7/2/17

Lots more wasted time today. Going to try to stay off of the couch more. It’s just too easy to end up laying there doing nothing!

I found out today that I will have tomorrow off in addition to 7/4. Tomorrow I am going to write more about why I am tracking the use of my time; what the end goals are. For now:

  • 5:00 Wake up
  • 5:30 unintentional nap (beware couches)
  • 5:50 Work on lesson for Elder’s Quorum
  • 6:15 Breakfast for Quinn
  • 6:30 Work on lesson for Elder’s Quorum
  • 7:15 Nap
  • 7:50 Breakfast/Print programs for church
  • 8:55 Clean breakfast/Listen to Stapleton Business Class
  • 9:32 Prep for church
  • 9:55 Church
  • 14:05 Lunch/Listen to forex market preview
  • 15:02 Nap
  • 15:27 Twitter
  • 15:37 Clean kitchen
  • 16:17 Outside with Quinn
  • 16:48 Twitter
  • 17:31 Laundry
  • 17:50 Nap
  • 18:20 Twitter/snooze
  • 18:51 Quinn bath/Listen to Think and Grow Rich
  • 19:02 Clean front room
  • 19:20 Church lesson follow up
  • 19:30 Quinn to bed
  • 19:40 Twitch.tv
  • 20:52 Read The Last Empress
  • 22:10 Blog/Prep for bed.

7/1/17… What a boring title!

We had a pretty light (relatively) day at work so I was able to come home early and get more preparation done for a lesson I will be teaching in church tomorrow. I definitely used my discretionary time better today, although there was much less of it than yesterday. I ended up back on Facebook for a while again. For me it is a complete waste of time, and really not even an enjoyable waste of time. 98% of the time when I stop looking at Facebook I am dissatisfied with how the time was used. That’s not always the case when I am on Twitter or YouTube. I guess it just goes to show how strong neural pathways can be – “Have you checked Facebook? Maybe there is something you want to see!”

 

  • 5:00 Wake up
  • 5:45 Drive to work/Listen to Daily FX weekend update/Visioneer
  • 6:09 Work
  • 7:33 Nap
  • 7:56 Work
  • 9:21 Pick up breakfast
  • 9:35 Work
  • 12:31 Nap
  • 12:55 Work
  • 18:00 Nap
  • 18:29 Work
  • 20:14 Drive home/Listen to Think and Grow Rich
  • 20:44 Eat dinner/clean kitchen/listen to Stapleton New Business class
  • 21:27 Elder’s Quorum lesson prep
  • 21:41 Facebook
  • 21:56 Read article forwarded my Mentor
  • 10:05 Blog
  • 10:10 Read Change-Friendly Leadership
  • 10:24 Prep for bed.

6/30/17

Today was pretty busy. I feel like overall I did a better job with my time in the evening, and a little worse in the afternoon. The goal is to use my time better just once tomorrow than I did today.

 

  • 5:09 Wake up
  • 5:50 Drive to work
  • 6:15 Work
  • 7:30 Nap
  • 7:50 Work
  • 13:40 Drive home
  • 14:12 Nap
  • 14:32 Life Insurance
  • 14:57 Take Quinn outside
  • 15:54 Clean kitchen
  • 16:20 Dinner/Read The Last Empress
  • 16:45 Clean dinner
  • 17:15 Facebook
  • 17:52 Nap
  • 18:15 Twitter
  • 18:34 Clean up YouTube subscriptions (More on this later)
  • 19:23 Prep Quinn for bed/Clean front room
  • 20:00 Facebook
  • 20:30 Read Change-Friendly Leadership
  • 21:27 Email
  • 21:40 Snack (I was supposed to work on setting S.M.A.R.T. goals but…)
  • 22:40 Prep for bed

Time Management

I recently finished reading The 10x Rule by Grant Cardone. One of the suggestions was to make log how you use time each day. It seems pretty simple, but this first day it has helped me to stay more focused on what I actually want to spend time on. So I’m going to start listing that here each day.

  • 3:45 Wake up
  • 4:34 Start work
  • 8:00 Nap
  • 8:20 Work
  • 12:42 Wash car
  • 13:02 Drive to UPS
  • 14:20 Nap
  • 14:40 Dishes
  • 14:55 Take Quinn outside
  • 15:45 YouTube/Snuggle with Quinn
  • 16:08 Clean front room
  • 16:17 Work on Elder’s Quorum Lesson
  • 16:34 Cook/Eat Dinner
  • 18:08 Nap
  • 18:34 Clean Dinner
  • 19:34 Watch Twitch
  • 20:06 Prep Quinn for bed
  • 20:45 work on blog/currency trading
  • 23:00 Bed

A Time to Review

It has been over two years since my last post. My wife and I have moved across the country and have a two-year old daughter. Our relationship is stronger, I have a far greater sense of self and confidence in my abilities, and I have been able to accomplish many more of my goals than I would have thought possible in so short a time.

I will be reviewing the goals that I wrote about in the spring of 2014 and how I have done in achieving those goals below.

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

  • Be able to read a Chinese newspaper (3)
    • I have not made much progress towards this goal. I still have a great love for the language and culture, but I have simply not spend the requisite time to achieve this goal.
  • Ace the military personal fitness test (1)
    • I am not quite to this level yet. I now have time to practice yoga several times each week.
  • Play in the disc golf amateur world championships (3)
    • While I have played disc golf in the intervening time since my last post, I have not played often. I still love it – I don’t think there is anything else that brings that specific type of enjoyment – but my time has largely been taken up with more important things.
  • Live a healthy life style (1)
    • My wonderful wife has been a great help in this regard. While we do not have a specific diet that we follow, we try our best to follow our church’s directives on health. You can read more about that here. I have definitely found more mental clarity and energy trying to do better in this area.
  • Become an avid reader (1)
    • While I haven’t read everyday, I have been reading much more and also listening to books through Audible. It has been a great investment for me. My Goodreads list is here.
  • Be honest in all my dealings (1)
    • This is definitely the most important goal that was in this list. I have been able to be honest at all times during the last two years.
  • Live with no Niagara Syndrome (5)
    • So far so good. The biggest thing that I have been able to do to combat Niagara Syndrome has been to make sure that I always have goals (such as these) that I am working towards. My wife and I also try to have brainstorming sessions every few months about how we think the next 10 years will go. It is a great opportunity to get excited about what is in front of us, and make any changes  to our plan that we may feel are appropriate.
  • Have friends from varied backgrounds (2)
    • The majority of the people I associate with are from my church community. This does limit their diversity in some aspects (ie same moral standards, similar views on social issues) but I have still been blessed to associate with many people of different backgrounds and occupations. From electrician to lawyer, accountant to teacher, my circle of friends is full of wonderful peers and mentors.

CAREER/BUSINESS

  • Be able to travel for vacation two or three times in a given year (2)
    • I have been very blessed to find a job that is a great fit for me. This week I just passed 2 years of employment with a wonderful small business. This gives me more freedom to work from home when necessary and to take more vacations than I would otherwise be able to.
  • Own our dream home (15)
    • We are still renting and currently looking to complete some other large financial goals prior to purchasing a house, but this is still on our goals list.
  • Have no stress about work when I am home (1) 
    • My thoughts on this goal have evolved somewhat from 2 years ago. Because of my position at work I do need to be on the phone or working after I get home pretty frequently, but I enjoy my job. I think another part of the intent behind the goal was to allow myself to  be present with my family whenever I am home and I feel like I am doing a pretty good job of that,
  • Be debt free (10)
    • We have been very blessed and were able to pay off all of our debts in the spring of 2015.
  • Learn about investing money (1)
    • I have been doing a lot of research and study and I am currently planning to open a currency trading account in 2017.
  • Be able to pay fifty percent of our children’s college expenses (20)
    • We are still working towards this goal. We are about 75% of the way to having 6 months of living expenses in savings. After we reach that goal we will start to save money for other goals such as  this.
  • Use my language skills at work (3)
    • I have note developed any additional language skills

TOYS/ADVENTURE

  • Play disc golf in Europe ( 10)
  • Own a Land Rover (15)
  • Own a home with on at least ten acres (25)
  • Own a private disc golf course à la Flip City (30)
  • Finish in the top three at an A tier disc golf tournament (2 – are you sensing a theme?)
  • Ride my bike to a disc golf tournament at least eighty miles away (5)
  • Finish in the top three at any disc golf tournament (1)

I have really not made any progress on these goals, but i don’t know that I really feel that they are important anymore. This was the hardest category for me to populate with goals last time. I will be performing this exercise again and am going to probably replace all of these goals with new ones.

CONTRIBUTION

  • Help my children learn to love music (20)
    • My daughter loves to dance to the music her little baby walker plays, and she likes to sing and listen to songs. That is a great start in my opinion.
  • Adopt a child from China (25)
    • We have not yet been in a place financially where this was much of an option.
  • Increase faith in the institution of marriage (3)
    • I feel like I am doing a good job with this in general. We often have young missionaries from our church over for dinner, and I always try to talk with them – at least a little bit – about how wonderful we find marriage to be.
  • Live as energy-efficient a life as I can (1)
    • Not much progress here.
  • Volunteer in the community (1)
    • I have not been engaged in much volunteer work outside of my church responsibilities. These have been great opportunities – averaging about 10 hours a week outside of Sunday meetings – but I would still like to be more involved in the community directly.

It has been really neat to look back over these goals and see the progress that I have made as well as to see how I have changed in the last few years. Expect to see an updated list of goals in the next week or so.

Dreams

There is nothing like dream to create the future. Utopia today, flesh and blood tomorrow.

– Victor Hugo

Yesterday I tried to share some of the excitement I felt for the activity I completed this evening. My assignment was to begin creating a compelling vision of the future by brainstorming about a perfect future. “What would I want for my life if I knew I could have it any way I wanted it? What would I go for if I knew I could not fail?” It was a ton of fun. After compiling the lists I assigned each item a timeline (in years) for completion. Then I wrote a short paragraph about the one item from the list that I would most enjoy to complete this year. I now have four items that I motivated to work towards throughout the next twelve months. This exercise is definitely going to be a part of my life moving forward. I decided to include selections from my lists so that you could learn a little about me and to add another layer of accountability to my goals. Now the whole of the internet knows what I am setting out to do with my life. For once, that idea is a good thing. Note: These goals are intentionally focused solely on me. My wife and I are going to do this activity together for our family and relationship.

Personal Development

  • Be able to read a Chinese newspaper (3)
  • Ace the military personal fitness test (1)
  • Play in the disc golf amateur world championships (3)
  • Live a healthy life style (1)
  • Become an avid reader (1)
  • Be honest in all my dealings (1)
  • Live with no Niagara Syndrome (5)
  • Have friends from varied backgrounds (2)

Honesty is the core of respectability and the foundation of a strong character. I owe it  to God and my family to be one hundred percent honest at all times. This will allow me to eliminate that source of negative emotion and energy from my life – leaving more of my personal resources for achieving other goals.

Career/Business

  • Be able to travel for vacation two or three times in a given year (2)
  • Own our dream home (15)
  • Have no stress about work when I am home (1)
  • Be debt free (10)
  • Learn about investing money (1)
  • Be able to pay fifty percent of our children’s college expenses (20)
  • Use my language skills at work (3)

It is very important to me to be able to focus on my family when i am home. I want to know that I am providing for my family well and that relaxing with them is okay. When I am home, I am home. Work will wait for the next day.

Toys/Adventure

  • Play disc golf in Europe ( 10)
  • Own a Land Rover (15)
  • Own a home with on at least ten acres (25)
  • Own a private disc golf course à la Flip City (30)
  • Finish in the top three at an A tier disc golf tournament (2 – are you sensing a theme?)
  • Ride my bike to a disc golf tournament at least eighty miles away (5)
  • Finish in the top three at any disc golf tournament (1)

I LOVE DISC GOLF!!! The more I improve, the more I enjoy the game. That being said, I have never performed particularly well in tournaments. Pushing myself to reach this goal will serve the dual purpose of increasing my skill and enjoyment.

Contribution

  • Help my children learn to love music (20)
  • Adopt a child from China (25)
  • Increase faith in the institution of marriage (3)
  • Live as energy efficient a life as I can (1)
  • Volunteer in the community (1)

Being a part of the community has always been a part of my vision for life. I want to be involved in making the world a better place and I believe that is best done in the home and local community. By making community involvement part of my lifestyle hopefully I can help my family and community at the same time.

What Did I Learn Today?

I learned that you need to accrue five hundred points from PDGA tournaments to qualify for the Amateur World Championships for a given year. (I never promised that the answers to these questions would be interesting.)

What Did I Contribute or Improve?

I improved the vision I have for my future. This has provided me with an increased focus and excitement about life.

What Did I Enjoy?

Brainstorming what my future will be like was much more fun than I thought it would be.

Goals

For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth.

– Moses 3:5

Short post today, I want to get a little sleep before watching the lunar eclipse which is scheduled to start in about thirty minutes.

I am very excited about tomorrow’s blog post. I have been reading some excellent things in Awaken the Giant Within and I can’t wait to share what I am learning. Tomorrow’s post is going to be all about dreams of what life could be like. Until I get my thoughts together and share my dreams, what are some of your dreams for life? Nothing is too silly or unrealistic.

What Did I Learn Today?

I learned that the overuse of antibiotics can begin to affect us right at birth. Here is the discussion from NPR that I listened to: http://www.npr.org/2014/04/14/302899093/modern-medicine-may-not-be-doing-your-microbiome-any-favors

What Did I Contribute or Improve?

I encouraged my wife to complete some of the last homework assignments that she has before she graduates.

What Did I Enjoy Today?

I enjoyed having dinner with my siblings and their spouses. Only ten days until I’ll be living one thousand miles away from them.

 

Metaphors are like…

All perception of truth is the detection of a analogy.

– Henry David Thoreau

Yesterday I promised thoughts about the power of words. I am ready to fulfill that promise.

My reading, both yesterday and today, was about how powerful words are. We use words to help us categorize the experiences that we have. To a large extent, these words define the experiences we have. For instance: ask individuals to describe a lecturer they have just heard from and you could easily garner answers as diverse as “boring” and “uplifting”. There was only one source of input for the experience (the lecturer) but the experiences the individuals had were very different. Words have meaning. By simply changing the words we use to describe a situation we can change the way we feel about it.

How many times have you said that you “hate” something? Do you really “feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward” that thing? What happens when you use the word “hate”? Even if you did not originally have hate-like feelings about something your emotions begin to match the meaning of the word. You now feel more intensely than originally. The opposite is also possible, by choosing to use more mild vocabulary you can temper emotions. I have had first hand experience with this concept. When I was still living at home with my family I would often get very angry. Disproportionately so. I found that I was using ridiculously strong words to describe my emotions. I began to make a concerted effort to calm my language. It had a powerful effect, it now takes quite a lot to make me feel angry. Whether or not you believe anything else I have written about is true, know that this idea absolutely works.

Another way of thinking about how words can affect emotions is to think about the idea of changing your attitude. If you are frustrated or depressed it is very likely that you would describe your current situation with words that express that. When you focus on changing your attitude what do you do? You look for different ways to “look at” the situation – you are looking for different words for your feelings. This is one of the things that excites me most about this particular part Awaken the Giant Within. It is giving me tools to achieve desired goals instead of trying to just “do it” through pure mental capacity.

Metaphors and idioms are even more powerful than single words in there ability to create images and stir emotions emotions. A recent commercial for 5-Hour Energy is a rather comical example.

The commercial is not much more than a steady stream of metaphor and common idioms. Even though I find the commercial humorous, I can not watch it without being affected emotionally by it. Who doesn’t want to “knock it out of the park”? Never mind that you don’t know what “it” is, don’t you want to hit it? So remember, be careful about how you describe things today. It will make more of an impact than you may think.

 

What Did I Learn Today?

I recognized how much I am loving my life right now. It’s mostly working outside during the day, then getting ready to move at night before I write, but it is wonderful.

What Did I Contribute or Improve?

Not really sure I did anything to improve myself today – other than continue to post which I guess is improving my writing ability. That seems a little like cheating though.

What Did I Enjoy?

I really enjoyed all the time I had for introspection at work today. I was basically alone with my thoughts for eight hours. It was very relaxing.

Words We Choose

Words form the thread from which we hang our experiences.
– Aldous Huxley

Words are truly amazing. They have the ability to conjure up images of far off places, or to remind us of a specific event. They act as filters for our brain as it sorts through the experiences we have every day.

I have a lot more to share about this, but I am exhausted (a carefully chosen word) from work today. On to my daily wrap-up.

What did I Learn Today?
I learned how to effectively use an edger. ( a device used to cut sod away from the sidewalks)
What did I contribute or improve?
I began work on my “about” page. I know that may seem like a small thing, but I really don’t like to write about myself and “how awesome” I am.
What did I Enjoy?
I enjoyed seeing my beautiful wife when I got home from work.

The Questions We Ask

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

 – Matthew 7:7

Today’s reading was primarily about asking questions as a way to concentrate or change our focus. The idea behind this is that to some extent all of our thinking is based on questions. What should I wear today? Am I hungry right now? Can I turn right before that car will hit me? One of the most interesting things Robbins wrote about was the ability our questions have to change what we are ignoring. Because our brains can only be consciously aware of a few things at a time they are constantly engaged in ignoring inputs that we think are unimportant.  A great example of this is that when you sleep in a new place for the first time you rarely sleep as well as you do in your own home. This is due to the fact that your brain is unsure which new stimuli (sounds, smells, noises) are important and which aren’t. Asking questions such as “what am I excited about in my life” or “what am I grateful about in my life” place your brain’s focus on those areas and consequently you ignore the opposite questions of “what is boring in my life” and “what do I wish wasn’t happening in my life”.

Thinking about the power that questions have eventually led me to what I think is one of the most basic questions – why. Whenever I hear the question “why” I am reminded that this is the question David Bednar links to the highest level of truth – doctrine.  One of my favorite quotes from Boyd K. Packer, a prominent member of my church, is that “The study of doctrines… will improve behavior quicker that a study of behavior will improve behavior…”. While this quote is focused on religion, it concisely states my beliefs on how important it is to be aware of the questions we ask ourselves. Remember from Belief Part 3 that doctrines answer the question why? If I am able to accurately recognize the answers I am getting – the doctrine or conviction – I can then reverse engineer the question that brought me to that point. If that question is not a productive one I can change it, thus changing my view of the problem and my behavior regarding it.

If we do not make an effort to monitor the questions we are asking ourselves, consciously or unconsciously, we will be prone to experiencing emotional Niagara Syndrome. I very strongly believe the quote at the beginning of this post, I know that in my life I am always able to find some answer to the questions I ask – even if that answer is ridiculous. If I ask how I can possibly accomplish everything I need to do in a day, the answer usually comes back that I can’t. If instead, I ask how I can most efficiently complete those same tasks I am immediately in a more positive state find that effective method.

I hope this post isn’t  too dry or theoretical. I don’t have any inspirational stories to go with many of the ideas I am writing about because they are still new ideas to me. I am implementing them into my life as you read this blog. Thanks for walking along this sometimes bumpy road with me.

What Have I Learned Today?

I was reminded of how wonderful it feels to sit down to a meal after hard work.

What did I contribute or improve?

I continued my study of how the word change is used in the Bible.

What did I enjoy?

I enjoyed getting my wife’s feedback on my last few blog posts.