Minimalism! What a concept! I just realized that the term “Minimalist” might just describe my natural drive to separate myself from the unnecessary. Not just clutter on bookshelves, but fundamental things. Big things.
I made a list of some of the biggies that I separate myself from… read more…
Sitting in a Chicago cafe looking out the window at a young man sweeping the sidewalk. He’s getting each and every tiny piece of trash and cigarette butt out of each crack with his small, black broom to get every tiny crumb and fragment of paper. I’m impressed by both his dexterity with his little black broom and dustpan and his attention to detail. He’s doing a good job. Praiseworthy. I take note. read more…
Let me ask you a question: What’s it like where you live? Does where you live inspire you? Why are why not?
I thought about this when I heard Steven Chou from MyWifeQuitHerJob.com talking about helping his audience make an extra $1000. “There’s a lot of people out there in the US where $1000 a month makes a huge difference,” he explained. He went on to say, “Not here in Silicon Valley where $1000 doesn’t do anything…”
First of all, it’s great that Steven Chou helps people increase their incomes by $1000 per month and I definitely need to look into his website and check out his articles.
Now, we all know that pay and cost of living is relative. And we all have been told that the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence, but how green can the grass possibly be in Silicon Valley or New York City? Some people get paid a lot for almost nothing and some people get paid little in exchange for too much but most of us get just what we deserve the question is how to get the most bang for your buck. Certain places are more expensive because of perceived desirability, but there’s got to be a balance, right? But, I’ve just got to ask: You say a $1000 doesn’t do anything where you live? That seems to me like living in a place with an oxygen shortage.
It occurred to me that I’m a Rough Draft guy than a Final Draft type. I’m someone who prefers thinking of himself as an idea guy, a concept person but who has trouble digging down to the details. For example, I’ve come back to edit this post and others months after I published them in an imprecise state. How could I let myself do that I’m starting to wonder. And wondering things like that make me realize that I’m changing. I’m turning into a Final Drafter.
For 5 decades I feel like I’ve been scribbling down the rough draft of my life and lately I’ve gotten the distinct feeling that some of these things need to be polished and some thrown away.
There may be others out there who are feeling the same things. A desire to pull it together. To go back and revisit things we’ve given short shrift to.To work muscles that we’ve never felt the impulse to flex.
Look, I’m not going to tell you it sucks to have a full bank account. A large sum of money in the bank almost always beats no money in the bank. And being stoic about low funds gets old. But, here’s what happened to me and here’s what I learned…
I was a regular guy with substantial but not alarming debt between myself and my wife. We live in a place with very reasonable cost of living for instance, our mortgage is 600 per month. I was working a nine-to-five, making about $50,000. One of the perks they gave me was a paid cell-phone which meant the phone could ring at any time. Not really a nine-to-five. read more…
Over the last month I’ve developed what should be called Post Traumatic Cockroach disorder.
I’m not going to say this is on par with the trauma that the battlefields of the Middle East bring out in some people. But over the past month I have found myself in an ongoing situation where the sheer number… we’re talking about thousands of various sizes of cockroaches seemingly exploding out from behind and beneath things, fleeing from me, falling on me, crawling on me and otherwise inhabiting my physical and mental space has become almost commonplace and yet no less disturbing.
These days I actually find myself bracing before I pick up an object – any object for fear that moving it will release a swarm of bugs. I have dreams about bugs. I survey a room, especially a dark room, a table or a counter, even a pile of clothes tossed on the floor differently now. read more…
Sitting: Finding a Healthy Alternative
So, while we’re rethinking how the world fits us and how we fit the world, let’s get real basic. Many of us make a living sitting in front of a computer and now that the medical experts of the world have determined that the simple act of sitting is as dangerous as smoking maybe we should give some thought to how our body occupies space.
It didn’t take me a high-falootin’ medical report to tell me that sitting sucks. Or, more accurately, sitting in America sucks. As a 6’2″ medium build man, regular chairs at a desk make me slouch and collapse into a soft, mushy heap, leaving me feeling achy and generally crappy. I’ve tried kneeling chairs, standing desks, adjustable monitor arms and even a drummer’s throne that allowed for adjustment and swivel. But it was always just a matter of time before the aches returned and I had to go through the whole desk/chair reconfiguration again.
One place I do like sitting is on the floor. Sitting on the floor allows me to stretch or squat any way I want and stretching just feels good. I like to sit on the floor cross-legged or with my legs in a kind of runner’s stretch. In fact the floor is so superior to any chair it makes you wonder how the badly designed chair ever caught on. But moving my computer to the floor would move me away from good window views and away from my super-giant, built in desk that I really love. Plus, the energy flow on the floor just doesn’t seem conducive to working. So, I thought, what if I could raise all the comforts of sitting on the floor up about two feet? read more…
I have successfully taken back my mornings. Now, I don’t mean I’ve taken them back in a Tim Ferriss kind of way. Shit, I haven’t organized my mornings! But I do own them again.
What that means is that no one tells me where to be or when to be there in the morning. It is one of the prizes that I most enjoy since I began taking A Day On. Most of the work I do as a web developer can be done anywhere at any time and yet I found myself working for companies that required I get up early and fight my way to some uninspiring corporate office park miles from home.
My stress came from being literally uncentered. My home, my kids, my home office, my life was in Belleville, a suburb of St Louis, and even as a technology worker I was still not allowed to harness the power of that technology, expected to get in my fossil-fuel-powered vehicle and commute to work in some completely arbitrary, uncomfortable location far from my life.
Employers like to take your mornings just like schools always did. As a result, mornings sucked. And fuck that, there are too many reasons mornings should not suck. I’m a grown up now. You ain’t takin’ my mornings anymore. read more…
Short Term Goals and Down Time Make for a Happy, Productive Worker
“A project or task will expand to fill the time allotted to complete it.” That’s one version of Parkinson’s Law. It is routinely stated in ways to suggest that bureaucracies, job scopes, tasks – anything, will grow to fill the space it can fill. It’s a principle that seemingly applies to messes in a house as well as to goldfish in a tank. Boil it down to: If we leave space to be filled up it will naturally be filled up (usually by what we don’t want.)
If you’re like me you hate waiting. You’ve taken some action on the notion that had been simmering in your head. You made your move. You put it out there. You put the project proposal in the mail. You’ve finally scribbled the last item on the to-do list. You hung up the phone after leaving your message on the voice mail of the object of your affection. You’ve had the meeting with the boss and gotten an indefinite “I’ll think about it.” You took control of your situation and then… silence. Now what?
Below are a few techniques that keep this impatient bastard from going crazy and driving everyone in my immediate proximity nuts in the process. Not necessarily sage advice, not an exhaustive list but you might find a few useful ideas you can apply now.
Outshine Yourself. As Dori from Finding Nemo says: Just keep swimming. Make your recently-submitted resume or the proposal you just turned in outdated. You just demonstrated some pretty compelling reasons why you are the best choice. Now, rather than resting on the spectacular person you were yesterday, aim for a grand slam with a fresh, new accomplishment.
This is where the A Day On approach comes in. That thing you’ve always thought about doing – do it. Now. Today. Why are you still reading? Get your ass up and make that video you’ve been thinking about and post it to YouTube. Write the first blog post you’ve been planning and actually put it on the web. Take out your credit card and sign up for that class. It’s easy. Ok, you want to check out the next six things to do while waiting. That’s fine. Read on. read more…