Saturday, May 30, 2009

Video Time: Lady Madonna

From a concert in Russia:

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Video Time: Musical Footwork

Saw this a couple days ago...

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Meetings? I'd rather...

My wife HATES Meetings. I just hate pointless meetings. A couple years ago I worked for a manager that had sales meetings every day but they were between 5 and 15 minutes long, tops.

Recently we had a meeting that droned on for nearly 2 hours. Here's some hints if you're trapped in one of those:

Daydreaming In Meetings? Here’s Five Ways To Focus And Listen Attentively

Posted: 18 May 2009 12:28 PM PDT

It’s a typical day at work. You’re sitting in a meeting, bored out of your skull, daydreaming about your summer vacation and watching the clock go round. Someone speaking in a tedious monotone is droning on and on, but the sound’s just become background noise to you.

Then suddenly, you jolt back to full awareness of everything going on in the room when your boss asks, “So, what do you think about the proposals?”

Proposals? What proposals? You haven’t taken in a single word that’s been said!

It’s happened to us all at some point (though hopefully without our boss realizing!) Maybe it’s not a meeting, but a lecture or a church sermon. Your mind just wanders, and you realize you’ve just missed a whole chunk of discussion.

Here are five practical tips to help you keep your attention on the meeting (or lecture, etc) that you’re supposed to be listening to.
  1. Focus On Giving A Good Impression
    Should you even care about your attention wandering? Yes – because even if you’re in a meeting as an observer and don’t have much to say, the others in the room will be (unconsciously or consciously) watching you and making judgments about you. This could be critical when it comes to your next promotion opportunity...

    Remember that in every meeting, in addition to gathering information and offering input, you are visible at all times to everyone in attendance. Make it your goal to demonstrate by your words and your actions that you have a positive attitude and are interested in what is being said. Sit up. Look at the person who is speaking. Smile. Acknowledge contributions of others by nodding your head. All of these actions let other people know that rather than just another warm body in the room, you an active, eager meeting participant. (From Communications Doctor: Meetings (pdf))

  2. Write Notes
    As a student, you probably wrote notes during class so that you’d remember important points that were made. Most minutes are minuted, but don’t use this as an excuse not to write anything down. The act of writing points in your own words engages your brain, and makes it much less likely that you’ll switch off into a daydream.

    Note taking doesn’t have to mean copying down points from a presentation or from what someone says. Think about jotting down:
    • Something you want to find more information about

    • An action point for you to do

    • An idea that’s sparked by something said in the meeting

    • A point to make, or a question to ask, when the current speaker’s finished talking (it can be easy to forget these!)
  3. Contribute To The Discussion
    One of the reasons we switch off when listening is because we’re not playing an active part in the meeting: speaking up can help you to listen better!

    During meetings, people can harness concentration through participation and by asking questions. Note-taking might also help.
    (From TrendWatcher: Zoning In on Productivity by Zoning Out)

    If you find it hard to have the confidence to speak up in meetings, try saying something within the first ten minutes or so (even if it’s just a very minor point or some small talk). This breaks the ice and makes it easier for you to contribute later on.

    Don’t be afraid to ask questions if something isn’t clear. Depending on the situation, you might be the most junior person in the room, the newest member of a committee, or at a beginner level in a college class. Don’t just sit there feeling bewildered or out of your depth – ask for clarification on points that are confusing you. If there are other newbies in the group, they might well have similar queries – and they’ll be grateful that you spoke up!

  4. Re-Focus When Your Mind Starts Wandering
    However much you try to take notes and make relevant contributions to the meeting, there’ll still be times when your thoughts turn towards lunch, or your weekend plans, or your novel-in-progress, or your worries about the mortgage...

    The moment you realize that your mind is wandering, refocus. Look at whomever is speaking. Concentrate on listening carefully to what they’re saying. In your head or on paper, pick out the key points that they’re making.

    The more you practice this habit of re-focusing your concentration, the easier it’ll become. You’ll learn to very quickly spot when your thoughts are drifting off.

  5. Ask Whether You Really Need To Be There
    Lastly, if you are regularly having problems concentrating in meetings, is it because those meetings are irrelevant to you? Would you miss out on anything at all if you weren’t there?

    Millions of dollars are wasted by businesses- holding unnecessary meetings, having unclear objectives for meetings, and including people that don't need to be there. (Meetings Are Boring And Other Myths)

    Don’t waste your time and your company's money (or in non-work meetings, the time you could spend with family) by attending meetings that you get nothing out of. Try talking to your line manager and suggesting alternatives, such as conducting the business of the meeting by email or phone calls.
Do you have any tips to add on how to concentrate and listen (or even just stay awake!) during meetings?

(Thanks to Divya, one of DLM’s readers, for emailing me to suggest this one!)

Written on 5/18/2009 by Ali Hale. Ali is a professional writer and blogger, and a part-time postgraduate student of creative writing. If you need a hand with any sort of written project, drop her a line ( or check out her website at Aliventures.Photo Credit: Wyscan

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Get Fit with Free Food

At the bottom of this blog post from the DLM Blog, I'll tell you about the Free Food offer.

Dumb Little Man - tips for life

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How To Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle When You're Too Busy To Care

Posted: 19 May 2009 08:48 AM PDT

There are times in all of our lives when we are just swamped. If you ever get stressed out at work or overloaded with responsibility when you get home, keeping up with a healthy diet is often a very hard thing to do.

Eating right takes discipline and planning - two things that are in short supply when we are caught up in the hectic rat race of our daily lives. If you don't think you have the will power to keep up with a healthy lifestyle when the going gets stressful, here are some tips that may help you out.
  • Plan Your Meals Ahead
    I know this takes time and forethought, but if you can actually schedule your meals ahead of time, you will be much less tempted to swing by a fast food restaurant when your hunger kicks in. Pack a lunch from home or plan out your dinners at the start of the week. The decision of what to eat will have already been decided so you won't be forced to make a choice at the end of a crazy workday.

    Of course, this can't be done when you're in the middle of a double shift and all of your responsibilities are demanding your attention at once, but if you can plan this out before your life hits the fan, you'll have one less thing to worry about.

  • Hide Healthy Snacks at Work
    At my office, I have a can of lightly salted cashews on constant standby. When I'm stressed and tempted to run to the vending machines, grabbing a small handful of cashews is a much better alternative. They are natural and actually good for you since they are a good source of protein and unsaturated fat (the good kind). Other options I'd recommend are dried fruit (like raisins), low butter popcorn, or some fresh veggies.

  • Drink Water
    Water is a great choice for anytime of the day. If you have to grab a quick meal somewhere, ordering water with your food is a fantastic way to save some calories. It hydrates you, your body actually needs it, and it works to fill your stomach without any artificial flavors or ingredients. Water is also great with the mid-afternoon snack and really can help take away the hunger pains temporarily.

  • Be Creative With Your Workouts
    If you are too pressed for time to hit the gym, there are several other options available to you. Take a walk at lunch, go for a run in the morning, or play with the kids after work. Anytime you work up a sweat it is probably a good sign that you are burning some calories. Personally, I love getting out of the office occasionally at lunch for a quick jog. It helps clear my mind, breaks the day up, and doesn't take any time away from important tasks.

  • Grilled Chicken: The Fast Food Escape Plan
    If you absolutely have to order takeout or go to a drive-thru for a meal, there is always a healthy choice hidden somewhere on the menu. It may not be as tasty but it will save you some calories and fat. Almost all fast food places have some sort of grilled chicken wrap or sandwich. If you order this without mayo, cheese or any extra high-calorie sauce, you will have made a better choice than the greasy burger you usually order. Below are some staples I look for at fast food places when I'm just too busy to get anything else.

Remember that consistency is important in getting fit. If you only make healthy choices when you feel like it, then you won't see much progress on the scales or in the mirror. This is about making the right choice even when it's hard and if you are tired. However, if you can really make the good decisions when your life is chaotic and you are super stressed, you will know that you can make it for the long haul.

Written on 5/19/2009 by Brandon Morgado. Brandon is a self-professed fitness geek and blogs regularly at when he isn't running, playing Ultimate Frisbee or wasting his life away on Twitter.Photo Credit: Lord Jim

Okay, here in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Arby's is giving away free food on Wednesdays when you buy something else. Today the offer is a free roast beef sandwich when you buy a drink. Offer varies each week. But this weeks free food was listed in the blog post from DLM. And that's where I had lunch today.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Video Time: Invisible Turntables

Yep, it's just his mouth:

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Multitasking, Schmultitasking

If you are discovering that Multi-Tasking is making you less productive, Check out this advice from the DLM Blog:

Dumb Little Man - tips for life

Link to Dumb Little Man - Tips for Life

9 Practical Ways to To Help Stay Focused

Posted: 20 May 2009 06:36 AM PDT

Do you have a million things to do and unsure where to start?

Your attention is everything these days. As the media and the people in your environment will always find new ways to distract you from what's important, it's even more important today to maintain your focus.

By doing so, you remain to be "the eye of the storm," calm and focused. Being focused is more of an art than it is a science. Here are 9 practical ways to stay focused:
  1. Choose one or two objectives for the year.
    I think goal setting is important, but setting too many goals can be a trap.

    I spoke to a woman earlier this week that is a friend of mine. I sensed that she seemed a little confused. As we got to talking, she told me about the different businesses she works in. I asked her, “how many business do you have?” and she replied, “I have three.”

    If you ask me, that’s two, too many and here’s why. Having too many businesses (or objectives for that matter) scatters your focus, energy and your actions.

    Instead, choose one or two objectives for the year. In this case it might mean focusing on one business first. Get it up and running until it runs almost automatic. Then you're ready for your next big project.

  2. Create a daily ritual.
    I’m a Life Direction Coach, but I’m also a blogger and I have a newsletter. Since writing is part of the career I choose, I write every morning regardless if I’m going to publish an article or not. It’s become a very powerful morning ritual that keeps me focused.

    This daily ritual is the same habit that helped me write my ebook when I was working full time as an engineer. I wrote every morning for 30-60 minutes and finished a 16 page ebook in 8 weeks.

  3. Do the most important first.
    Ask yourself, “Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?” This works with the 80/20 rule. 20% of your actions create 80% of your results. If that’s the case, then are you focused on the 20% that will get you the most powerful results?

    If not, then why not? Are you inventing things to avoid the important? In most cases, you’re avoiding the important actions because there is a fear of rejection built into those actions.

    Realize this: You've mastered your life when you know it isn’t important what others think of you - it’s more important what you think of you. Take your most important actions today and yield the greatest results.

  4. Give yourself daily quite time.
    I like the way John Assaraf puts it. He says, “You want to slow down inside so that everything speeds up on the outside.”

    Take a manual transmission car for example. When you shift from first to second gear, the engine slows down but the car speeds up. As you shift from second to third, the engine slows down again, but the car speeds up even more.

    You want to do the same thing: slow down on the inside so that you speed up on the outside.

    Make it a daily ritual to mediate, breath or visualize every day to become calm of mind.

  5. Trim the fat & eliminate the noise.
    Environment plays a big role and affects your inner world; it can affect your mind. It affects your inner game.

    Don't let it. Get rid of any noise or nuisances that distract you. If you want to do the heavy lifting you have to trim the fat. And that means eliminating the distractions in your life that prevent you from staying focused; things such as: watching the news, listening to media via the radio, surfing the web or checking email excessively.

    I spend a maximum of an hour each day surfing the web and most of the time it’s for research or marketing. I also check my email twice per day. Once at mid-day and once at night. Trim the fat and eliminate the background noise in your life.

  6. Take care of yourself.
    You have to remember that if you’re going to stay focused you must be able to perform. And you can’t perform unless you take care of yourself first.

    Make sure to include a daily or at least weekly ritual to experience the things you really enjoy. In my case that means playing hockey twice per week, getting to the gym and reading inspirational books. Give yourself the time to do the things you really love to do. Take care of yourself and you’ll be able to take care of others.

    You’ll can only give what you got.

  7. Visualize daily.
    You could make this part of your daily ritual. Spend a minimum of 5 minutes daily visualizing your ideal life in all areas.

    Vision is the magnet that pulls you along your destination. It’s gives you the juice to move towards a bright future instead of pushing against it. It’s like rolling downhill instead of pushing uphill. Having a vision moves you with the current instead of against it. Stay absolutely focused with a daily visualization.

  8. Complete everything you start.
    Make completions a habit. Finish everything you start. These are the promises you make to yourself. If you made a promise to a friend and then didn't do it, do you think they'll trust you? It's unlikely, but what's worse is that you begin to doubt and loose trust in your own self.

    And a lack of trust leads to low self confidence and a poor self-image. If you have a low opinion of your self, how productive do you think you’ll be?

  9. Develop your will power.
    When you start your daily ritual it’s going to take will power to stick the routine. It’s never easy in the beginning, but with persistence you will develop the daily habits to stay very focused.

    Will power is like a muscle, it gets stronger the more you use it. To get started, burn this quote into your mind:

    “Do something every day for no other reason than you’d rather not do it or don’t feel like doing it.”~ William James

    Start by choosing the daily ritual that will have the greatest impact on your life. Then commit to it for 30 days. It may be as simple as visualizing for five minutes every day. Once you become stronger in one area, you can develop your confidence and your will power in other areas.

Being "the eye of the storm" is no easy task, but it can be very simple. Choose one tip and commit every part of your being to make it happen. It will make all the difference as you steer your ship through those turbulent waters - and ultimately help you stay focused.

Written on 5/20/2009 by Steve Martile. Steve is a Life Direction Coach and the creator of Freedom Education - Mind Power for Your Personal Growth. He is also the author of the ebook that you can download here: The Genius Within YOU. Photo Credit: Marvin Kuo

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Video Time: Making Music

Fran & Marlo Cowan have been married 62 years. Wonder how long they've been doing this?

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