Friday, March 28, 2008

Spotlight on Zenhabits

"Rock Sculpture" courtesy of scardion


I’d like to welcome you to the first of a new feature here at the Systems-Overload Blog, that I’m calling “Spotlight on the Web”. I plan to periodically introduce websites that I find helpful, useful, or just plain interesting. When I first thought about doing this feature, it didn’t take me long to realize that my first spotlight had to be Zenhabits. With a subscribed reader count of over 48,000, author Leo Babauta has definitely found an audience of people that paying attention to what he says.

"Yin and Yang" courtesy of CJLUC

I first stumbled upon Zenhabits in the Summer of 2007, while looking for information on GTD (Getting Things Done). I found a lot of useful information and noticed all the other content that he had written about. I’ve been returning there often ever since. Leo has a style that is clear and easy to understand. A lot of what he writes could be considered common sense, but it has been my experience that “common sense” is more often than not, not all that “common”. Simplicity and minimalism are at his core and he always tries to break things down to their basest and simplest elements. While I’m not the minimalist that he is, this is a trait that I could relate to.

Leo is the father of six kids. While he might not blatantly write about it in every post, if you look deep enough, you see his parenting experiences shining through his posts. Here some of his parenting posts that you might want to check out.

Some of Zenhabits more popular posts by category include: productivity and organization, family and finance, simplicity, happiness, health, and motivation. Here are a couple of popular posts that he has done about goals…

As the title indicates, Zenhabits is a lot about habits. Leo has been successful at making a lot of changes in his life the last few years which he has been able to incorporate into his writing. Leo had done some monthly challenges in the blog, where readers were challenged to change a habit for a month. This has since spilled over to the Zenhabits forum where readers can join and chart and discuss the progress that they have made in their monthly challenges.

Zenhabits does occasionally have guest posts, in fact Leo has written a lot of guest posts for other sites himself. It is nice that he allows others this opportunity to other bloggers, it adds some newness to the site, while he hasn’t let the guest posters take over, like at some other sites. In some cases the bloggers aren’t well known yet, so it gives them a wider audience for their writing. There have been some excellent guest posts as a result. Zenhabits is still basically a one-man show. Leo is also very accessible, often answering questions in the comments to his posts.

Leo decided to “uncopyright” his material. Where many other people are protective of “their ideas” and writing, Leo is encouraging other to make his material their own. He would like to receive credit for what he has done and of course donations would be accepted (should you decide to do so). By encouraging others to make his material their own, he is allowing his writing to take on a whole new life of its own. People can take his ideas and run with them in directions that might not have been even considered by Leo, you, or I. This policy has generated a lot of buzz, in fact there were 164 comments that last time I looked at the article.

In addition to the monthly challenges there is a whole host of topics discussed in the forum. He was a big force behind last year’s Blog Action Day, and promoted it heavily on his site. I look forward to hearing more about the Blog Action Day for 2008.

In January Leo was able to quit his day job and focus on Zenhabits, Writetodone, and writing for the first installment of his book deal. It is encouraging to see that someone could create a blog and in the course of a year to make enough from the blog that they can really become a professional blogger. He has written so many wonderful articles over the past year. I look forward to seeing what the second year brings.

If you haven’t checked out Zenhabits yet, then I suggest that you give it a look. If you have, what are some of your favorite posts? What is it that you like about Zenhabits? If you liked this article, please consider subscribing to the blog via RSS or email, share it on del.icio.us or on Digg and pass it on to anyone that you think might appreciate it .Thank you. :)

On Deck…

I’ll be publishing posts about…

  • Using wikis for the net impaired
  • The next in my series of weight loss strategies
  • My next “Spotlight on the Web”

You might also like to check out the interview that I did with Leo.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Do You Wiki?

A screen shot of Wikipedia


Chances are that you have heard of Wikipedia, the famous online collaborative encyclopedia that allows its users to edit it. Well, it is probably the best known wiki. Wikis are designed to be easily used and have a whole lot of other uses besides that of the online encyclopedia that has made them famous. If you’re not already using a wiki, you probably will be in the near future.

Wiki is a Hawaiian word for fast, it has come to be used in connection with software that allows its users to easily create pages, edit, and link the pages together. Wikis are often online collaborative sites, can be based within a company’s intranet, and you can also use various programs to create wikis for your own use on your computer.

Many companies have set up wikis to allow their employees to collaborate on projects. They have also set up parts of their public facing online presence in wiki format. Some companies are using wikis for user manuals. Debian and Ubuntu are two efforts for use wiki with Linux based operating systems as modern user manuals. Wikihow is billing itself as a wiki based collaboration to build the world’s largest, highest quality how to manual. Howtowiredwiki a collaborative site from Wired magazine filled with all kinds of projects, hacks, tricks and tips you can edit.

Sites like Wetpaint and Pbwiki allow you to create your own wiki or edit wikis that are hosted on their sites. These wikis can be for corporate, educational, or personal use. Because many of these online wikis are ad supported, they’re often free to set up and use, with premium services being available at various rates. There are now a lot of fan based wikis, which has lent itself well to chronicling various story lines, lineage, and history for musical bands, movies, television series, and everything else under the sun. Memory Alpha and Star Trek are two Trek based wikis, while Wookieepedia is used by many Star Wars fans.

Wikis are also being used to capture all kinds of information about various subjects. MineZone and Jeffsandquist are two wikis about GTD (Getting Things Done). Most of the online wikis require you to become a member, so it is possible to assign permissions as to what the various users are allowed to do. Depending upon the capability of the wiki, it is often possible to see a history of the changes and edits that have been made, in addition to being able to restore earlier versions, should the need arise.

Because there are several wiki programs that you can use on your own computer, that aren’t dependent upon an online host, you can use them for a variety of things offline. Since they’re easy to create and edit, you can capture information in your personal wiki, move it around within the wiki, or change it as you see fit, all rather easily. Wikis lend themselves well to taking notes for research. You can use wikis to record and keep track your to do lists and tasks. They can be used to as contact lists. If you keep a variety of text files, you can easily keep that information in your wiki and you won’t have to spend as much time searching for it later. Because it isn’t a formal “Word” document, you can use them to capture your thoughts and then easily change what you have written down as your thoughts progress or change. In this sense I would even say that wikis are like an electronic blank sheet of paper. I started using wikis a few months ago and am currently using them for a variety of things. The application and use of wikis is virtually limitless!

Wikimatrix allows you to compare many of the software programs and the hosted sites that are available. TiddlyWiki is a simple open source wiki that you can download and use on your computer. GTDTiddlyWiki is TiddlyWiki modified to include GTD aspects. I have used the GTDTiddlyWiki, GTDTiddlyWiki Plus (similar to GTDTiddlyWiki but with some added features, including a calendar), and D3 which is called a “kinkless GTD system (also a based on the GTDTiddlyWiki). All of these are relatively simple to use.

Interested in learning more about wikis? I'll be doing a post about using wikis in the near future, so stay tuned. Have you noticed some interesting wikis? Are you member of an online community that uses wikis? Are you using your own personal wiki? Are you doing anything unusual with a wiki? Be sure to let me know if there are any other topics that you would like to read about at Systems-Overload. If you liked this article, please consider subscribing to the blog via RSS or email, share it on del.icio.us or on Digg and pass it on to anyone that you think might appreciate it .Thank you. :)

On Deck…

I’ll be publishing posts about…

  • Using wikis for the net impaired
  • The next in my series of weight loss strategies
  • My new series featuring interesting and useful websites.


Monday, March 24, 2008

12 Benefits of "Letting Go" of Your Diet

"sweet 7" courtesy of ilco

Now that Easter has come and many people have “fallen off” their diets, is a good time to mention the next weight loss strategy from “Lose Weight with THE POWER OF ONE.”. The book says that …”Every once and a while, when the urge or circumstances dictates, forget about the other strategies.”

I like to refer to this as the “get out jail free card” or “letting go” strategy. While your first thought might be that such a strategy doesn’t make sense and you wonder how this can help you lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle, it is every bit as important as any of the other strategies. Where most diets tend to fail is that it they don’t allow for those occasions where you have to be, or really want to be “bad”.

“Every once and a while, when the urge or circumstances dictates, forget about the other strategies” does not mean that…

  • You take it as an excuse to eat everything in sight. While you might eat things that you know are not healthy for you, you’ll still want to limit the quantities that you eat.

  • You permanently ignore the other strategies. If you ignore the other strategies you will likely gain weight and have many of the other effects of an unhealthy diet.

  • Ignoring the other strategies should be the cornerstone of you diet. This strategy is not meant to be used all the time. If you find yourself using it a lot, you might need to do some thinking about how you want to move forward with your diet. There might be some issues that you haven’t addressed that need some thought.

“Every once and a while, when the urge or circumstances dictates, forget about the other strategies” means that…

  • You’re “allowed” to “break” your diet. It is recognized that things happen in life that don’t always allow you to follow right rules associated with diets.

  • Some of the normal guilt associated with “breaking” your diet are alleviated. Because it is part of the strategies, it isn’t so hard to allow yourself permission to do this.

  • You’ll have less of the “I already broke my diet anyways” thoughts. This is where many people throw away their diets or find a hard time returning to them.

  • It helps you deal with the cravings that cause so many people to “fall off” their diets.

  • You won’t feel that you’re being stifled by the limited selections available within your diet.

  • Spontaneity is allowed and even encouraged.

  • You to be included when you’re in those circumstances where someone might take offence to you not eating something or you might feel left out because you don’t eat something. You don’t have to say, “I can’t eat that I’m on a diet”.

  • It helps you stay motivated to follow your diet.

  • Your metabolism is helped from slowing down. After you have been on a diet for a while you body adjusts your metabolism to the lowered quantities of food, fat, sugar, and calories. This is one of the biggest reasons that people get stuck in those plateaus, where they don’t seem to be able to lose more weight.

  • It helps to keep our fat levels where they need to be.

  • It allows you to take a vacation from your diet, while still being on your diet.

  • It allows you to live life.

By using the “Every once and a while, when the urge or circumstances dictates, forget about the other strategies” strategy, you can avoid many of the pitfalls that plague diets and dieters. You can take a vacation from your diet, while still being on your diet. Most of all it allow you to live life and cuts down on some of those guilt feelings that many people have when they do decide to “live a little bit”. Do you have any tips for “falling off you diet” and getting back on? If so I’d love to hear them. Be sure to let me know if there are any other topics that you would like to read about at Systems-Overload. If you liked this article, please share it on del.icio.us or on Digg and pass it on to anyone that you think might appreciate it .Thank you. :)

On Deck…

I’ll be publishing posts about…

  • The next in my series of weight loss strategies
  • Organizing your thoughts with wikis
  • My new series featuring interesting and useful websites.

Other Post That You Might Also Like to Read…

The other weight loss strategies from the “Power of One”:

7 Tips to Reduce the Amount of Sugar in Your Daily Life

A Good Breakfast is a Key to Your Weight Loss Success

12 Tips to Help You Drink More Water

"7 Tips to Stop Eating Before You Feel "Stuffed" "

"10 Tips for Reducing Fat in Your Diet

The Power of One as a must have diet book.

A Winning Attitude And Weight Loss



Thursday, March 20, 2008

Easter Greetings...14 Principles For Dealing With People

A tree in our yard decorated for Easter

As the Easter holiday weekend approaches, I’d like to convey my Easter wishes to all of you. I got to thinking about how religion often divides us as people so here are 14 universal principles to live by, regardless of what religion you might follow (or if you are even a religious person). Here are 14 principles or commandments in dealing with people to live by:

  • Remember to treat others the way that you wish to be treated. Many of the larger world religions contain some tenant about treating others as you would like to be treated or say something about treating others with respect. Many of the other principles and commandments fall into place if this becomes your cornerstone in life.
  • Use religion to unite us instead of divide us. Try to capitalize on all of our individualism and uniqueness. Look for similarities instead of differences. People of all religions and human societies have children, parents, brothers, sisters, concerns about the future and that of their kids.
  • Spend quality time with your family and friends.
  • Before passing judgment against someone, why not find out their side. There is a Native American expression that says you shouldn’t judge someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes. It very well could be that under the same circumstances you would do the exact same thing or act the same way.
  • Practice forgiveness often. We’re often hurt (or feel hurt) by people that didn’t intent that as an outcome, so there isn’t a need to harbor ill will towards that person. Letting go can be healthier for you.
  • If you have problems with someone else, try to talk them out. Often, the other person may not realize what they’re doing and the effect that it is having.
  • Offer your help to others. We have all been helped or will need help at some point in our lives. Why not help those that you can.
  • Share your knowledge and experience in addition to being open learn. You can teach others what you have learned by being a mentor or maybe teaching a class. Keep in mind that you can learn some valuable lessons from some of the most unusual people or circumstances. Realize that there a many different ways to do things and that you don’t have a corner on the market.
  • Be generous.
  • Be a friend, even to the unfriendly. People often create barriers, and if we can remove some of those barriers, you might just find an interesting person and a good friend under it all.
  • Plan for the future, but live in the now. You or the other people you know and care about may not be here tomorrow, so act accordingly.
  • Limit your assumptions or make careful use of them.
  • Refocus as necessary and be willing to change. While you can never redo a first impression, that impression is really a judgment that can be changed, when new details are revealed.
  • Remember that all laws, rules, and customs are created by people. As such we can change any of them when we find them inapplicable due to changes in technology, nature, or society. Slavery was once a legal practice, and in most societies today, it is illegal and frowned upon.



    As a bonus, why not invite someone for one or more meals over the holiday weekend (certainly you could extend this beyond this weekend). This could be a friend, co-worker, or stranger.


    So I hope that those of you celebrating Easter, have a wonderful holiday weekend. I hope that everyone had a wonderful weekend and is able to find whatever meaning that they might be looking for. Spring is around the corner (I hope), and Winter is coming to a close, so now can be a time for our awakening. While this isn’t an all inclusive and exhaustive list, the world would be a lot better if we tried to follow these principles. Do you have any other principles for dealing with other people?Be sure to let me know if there are any other topics that you would like to read about at Systems-Overload.If you liked this article, please share it on del.icio.us or on Digg and pass it on to anyone that you think might appreciate it .Thank you. :)

On Deck…

I’ll be publishing posts about…
  • Organizing your thoughts with wikis
  • The next in my series of weight loss strategies

Monday, March 17, 2008

7 Tips to Reduce the Amount of Sugar in Your Daily Life

"cake" courtesy of planetka

I have previously written “A Good Breakfast is a Key to Your Weight Loss Success”, 12 Tips to Help You Drink More Water”, "7 Tips to Stop Eating Before You Feel "Stuffed" ", ’”0 Tips for Reducing Fat in Your Diet” and that the “Power of One” was a must have diet book . Here is another diet strategy from “Lose Weight with THE POWER OF ONE.” The book says that you should…” Reduce the Amount of Sugar in Your Daily Life As Low As Possible”.

While reducing the amount of sugar in your daily life to be more successful in your diet and to lead a healthier life might seem like a “no brainer”, it is still worth doing. The various forms of excess sugar along with excess fat are stored by your body. Eating too much sugar or fats can lead to a whole host health related maladies. Many people have developed diabetes as a result of too much sugar in their diet. Because sugar can be digested and put to use in your blood stream quicker than fat, some effects on your body can be more immediate.

Here are some tips for reducing the amount of sugar in your daily life…

· Skip that sweet snack.

· Drink water or a diet drink instead of that sugar sweetened cola or soft drink.

· Try your coffee or tea without sugar to see if you really need the sweet taste or if this has just become a habit that you don’t even think about any longer.

· Read you recipes, you might be able to greatly reduce the amount of sugar without really effecting the taste.

· Substitute low calorie sweeteners in recipes, coffee, tea, and etc.

· Substitute a healthy snack for that sweet snack. Note, while eating fruit is healthier than a snack full of sugar, fruit contains fructose, which is turned into sugar by your body. As a diabetic, you can eat a certain amount of fruit in a day, so this might be a strategy for you.

· If you’re really craving that sweet dessert that you saw on display at the restaurant, try reducing that portion. Maybe you could as for half a piece or split it with some of the other guests in your party.


With some thought and effort, you can see that you can really reduce the amount of sugar in your daily life. These seven tips can be very effective. Do you have any tips for reducing sugar in your diet? Be sure to let me know if there are any other topics that you would like to read about at Systems-Overload.If you liked this article, please share it on del.icio.us or on Digg and pass it on to anyone that you think might appreciate it .Thank you. :)

On Deck…

I’ll be publishing posts about…

  • Organizing your thoughts with wikis
  • The next in my series of weight loss strategies

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sarah and Anna in the spirit

Writer's note: This post is a little different than the normal content at Systems-Overload. Feel free to skip over this if you're not interested in the topic, but we do hope that you'll continue to read the blog and subscribe.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all the Irish and would-be Irish out there. In 2006 I went with my family (including and aunt) and a friend our ours to Ireland. We were in Dublin on St. Patrick's Day for the parade. An Irish friend of mine has told me that this was the coldest Paddy's Day in about 10 years. I did four different posts in the DC Heron Family blog (1, 2, 3, 4) where I have posted pictures from the trip and described some of the details. It was a great trip and I hope that I can go to another Paddy's Day parade in the future, in addition to seeing more of Ireland. I created 4 different slide shows from our trip which you can find below (you can also find them posted in our channel at YouTube.

Dublin 2006













Have you been to Dublin for St. Patrick's Day? Are you going to celebrate Paddy's Day and if so how? How do you handle assumptions? Feel free to ask any questions about the trip, I'd be more than happy to tell you all about it. Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! If you liked this article, please share it on del.icio.us or on Digg and pass it on to anyone that you think might appreciate it .Thank you. :)

On Deck…

I’ll be publishing posts about…

  • The next in my series of weight loss strategies
  • Organizing your thoughts with wikis

Friday, March 14, 2008

My Interview With Zenhabits Writer Leo Babauta


I've been reading Zenhabits since July 2007. I first found it by accident when looking for information about GTD. It didn’t take long until I found his other articles on a variety of topics and became a fan of the blog. Leo Babauta writes in a common sense style that people can easily understand and apply to their lives. His blog has over 46,000 subscribers, so a lot of people are following him. I recently had the chance to ask Leo five questions. What follows below is that interview. I would like to thank Leo, for giving me the chance to interview him!

*****

Systems-Overload: How did you end up in Guam? I would love to hear the story.

Leo Babauta: Well, I was born in Portland, Oregon, though my parents were both raised on Guam. My mom is Caucasian, born in Wisconsin, moved to Guam with her parents and seven siblings when she was young because my grandfather was given the job of editor of the local newspaper. My father is a Chamorro, the native ethnicity of Guam, and was born and
raised here.

Growing up, I moved back and forth between Guam and the US mainland (Portland, Seattle, the SF Bay Area), but have lived here on Guam my entire adult life. It's home, and I love it, though I'll probably move to the US mainland in another year or so just for a change of pace.


Systems-Overload: Without divulging too many peronal details, how long ago did you get divorced and what would you say was the impact (if any) on you?

Leo Babauta: BatI was divorced in 2001 after about 9 years of marriage. My first two kids were from that marriage. I don't think anyone can go through a divorce without being changed by it in some way. For myself, it was a time of struggle, but also a time of renewal. It was during this time, following the divorce, that I began to find myself as a person. Not incidentally, I also found my current wife, and things have never been better.


Systems-Overload: When reading your "about" and "my story", I see that you made so many changes in your life, was there any particular catylist that motivated you to make so many changes?"

Leo Babauta: At one point in my life, just a few years ago, I was very overweight, smoking, spending a lot, not making enough money, heavily in debt, inactive for nearly a decade, disorganized ... I just wasn't happy with where I was, personally. I was also overworked with not enough time for my family, and highly stressed. I decided to make a change. I started with smoking, and my success there (after numerous failures) was a breakthrough for me. I learned a lot from that single habit change, and from those lessons I was able to implement one habit
change after another, learning and growing from each success. It began to build up momentum, and soon it was like I couldn't fail. Still haven't stopped succeeding since then.


Systems-Overload: How did you get into blogging and learn so much about how to do it? I know that zenhabits has only been around for a a little more than a year, but you had to have some knowledge about blogging prior to zenhabits.

Leo Babauta: I had been reading blogs for at least 6 months, on and off, before I decided to take the plunge myself. I read those blogs with interest, but without the thought of becoming a blogger myself -- until one day I read a great post somewhere, and thought, "You know what? I could write this!" And it was true -- with all the habit changes I had been making, I could write a dozen posts on a dozen different topics, just from stuff I'd learned and stuff that had worked for me.

So that's what I did. I started writing about what worked for me (I started out with a free Blogger account), and almost instantly, people were attracted to it. I didn't have any blogging experience beforehand, but I did have about 17 years of writing experience as a journalist. Also, I learned quickly because I studied closely the best blogs, and imitated them and figured out what works for them. I applied those lessons to my writing, incorporating the information I
wanted to write about, and experimenting a little to find the right mix for me.


Systems-Overload: I know that there was a lot of work that went into building the subscriber numbers that you have, aside from writing good posts and doing guest posts, how would you advise that newer bloggers reader a larger audience? Keep in mind that many of the biggger more popular blogs don't seem so interested in guest posts or helping to promote our blogs, as I thnk that many of them have been flooded with such requests.

Leo Babauta: I know it can be extremely difficult and frustrating to find new readers, especially when you're a small blog and no one knows about you. I don't know any magic formula, but here are some things that worked for me:

* Write extremely useful content, packed with great info. Create resources that people will want to come back to over and over again. * Study the best blogs, and the most popular posts on delicious ... these are great examples of posts that get a lot of attention. Don't just copy them, but learn from them, and see how you can do something similar with your topics.
* Guest posts. The absolute best way to advertise your writing is to give it away to other blogs. If the big blogs won't take you, aim for the smaller and medium ones. Do guest exchanges.

* Interviews. They're sometimes overdone, but it's a good way to find new readers.
* Comments on bigger blogs. Don't spam them. But a well-written comment, once in awhile, with a link back to a great post by you on a related topic, isn't a bad idea. Don't spend most of your time doing this, however, as it only pays off with a few readers at a time.
* Network with other bloggers. Make friends, link to them, write about them, do guest post exchanges. The more bloggers you're friends with, the better.
* Social media. Digg, delicious, reddit, stumbleupon and the like. They can bring you great traffic, but they're very hard to master, especially early on when you don't have a lot of readers to vote for your stuff. Don't spam the social media sites with all your posts. Just capitalize on a really popular post, especially when you get a lot of traffic from a bigger blog, by encouraging readers to bookmark it on delicious or stumbleupon. Don't shoot for digg until you have lots of subsribers or have a really amazing post that is linked to from a really huge site.

*****

Leo recently had a post where his readers asked him 100 plus questions. This post provides a lot of other information about Leo. Feel free to post your comments about the interview. If you had five questions to ask Leo, what would they be? If you liked this article, please share it on del.icio.us or on Digg and pass it on to anyone that you think might appreciate it . Don't forget that you can subscribe to the blog va you rss reader of choice or via email (look at the top of the site for various options), in addition to stopping by. Thank you. :)

On Deck…

I’ll be publishing…

  • The next in my series of weight loss strategies
  • Organizing your thoughts with wikis
  • A St. Patrick’s Day surprise


Are Your Assumptions Holding You Back?

*The world is flat

*The four minute mile can not be broken

These are two assumptions that have not stood the test of time. I have recently run across a few situations where false or inaccurate assumptions only caused further problems. Assumptions are a basic part of our daily lives. They can help us or hurt us, but in many cases we “make” assumptions without thinking about it or let them dictate the choices that we make, often without a second thought. Sometimes, our assumptions are holding us back.

If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right.
Henry Ford

Assumptions are a basic part of life. You assume that have time to cross a street between oncoming cars without being hit, before you cross the road. You assume that water will come out of your kitchen faucet when you turn it on. You assume that your computer will start (or maybe you just hope on this one!).

We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they really are or the way they should be. And our attitudes and behaviors grow out of these assumptions.
Stephen R. Covey

Assumptions are needed. If you don’t assume an outcome as likely or not likely, you’re less likely to act. If you assume that your bid won’t be accepted, how hard are you going to really work on it? It is often our assumptions that fuel us to take our next action of do that thing that we’re planning or thinking about doing. Without assumptions about future or possible outcomes, we’re often unable to move forward. All scientific theories stated with a hypothesis, which is really scientific terminology for an assumption. The scientist assumes that if “A” then “B” or if you do this, then something will happen. Over the course of “testing” their assumptions are often proved or disproved.

I have learned throughout my life as a composer chiefly through my mistakes and pursuits of false assumptions, not by my exposure to founts of wisdom and knowledge.
Igor Stravinsky

Many of the problems that we run into are a direct result of our assumptions being wrong or incorrect. Within the project world we try to document our assumptions. At various points in projects you try to document your assumptions. This is a good exercise because you stop to think about the basis for much of your planning. Later on if the outcome is different than you expected you can see what the assumptions were. So if you find yourself facing a problem, you might want to reflect on what your assumptions were and determine if they need to be modified or changed completely.

If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as from your own.
Henry Ford

So much of what you do in life is based on what you assume that other people will do or how they will respond. If you think that the girl you’ve been wanting to ask out will say “no”, how likely are you to ask her out? Maybe that girl would go out with you if you asked her but because you assumed she’d say no, you didn’t ask her out.

Don't Make Assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
Miguel Angel Ruiz

Many of our habits and beliefs have come about because or our assumptions. Successful people have developed a habit of believing they will succeed. This often started with the assumption that they will succeed in this or that and has been used often enough that they develop a success belief. Conversely, many people that believe themselves to be “unlucky” or “failures” have developed this belief over time. If you change your assumptions, you can change many of your beliefs.

What a man believes may be ascertained, not from his creed, but from the assumptions on which he habitually acts.

George Bernard Shaw

While you don’t need to stop making assumptions, why not make better assumptions, keep an open mind, and be willing to adjust your assumptions as needed? When your assumptions are related to the behavior of other people, you might want to discuss your assumptions with the people involved (where appropriate). When there are misunderstandings based on false or incorrect assumptions, it is amazing what can be accomplished when the people involved can have a positive discussion about the assumptions. Knowing the relevant assumptions of all parties involved can greatly aide in solving many problems and can help the parties derive and achieve their desired outcomes.

If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as from your own.
Henry Ford

In summary, based on the circumstances:

  • Realize that assumptions are a natural occurrence in life
  • You should be aware of the assumptions that you have
  • Document your assumptions, this can be used to adjust it later or help you realize why you acted in a certain way
  • Before accepting assumptions as beliefs you should confirm or test them
  • When problems occur it can useful to make your assumptions known and discuss them with the parties involved. It can be useful in team efforts if the team is aware of what assumptions were used in planning and throughout the project.
  • Adjust your assumptions as necessary. If you have made bad, incorrect, or unhealthy assumptions you can often adjust or change that assumption to work in your favor.
  • Try to keep an open mind and don’t assume failure or a negative outcome, with some work you can just as easily assume that you will succeed.

Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile, or the light won't come in.

Alan Alda

How do you handle assumptions? If you liked this article, please share it on del.icio.us or on Digg and pass it on to anyone that you think might appreciate it .Thank you. :)

On Deck…

I’ll be publishing posts about…

  • A recent interview I did with Zenhabits creator and writer, Leo Babauta
  • The next in my series of weight loss strategies
  • Organizing your thoughts with wikis
  • A St. Patrick's day surprise


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Find Your Re-boot, Comments, and Thank You

"MY OLD MAC" courtesy of creactions


As I posted earlier, the blog was down for several days last week and with some help I was finally able to get it back up on Sunday, like many things in life there were some lessons to be learned in my difficulty.


Before I go on however, I would also like to thank Rose DesRochers. She is one of the volunteers that patrol Google Groups in an effort to help us poor lost souls that are in dire need of help (or maybe just want to vent). She aided in repair efforts and I neglected to mention her in my previous post about being back up again. She is a writer and a very busy women. If you click on here name you'll go to the about page at one of the blogs she does. So once again, thank you Rose!

One last point before I move on to my lessons learned (although this is certainly a lesson to be learned as well). The people that write and publish blogs like to see your comments, good and bad. While there are some blogs out there with so many regular reader that there always seems to be an avalanche of comments, those of us that are trying to connect with more regular readers would appreciate comments. If you like something, please say so. If you have something to add, why not do just that. If you disagree, please tell the writer why, without being nasty or referring to the writer's parentage or lack of intelligence. You might very well have information that wasn't known to the writer or that might help other readers. Leaving comments lets the writers know that somebody has read what they've written and that is a most appreciated.

So what is my lesson out of my experience, you ask? Going back ten or so years at the IT company I work at, I remember when I called the help desk, they would almost always tell you to re-boot. While it was annoying when the help desk people would tell you to re-boot or ask you if you had already done it, it was a basic thing that often worked. In life we're often in situations where we need to find our re-boot, it might be some mechanical or procedural thing, but it is often handy to find out what your re-boot is and try that first. In my most recent case, I had to take some code out and re-insert it. So the next time you're faced with a problem you might ask yourself, "did I re-boot?" or "what is the re-boot here?". Do you have any ideas about finding you re-boot?
If you liked this article, please share it on del.icio.us or on Digg and pass it on to anyone that you think might appreciate it .Thank you. :)

A Good Breakfast is a Key to Your Weight Loss Success


I have previously written “12 Tips to Help You Drink More Water”, "7 Tips to Stop Eating Before You Feel "Stuffed" ", ’10 Tips for Reducing Fat in Your Diet” and that the “Power of One” was a must have diet book . Here is another diet strategy from “Lose Weight with THE POWER OF ONE. The book says that you should Eat Breakfast.




Your mother always told you to eat a good breakfast before you ran off to school or other engagements in your life. More often than not she probably settled for you at least eating something. Well it turns out that your mother was right about something else! Eating breakfast is the first thing that you can do to start your day off right, from a health stand point.

Think about your life now. Do you eat breakfast? If you do it is probably not till later in the day and there is a good chance that it might be something like coffee and a doughnut (or two) or something else fatty and unhealthy. In our on the go lives we often skip breakfast, eat it later, or worse yet grab something quick without regards to if it is something that we should really be eating.

Breakfast is important to your body for a number of reasons. Your body needs the energy to really get going. By eating breakfast you’re helping your body to burn more calories. If you delay eating breakfast (or don’t eat it at all) you’re actually hindering your body’s attempts at burning calories. As crazy as it might sound it is kind of like that expression about needing money to make money, so with a good breakfast in your tummy, your body will start to digest it and burn more calories. In addition those of us that are diabetic especially need to have the right food in our systems so that our sugar and energy levels aren’t putting us at risk.

This is all well and fine you say but “how do I fit a good breakfast into my schedule?”

· Allow yourself more time in the morning to have a nice breakfast. Maybe you can enjoy your cup of coffee with a breakfast at your dining table.

· Make it a social event. Maybe you could start a family breakfast. Since many families don’t have time for the family dinner everyday, maybe this could be a substitute.

· Plan your breakfast the night before. Much as you might plan your day the night before, why not take a moment to decide what you’ll have for breakfast the next morning?

· Mix up your breakfast habits and morning routine. If you always buy a newspaper at the doughnut place or bakery, maybe you could buy it somewhere else, so that you don’t tempt yourself to buy your standard breakfast.

· If breakfast has to wait till you get to the office, then make sure that allow yourself the opportunity to eat a healthy breakfast. Don’t read your emails or attend that first meeting until you’ve done so.

By eating a healthy breakfast you not only arm your body with energy that it needs to start the day but you can also put yourself into a mental state to start your day. Like your mother always said be sure to eat a healthy breakfast. Do you have any tips for eating a healthy breakfast that work for you?

If you liked this article, please share it on del.icio.us or on Digg and pass it on to anyone that you think might appreciate it .Thank you. :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Weight Master: Weight Management and Fitness Forum - 12th Edition

This is a courtesy link to a blog carnival that has been nice enough to include me in its publication, so thank you to: Weight Master: Weight Management and Fitness Forum - 12th Edition

Weight Master: Weight Management and Fitness Forum 11th Edition

This is a courtesy link to a blog carnival that has been nice enough to include me in its publication, so thank you to: Weight Master: Weight Management and Fitness Forum 11th Edition

More Blog Carnivals

"mail" courtesy of vimark


We’ve been included in some more Blog Carnivals. I wanted to announce this and then I had all the problems with the blog being out of commission.

February 20th Edition of The Carnival of Personal Change

· Using 43Things to Support your Goals



Weight Management and Fitness Forum 12th Edition

· 7 Tips to Stop Eating Before You Feel “Stuffed”



Carnival OF TIPS - March 1, 2008 – PART I

· Dealing With All Your Dirty Laundry

· Photo Organizing Tip Number 1



Carnival of Tips – March 1, 2008 – Part II

· 10 Tips for Reducing Fat in Your Diet

· 7 Tips to Stop Eating Before You Feel “Stuffed”

· Bringing Your Kids Art to Web 2.0

· Are You Managing Your Digital Photos With Picasa?



Organize Your Life Carnival #21

· Dealing with all Your Dirty Laundry

· Photo Organizing Tip Number 1

· Are You Managing Your Digital Photos With Picasa?



There is a wide variety of topics covered between the various blog carnivals mentioned above, so there is likely to be something of interest to you, so why not check them out. Have you found any blog carnivals that you follow?If you liked this article, please share it on del.icio.us or on Digg and pass it on to anyone that you think might appreciate it .Thank you. :)




Sunday, March 9, 2008

Back Up Again!

Arc de Triomphe-
Paris April 2007


The blog is back up again! I did a lot of searching in Google Groups and else where to correct the problem that I had. In the end I was aided by Mishka in the Blogger section of Google Groups. She pointed me toward a post at the blog "How Can I Do That?" Thank you, Mishka, for pointing that post out to me.



Thursday, March 6, 2008

Experiencing Technical Difficulties!

I hope that you can see this post. I made some changes to my layout yesterday that have caused havoc. I need to compare the code in my current blog layout to earlier versions to in my quest to fix the problem. In addition my daughters have been ill adding another challenge. Hope to have things up in running in as soon as possible.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Treat Others The Way That You Wish To Be Treated

"Guidance" courtesy of asifthebes



I once told a colleague that when you think about it, probably 90% of the problems that we face in the world today are directly related to how we treat each other. Sure there are the occasional natural disasters but most of our problems are created by us and the way we treat each other. If everyone were to follow the "Golden Rule", and I don't mean that he who has the gold makes the rules, but that you would treat other people the way that you would like to be treated. This doesn't need to be tied to any religion but just adopted as a behavior by the masses. Often what people do in the name of their religion is baffling and there is a good chance that somewhere in their good book is something to the effect of treating others as you would like to be treated.


So before you go to lash out at that person that has angered you or you believe has made an unreasonable (or even stupid)request of you, think about how you would like that type of response in return. If we could all think a little bit more before we speak or take some action that is not correctable. Even when our actions are correctable, the people affected will remember what we did. Will everyone do this, surely not, but if enough of us really do it, think how much better things will already be.

Do you have any ideas of how we can get more people to adopt this behaviour? If so I'd love to hear them. If you liked this article, please share it on del.icio.us or on Digg and pass it on to anyone that you think might appreciate it .Thank you. :)




Only in IT



I've had a bunch of various problems with computers lately, so here is list of problems that could
Only in happen in IT…


• We need a new firewall rule
• The server crashed
• Our intranet is down
• The application server that we want to buy and setup runs on an O.S. that is two versions earlier than is currently provided by the manufacturer
• The design proposal doesn’t include "that" information
• Corporate is currently designing another "strategic" or "tactical" solution, I have forgotten which it is this week.
• The server needs to be migrated to a different domain
• The new server arrived with the wrong power cords.
• The new server doesn't have the right network cards.
• I'm unable to understand the people at the help desk
• It is a bridge holiday in the country hosting our help desk, so I’m unable to speak to a representative
• The staff at the newly migrated help desk location is inexperienced with dealing with my particular problem.
• That vendor doesn't even have a call center, I need to fumble through their support area at the website and I can't find anything that even remotely resembles my problem.
• I've sent an email to the vendor that I'm having problems via their online support only to get an automated response and nothing else after that. The problem persists but I have other work to do.
• I’m currently looking at a lovely blue screen
• Our new encryption program has just killed the data on my notebook
• Our mobile data backup system has gone down, we’re encouraged to find other methods of back up in the mean time.
• It has been recommended that those using financial systems should not use Vista or Office 2007 until 2009 Q1.
• Our new Instance Message systems has bugs and works differently than our previous and popular IM system.
• Financial approval needed to transfer money to a capital appropriations number to buy equipment needed to meet a client commitment seems to be stuck somewhere at corporate.
• A purchase order request for equipment that is urgently needed is being held up by the required approval of a manager that is unavailable and his administrative assistant doesn't see the urgency of my situation.
• That server that we needed urgently two months ago for a key project is now not needed.
• My USB hard drive crashed and now my pc doesn't find it.
• My new portable USB drive isn't recognized by my second pc.
• I'm running out of virtual memory.
• Windows must shut this program down, do you want to report this to Microsoft?
• Somebody stole my notebook from a locked cabinet at the office.
• My internet service provider is unable to find my site (when it is Yahoo! or Google)!
• I'm ready to go home and the mobile information protection system has been running for over 2 hours and is only 10% complete.
• My video editing program doesn't recognise the format of the mini dvds from my new camcorder.


I'm sure that you have all had your share of computer problems. Have you had any interesting computer problems that you'd like to share. If you have any comments, I’d love to see them.

If you liked this article, please share it on del.icio.us or on Digg and pass it on to anyone that you think might appreciate it .Thank you. :)