – it’s all about instant gratification. But adults shouldn’t act in the same way. Don’t spend your whole paycheck every month; put some into savings, even if it’s just $50.
Do you act like a dumb little kid? Which of the above are you guilty of – or do you have some other way of being childish? And how are you going to change it?