Saturday, November 07, 2009

Saturday Night Classic Music Video

Grand Funk...

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Time Out

For parents of young kids, when those young kids got a little too rambunctious, they would call a time out, where the kids had to sit quietly and calm down.

I think this time out was for both the parents and the kids!

As we get older and busier, we still need time outs but do you get them?

My wife and I were married in 2001 and for the past 6 years we have reserved Friday nights as our date nights.

There is one place nearby that we are likely to be found on Friday nights around 5:30 and it is our usual weekly time out.

The restaurant overlooks a pond that is filled with ducks, swans, fish and there are raccoons that are not afraid of the guests. During the summer months, we'll dine outside on the deck.

We have also got in the habit of "Saturday Church". The church we are members of have 4 services most weekends including 5pm Saturdays, two times on Sunday mornings and also a Monday evening worship service.

Saturday Church gives us a predetermined time for a time out on a day when we could get carried away by all the home projects that need to be done. Then Sundays are usually mine to spend as I wish as my wife works and I will often gather with friends and my laptop in the morning hours at a coffee shop followed by what ever I want to do.

At this point in our lives we don't have the daily responsibilities we had earlier when we had young kids. We are pretty much empty nesters and enjoying life. Yes, there are still plenty of stresses and we are still involved with our kids, but we take regular time outs and you should too.

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

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By the way, I stay away from sharing my own political views on this blog, but will provide links to blogs that I agree with and disagree with!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Information Overload?

Let's face it. We have access to more information from more sources, than ever before.

How do you manage it? Some ideas from the DLM Blog:

How to Take Action on What You Read: Filtering and Using Information

Posted: 03 Nov 2009 07:35 AM PST

You spend a lot of time reading. Whether it’s blogs, magazines, journals, Twitter streams, newspapers or good old fashioned books, you’ve got a huge amount of information at your fingertips. Every day, you take in tons of ideas for overhauling your life: whether it’s shaking up your fitness regime, working more effectively, or having stronger relationships.

The problem is, it’s easy to get caught up in this sea of information. You might feel inspired when you read a particular blog article, or you might get a great idea from a journal... but all too often, that thought barely gets started before the next piece of information rushes in.

So how can you make sure that you’re not just passively reading through pages of information – you’re actually taking steps to make serious improvements in your life?

Avoiding Information Overload
First off, I’d say that it’s better to read a dozen articles and really make use of them, rather than skim a hundred. If you currently have a lot of magazine and journal subscriptions, or you have loads of blogs and email newsletters that you keep track of, consider whether it’s time to cut down.

If, like many of us, you use your email and your RSS reader for business purposes and for entertainment, then try dividing up your mail and feeds into sensible categories. I have a category in my RSS reader labeled “personal development”, and keeping these in one places means that when it’s time to read them, I’m ready to make notes and take actions as necessary. If you use Google Reader, try The 10 Most Useful Google Reader Productivity Tips to make sure you’re using it as effectively as possible.

Using a Notebook (Paper or Electronic)

First, you need a way to capture those ideas. Trying to hold them all in your head just won’t work and you know it! Whenever you’re reading for information (rather than for entertainment), keep a notebook on your desk or a document open on your computer. Jot down anything that comes up: it might be a reference that you want to look up, a particular tip you want to implement in your life, or a reminder to yourself.

Simply writing something down doesn’t get it done though. We’ve all written down lists of ideas and then forgotten about them for weeks. I have a couple of ways of avoiding that: which of these would work for your projects?
  1. Transferring Notebook Items to a Task List, Calendar, or Diary
    Every day, or every couple of days, go through the list of items in your notebook (or document) and decide how to fit them into your task list. This might mean scheduling some time in your calendar, or it might simply mean adding them to a “to-do” list.

  2. Use a Separate Notebook For Each Project
    When your notebook jottings relate to long term projects (such as improving your company’s website or decorating your house), keep them in one document. When you come to a day or an afternoon which you’ve earmarked for that project, simply open up your document and all your ideas will be in one place.
Using Online Tools
There are loads of online tools or pieces of software which can be used to capture, track and manage tasks and pieces of information. By all means use these but make sure you’re actually using them. By that I mean that there’s no benefit in bookmarking dozens of websites if you don’t ever go back and read them or put their advice into action! For some great advice on using bookmarks effectively in Firefox, read 9 Power Tips To Utilize Your Firefox Bookmarks.

I personally like Delicious for keeping track of web pages that I want to come back to or which I think might be useful to me. Often though, I simply keep URL links in the file which relates to that particular project.

It’s very easy to end up spending a lot of time tagging, filing and organizing online materials without really taking any action. Be strict with yourself and if a particular tool is becoming a time-waster, don’t be afraid to ditch it.

Finally ... Don’t Try to Take In Everything
There is far, far more information available than any of us ever have time to read. Much of this is great, authoritative, even life-changing stuff. However, if we all tried to keep up with everything, we’d never be able to actually take any actions. (Check out Six Smart Ways To Beat Information Overload if you’re struggling to stem the tide of information.)

Don’t worry about missing out: if there’s a truly life-changing idea out there for you, you’ll come across it one way or another. Ultimately, books, blogs, magazines and journals may well change the direction of your career or even your life ... but only because you make the time to take conscious action.

Written on 11/03/2009 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: dylanroscover

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Git Er Done

Last week, I was noticing my to do lists are getting longer and my "Done" lists are shorter. Here's some help for you and me from the DLM Blog:

7 Must Read Productivity Steps to Finally Getting Things Done

Posted: 30 Oct 2009 11:29 AM PDT

I wrote this article as a “master guide” to productivity. Well OK, I don't know about a "master guide" but one thing is for sure: implementing these steps will help you increase your output if you implement them towards the tasks that you’re passionate about.

The process I’ve documented below is the one that I personally use, and frankly, I have had excellent results. Before jumping in, try not to treat this like every other article (scan, consider, forget). Write down the steps, see how they specifically apply to your situation, and by all means, be sure to put them into action!

Remember, nothing changes until you change, or as I like to say, change isn’t change until you change!

Here are the 7 Master Steps to Productivity
  • Step #1: Write Down What You Want to Accomplish and Give it a Deadline
    Most people know to do this but few actually put this step into action. It’s critical that you define each task that you want to accomplish and give each task a deadline.

    Paul Meyer said, “If you’re not making the progress that you would like to make, and are capable of making, it is simply because your goals are not clearly defined.”

    Written goals with deadlines (when seen daily) will drive you to be more productive. Without knowing “exactly” where you are going, you will most likely stagnate.

    Let’s use the example of me “losing weight” for illustration purposes:
    • It certainly wouldn’t be productive for me to think, “I want to lose weight.”

    • The best thing for me to do is to give myself a deadline to accomplish the goal. Then place my desired weight with the respective deadline in a place where I will see it daily (like my vanity mirror). Finally, I should create a picture in my mind of “me” at my ideal weight. This picture will help drive my actions.
  • Step #2: Create a Simple Plan for Getting Things Done
    It’s obviously not enough to just have a written goal with a deadline. Having a goal is like having “the address” to where you want to go. The address will certainly help you get to your destination, but it’s not enough. You also need a “plan,” or “directions” to get you from where you are, to where you want to be.

    Do you have a plan for achieving your goals? Where is your plan documented?

    Back to our weight loss example:
    A weight loss plan may look something like this:
    • Run on treadmill for one hour daily
    • Plan all meals (limiting calories to 1700 a day)
    • Read motivational “weight loss” material for 10 minutes daily prior to lunch.
    Your plan should be detailed, specific, and have a direct impact on your goal.

  • Step #3: Schedule Critical Tasks Daily
    Having a goal and a plan is still not enough. Now you must schedule your critical task! Critical tasks are tasks that directly impact the achievement of your goal. If your goal is to write a book, a critical task may be to write for 2 hours a day.

    In our weight loss example, here’s how we would schedule our critical tasks:

    • 7:00am – 8:00am – Run for one Hour on Treadmill
    • 11:00am – 11:10am – Read Motivational Weight Loss Material
    • 8:00pm – 8:15pm – Plan Meals for Next Day and Track Progress
    Have you scheduled your critical task? Do you know what they are?

    Note: Never have more than three critical tasks.

  • Step #4: Eat that “Ugly Frog” First
    The “ugly frog” represents a critical task that you are reluctant to perform. The best thing to do with an ugly frog is to eat it first.

    In our weight loss example, the ugly frog would be:

    • Running on the treadmill at 7:00am.

    Eating the ugly frog daily is usually the difference between success and failure. Do yourself a favor and eat that ugly frog at your first available time-slot.

  • Step #5: Focus on the task at Hand
    Broken focus is the number one reason goals aren’t accomplished.

    Paul Meyer said, “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”

    You must stay focused on your critical tasks just as the sailor is focused on the port in the harbor in which he is headed. Don’t let anything side track you from completing your critical task on a daily basis.

    Back to our weight loss example - Here are a couple of things that could break my focus if I was trying to lose weight:
    • A family member brings donuts over to the house

    • At 7:15am (while on the treadmill) I remember that I need to return a friends phone call and decide that is more important.
    The key is to remain focused in the face of distractions. Distractions will come, just as sure as you’re reading these words right now. You must expect distractions and maneuver around them.

    What distractions do you have? How can you maneuver around them? You must carefully allocate your time. Your daily task selection is critical.

    You should always ask yourself:
    • Is what I’m doing right now in alignment with my goals?
    • Is this a level 10 on the critical scale, or just a level 5?
    • Am I focused on my top 3 critical tasks?
  • Step #6: Just Say “No”
    Just say no to tasks that are not in alignment with your goals. The word no is probably the biggest time saver there is so increase your “no” ratio if you want to increase your productivity.

    The number one person you’ll probably have to say no to is yourself. Your mind is good at coming up with new things to do to get you off track. So remember, just say no, because the quickest way to stop a man with a good idea, is to give him two.

    Back to our weight loss example; there will be many opportunities for me to say “no:”
    • If I’ve planned a healthy lunch (based on my diet plan), and someone asks me to join them at a steak house…
    It’s best if I just say no, in a nice way, as eating a steak for lunch is not in alignment with my goals.

  • Step #7: Track and Report Your Progress
    Finally, there’s nothing like some good ole’ peer pressure to get you motivated. Tell someone about your goal and keep them posted on your progress!

    This is how the tracking and reporting process would work in our weight loss example:
    • I would tell my wife, “I will lose 16 pounds by December 31. This is how I’m planning on completing this task, and I will update you on my progress every Saturday at 8:00am.”
    Knowing that I have to be accountable on a specific goal, on a specific day, to a specific person, is a great motivator. This level of specificity is a very important part of productivity.

    The goal and deadline should be clear, the plan should be clear, the critical task should be clear, the scheduling of the task should be clear, and the reporting process should be clear. If there’s clarity, there will be progress.
In conclusion, don’t let this article be just another good article. Decide to put these steps into action to significantly increase your productivity. Remember nothing just happens, you have to make things happen and you start by getting into action!

Written on 10/30/2009 by Mr. Self Development who is a motivational author that offers a practical guide to success and wealth; support him by visiting his blog at .Photo Credit: Alex Osterwalder

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

another blog. Click here to go there.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Online Education

Many schools offer online course work, but last week I received an email from Keith Cushner asking me to consider sharing this with you:

Free Online Classes

Picture this: you live 50 miles from the nearest college, you have no money, and you're sitting on your couch. Normal, right? Oh wait, we forgot to mention, you're also watching lectures from professors from some of the top colleges in the country and skimming the class notes, all for free. Now that's something new.

Click here to go there & check it out

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

Looks like a new website since I last visited them. Click here to go there.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Video Time: The Google Story

11 years in 2 minutes:

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

Media Monday. Click here to go there

Sunday, November 01, 2009

No one can Replace me...

I have conflicting thoughts on this subject.

First of all, if you are indispensable than you could be stuck too. After all, if no one can replace you, then you can't advance.

I had that happen to me a couple of times. Once I was in a non-sales position and I applied to join the sales force but because my work for the company was in another division, they had me pigeon holed.

Another time, I was working for a radio station in Detroit and when I decided to leave, I gave them 6 weeks notice and it took 3 people to do all the work I was doing.

On the other hand, if you are just trying to save your job by hiding in the corner, this article is for you from the DLM Blog.

How to Make Yourself Indispensable At Work

Posted: 21 Sep 2009 05:10 AM PDT

During credit-crunch times, you don’t want to just be an anonymous face in the crowd at work. Whether you’re desperate to avoid a pink slip, or whether you’re chasing after a promotion, you need to make sure that you’re indispensable to your manager. Here are five different ways to get started:
  1. Do Your Job – And Do It Well
    It might seem so obvious that it’s not worth saying – but it’s crucial to actually do your job, and to make sure you’re performing to a high standard. You’re not going to become indispensable to your company if you coast through each workday, Twittering about how bored you are, and updating your Facebook profile. (Watch your use of social media sites in general: they could cost you your job.)

    If you’re doing your best but you know your performance is under-par:
    • Ask for help from a more knowledgeable colleague

    • Ask your manager about training opportunities

    • Let your manager or team leader know if you’re struggling with the workload

    • Consider spending some of your own time improving your skills (eg. learn a new software package, or learn about good business writing)
  2. Mind Your Manners
    Again, this is basic – but it’s surprising how many people can ignore it. When at work, make an effort to be courteous and polite to everyone. That means your boss, obviously, but also the receptionist and the cleaners: colleagues and managers will notice how you treat people.

    Manners and etiquette do vary from culture to culture, so if you’re working in a place very different from that where you grew up, don’t assume that what mom taught you necessarily still applies!

    Some particular impolite behaviours which might see you frowned at include:

    ...not saying hello or good morning, not offering office guests a beverage, speaking loudly across the room, using swear words and taking calls on mobile phones. - Miral Fahmy, Mind Your Workplace Manners – It Pays, Reuters

  3. Be Enthusiastic (Even When You Have to Fake It)
    You need to go a step beyond being merely polite, if you want to really stand out at work. Adopt a positive, even enthusiastic, attitude towards your job and the company. This can be especially crucial if you work for a small company, where colleagues and managers feel a personal investment in the business’ success.

    Let’s face it, if you had to make decisions about who to keep around, would you pick the colleague who’s always complaining about boredom, red tape and problems? Or would you want the person who generally has a smile on their face, and who stays positive even in difficult situations?

    Focus on the things you enjoy about your job. Think about the positive impact your company has on clients or customers. Don’t be afraid to praise or encourage colleagues.

  4. Be Proud of Your Work
    In almost every job, you’ll have some work that’s boring, tedious or pretty much invisible to anyone but you. Don’t skimp on this – bring the best you can to every task. You’ll find that:
    • Doing your best makes you feel more positive about yourself and your work

    • Even small tasks may be crucial parts of the bigger picture, sometimes in ways you don’t realise

    • You may discover ways to work more efficiently, or to improve the effectiveness of standard company procedures – something sure to endear you to your boss!
    If you can become the sort of person who pays attention to detail, does a good job and is self-motivated, you’ll have some hugely valuable personal qualities that a lot of employers are keen to foster and encourage.

  5. Say “Yes” to Opportunities
    Whenever you get the opportunity to try something new at work, say “Yes”. It might be a daunting prospect (the first time I delievered a presentation to clients, my knees were shaking!) – but a willingness to take on new tasks and roles sends a positive message to your manager about your commitment and enthusiasm.

    It’s also a great way for you to grow in confidence and in skills, and to avoid boredom. If you get too cozy in your daily routine at work, you’ll find yourself stagnating: if you’re willing to help out on bigger projects (without a pay rise), that promotion might just get a little closer.
Are you indispensable ... or are you invisible? How do you make sure that you’re boosting your performance and profile in the workplace, every day?

Written on 9/21/2009 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: adotjdotsmith

Wondering about...


This morning I have been sitting at the Firefly Coffee House, (or is it the Firefly Coffee Shop?), tackling a project of cleaning up some things on this blog.

It began with my clicking on links to Fort Wayne websites that I had listed from 2008 and discovering that some of them had not been updated in months.

And I wondered why the authors quit?

Some of them were deleted, others simply stopped updating after doing regular updates.

What happened to those people? Are they still around? Did they lose interest, did they decide to use twitter and facebook instead?

Do they know that their blogs are still online?

I wonder..

And as I look at my own life, I know that I have to say no to more things that I'm invited to do so that I can say yes to the things I REALLY want to do.

I enjoy blogging. Even when I don't feel like it, it is a creative outlet for me and I have no intentions of quitting.

Last week I quit a project that I was working on for the past few months, so that I could concentrate on more important things in my life, and as I start the final two months of this year, I am simplifying other areas.

But what about you?

Are you caught up in the multi-tasking world and feeling less and less productive? Has your daily to-do list turned more into a wish list than an actual list of accomplishments at the end of the day?

When I was in my 20's and 30's, having kids, working, and all the items that fill our waking hours, life can become a never ending list.

Now, with those those kids in their 20's and not having daily responsibilities for them anymore, life can filled with what I choose.

Like yesterday, my wife and I spent a couple hours helping a friend move. Or later today, when I get together with a friend for lunch.

Yes, there are still plenty of "must-do" items in my life, but not as many as there were 20 years ago.

I admit, that part of my thinking about all this today is the reminder that in about 40 days I will be 50.

And the friend I am meeting for lunch today is going to be 68 this month.

I figure I have another 25 or more years to live and I get to decide what I want to do, including what I want to quit and what I want to start.

No matter what your age, you get to make some of those decisions in your life too!

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

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