Archive for the ‘Lifehacking’ Category

Project Shedding

3 people found this article interesting enough to chat about...

I’m an idea machine. Not a week (or, a lot of times, a day) goes by that I don’t think of some new site or web application that’d I’d love to see come to fruition. I’ve got an entire Backpack page overflowing with ideas should I ever get bored.

In 2006 I tried my hardest to actually build a lot of these ideas out. I had over a dozen different personal projects on my plate and some were even extremely close to being finished.

The predicament I found myself in was that I was killing myself trying to manage, design, and develop so much stuff in addition to managing, designing, and developing client work.

So what did I do? Right after the holidays I sold and dropped all projects that I either didn’t give a rip about or had been around for 6 months and hadn’t made any money or showed no signs of making a significant profit soon. That left me with only active (or almost active), profitable projects that I was still really excited to be a part of.

Since shedding all of those projects, I’ve found myself much more relaxed with work and a lot more productive. Projects that run themselves still require a certain amount of mental space and the amount of mental space my projects were taking up was more than I could handle.

Project shedding applies to much more than just business related things. Life in general can get far to full to enjoy. I highly recommend evaluating both your work and personal lives and, if anything, temporarily let go of some things and see how much your quality of life improves.

Posted at 4:11PM by Josh in Business, Lifehacking and Personal
Feb 20 2007

90-Day Rule: Be Successful 90 Days From Now

2 people found this article interesting enough to chat about...

Glen at LifeDev just made a really encouraging post about Patti Brotherton’s 90-Day Rule.

Basically the theory is that whatever you do today really shows it’s effects 90 days from now. So say you ran a mile everyday. 90 days from when you start that, you’ll start seeing the effects.

A more relevant application is blogging. I’ll take me as the subject. My goal is to make atleast one blog post here on SpottedWalrus per day. The idea is that in 90 days I’ll start seeing more traffic, more comments, and ultimately just a more successful blog.

This theory can really be applied to anything though. So, I challenge you to put some effort in to something routinely and then in 90 days reflect on that. Chances are you’ll be better off than when you started.

Posted at 2:53PM by Josh in Lifehacking
Nov 15 2006

Tips for getting to sleep faster & sleeping better

1 person found this article interesting enough to chat about...

For practically all my life I’ve had trouble going to sleep. I’m not an insomniac…I just think a lot. I’ll lie in bed thinking about what I want to do tomorrow or what I should have done today or how much I love eating cold pizza or how absurdly messy my desk is….you get the idea. And when I say I have trouble going to sleep…I’m not talking 20 or 30 minutes…I’m talking 2 or 3 hours. Because what will happen is after about 45 minutes to an hour of trying to go to sleep, I start thinking about how I’m not asleep but I should be…and thus the cycle begins.

Now, I may be a bit of an extreme case here, but I know for a fact that there are others out there who have trouble going to sleep. So, I’ve pieced together various bits of advice I’ve received over the past few months that have not only helps me get to sleep faster, but helps me get a better nights sleep.

  1. Don’t watch TV or even so much as look at a computer screen atleast 30 minutes before you lie down. The light from both a television as well as a computer monitor mimic the same intensity of light as sunlight. This fools your body and brain into thinking it’s nowhere near time for sleep.
  2. Drink milk. Milk has an amino acid in it called Tryptophan that increase the levels of serotonin and/or melatonin in the brain which slow down brain activity. It’s science folks.
  3. Go to bed when you are tired. Different strokes for different folks here. Just because your wife goes to bed at 9PM doesn’t mean you are ready. You might only require seven and half hours of sleep while she might require ten. If you aren’t tired, do something low-key until you are, like read a book, play solitaire (NOT on your computer), or play with some legos.
  4. Reserve the bed for bed things (ie sleep and sex). I for one don’t strictly follow this rule as I’ll read some before I go to sleep, but for some people this is a must.
  5. Meditate. No, don’t cross your legs and hum, but focus on relaxing…if that makes sense. Take deep, long breaths. Tense each muscle one at a time from head to toe. Focusing on doing this takes your mind off of other things and you’ll be in lala land in no time.
  6. Excercise during the day. I emphasize during the day. Excercising at night just gets everything going instead of shutting down for sleep. But excercising during the day tires the muscles out and makes for a solid nights sleep.

These are the majority of the things I have either tried or actually do routinely. What are some things that have worked for you?

(Note, this was originally posted by me over at To-Done, but since To-Done is shutting it’s doors I thought I’d move the content of my posts there, to here…I hate seeing good tips go to waste!)

Posted at 7:46AM by Josh in Lifehacking
Mar 21 2006

Daily routine and focus

3 people found this article interesting enough to chat about...

Do you have a routine/schedule that you try to follow each day? I know for me, being self-employed requires large doses of discipline and motivation. A routine, of some sort, helps keep me in check and from just hitting refresh on my RSS feeds all day (I’m an information junkie).

Generally, I’m not really a creature of routine. I usually find that term associated with monotony and boredom. But here, in this case, it actually brings some freedom to my work day.

So what’s my routine?
1) I get up at 6:30AM every Monday thru Friday. Period. It’s pretty easy to make excuses to sleep 30 more minutes when your alarm is screaming at you, but this first thing is a must.
2) Shower. Some people are night shower people, but if I don’t have a shower in the morning then I don’t wake up.
3) Breakfast. At this point my wife is frequently off to work already and so sitting at the dinner table by yourself gets a bit lonely. This is when I usually head to my desk and start browsing through the various RSS feeds I subscribe to and doing some casual reading as well as catch up on the plethora of message boards I’m involved with.
4) Email. After my relaxing breakfast and news reading, the work day begins. At this point it’s usually between 7:45 and 8AM. The first thing on my agenda for the day is email. I read through all of the items in my inbox and then delete and/or archive what doesn’t need any sort of action. Then I respond to what needs responding to. After this I do the same with voicemail.

At this point my work day is off to it’s official start. One major key to actually having a productive workday is to actually…yes…work. Don’t let yourself get sidetracked much or next thing you know you’ll have followed 37 different links and read 56 different articles and it’ll be lunch and you won’t have a single hour of profitable work to show for it.

I think one of the main keys to a productive day is focus. There is just so much information on the web that it’s easy to get into a little bit of information overload. With 97 RSS feeds that updated every 30 minutes and your email auto-checking every 30 seconds, it’s no wonder we find ourselves stressed out with to much on our plate…we’re pilling the stuff on as fast as we can.

So what do we do? We focus. We focus not just our mind on the task at hand, but we also focus our information intake. Clear out those RSS feeds you don’t really read and set your email to only check every 20 minutes. You and your overloaded mind will thank you.

Posted at 9:26AM by Josh in Business and Lifehacking
Dec 17 2005

Shower ideas

No one found this article interesting enough to chat about...

All to often I find myself thinking of great ideas at the most inconvenient times…specifically when I’m in the middle of my morning shower. Half the time I forget my idea by the time I make it to my desk. So what does that mean? That means I’ve potentially lost THE idea that could solve world hunger. Well okay…maybe not something that extreme, but still important nevertheless.

So how do we solve this problem? We write down our ideas in the shower! Obviously the problem comes in when our trusty paper and pen don’t exactly make friends with water. So to fix that, you simply get a hold of something that not only can take the beating of water but also lets your write on it. Who has/uses something like this? Scuba divers no less!

This Divemaster slate is the perfect answer to that and works wonders:

Simply scribble your ideas right in mid-pit-scrub and then once you’re done showering, take your notes right to your desk! Simple as that!

Posted at 8:26PM by Josh in Lifehacking
Dec 11 2005

Doggy Hack: Use their real food

No one found this article interesting enough to chat about...

Ashely and BaxterSo my wife and I got a sweet little pug named Baxter a few months back. We started him on puppy training at PetSmart a month or so ago and needless to say we probably fed Baxter 37 pounds of expensive doggy treats from PetSmart for training (I wonder if they promote treat-based training so you have to buy more treats there?). Obviously constantly buying “real” treats can add up…so what do we do? We use his regular food as treats. It’s like 1/10th of the cost of the real stuff and apparently he hasn’t caught on that it’s the same stuff we feed him bowl fulls of twice a day.

So if you’re in the middle of training your dog…try using their regular food. If it works then you’ve saved yourself quite a chunk of change.

Posted at 10:43PM by Josh in Pets and Lifehacking
Nov 27 2005