Second month of blogging

Two months ago I started posting blogs. As with the tradition I started after my first month of blogging, I thought I would publish a blog today to announce some highlights in the blog.

Thank you to my subscribers. I have increased to 21 subscribers to the blog site. Subscribers get an automated email as soon as the next blog post is published.

I post a blog three times a week. In May, 18 blog posts were published.

The site’s top five most popular posts were:

  1. Check your attitude: Its your responsibility
  2. What do you do? . . . in 60 seconds
  3. Are you following the crowd? Make a difference with your own path
  4. Cut the strings: why you need an internet based email
  5. People are watching you

The site now has ten categories (Accountability, Effectiveness, Evaluation, Motivation, Personal Development, Planning, Producing, Productivity, Relationships) and 198 tags.

The site’s busiest days was Monday, May 2. I have several improvements planned for June.

In addition to Facebook, I can also be followed now on Twitter.

Thank you for supporting the site and for your personal support of me. I hope you have a great week. Normal posting will resume on Friday.

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One month of blogging

One month ago I started my new blogging project. It has been a tremendous experience. I thought I would publish a short blog today to announce what has happened to the blog in the last month.

Let me first thank my subscribers. I have 13 followers that have chosen to subscribe to the blog site. Subscribing means that they get an automated email as soon as the next blog post is published.

I posted three times each week. In April, 13 blog posts were published. The site has received 37 comments by 10 readers. More people link to the site from Facebook than any other platform.

The site’s top five most popular posts were:

  1. Life is a test
  2. Keeping Momentum
  3. Hand me that rake: Tools for results
  4. Everything deteriorates
  5. Come clean: Turning a wrong in to a right and coming out ahead

The site now has seven categories (Accountability, Evaluation, Motivation, Personal Development, Planning, Producing, Relationships) and 103 tags (most commonly used are motivation, results, and success).

Not surprisingly, the site’s busiest day was my big launch day when I sent personalized emails to most everyone I know. I also announced on Facebook. The site’s second busiest day was the day after the announcement (also not surprising). So if I throw out those days statistically, the sites busiest day was Friday, April 22.

You will see a lot of improvements to the site in the coming month and year. In addition to Facebook, I can also be followed now on Twitter.

Thank you for supporting the site and for your personal support of me. I hope you have a great week. Normal posting will resume on Wednesday.

Does anything in April’s summary surprise you? What do you find most interesting? Read other people’s comments here or post your own comment.

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Why do I blog?

Bloggers will often write about why they blog. All bloggers have their own reasons. My blogging is a means to and end in several different ways.

I was teased and made fun of a lot growing up. As an early teen I had low self esteem. I have a learning disability and really struggled through school. I was a slow reader (still am but I still read). Because of this, I didnt like school or do well in school. I was never expected to go to college (although I have a bachelors degree now). I started to believe I wasn’t going to do much with my life.

I began to get out of that rut and started to become more than what people thought I would be. I looked for ways that I could be efficient.

I decided to start reading. I found a way to enjoy reading. I remain a slow reader but have improved my reading speed and comprehension. I read what motivates me. Through reading I have learned a lot about finding inspiration, creating systems that make me better organized, and accessing motivation through other people’s examples. If you can relate, then this blog is intended for you.

Have you ever said, “If I knew then what I know now . . . “? I blog to share my experiences. I am driven to help people like me so that they can find inspiration to make a difference in their lives and the lives of other people.

I like sharing resources that I have found and have helped me. Most of these resources are very simple and easy to implement. It is diligence and persistence that is hard. Its hard to make the time to find these tools. This blog is to put that information in one place that is easy to find and use.

The topics you find here will not be perfect. I expect to have spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. You may be an English teacher or think that it ruins the credibility of the blog to have mistakes. I am writing to people who can see past that. I believe it is the content that is even more important than having it perfect. I will make corrections and edits as readers like you let me know (and I appreciate every correction).

Thank you for reading and especially for your comments.

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Pay to play: Change your life by paying for it

You probably want to become better at something. If not, you should. We were designed to be better than the day before. My high school band director always said, “just be better than you were yesterday”. What motivates you to fully commit to being better? What prevents you from breaking through to the next level?

Sometimes a new commitment is necessary to break through. To make a significant jump will require you to pay a price (money, time, energy, public announcement). It needs to be something that causes a bit of pain or risk (aka sacrifice). Without sacrifice, you will not commit to make the change.

When I was deciding what platform to use for this blog, I could have gotten a free blog from Google. I choose instead to pay for this blog through WordPress. Of course I benefit with a paid platform with better features. What I also get for paying is that I am more committed to blogging now. It was a little painful to part with that money. This pain is worth it because it is one more component that keeps me motivated.

The pain you feel makes overcoming that pain more satisfying. To get a college degree, you have to commit to several years of hard work and a chunk of money to get the degree. To have a great marriage, you must commit to work through conflict, make compromises, and sacrifice your personal time. To become a great athlete, you must commit to countless practices in bad weather, time away from friends, and sore muscles.

To make a true change in your life you must pay for it.

  • Determine what you want to change in your life. Don’t think about how you will do it, just determine what you want to change. Write it down with as much detail as possible.
  • Make a plan. Write out what you will need to do to accomplish your goal. Organize your list by putting it in order by what needs to be done first through completion.
  • What will it take to change? What price will you have to pay to achieve your goal? List everything you know you will have to “pay” to achieve your goal.
  • Pay the price.If you need to buy something buy it. If you need to carve out time schedule it. If you need to announce it tell everyone.
  • Do it. Commit to doing it. You may not make meaningful progress every day. “Just be better than you were yesterday.”
  • Appreciate the pain. When you are in pain, not having fun, wishing you were doing something else, remember that this pain is what will get you to your goal. Celebrate the pain because that is the only thing that will help you achieve your goal. The more pain, the more satisfying your result will be when you accomplish your goals.

What change do you want to make in your life? What have you been putting off because you want to avoid the pain? Read other people’s comments or write your own here.

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But why . . . ?

When we ask someone to do something it can be frustrating why they didn’t do it the way we wanted. It’s as if they deliberately did it their way instead of your way. You can explain everything but until the other person understands why the results will struggle to meet your expectations.

I have been on the receiving end of this scenario. When I was a boy, my brother and I stayed with relatives who lived on a farm. One day my aunt told us we were going on a hike through the woods on their property and that we should wear our swimming suit under our jeans. As a boy, that didn’t make any sense to me. I understood that we should wear jeans so we didn’t get our legs scraped up through the brush. It was a hot day and I didn’t want to be even hotter with a swim suit under my jeans, so I just wore the jeans. During our hike we came to a creek and my aunt said, “take off your jeans and go swimming boys!”

When we ask someone to do something, we usually have it all figured out in our mind. We need to remember that who we ask doesn’t know what we know. The other person will either consciously or sub-consciously try to figure out the purpose.

When you ask someone to do something for you:

  • Start by explaining the purpose. Put yourself in their shoes. It takes time and energy for the other person to figure out the purpose of your task. Make it clear what you want to accomplish.
  • Offer ideas. Your plan may not be the best plan. Many times you have an idea about how to accomplish the task. Offer suggestions about how the other person might accomplish the result you are looking for.
  • Allow the other person to do it their way. We often think the way we think something should be done is the best way. I’ve found that most of the time my way is not best. If the other person understands what you want to accomplish they will figure it out their way. You may be surprised how much better they will do.
  • Shut up and stay out of their way. Don’t go checking in to make sure they are doing it right. Trust that they will accomplish the result and accept that if they don’t it is probably because you didn’t explain “why” well enough.

That hot summer day I w

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Hand me that rake: Tools for results

Now that spring is here, I like to clean up the yard, mow the lawn, edge the flowerbeds, and spread mulch. It is important to get everything cleaned up to make the yard look beautiful again while setting the stage for easy upkeep through the summer months. Before I can do any of this, I need to make sure the lawn mower is tuned up, the wheel barrow tire is inflated, and the edger blade is sharp. This is pretty simple stuff that most people can easily do. What is more difficult is using your tools to maintain throughout the season. Not only tools but time and dedication to weed, fertilize, water, and prune.

Have you or someone you know planted a garden but didn’t plan for taking care of it? If not, weeds grow, the plants are stunted or dry up, the fruits fall to the ground or spoil on the branch. Projects can be easy to get started, but without calculating what is needed to maintain the project and finish can get you over your head before you know it.

When preparing for any project, make sure you have all the tools for the job. Take that little bit of extra time to plan, determine all the tools you will need, gather them so that you not only start the project but finish it.

A few years ago I started blogging. My only consideration was to start. I didn’t have a plan, a purpose, or an end goal in mind. I really didn’t know what I needed to be a blogger. I blogged about topics that came to mind. They were scattered and unorganized. Over time I blogged less and less. Eventually I realized that I stopped blogging. What result did I create from this blog experience? Not much of anything that I or anyone else can use. Looking back now I didn’t have a plan or the tools to be a blogger.

For your next project, plan and gather your tools.

  • What result are you shooting for? This is the Stephen Covey habit of “begin with the end in mind”. When I decided to create this blog site I decided that I wanted a blog that people could look forward to and count on. I envisioned how my blog would look and how people would interact with it. I determined the purpose of the blog so that the content is consistent.
  • Plan. List the steps it will take to start and maintain. For several months, I created a simple project plan that listed major tasks I needed to accomplish to set-up and maintain this blog site.
  • Collect your tools. Determine the tools you need to create your results and to continue to create those results. You will probably have some tools but others you will need to get. One tool I needed was a blog hosting service that met my needs. I decided that a free blog site wasn’t going to get the results I planned for. So I subscribed to a professional blog service.
  • Learn how to use new tools. If you haven’t used these tools before, take time to learn how to properly use them. I watched videos and followed tutorials to learn how to use WordPress.
  • Get to work. You can only spend so much time preparing. As soon as you have enough to get started, start. Don’t wait until everything is perfect before you start (this will be a post later). I could have planned forever but my accountably group pressed me to start on April 1 with my first post.
  • Review. Evaluate how successful you are at achieving your original plan. Make refinements and continue with your project.

What project are you preparing to start? What do you need to get started, and what do you need to keep it going? Read other people’s comments or write your own here.

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Focus on the task at hand

There are so many opportunities to make choices in just about every moment of every day. We can choose to watch television, play games, read, surf the internet (including Facebook/Twitter), text, spend time outside, . . . the list goes on. When you have a task to do, git-er-done (as a famous comedian would say). It can be so easy to jump from one thing to another, especially when you have a task that you don’t want to do.

When you allow distractions to get in the way of completing a task, it prolongs the task. Think about that for a minute. If there is a task that you need to do but you jump to a “fun” distraction, it only prolongs the task.

I struggle with this every day. If I need to wash the dishes. While washing dishes I will have the television on (lying to myself that I can do both at the same time). I get distracted and end up stopping for a few minutes to watch what is happening on television. In reality it takes me at least twice as long to do the dishes vs. keeping the television off.

To discipline yourself to get the task done:

  • Focus on task at hand. Recognize that you want to do something else. I no longer watch television when I do dishes. I will turn on music rather than television because I know music doesn’t won’t slow me down. It actually motivates me (except when I dance).
  • Reward yourself. Once you complete the task(s), reward yourself with a “fun” activity that would normally distract you. Limit the fun activity to a short period of time so that you can move on to the next task. When using my computer, I will want to jump to surfing the internet. It is now my reward after getting important tasks done.

It was Helen Keller who said, Do not persist in folly. It is not a badge of character to continue down the wrong road.

What distracts you? How to do you combat distractions? Leave a comment here.

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Cut the strings: why you need an internet based email

What would happen if you wanted to fire your internet service provider (ISP)? An ISP is the company that you pay to get internet access at home. Some examples are Road Runner™, Comcast®, Verizon®, AT&T™, or Earthlink™. You may want to fire your ISP if they jack up your rates, provide bad service, you find a better deal, or you move. But you’re locked in with your ISP because they are also your email provider.

 

It is very hard to switch your email address. Everyone you know already knows your email address. You have accounts with on-line services that are connected to your email.

The solution is to get an internet based email provider. Internet based email is available free from several companies like Google®, Yahoo®, and Windows Live™.

There are several major benefits to internet email:

  • You can switch ISPs anytime. No need to contact everyone in your email list when you switch. Note: ISPs offer free email because people will keep the service to avoid converting email.
  • Access your email anywhere. You can access your email on any device with internet access (at someone else’s computer, public computer, smart phone, or tablet)
  • Massive storage space. Most all internet email service offer astronomical storage space. In other words, your in-box will never fill up.
  • Email is backed up. Internet email is backed up on the online service (email that you download to your computer is lost if your computer crashes).
  • Switching later is easier. If you choose to switch to another internet email service, part of switching can automatically forward your email to your new email.

It will be a pain the first time you switch. You will be handling two email addresses at the same time. But, it is worth doing this one last time.

  • Decide which email provider to use. Any of the top providers are good choices. I use Google’s gmail for my personal email and for my business email because Google isn’t going out of business anytime soon. The future of Google is also good with the success of Google’s Android operating system.
  • Learn the new system. There will be some basic instructions and maybe even some video training that will help you learn your new email system. Take a little time to learn the new email. Gmail is a different kind of email system that will require to think about email in a different way. Once you learn it you will like it.
  • Upload your contacts. If possible download your contacts from your current email provider and then upload them to your new provider.
  • Setup automatic forward. If your old email system offers it, setup your old email to start automatically forwarding new email to your new email address.
  • Only use your new email. This is the most important step. Commit to using only your new mail. You will find reasons to use your old email from time to time but stick with your new email. Start telling people your new email. Send email only from your new email. People you email will start to use your new email. If your new email offers an automatic signature add a line like “this is my new email, please update your contact list”.

After 3 months you will be comfortable with your new email. After 6 months, you will be using only your new email.

What do you like about your email provider? What don’t you like? If you are using an ISP email, why? Read comments here or add your own.