Zen is you – Be.

Is hyperconnectedness still a thing?

Posted in development, ideas, stress relief, values by dave225 on March 12, 2011

Someone passed this article to me today: http://www.scribd.com/doc/6910385/Abuse-of-technology-can-reduce-UK-workers-intelligence . This is how I know I’m out of touch. People are still email junkies?

Think about how you sometimes get really interesting ideas in the middle of the night. Why is that? Because your brain has begun to turn off. It’s flushing out thoughts, clearing out the junk. Well, okay, that’s not science – but my point is that if we’re always turned on, we don’t stop long enough to have new thoughts. Clarity and insight can’t be forced and can’t come without stepping away from the hyper-connectedness.

Some of the most productive, most innovative work I’ve done has come from taking walks with a colleague, sitting alone quietly on an airplane, chopping wood, digging holes, etc.

Allow time for your brain to work for itself, rather than being fed more information.

Shutting down now. Going to bend some wire around a pencil or something …

ugh. tired. so tired.

Posted in stress relief, values by dave225 on February 8, 2011

breaking blogio silence for this… a different perspective I had on gossip (negative gossip, that is)  ….  Anyone who’s gossip-worthy, i.e. has a scandalous story that people want to spread .. well, I don’t really want to know.  No – not “I don’t want to know that bit of gossip” .. but, “I don’t want to know that person.”  Not the gosspier.  The gossipee.  (OK, gossiper too.)  Gossip = drama.  Drama = voyeurism.  Voyeurism = someone else’s life.  Someone else’s life = not my own.  Not my own = distraction.  Huh. I know. dull post.

Make a List

Posted in stress relief by dave225 on April 13, 2009

I used to be able to keep everything in my head.. If I had a meeting next Thursday at 2:30, I could remember it.  I have no idea how I was ever able to do that – even if I had one tenth the obligations that I have now, I can’t remember more than about three days in advance.

So I started keeping a list, and a calendar.  And everything I have to do – whether it’s work, home or just an idea that I have – goes on the list.  I can keep track of everything – oh boy wha a great idea that was.  I’ll bet you never thought of making a list before.

Are you in fifth grade?  Why am I telling you to make a list?

Well, you can keep track of all your stuff however you want to – I don’t care if you use a list or hire a lackey.  The point isn’t to help you remember all the stuff you have to do – in fact, if you can do less stuff, that would be my first piece of advice.  And failing that, I might even tell you to let stuff fall through the cracks.  So why make a list?  So you can stop thinking about what you have to do later.  Forget later.  What are you doing right now?  Think about that more.

Enjoy your current circumstance.  Whatever you’re doing right now, really do it.  And if you can’t focus on your current situation, leave it.  Go do something you can focus on.  And when other thoughts come to you, write them down and forget it.  Set yourself free.

Every day is like Sunday

Posted in impact, stress relief, values by dave225 on March 15, 2009

I’m thinking about going into the office this weekend. Ordinarily, I like to leave work behind a couple days a week. But when I don’t have much else planned, sometimes an extra day to catch up can ease the stress of the week.

My big dilemma isn’t whether or not I should work on a weekend; The dilemma is how to spend that time. I could use the time to knock off some of those little tasks that seem to be in the way, so I can spend the week focusing on work that really matters.

Or I can spend the weekend on work that really matters. My idealistic side says, “always focus on work that really matters.” Don’t sweat the small stuff. Big wins.

But my intellectual but realistic side reminds me of the serenity prayer:

No -not that one! But these little tasks that I would gladly put off forever are important (or, I mean, <airquotes>important</airquotes>) to someone. So they will always be there – distracting, usurping, foiling.

I think my plan will be to round up the annoying tasks and drive the herd off a cliff. Do enough to get them out of the way – and spend the majority of the week working on stuff that matters.

And next week, Friday will be the day that I spend a little time on these nuisances, instead of Sunday. That will be my new M.O. – Big and important, Monday through Thursday. Small and dumb – gets thrown in the Friday bucket. And when Friday comes, whatever gets done, gets done and whatever doesn’t – won’t.

The best laid schemes of mice and men,
Go oft astray,
And leave us nought but grief and pain,
To rend our day.
Still thou art blessed, compared with me!
The present only touches thee
But, oh, I backward cast my eye
On prospects drear,
And forward, though I cannot see,
I guess and fear.

The Customer is Always Right

Posted in stress relief by dave225 on October 1, 2008

Last week I had a great vacation in Corsica and the South of France.

The trip didn’t start out so relaxing though – The plane we took from Newark to Milan had an emergency landing in Bangor, Maine due to engine problems. Inconvenienced as we were, the passengers were all thankful to the skilled crew that successfully landed the plane with one engine. And the passengers were patient and jovial as 256 of us were herded into a tiny lounge in the Bangor International Airport. We were in fairly good spirits because the captain announced after we landed that a replacement jet would be flying up from Newark to pick us up and resume the flight to Milan. So we would get in 2 or 3 hours late – a small change of plans and, after all, things do happen and at least we made a safe landing.

Two hours passed. The latest news was that a plane was on its way from Houston. It would be awhile longer, but the fine folks at Continental will take the meals off the plane and feed us. Three hours. Four hours. 1:00am. Two planes are on the way to take us back to Newark. Continental agents will be on the flight to assist us in rebooking our flights. Well, that’s the rumor that’s going around. No one really knew for sure. One plane arrives to take the first class passengers back to Newark. The other plane is on its way. (right?) We finally make it back to Newark at 4:30am. No Continental agents flew up to Bangor to assist us – but maybe that’s understandable; they would have taken up seats on the plane and since international flights always leave in the evening, we weren’t going anywhere for awhile anyway. (That bit of fact was easily dismissed by the now irate passengers.)

When we got back to Newark and got off the plane, we .. um .. didn’t really know where to go? Passengers meandered around, looking for a Continental representative to assist in rebooking our travel plans. Or maybe at least someone to direct us? Somewhere? Most of us went our own ways, asking random Continental employees for help. Some of them, I must say, were very helpful people. I think some people are just that way. I don’t think that they learned it from Continental’s training program because a very similar thing occurred as we flew with Continental from Costa Rica two years ago.

Which brings me to the focus of this post – As passengers became more and more frustrated with Continental’s system – or I should say: lack of a system – (Really, all anyone was looking for was some consistent answers, and then for those answers to be accurate – I.e. A PLAN) – anyway .. as all of the passengers were milling about, demanding help from a bewildered (and small) staff that walked into an ambush at work that day, there was one woman who swaggered into the area, barking, “I don’t want to hear about it!” She was the supervisor. As the first of many passengers gave her the third degree (which I’ll not defend either as being a good approach), she replied sternly with, “Don’t yell at me! I’ve been up since 1:00am babysitting this flight! It’s not my fault!” I turned to her slowly and said calmly, “It’s more your fault than it is theirs.” and turned back around. Two things. #1 – Up since 1:00 am and there’s still no organization? #2 – Take some ownership of the screw up. The customer is ALWAYS right – even if the customer is not morally right, when they walk away from your business (or you send them away), they are no longer your customer.

The “zen” in this lesson regards how that woman must have felt the rest of the day. She may have spent the rest of her day in a sour mood, clinging to the certainty that the passengers were all stupid and if they only knew how what she had to go through. Well, the customers don’t care. And when customers are angry, the last thing they want to hear about is how the employees have had a hard day. When your business involves serving people, a successful day is helping the people who patronize your business. And you should walk away at the end of the day knowing that you did that part of your job well. That’s not just for the health of your business, but for your own peace of mind.

Incidentally, I did make it a point to thank the employees who were helpful and empathize with their situation, as did some of the other passengers. And I hope they left at the end of the day knowing that people appreciated their work.

Take a Vacation

Posted in stress relief by dave225 on September 19, 2008

Sometimes you just need to get away….

You might say it’s too busy to leave right now – well maybe that’s the best time to leave!

There’s never a great time to leave work – If you have a busy job, it’s always busy.  But that’s what makes a vacation so easy to do!  You’re going to have just as much crap piled on your desk when you get back as you would if you stayed.  Maybe more.  But you’re only going to be able to do as much as you can do.   (Read Doing less with less – be a monk.)  So take some time for yourself and let go of whatever’s waiting for you at the office.

Keep it in perspective: Your job is work.  Your life is worth way more than that.  Don’t forget to enjoy it.

I’ve taken vacations with a laptop before – and I’m glad that I did.  An hour in the morning of checking in (not because I was afraid of the world continuing without me, but because I was really energized about my job and loved it) – followed by 5 hours on the beach.  Not only did I keep up so that I wouldn’t have a lot of catching up to do when I returned, but I worked whenever I wanted and played whenever I wanted.   The way work ought to be!

But taking a vacation and completely shutting out work for a week (or two!) is even better.  You don’t need to scramble the day before you leave to get it all done – or burn up upon re-entry.. Approach it as you would any other day; do the important things first and let the small stuff go…

There is no crisis unless lives are at stake.

..and, I’m off….

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