Saturday, November 27, 2010

Saturday Night Classic Music Video

Wrapping up my year of running through the alphabet with this from ZZ top. Then next month, I'll have a few surprises for you...

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

Click on Pic and thanks to my friend Joe for sending this blog link.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Burn out?

Now that we are really in the middle of the holiday season, you may need this from the DLM blog:

Are You Overworking? 7 Important Steps To Avoid Burnout

Posted: 07 Oct 2010 06:27 AM PDT

Do you have a good work-life balance right now? Do you spend a good amount of your time working? Do you feel like you have a lot of things to do but you can't seem to finish them? Has it been a long time since you had a break or a vacation?

If you answered yes to any of the questions, there's a good chance you're prone to burnout. That's especially so if (a) you're a workaholic or (b) you constantly receive (and accept) more work than you can handle. The upside is the increased work exposure helps you gain experience and develop your skills. The downside is, you neglect your mental well being, relationships, and health. Prolonged periods of working without rest wears you out, without you even realizing it. Before you know it, your productivity is waning, you feel tired more easily and you are on the verge of breakdown.

When that's happening, you're entering burnout mode. Burnout is common among working level executives, freelancers, self-employed, entrepreneurs and students, because you're directly responsible for everything and there are no work processes to guide you. Many people who are burned out for prolonged periods sink into depression which can be tough to deal with.

Below are 7 essential steps to avoid burnout. What can be added to the list?
  1. Plan ahead
    Have a clear schedule. One of the biggest reasons for burnout is lack of proper planning. Thus, you over-commit yourself, sometimes having multiple deadlines running in the same time. This leads to late nights and high stress levels later on.

    Prepare a schedule that shows what you have to do on a monthly, weekly and daily basis. Create an overview template where you can see your upcoming commitments at a glance. That way, you know periods when your plate is full and periods when you can slot in more work. Leave sufficient lead time for each project.

  2. Set aside non-work/leisure time
    Work can never replace what non-work activities can give you. For those of you who love what you do for a living, you probably just want to do it 100% of your time (apart of sleeping/eating). I know I feel that way as I absolutely love my work. I feel 110% blissful and excited just writing personal development articles day after day, working on my blog and doing 1-1 coaching with my clients.

    However, there are areas of your life that can't be fulfilled by just work alone. They can only be fulfilled by non-work activities. For example, activities like time with your loved ones such as family and friends. Time with yourself, to go for a quiet walk or pursue your other hobbies and interests. Exercise sessions where you rejuvenate your body and mind. Vacation to take a break and regroup. These activities are important, quadrant 2 tasks, essential for your well-being. They should be planned in your schedule too and shouldn't be deprioritized for work. Set aside some time every week where you can work on your relationships, your health, recreation and your spiritual self.

  3. Define clear expectations with others
    Often times your colleagues, manager or clients have sudden, last minute requests where they need your assistance. This ripples out and causes a backlog in your own work. Without enforcing your boundaries, these will keep happening in the future. Let them know your commitments at the on-start so all of you can plan accordingly. Of course, it'll be hard to enforce this 100% of the time especially if you're working for someone, but clear communication will help move there. You have your boundaries and it's up to you to enforce it.

  4. Stop overworking. Have a clean cut off for work
    Set a clean cut-off for your work. If you set aside X-Y time for a project, then make sure you end at Y time. Don't let it seep into other items on your schedule. If a particular task is taking way longer than expected, you're probably not going to get much done with the extra hour or 2. Stop working on it and get back at a later time or tomorrow where you'll have a fresh mind. I know I'm a lot more productive when I do that.

  5. Cut off the 'busy work'
    There are always fire-fighting activities and administrative tasks in every line of work. Eliminate them as best as you can and get right to the content creation. What I do is I write down all the things I intend to do for a day, then I circle out the high value tasks - 20% tasks on the list that give me 80% of the value. Then I focus on them for the day. As for the remaining 80% tasks that give me lower value, I either put them off, delegate them or outsource them. When I do this, I feel I accomplished a lot more in the day. Otherwise, I get stuck in the 80% tasks that give little rewards, which is highly unproductive.

  6. Talk to someone
    Having a listening ear helps you to sort out mental clutter. If you're feeling overwhelmed, share it with your friend. Ask him/her out and have a chill out session over drinks. Or give him/her a ring and just chat on the phone. You don't have to be alone in this. You'll be surprised at how ready your friends will be to listen and be there for you. You can also talk to fellow colleagues, and even your manager/teacher if you need advice from someone of experience.

  7. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
    Working under crunch deadlines, you might often forgo sleep to get work done. At first it seems like it's okay - you can just recoup lost sleep by sleeping more the next day. However, the impact of lost sleep piles up over time, to a stage when it weighs heavily on you.

    Don't take your health for granted. Please make sure you sleep at least 5 hours every day. Having a proper diet and exercise regime is very important too. I used to take my health for granted, easily having days of not sleeping when I have a project deadline/workshop the next day. Now I don't do that anymore because I realize it takes a toil on the health in the long run. Proper scheduling (Step #1) is important to make this step a success.
How about you?
Try the 7 steps above to avoid burnout. Do you have any personal experiences with avoiding burnout or dealing with burnout? Feel free to share in the comments area.

Written on 10/7/2010 by Celestine Chua. Celestine writes at The Personal Excellence Blog, where she shares her best advice on how to achieve personal excellence and live your best life. Get her RSS feed directly and add her on Twitter @celestinechua. If you like this article, you will enjoy one of her top articles: 101 Things To Do Before You Die.Photo Credit: madmolecule

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

Click on Pic

Thursday, November 25, 2010

100 Ideas for a Stress Free Christmas

Christmas Eve, 2009: I'm cleaning out some emails and I discover this great bit of advice that I wish I read when it first arrived a couple weeks earlier.

So, I read it and discover it is timeless. So here we are 11 months later and just in time to follow some of these ideas from the DLM Blog:

100 Ways To A Stress Free Christmas

Posted: 08 Dec 2009 07:08 AM PST

Christmas is traditionally a time of year when we enjoy ourselves, we let our hair down and are a little more relaxed. At least that's the way it's meant to be. For a lot of people however, it's a stressful time of year. There's the shopping to do, there's the list of cards for all the family; god forbid we don't send Aunt Betty a card, there's the dinner to buy, there's work to do, there's family to contact, there's a hundred and one things to do.

Well here is a list of things you can do to relax and enjoy yourself a little more:
  1. Set A budget
    It's easy to get carried away buying Christmas presents. Set a budget and stick to it.

  2. Make A List
    Make a list of every single person you need to buy a present for. Keep it safe and tick off as you buy.

  3. Write A little A Day
    From now until maybe the 14th December, write your cards out, maybe 5 per day. No need to stress about getting all of them done at the same time.

  4. Address labels
    Get someone to put all your names and addresses from your address book into a spreadsheet and then print off your labels. You can pay your son, daughter, niece or nephew to do this for you.

  5. Don't Send Out of Guilt
    If you are sending cards or presents out of guilt, don't. Don't just send because you feel obliged to, cut out this practice and send who you want to send to.

  6. Wrap Presents The Same Night
    As you buy your presents make it a practice to wrap them the same night. This way you will not feel overwhelmed at having to wrap them all at the same time.

  7. Enroll The Kids Into Wrapping
    Kids love Christmas so why not get them involved more into helping you do the tedious time consuming part of Christmas like wrapping the presents.

  8. Fill Up Your Freezer Now
    There's always specials on this time of year but beware as the prices will probably go up again just before Christmas.

  9. Get Into The Christmas Spirit
    It can be quite stressful but remembering that Christmas is a fun time for everyone, or should be, so get into the spirit and plays Christmas CDs, go to Panto's, or see the Christmas nativity.

  10. Make Homemade Gifts
    Making homemade gifts can be a great way to personalize your presents and save you a bit of money. If you're at all arty or can cook why not make presents this year.

  11. Shop Online
    This is a great way to take the stress out of shopping. If you can buy all the gifts from one online store so much the better.

  12. Look At Comparison Sites Before Purchasing
    When you have decided on a present to buy for someone why not check out the comparison sites to see if you can get it cheaper elsewhere online.

  13. Shop Early on in the Day
    There's nothing worse shopping when it is extremely crowded and shoppers are getting irate because it's too busy.

  14. Don't lose your head With relatives
    Remember the Christmas holidays only last for a few days so don't risk falling out with the whole family because of 1 person you don't like.

  15. Buy A Real Tree
    You can replant your Christmas tree in your garden or give it away when the holiday season is over.

  16. Take Some Time Out
    You don't have to attend every single Christmas family event. Take a night off to spend alone or just with the family.

  17. Take A deep Breath
    Remember what Christmas is all about and take a deep breath in times of stress and let it all out and wash over you.

  18. Get More Sleep
    As you will be more busy than usual it's better to get as much sleep as possible so you will have the energy to do everything.

  19. Allow Mess
    Christmas for kids is not a tidy affair it's all about letting go so don't worry too much about the mess. People visiting will expect mess if you have kids. Let kids be kids for the day.

  20. Let them know You're stressed
    Don't take everything on board yourself. Let other members of the family know you are ready to blow a gasket and ask for help.

  21. It's okay to Say No
    You don't need to say yes to every request made of you at Christmas time, or any other time for that matter. Learn to diplomatically say no; there's only so many nativities you can go to.

  22. Remember the good times
    If Christmas is a sad time for you because loved ones are no longer with you, try and remember the good times and ask yourself how they would celebrate.

  23. Hire a cook
    There are lots of places where you can order your Christmas dinner, fully prepared and you pick it up two days before Christmas. Why have all the stress of doing everything yourself.

  24. Stay away from the big shopping malls
    You'll only come home in a bad mood ready to kill someone as you have been elbowed so many times by people rushing to buy presents. Shop when it's quieter or online.

  25. Switch the TV off
    The TV can often be the source of entertainment for the Christmas holidays. Try something different like board games, karaoke, family Xbox or Playstation games.

  26. Avoid too much alcohol
    Yes this is a time to let your hair down but overdoing it on the alcohol can lead you to do things you wouldn't normally do.

  27. No Need to spend the same amount
    My mother always spend the exact same amount on each grandchild no matter how much presents there are. there's no need to do this. It doesn't mean you love one more than the other.

  28. Don't overfill your food cupboards
    there's no need to stock up for the Christmas holidays, the shops are only closed for 1 day or two.

  29. Let things go wrong
    Christmas doesn't have to be spot on perfect. things will go wrong, laugh about it and get on with it.

  30. Make it magical
    Put the fun back into Christmas for the kids and for yourself. It's tradition in our house that the biggest present is always turned into a treasure hunt. Make games up, sing, be silly just let go and be yourself for a full day and enjoy it.

  31. Use post it notes
    If you have a board in your kitchen write post it notes of things to do and you as you do them transfer them to another 'done' board.

  32. Clean out the freezer
    Unless you have a frost free freezer it's a good idea to clean out the freezer to make as much room as possible for food.

  33. Clear the cupboards
    It's also a good idea to clean out the cupboards of all food you have used including: tinned foods, packet foods, and sauces.

  34. Give the house a good cleaning before Christmas
    This way there won't be so much work to do after all the festivities are over and you can relax more.

  35. Clean sheets and duvets
    If you are having guests over make sure you have enough bed linen and make sure it all cleaned befoehand.

  36. Buy in bulk
    If you buy for teachers, colleagues, group members etc buy in bulk to avoid having to shop around.

  37. Ignore the ones who've done it all
    When you feel particularly stressed, don't tell the super-organized person as they will make you feel worse. These are the people who have all their presents, cards, food etc in at the end of August and you feel a smack in the mouth might wipe the smug grin off their face.

  38. Sing loudly
    I love singing at the best of times but at Christmas it's a must to sing loudly and more annoying, there's nothing better than annoying the family with loud singing.

  39. Be unique
    Buying gifts for loved ones is often a dull affair. Try and listen throughout the year for what he or she would really like and put some thought into present buying for your spouse.

  40. Have a rest day
    Once you have everything prepared, presents bought and wrapped, cards written and sent, invitations written and sent etc have a complete day of rest, you deserve it.

  41. Clear the air
    If you've had a disagreement with someone and they are coming round for Christmas, try and clear the air before they come round.

  42. Let everyone be themselves
    Yes it's annoying to have Uncle Bert dribbling in the corner, drunk and half asleep. Let it be and don't stress yourself, it's only for the day.

  43. Invite someone who is alone
    If you are having a big Christmas dinner with family members, why not invite someone you know will be on their own.

  44. Make sure you have a camera
    It's important to capture every Christmas with photos or a camcorder. You may not think it is important just now but in years to come it will bring back so many happy memories for you to enjoy.

  45. Be mindful of pets
    Your pet can get very confused with all the toing and froing of Christmas planning so be mindful to pay them some more attention than usual.

  46. Stock up on medication
    If you have a health condition make sure you have enough medication to last you through the holidays as your doctor may be vacationing for a prolonged period.

  47. Make sure you have a good online protection software
    With many people turning to the net for Christmas shopping, it's extremely important to have online protection software installed on your computer.

  48. Wear sensible shoes
    When you're visiting people at Christmas and it's bad weather,♠ wear sensible shoes in order to minimize the risk of slipping or falling.

  49. Mind your back
    Christmas shopping can be a nightmare for your back. Try and shop more online or make more trips so you are not carrying a mountain full of bags in one go.

  50. Check the weather when hanging lights
    If you decorate your home outside check the weather forecast for the days to avoid any dangers.

  51. Never mind the Jones'
    Christmas is all about joy, fun and happiness it's not about who has the best house lights, or the biggest garden tree or best garden decorations.

  52. Keep receipts
    Always keep your Christmas receipts in a special box. This will mean you can take duplicate gifts back or faulty gifts back and get them exchanged.

  53. Celebrate the real meaning
    Christmas is a time for giving and celebrating and being grateful. Why not visit a hostel with the family to give some of your time before Christmas day.

  54. Encourage children to get involved
    When you explain the importance of Christmas through your actions the children will want to get involved as well. Always make it a fun time if you have kids.

  55. Get your pets used to your decorations
    If you have a pet who has never celebrated Christmas with you, introduce the tree a week early to let them get used to it.

  56. Leave your light hooks up
    If you know you will be decorating the outside of the house every year why not leave the light hooks up so you don't have to do it year after year in the freezing cold.

  57. Find out the return policies
    A lot of gifts cannot be returned after a certain number of days; find this out before purchasing if you are afraid the person might not like it or it will not fit them.

  58. Use coupon sites
    This is a growth area online and there are thousands of coupon sites offering printable coupons to get discounts off from your favorite stores.

  59. Turn out the lights
    Remember to turn all your Christmas lights out at night before going to bed.

  60. Shop on eBay
    There are some fantastic bargains to be had from eBay. If you are stuck for an idea, have a browse and see what there is.

  61. Buy cards straight after Christmas
    If you want to save some money on cards, buy them straight after Christmas as the card shops are looking to get rid of their stock. You will often get great deals for next year.

  62. Tire out the pets
    To stop your pet from getting overexcited, spend a little more time playing around with them and tiring them out so they can relax more.

  63. Leave the kids at home
    If you are going shopping for presents there's nothing worse for a child than having to trail round the shops. Try and organize a baby sitter for a day to let you get your shopping done.

  64. Free events before Christmas
    Lots of children are off on holiday and it can be a strain to keep them entertained. Take them to free events such as the turning on of Christmas lights, the events in the local square, get the kids to write a letter to Santa, go a walk in the local big park.

  65. Place your order now
    If you know what you Christmas menu will be i.e. Turkey, go to your local butcher, or food shop and place your order just now and pick it up nearer the time.

  66. Get plenty of batteries in
    A lot of presents need batteries and it's something we often forget. Make sure you have lots of batteries in stock.

  67. Cash in your rewards
    If you get rewards from your various stores cash them in at Christmas and use them up. It may not be much but every little helps.

  68. Buy your crackers after Christmas
    Buy luxury crackers after Christmas and get a really good price, then store them away for next year.

  69. Make your own gift tags
    Old Christmas cards are a great way to do this. Get your pinking shears out and make your own tags.

  70. Fill the tank up
    If you are going visiting at Christmas make sure you have enough fuel as a lot of gas stations will be closed.

  71. Stocking fillers
    You can stock up on these throughout the year and they soon add up to a sizeable amount of gifts.

  72. Remember overseas relatives
    Remember to get all your overseas parcels sent well before Christmas for them to get there in plenty of time.

  73. Post overseas cards
    Post all your overseas cards in plenty of time for them to arrive by Christmas.

  74. Tiring the kids out
    We have a tradition of going for a meal and then to see a movie on Christmas Eve. This keeps them occupied and tires them out so they get a good sleep and are not too excited on Christmas Eve.

  75. Watch Christmas movies
    Have a Christmas movie day to get the whole family in the spirit of Christmas.

  76. Remember the table decoration
    If you are having guests over remember to get in your Christmas table decorations well in advance.

  77. Buy for the less fortunate
    All year round should a time for thinking about those less fortunate but at this time of year it seems to be more important. Buy a gift for those less fortunate.

  78. Cue the DJ
    Make sure you have a stock of CDs and music for Christmas so you're not hunting around on the day for them.

  79. Pay all your bills before Christmas
    If you can do this it will save you the stress of worrying about the money situation.

  80. Prepare your thank you cards in advance
    Write out all your thank you cards before Christmas so there's no need to worry about them after Christmas and you can relax a little more.

  81. Do some more walking
    Christmas is a time for overindulging in everything including food and drink. Get a little more exercise by going out for a long walk.

  82. Pack the camera
    If you're going visiting remember to take the camera; it's often easy to forget in the hustle and bustle of getting packed.

  83. Time the present opening
    Kids get so many presents at Christmas that they don't know who is buying for them. Don't let them rip all the paper off every single one, let them read the label first, open them, and give them time to enjoy them.

  84. Give your guest a job
    If things get a little out of control and you are having trouble with a family member give them a job to do to get them out of the way.

  85. Get some oxygen
    Even if it's freezing cold, get everyone out of the house for 5 or 10 minutes. A Christmas house can become overheated and overcrowded and getting everyone out for the house for 5 minutes in the cold will wake everybody up and re-ignite the party.

  86. Emergency gifts
    Wrap up a few boxes of chocolates to give as gifts for unexpected visitors.

  87. Declutter the house
    Decluttering helps to de-clutter the mind and if you do it a few weeks before Christmas you will feel a lot more relaxed.

  88. If you are alone
    I've spent a few Christmases alone and it's not a good feeling. However, don't allow others to feel sorry for you. Create a Christmas atmosphere, watch movies all day, and relax and treat yourself to a few goodies.

  89. Use smaller plates
    If you want to cut down on the amount you eat, trick the brain and use a smaller plate.

  90. Use taller glasses
    This is another trick to help fool the brain into thinking you are drinking more than you are and it helps reduce the amount of alcohol your drink.

  91. Don't wrap it, bag it
    Instead of spending hours wrapping all your Christmas gifts why not bag the from the great bags you get from the dollar store.

  92. Pick a party theme
    If you have a Christmas party every year pick a theme and send out invitations in that theme.

  93. Don't overload extension cords
    Think about safety at Christmas and don't overload your extension cords.

  94. Clean out the cooker
    Make sure you cooker it cleaned before Christmas. It will be getting used a lot and cleaning it before hand will help with the cleaning afterwards.

  95. Recycle the leftovers
    You can use the leftover turkey for making sandwiches for boxing day.

  96. Buy rechargeable batteries
    Although they might cost a little more it will save you money in the long run.

  97. Go green and ditch the plastic
    Everyone's going green these days. You can do your bit buy buying a bag for shopping and not use the stores plastic bags.

  98. Keep your pets away from the noise
    If you can help it keep your pets away from the main party as the bangers, crackers and other noises can scare them.

  99. Take a step back
    I might be a little sad but I always take a step back when I see everyone enjoying themselves and remind myself of how lucky I am, and get a little tearful (yes, I'm a man but real men cry too!)

  100. Enjoy yourself
    It's what it's all about.

Written on 12/08/2009 by Steven Aitchison. Steven is the Author of Change Your Thoughts and works as an alcohol and drugs counselor. He has a BSc in Psychology and has a passion for studying belief formation, thought processes and values and principles. His blog focuses on personal development through changing your thoughts but covers the whole personal development field.Photo Credit: Randy Son of Robert

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

Happy Thanksgiving. Click on Pic!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Different Kind of Thankful

About three weeks ago, I was grabbing a coffee and getting ready to settle into a comfy coffee shop chair with my laptop to answer emails and work on proposals.

While I was in line, a local police officer was behind me and I bought their drink too. When they thanked me, I told them thank you for doing the job I don't want to do.

The next day in my email was this from Harvey Mackay:

The State Patrol catches up with Harvey

By Harvey Mackay

When the Minnesota State Patrol car rolled into our company parking lot, heads turned toward the office windows. When Trooper Jon Olsen walked into the building asking for me, the staff was guessing that my "luck" may have finally run out.

Fortunately for me, Trooper Olsen is married to my trainer, and she helped me arrange for a ride-along. To say I respect the incredibly important and often dangerous work these men and women perform is a gross understatement. The four hours I spent with Trooper Olsen gave me a perspective I never thought I'd have: I went from hoping I wouldn't encounter a state patrol car on the road to being grateful every time I see one in my mirrors. I've spent the last two years researching jobs for my latest book, and this experience absolutely blew me away.

According to Olsen's captain, I was in the company of one of the best -- she told me she wishes she had 100 just like him. His pride, dedication and continuous learning keep him at the front of the pack. He was the first to get his patrol car equipped with a $25,000 camera that can read license plates at a speed of 70 miles per hour going either direction. It beeps when it spots a suspended or revoked license or a stolen car. He caught three offenders in four hours with this equipment.

The equipment isn't just in his car. Getting dressed for work takes an extra 10-15 minutes, putting on equipment which includes two guns with 55 rounds, bullet-proof vest, Taser, audio microphone, flashlight, radio, pepper spray, gloves and hand cuffs. He weighs an extra 30 pounds after he puts on all his gear.

Then there's the car, decked out with a digital video camera, equipment for preliminary breath test, window tint meter, radar, laser gun, computer and printer, big flashlight, two radios, emergency lights, siren control box, two guns (M16 and 12-gauge shot gun) and push bumpers. All of this is accessible from the driver's seat.

Open the trunk and you will find a medical bag, defibrillator, road flares, traffic cones, jumper cables, tire iron (for assisting people with flat tires), crow bar, riot stick, riot helmet, gas masks, rubberized hazardous materials suit, spray paint cans, digital camera, stop sticks (iron spikes to disable tires), fire extinguisher and shovel. There is no such thing as packing light when he has to be prepared for just about any emergency that might arise. In all my business dealings, I'm a preparation freak, and the State Patrol carries that out to the nth degree.

Trooper Olsen shared plenty of stories about the different situations he has faced in his six years on the State Patrol, but many of us are probably most familiar with traffic stops of all kinds. Removing offenders from the road for speeding or driving under the influence is a real service to the rest of us on the road. These offenders are a threat; the troopers save lives every day by making our roads safer.

I wish that we could find a way to make their jobs safer too. These men and women are true heroes, never knowing what awaits them in the cars they pull over or the situations they face daily. I can't imagine talking myself into facing the challenges Trooper Olsen faces day after day.

Let me share a piece of advice: state troopers have heard just about every excuse known to mankind. Among Olsen's favorites: "I'm late for court!" (How about another ticket so you can use that excuse again?) "I have to go so bad and I'm trying to get to a bathroom ..." (But didn't you just pass several gas stations?) Better just to have your license, registration and proof of insurance ready.

As you can see, this was no ordinary day at the office for me. But for the state troopers who climb into their well-equipped cars every day and hit the road to keep us safer, there is no such thing as a routine shift.

I take for granted that I will get home each evening in time for dinner with my family, even if I've made some mistakes.

Troopers can't let down their guard for a minute. Mistakes can be fatal, not only for them but for innocent drivers on the road. The service they provide is nothing short of heroic.

Mackay's Moral: Thank a trooper if you had a safe ride today. And watch your speed.

Hope your Thanksgiving is full of Thankfulness.

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

Another recommendation from my friend Tom. Click on Pic to see this Fort Wayne based company.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tech Tuesday Tip

Last Monday, a coworker of mine was a bit frustrated.

The screen on her laptop was not working. Nothing. It was like someone had turned the monitor off.

So she had a computer store where she and her family have bought about 5 computers over the years and she knew the owner and trusted him to tell her the truth.

The truth turned out to be the video card on her laptop was shot. Needed to be replaced. Wholesale price over $350.00. Or she could buy a newer computer for $700.00.

She opted for the new computer.

Wednesday, I'm helping her configure some of the special software we use in the radio industry and she is setting up wireless passwords etc, and she tells me that her computer guy told her that the old laptop hard drive was 95% full!

She's had the computer for 5 years and saved everything it seemed. She is fortunate that her computer guy was able to save the stuff off her old hard drive and put it own her new laptop, where it only takes up 20% of the storage due to the increased capacity.

A couple lessons to learn....

Keep an eye on how full your computer hard drive is becoming. Your computer has a built in program that will give you that info, usually click on your computer, then the drive you want to check, usually C: right click tools and go from there.

Next, don't fill up the hard drive on your computer and expect it to function its best. I'm using 52% of mine and aim to use no more than 60%.

What if you have more "stuff" and need to free up space?

I recommend an external hard drive. I bought one last year and I could back up both my computer and my wife's computer with room to spare. With the holidays coming you should be able to pick a new one up for $150 or less that will suit your needs, even if you are a pack rat.

Then, once you get the external hard drive, use it! Mine sat in a box for 6 months, before I sat down and discovered how easy it was to back up important stuff from our computers, which I now do once a month.

$150 is easier to swallow than $700 or more if you have to replace a computer and lose all your data.

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

Their new site is up. Click on Pic to take a look.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Email Addiction?

from the DLM Blog:

Are You A Slave to Your Email?

Posted: 22 Oct 2010 09:41 AM PDT

When did you last check your email?

I'd bet it was within the last hour. Quite possibly within the last ten minutes. You might well have your inbox open right now, with message alerts jumping up at you.

Almost everyone I talk to feels that email takes up too much of their time. If you work for an employer, in a traditional office environment, you might have your email open from the moment you get into the office until the moment you shut down your computer at the end of the day.

(And you've probably checked email after hours or on the weekends, too.)

If you're self-employed or work from yourself, it's probably even worse. You might find yourself worrying about emails during dinner, or when you're supposed to be having some family time.

The problem isn't knowing what to do. You've read plenty of advice telling you to close the inbox, to avoid checking emails first thing in the day, and to get on with your key tasks first. But are you doing it?

If not, you're probably making one (or more) of the following excuses:

"Something urgent might come in"
This is the biggie. You tell yourself you need to check your emails just in case. What if that client gets back to you, and needs a response in a hurry? What if the server goes down? What if your kid's school needs to get in touch?

The truth is, if something is genuinely super-urgent, people will find another way to deal with it. They'll probably phone, or email someone else.

If you really, truly, have to respond to certain emails within minutes, then get set up with a service like Away Find – so that you can work in peace, knowing that you'll get a text (or other notification) if a particular person emails you.

"I use my email to store my to-do list"

Some folks keep their email inbox open constantly because their email forms their to-do list (with lots of emails-to-self), or because they need the calendar or the chat feature or some other function.

If your incoming emails are a constant distraction, find a different system for your to-do list. Alternatively, change your email settings so that new emails only arrive at occasional intervals – instead of checking for emails every 5 or 10 minutes, set this to every hour or two.

"How will I keep on top of my messages?"
If you get a lot of emails, you might resist the idea of dealing with them in a batch towards the end of the day. You're worried that there won't be time – because at the moment, it feels like you spend half your day (or more) just dealing with emails.

The truth is, the added efficiency from working through your emails in a focused, systematic way will save you a lot of time. Just think about how quickly you can get through a backlog when you're back at work after a vacation, compared with how long you can take over just a handful of emails on a typical day.

"I'm being really productive."
Although answering emails might feel productive – you get the quick win of watching that "unread" number go down – it probably isn't the best use of your time.

Instead of thinking about the amount you get done, consider the value. Wouldn't it be better to let some emails go unanswered, or send very brief replies, in order to get that big project done instead?

"People expect a quick response."

If you're used to responding to emails within an hour or two, you might worry that people will object if they don't hear back for a day or more. The truth is, most people won't be at all bothered. They'll get used to the fact that it takes you a day to get back to them, and they won't email expecting an instant reply.

"But if I'm not doing emails ... what will I do?"
Although not many of us would say this out loud, it's often lurking in our minds. When we're feeling stuck at work, not sure what to do next, it's easy to turn to emails. There's almost always something in our inbox that requires action – and it's often easy to see what action is needed.

Don't use emails as an excuse not to clarify your thinking on something. Instead, take a few minutes to brainstorm or write out a list that helps you move forwards.

Got another tip to add? Or another really, really good excuse to stay a slave to your email? Let us know in the comments...

Written on 10/22/2010 by Ali Hale. Ali writes a blog, Aliventures, about leading a productive and purposeful life (get the RSS feed here). As well as blogging, she writes fiction, and is studying for an MA in Creative Writing.Photo Credit: liewcfJoe M500

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

I discovered this last week. You can discover it now. Click on Pic.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I was going to post this earlier...

But... well, you know.

from the DLM Blog:

6 Useful Steps To Tackle Procrastination

Posted: 09 Nov 2010 07:19 AM PST

Is there something you're procrastinating in your life now? For example,
  • Finishing your work
  • Getting a new job you're passionate about
  • Looking for your soul mate
  • Losing weight
  • Starting a business
Procrastination is one of the biggest time wasters in life. When we procrastinate, we waste away valuable free time and put off important tasks we should be doing until it’s too late. When that happens, we panic and wish we started earlier. I know a few chronic procrastinators, and unfortunately they spend their lives in the cycle of delaying, putting off important tasks, procrastinating, avoiding work, and doing work only when it's inevitable. It's unfortunate because they are disgruntled with their lives and they often self-victimize about their situations, when they have put themselves there in the first place.

It doesn't have to be that way at all. You can take conscious action over procrastination to create the life that you want. Here, I will share 6 useful steps to tackle the procrastination bug:
  1. Set goals that you want
    If you're not springing into action, there is probably a lack of desire towards the goal. Rather than push yourself through with the process, let's start off with the very basic. Do you want this goal? If your answer is "no", that means this isn't a goal to pursue in the first place. If that's the case, pressing on isn't a solution. Ditch those goals, get back to the drawing board and start forming new goals. Identify the goals that really inspire you.

  2. Understand why you want the goal
    Understanding why you want the goal will help you get clear of your inner motivations. Whether your goal is weight loss, to change a job, to find your life partner, ask yourself: Why do you want this goal? Write down as many answers as possible, until you feel a strong drive and motivation. The objective is to connect you with your inner desire for the goal. This 'Why' is the fuel that'll drive you towards your goal. If you don't have a good 'Why', you'll eventually face a lack of interest and give up halfway. With a strong 'Why', it'll drive you to accomplish anything you want to, and overcome whatever is ahead.

  3. Develop a clear plan with specific deadlines
    A clear plan with specific deadlines is crucial. If you don't have that, you won't know the effects day-to-day procrastination has your end outcome. In your mind, there is a foggy idea of what you need to do and when you need to do it. Since there isn’t a clear idea of what needs to be done by when, your impression is that even if you procrastinate for a little while, nothing gets impacted. So you let yourself relax, thinking you can get to it later on.

    However, every time you procrastinate, something is implicated. You just don’t know because you don’t have a clear plan outlined. Develop a plan to achieve your goal. Your plan should include the steps you need to take and specific deadlines for each task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date.

  4. Break your work into little steps
    I remember when I was working on my 1st ebook, The Personal Excellence Book, a few months ago, I would procrastinate on it day after day. It would be months before I realized that I was never ever going to get to it unless I did something different. I realized I was putting it off because I saw it as a huge task and it was mentally overwhelming. So then, I broke down the project into phases such as researching, deciding on the topic, creating the outline, drafting the content, writing the chapters, and so on. Suddenly, the whole thing seemed very manageable. From there, I just focused on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it's done, I moved on to the next. My ebook was launched just a few months ago with pre-sales being maxed out in the first couple of hours.

    Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. It'll be so simple that it's easy to start!

  5. Drop the perfectionist mindset
    As contradicting as it may be, a perfectionist mindset leads to procrastination. Have you ever thought put off your work because you feel like it's too much work? That's the perfectionist side of you thinking - in your mind, you see the work to be done in a certain way, to a certain level. However, if you think about it, that sort of mindset doesn't serve you. For what it's worth, doing just a wee bit of something is better than not doing at all. Just start off small. Even if it's a lousy draft, it gets things started. It's from that 1st draft that you build on to the next draft.

    When I write my articles, I always split the work over several days. My objective when I first write it is not to get everything right, but just to get the key ideas down and have a brief outline. It doesn't even have to look a certain way - editing comes in the later stages. I find that this system of writing makes me a lot more productive than trying to finish 1 whole blog post in 1 sitting.

  6. Create accountability
    The more accountable you are to your goal, the more better. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects. This creates an even stronger motivation to stick to your plans and achieve your goals. For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It's a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.
Share your experiences
Is there something you're procrastinating in life? How can you tackle your procrastination via the 6 steps above? Please share with all of us in the comments area.

Written on 11/09/2010 by Celestine Chua. Celestine writes at The Personal Excellence Blog, where she shares her best advice on how to achieve personal excellence and live your best life. Get her RSS feed directly and add her on Twitter @celestinechua.
Photo Credit: SuperFantastic

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

Thanks to my friend Tom for this recommendation, just in time for the Holidays. Click on Pic