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…
Follow Your Bliss Like a Kid
I like to think of myself as the kind of guy who’s all about “follow your bliss” and open to other people’s crazy dreams. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I like to think that I sometimes relish creating awkward-feeling situations wherein I dig for other people’s crazy, passionate dreams, even (or, especially) the ones they’ve carefully and cautiously packed away with no intentions of ever letting see the light of day. Obeying no sense of decorum carefully circumnavigate their gatekeepers in a quest to get inside and liberate the hidden puppy mills of the soul. read more…
Achieving Work-Life Balance: Changing Lifestyle and Perspective
The quest for work life balance begins by looking around and wondering: When are my work and life going more accurately reflect the ideas I have in my head? Is this much of my Life really supposed to be devoted to doing the bidding of others – or preparing to do the work others would have me do, or driving to work, neglecting my family and my dreams FOR WORK, jumping through unnecessary hoops for work, seemingly living for work?
I started this blog when I began actively working toward work life balance; moving away from being a body filling a desk for someone else and filling a life for myself full of creativity, work I love and meaningful relationships. This blog was a way to log my journey and to better form the beliefs and techniques that I hoped to eventually build my life on.
“A DAY ON:” My technique for work-life balance requires dedicating days toward working toward it.
Yoda says: Do or do not. There is no “try.”
The A Day On technique toward achieving work life balance is simply start “doing it.” If you dream of being a photographer get out there now and take some pictures and then quickly, before this god-given day gets away from you – post them for others to see. Post them everywhere. Then you ARE a photographer not simply dreaming of being one. The blog posts below represent approaches to Being. Read more about work life balance…
The Morning Routine I Just Discovered I Have
Tim Ferriss and Pat Flynn (two of my favorite podcasters) agree of the importance of the morning routine. Productivity begins in the morning and your routine sets the tone for your day in many ways: nutrition, exercise, planning and overall attitude.
At the end of each interview podcast, Ferriss always asks his high-powered mover/shaker guests to describe their morning routines. Most include some form of exercise and some form of meditation. Flynn, in one of his podcasts contrasted his recording of his account of his morning routine from 5 years earlier with how he does it today, stressing that he has improved his morning routine as his life has improved around him. I found it interesting that it seemed that his improved life (becoming more established in business and personal life) seemed to afford him a better morning routine rather than the other way around.
So, I’m thinking this morning as I’m doing the stuff I do every morning: Yeah, I have a morning routine. It might not be the optimized power morning routine of a Tim Ferriss. For instance it does not involve lemon grass but then again it doesn’t involve a bowl of dirt weed either – at least not since college. So, here it is. read more…
I paid my taxes yesterday – yes, right on Tax Day. I owed a lot this year and had to write big checks from a bank account that is now pretty much depleted. And I know there are a lot of people, many of my friends among them, who would expect me to come over to their side and rail against the IRS or Big Government, but I’m not going to.
The Boston Tea Party was not a protest of taxes in general it was a protest against not getting anything in return – and I would argue that we in the U.S. get a lot in return. read more…
Follow Your Bliss? What Bliss?
Through his books Joseph Campbell told me: “follow your bliss.” Some complain that they don’t know what their bliss is. I would suspect that most of us have a thousand things that we could love to pursue; it’s just a matter of focusing on one of the places where you feel blissful. It wasn’t until about ten years ago that I began seriously thinking about trying to escape from the common work life made up of unreasonable commutes, nagging bosses, constraining cubicles and the rest.
I like to do a little of this and a little of that. Not too much of any one thing. I’m curious about and interested in a lot of things – in grade school they labeled this “easily distracted” these days I might be medicated. I dreamed of a lifestyle where I wouldn’t have to sit in any one place longer than I want to, where I wouldn’t have to worry about that chore that needs to be attended to elsewhere while I am tethered to my desk in some distant cubicle, where even the work itself gave me variety and where even my employer was diversified. I’d rather deal with the whims of a wide variety of clients than be tethered unnaturally to, and at the mercy of, one boss. Maybe you’re like me in that you crave variety and hate monotony. read more…
I have an elderly friend who lately every time I see him is complaining about getting older. He doesn’t complain in the lighthearted way that people usually complain about getting older. He seems genuinely troubled by where he is and even more so by where he’s going.
He talks about being depressed about it and I feel I have nothing much to offer him as consolation. My most genuine response is that he should seriously consider – as we all should – whether the general patterns of his life is fulfilling to him or whether he needs to shake things up a little. read more…