Change the environment

The problem: You try to concentrate and to focus but it's the others that don't let you.
One should first assume that not the environment or the other people around are guilty for the own incapacity of solving problems. But there is suffering in the world and there is unhealthy environment, that's fact.

I have seen a lot of people running away from their problems - escaping from a working place to escape responsibility or from annoyance. I know very well that all this does not solve problems. Problems must be really solved otherwise they are likely to appear wherever you go.

The reason: Knowing that an escape does not really solve a problem may cause the habit to be static in solving problems.
Whenever I recognize a problem I do want to solve it where it occurs and where I am. Changing location means escaping the problem, isn't it? - Not necessarily:
  • Would a doctor operate the patient on a rowing boat at rough sea?
  • Does it make sense to paint a house when it's raining?
  • Is it a good idea trying to get sleep on the highway?
  • Would a genius place a house on sand?
  • Would you find it useful searching mushrooms in the desert?
  • Does it improves quality when you work at a very noise place?
Location matters! There might be emergency situations in which you do not have another choice and for the training it might be good to try the extreme situation to improve skills. But if obstructive environments get common then quality of the outcome and the motivation will decrease.

It is good when you can work in noise environment because such a skill can help you when good concentration is needed but you find yourself in a noisy situation without the influence to change.

The solution: Change the location, change the environment!
As you will get candles for a romantic dinner, get the tools that you need to have an optimum environment where you can produce good work. And move on - change the location if it's not adequate for the work you want to get done. You are not nailed to the floor you can move on. If you can't adjust the environment (or if advising the other people around you does work respectively) then change it completely. A good environment will reduce your stress and improve the outcome and therefore rise motivation.

Related post: When changing the environment does not help.

Compact communication

Lately I read on a blog the rules for people who want to contribute with articles. I read there a rule that an article must be at least n words. I remembered accidentally my time in school where such rules for homework and reports were given often.

While I find such things useful if the intention is that somebody learns to write or learns the language on the other hand when the intention is to transfer information I would really prefer if the writer is able to pack his message into fewer words.

A lot of time is lost while talking long before getting to the point - often because people do construct their primary messages only while talking or writing about. - We should think before and then point out the message in a compact form. It's like getting to focus.

And there is another advantage: When you talk to people they can only remember a few things of what you said. So tell them less saying more, nobody has time to waste!


New world in the morning

"New world in the morning" - so they say. Although maybe invented to give new hope every day I take it as a reminder to see everything in new lights finding maybe a new unconventional solution for a problem.

Unfortunately so often we are so sure to already know the things and people, their purpose, their intention and the way how they work. But do we know things and people only because we have already seen them a hundred times?

By no means! We don't know and we assume that things and people around us do not change. Everything around us is subject to change. So we should at least start the new day by looking around with some curiosity for the new and giving a chance to some new solution attempt.

But it's not only new world in the morning - it's also new world at noon or in the evening.

New world in the morning, that's the day!


Value of life

Since I experienced the birth of a baby and the intensive and necessary effort to support a new life in the basic needs and when I imagine future necessary effort, I see all this effort when looking at other persons also.

So many things that can go wrong and cause suffering to children and people - so it seems to be a wonder when I meet nice people.

When meeting people, remember that their life is at least as hard as yours and value their efforts and attempts of getting out of their troubles!


Value of dreams and how to use them

Dreams are a good help for your personal development because they are the way to let your subconscious mind communicate with your consciousness. And your subconscious mind has a somehow "better overview". Dreams assist you in finding solutions for a wide range of problems.

Here are the important things when dealing with dreams:
  • You can influence the "issue" you want to dream a solution for by thinking about the particular problem before going to sleep, naming the problem and requesting for help from your subconscious mind.

    The actual dream might cover a related or more general problem - so be aware of that.

  • When you wake up, immediately try to remember and re-live your dream - and maybe write it down immediately. Because otherwise you will forget the dream very soon.

  • Most things you see in your dream are symbols.
    Remember that all the things are symbols according to your live experiences and recordings so don't use a classic book to interpret the things you've seen in your dream. Only, if you cannot get any idea, maybe such books can help a little, but usually the things are your personal symbols. People you see may stand for specific values, like friendship, egoism, passion and so on. Same applies for locations.

  • Think of your feelings you had in certain situations and name them.
    Feelings and emotions are very important and you should recall the feelings you had while dreaming.

  • Think of a possible message of the dream and get formed an appropriate sentence.
    The dream wants to show you a complete new view and/or wants to point you into a complete new direction.
Dreams can be a great help and boost your creativity - so appreciate their value!


Network planning

The problem: You are well planning your time but you still get a lot of unexpected work.
I imagine you are scheduling all your to dos in your calendar to ensure that you do not plan for more time than available. I further imagine you save some extra time for unexpected problems in your tasks and that you are using the 60 % rule (planning only 60 % of available time to have rest for unexpected interruptions). But it happens that you get a lot of unexpected additional work so you have already reduced to plan only 50 %. Should you plan only - let's say 10 % of your time keeping the rest for the unexpected? - A clear "No" - this is the argument of all people who are against time planning. They say that everything is unexpected so you can't plan.

The reason: You are not alone - your planning depends on others planning!
Only a few tasks depend on you only so you can plan them as you want. For most tasks you require the cooperation of others. If your customers are acting in an unexpected way then you will be affected by their behaviour.

The solution: Get the others in the boat of proper time management!
Teach others about time management and plan with them. Ask them in advance what they want to achieve in the next year, in the next quarter and in the next month. - If you ask them in time to find out what they are going to do in the (near) future that might affect your own work and planning then you can save a time slice for them. Asking others for their plans and talking about their long-term desires you can get them to planning even if they never did before.

Planning does not bring only the advantage of getting an adequate amount of time - you have the possibility to split the issue in a "thinking about phase" and an "implementation phase" getting a better quality of the final solution.

Some people are more resistant against planning. They always have excuses why they can't tell you things in time and always know reasons why they can't plan. The only way to get them into the boat is to let them wait! They will find out that they will get served earlier and with better quality when they get to you in time.


Who? When? For whom?

When something is to be done, there are three central questions I got from a presentation done by Viktor Frankl many years ago. I sometimes remember them and then find them very useful:
  1. Who should do it?
    Should you do it? If you will not do it, who should it?

  2. When should it be done?
    If you will not do it now, when will you do it?

  3. For whom should it be done?
    If you do things only for yourself, who are you then?
Related post: The main purpose.


Focus by direction

The problem: You have difficulties identifying your personal goals.
Life hacking blogs and coaches often mention that it is important to define the personal goals. Defining goals makes it easier to find the proper priorities and focus on the things and actions that bring you forward to your goals. They say, you need concrete goals also to know when you have achieved them. But some people have difficulties in finding and defining personal goals.

The reason: Not always in your life you can have a clear vision of your future.
Not in every stages of your life you can know what your goals are. There are periods in which bigger changes are in view and you cannot yet know the effects in detail (eg change of your working place, marriage, birth of a child, ...). At certain points in your life you can only do approximately plans. Depending on your general life style and profession you are probably more often facing uncertain future. In my profession for example - the IT - things change so fast that it is very difficult for me to define particular clear long term goals. I could define very concrete goals but it would necessarily lead to the demand of changing the goal more often. In certain situations when thinking that defining a goal is necessary I produce more troubles for myself as I would without such a definition.

The solution: Choose a direction to get focus.
If you cannot find a proper particular goal you feel comfortable with then consider choosing a direction only being sufficient for your needs. It is not always necessary to know your goals very concrete and in detail - quite the contrary - it sometimes is even counter productive to have a too clear picture of a desired situation. It might produce suffering if the goal seems to be not reachable or if you discover - once arrived - that you are not as content as you expected. You might discover that all the effort and the privations were not worth it. Take into consideration that you may find out - while on the way to your destination - that you would be happier with a slightly changed goal arriving somewhere in the area of your original goal but not exactly where you have planned to arrive. Starting with a direction is better than starting with nothing. It might cause the focus that is sufficient separating the important from the irrelevant things. Getting nearer and clearer there will be time to specify the goals more detailed.

Related posts: Focus by decision, Direction over goals, Principles over rules, Razor sharp focus, New year decisions, The golden rule.


Unwanted creativity

The problem: Missunderstandings during communication.
Ever got upset because you missunderstood your colleague or client and hence solved an issue in a wrong way - or solved a completely different issue?

The reason: Few analysis and too much creativity.
When we hear or read things we automatically do add our own thoughts and those get mixed with the words of those talking to you. At the end there are a lot of things you got from the communication that were added by yourself. A big amount of these additional thought are assumptions about present situation and desires and goals of your communication partner.

The solution: Remember the facts.
Concentrate on the facts during the communcation. Your own emotions, interpretations and thoughts are basically "first impressions". Don't make them "first reactions" without reviewing the situation, the facts and evaluation of the best reaction. Especially when you have to write protocols or project documentations it is very important that you drop all unproved assumptions.

Related post: Transferable Know-How.


The two steps solving a problem

  1. Getting aware of the problem and solve it in your spirit.
    This is important because your behaviour, your habits will not change as long as you are not convinced about their misfit and as long you did not choose to go a different way behaving in a specific other manner.

  2. Practice your new way.
    For a long time I did not see the importance of the second step. I always thought that as soon as I am convinced of doing something differently it will change without further effort. Although that sometimes was really enough, in a lot of cases it did not really work or at least took a very long time until my new spirit was put into practice.

    Why to change is sometimes so hard is because our old behaviours are sitting so deep in our kernel and was usually practiced a really long time and so it is hard to get out what is not our spirit any more.


Being positive

I read a lot about the importance of being positive, develop positive views and positive thoughts.

Although I really think that it is important to think in a constructive way I am not avoiding the negative.

There are real problems and if you see unhealthy things happening then do not close your eyes.

Being positive for me is the willing and believe that everything could be turned into good, being happy about the success already accomplished and the energy to create more positive aspects and situations.

Related post: How to be happy.


There is suffering

The problem: Life is full of suffering
There is suffering you cannot prevent from. Illness is suffering, old age is suffering, death is suffering.

The reason: Desire (greed respectively), attachment and missing knowledge are the major reasons for suffering!

The solution: Let it go, let it flow, be open!To finish your suffering ask yourself what you desire and what you are attaching to. Getting rid of your greed and your attachment to everything means getting rid of your suffering. Steps to get rid of your greed and attachment:
  1. When you feel suffering get aware of your feeling and of your desire and attachment in it,
  2. name your feeling, your desire and attachment to get a more concrete picture of your actual status, situation and the manifestation of greed and attachment,
  3. accept it but not stick to it and
  4. put it aside gently.
Emotions are not strictly part of yourself - of your spirit. They are just like sun and rain - they come and go.

Things are not good or bad in general - things are just as they seem to you right now - to you personally just at the moment. There is not general good or bad only just for each of us healthy and unhealthy at the moment. Things are full of possible attributes showing only some aspects to you or others at the moment. You are free to interpret things in a way you like.

A word to emptiness: Some people are afraid of threatening emptiness. Every creative thought comes out of emptiness. Only if you are free of restricting thoughts you are able to unfold healthy power. Only when you eliminate disturbing thoughts you can get a clean picture of the present and act accordingly. Eliminating disturbing thoughts does not bring emptiness it opens the door for what is now.

Related posts: The most important things to know, The present moment, The main purpose, Weird symbols, Being like a child, Needs and meaning, 6 Triggers of bad action, What remains, The fool gives way without borders.


Where do you go

The problem: You leave home, office or other place for going to another and half the way you find out that you forgot an important thing.
Today it happened to us that we went to look for a new kitchen but we forgot the plan at home where all the measurements were written. So we had to turn back. The worst: We definitely had to hurry up and so we left the apartment very fast - but without the important thing.

The reason: Insufficient awareness of the place where we are and where we go and missing awareness of the intention we have.
Often we focus on the time running fast and so we try to be very fast. So the focus is on getting away fast. But the higher priority must be given to the task to think about the required things to carry with us and fetch them.

The solution: Improve your awareness to have present your locations and do planning
  • Before leaving a place tell yourself in a sentence where you are and get aware of yourself and the environment you are in.
  • Think about your destination and the intention what you want to do - what you do want to achieve.
  • Think of the things that might serve you at your destination and fetch them - before you think about to leave your current location!
  • Think of the way how you are going to get at your destination location. - Maybe there are some other things you might want to do while on the way (so you achieve more things at once).
  • Plan your day in advance and get prepared for the next day. Especially when you need to get prepared for a completely new situation it sometimes take a longer time and therefore it might be necessary to search and read on the internet already the day before - just to give an example.


Getting up early and quality

I read some blog posts out there mentioning that one should get up early. Somewhere - unfortunately don't remember where - I read about the daily program of some blogger. Get up at 4 and go to sleep at midnight.

Well, after my son was born about a month ago, I experienced similar daily sleeping times. It can be compared to my experiences at military service. My interests after a while were reduced to eating and sleeping.

The effects are further head ache, concentration problems and so on. When walking to the gym it gets more and more difficult to perform as I performed months ago. Weights must be reduced and breaks have to be longer. I am awake longer to accomplish the things I wasn't able to finish before. Finally I saw that it is far from efficient running that way.

I try now to get to sleep whenever my son is also sleeping to get the hours required to ensure that I "function" well.

Getting enough sleep is a required precondition for efficient working and getting the output in an acceptable quality.

Related post: The value of rest and review.

Parkinson's law and quality

While I do find the Pareto Principle a very helpful rule I see the Parkinson's Law with criticism - here is why:

The Parkinson's Law states:
work expands to fill the time available
This is for managers a good reason to give less time to workers to achieve the company's goals. In my opinion (and fortunately not only in my opinion) this rule can be very counter-productive.

This rule applies only if you really overestimate a project and therefore give a far too big budget to the project. Then people might think that they want to get also something from the money you have too much to give away. And further - usually projects are underestimated in the required time/people/money budget and not overestimated.

In all other cases reducing the time/people/money budget for something simply means reducing the output quality accordingly!

On the other hand if you give slightly more budget than necessary then people could improve quality and/or service for (additional) benefit for the customer. Further - remaining time is a possibility to review and learn additional lessons.

The only remaining argument for the Parkinson's Law is people's procrastination tendency. But I do think that simply reducing the available budget is not a solution for the procrastination problem.

Related post: Urging to forge at full speed, Productivity limits, Minimum effort.