Review frequency

I am already expecting the first posts on other blogs about new year posts basically about habits and new year resolutions. The new year is often taken as opportunity to implement big changes.

The problem: New year resolutions only last a short while.
Often we do plan big changes for the new year and try to convince ourselves that everything will turn out better then. Unfortunately often we fall back to our old habits.

The reason: Too much planned and missing persistence
We can only change a very few things from one day to the other. And there are either attributes of our character we might never be able to change. In most cases to get ourselves changed, it is hard work. Frequently review, re-check, re-analysis and retry is needed - and persistence. So if you do not implement frequently recurring actions to improve your personal development, you will hardly succeed.

The solution: Continuous planning of your personal development.
Only when working continuously on your personal development - not only once a year - then you can achieve sustained success in changing the habits you like to. This means hard work on a regular base with recurring review and retry as well as periodic analysis of the current situation more often that just once in a year.

Often advertisements promise us instant success but reality continuously shows that there is no magic pill for success or how to change bad habits. So you need to roll up your sleeves and do the hard work yourself. That's the bad news, but the good is: When continuously working on your personal development (continuously but not exaggerated) you will see improvement with lasting effects.

Related posts: About habits, New year...


Information and experience

Today I read two different newspapers in the morning. One mentioned that prices rise and the other said that they fall. I am already used to hear one day that economy gets better and the other day that it gets worse but reading two opposite news at the same day is an extreme that let me think of the quality of messages and articles in the news in general.

Thinking of the last months or especially yet before christmas I would say that (here in Austria)
  • some things (especially food) got more expensive in the last months,
  • electric devices got cheaper,
  • mobile phones got again cheaper, also the charges but they tend to urge you to make contracts for the next two years instead of one as in the past (maybe they expect prices to fall within the next two years),
  • Services got more expensive,
so far my impression.

And here is the difference between information and experience. Especially general statements, predictions, conclusions and assumptions have a good chance to be wrong.

So always have a higher trust in your personal opinion than in outside information when it comes to act.

Related posts: Hot air, Decision planning, Crappy guesswork, The value of experience.


Economy forecast

Today I read the article "Truth Will Out" at Slow Leadership to which I fully agree.

The article talks about lay-offs - on the way home I heard again in the radio of a big company planning to lay-off many employees.

I hardly think that this is a good general practice. Although I understand that economy has grown enormous during the last years so it seems clear that there must be coming a regression also to reduce everything to "normal". Big companies are like dinosaurs, they get slow and sedated in their movements. But when there is crisis the first thing is that they cut off their legs.

I have seen several companies where staff has been reduced and then they had to buy external know-how or invest more money in long searches to find again matching employees (certainly paying less and hence getting less quality).

From the article mentioned above:
Losing market share is typically a sign of one of three things: your product costs too much, your quality is too low, or your offering is out-of-date.
The problem: Your product costs too much (in relation to it's quality).
The reason: The company has grown too much and the administration overhead is bigger than the amount of workers actually creating the product or providing the service; production runs in outdated manners.
The solution: Optimizing the organization (GTD) and be creative for new ways to provide the same quality or service.

The problem: Your quality is too low.
The reason: Usually because product costs are reduced by using lesser and cheaper employees and cheaper ingredients for the product which means employees do have more stress getting less money being less motivated. What a wonder that the outcome is of low quality...
The solution: Quality costs money as do good, motivated workers do. Sorry, that's the truth.

The problem: The offering is out-of-date.
The reason: Poor flexibility and missing investment in research and development. In bad years budget for research and development is often cut down as well as investment for new infrastructure. Oh wonder, that then productivity is reduced and others perform better on the market.
The solution: Especially in bad times research and development is the most important thing to do - as well as investment into new technologies. In addition to that companies need the courage not following the masses and instead putting effort in doing something different.

Instead of being innovative and showing a serious interest in their customers the companies (their management) do
  • throw away every piece of value (employees, real estates or other properties) they have (in some sort of panic),
  • reduce their offers,
  • reduce quality and service,
  • charge their customers for every finger they move,
  • follow the masses.
So there is no wonder that the spiral of bad economy continues...

Related posts: Masked rot, Hot air, Crash course, Minimum effort.

No risk, no fun

No risk, no fun - people sometimes say that and I always found that a stupid phrase. I must revise my opinion but the point is that this phrase must be seen in a different light than most people do.

When people tell "no risk, no fun", they usually mean that when you start doing something you will not have fun if you are not going to risk something.

If we look at our life, in many cases it is full of attempts to assure our environment and ourselves. We pay for insurances for the car, for fire, for retirement - and even for "life insurances" (what a stupid name - but I think the name was chosen to attract more people).

We take risks by driving fast but then we drive cars with installed airbags to reduce the risk - to have the good feeling without taking the risk. In fact we want to have fun without taking the risk! I think you can have fun without taking particular risks!

There are several risks within whatever you do and several risks to loose whatever you have built or created. Usually we try to eliminate the highest risks to reduce our worries and anxiety. When we feel secure then we can relax and enjoy what we are doing.

The point or problem is: If do not know about the fact that whatever you are trying to enjoy can be temporary joy only then you will not valuate the situation accordingly.

Example: Two days ago I was going get my son to sleep. He was lying on my belly and for a while I hoped that he will fall asleep soon because then I can put him in his bed and do a lot of other things that I wanted to do. Then I realized that time will run fast and he will grow up and what if he gets very ill and dies? I decided to fully enjoy it lying there on the couch with soft music in the background and feeling my son there on my belly relaxed and breathing calmly. There was no risk at that particular moment - it was a very relaxed time and I could enjoy it.

It is not the risky situation that gives you fun!

But: Know about the transience of situations and things so you will set the priorities accordingly and enjoy every good thing that is NOW.

Related posts: Get focused with 3 questions, In the present moment.


Get focused with 3 Questions

In the last days I was angry in the end of the working day because I wasn't able to use the available time efficiently and somehow I felt continuously out of balance and focus.

This morning while walking to the train station by accident three questions came up and suddenly I felt better.

The questions that I do now ask myself while doing something or when about to do something:
  1. What for?
    What is the purpose of my doing? What is the desired outcome? Why do I want or why should I do this?
  2. What's dropped?
    What's cost of the action? What else do I miss in favor of this action?
  3. Who cares?
    Who are the people being affected by my decision? Who are the people interested in my work and doing? Who can gain something from my action or from the desired outcome?
Related posts: Who cares?, In the present moment, Crying for attention, Between short and long term goals, Know better and act on it, The productivity trap, 2 major mistakes, The value of rest and review, Considerations on decisions.


Scotty, beam me up...

...there is no intelligent life on this planet.

Some time ago I read an article at Zen Habits - "Want to Save the World? I'll Tell You How". It invites you to do less to save the world.

Jonathan Mead links in his article to another one - "Plastic Soup" at Oskar Lewis weblog.

Although I do not think that really every piece of plastic produced is still around - it is a huge amount. That article is shocking and there it says also:
"This planet is being destroyed by the the 'most intelligent being on
it'. I think we need to re-define intelligence."
Indeed, I fully agree to that. It is so automatically that humans think that they are more intelligent than all the animals only because they don't understand them. Maybe the the most other animals learned to integrate well with the nature and that's their most important intelligence. Also human learned that there are different types of intelligence. I think humans do focus too much on one or two types of intelligence. What is the big difference of the humans? - They have arms to "use" their intelligence to massive extension.

Again I cannot avoid thinking of the dinosaurs as I already mentioned in the previous article "Information Overflow":
What, if in those times it was just increasing the probability to survive if the creature was a little bigger? - I imagine that a rush in size could cause exhausting of the world resources and hence to the extinction of the dinosaurs. - I don't have any scientific proof for this theory. The phrase "size matters" can have two meanings here... ;-)
I think we also have to redefine how we measure economy and a lot of other core elements of our life. In many realms I think we do have a "mismatch problem".

My biggest respect goes to all the animals who learned to well integrate into the nature forming a harmonic whole. Maybe the single individual animals or races do not know, but that doesn't matter. What matters is the result!

Related posts: Information Overflow, The mismatch problem, Detect the weak point, The main purpose, The resource problem.


One-Way Ticket

While moving through your life you face several opportunities and in every situation you have a lot of choices. Often you want to leave choices open as long as possible.

Comparing a situation with a room you may see many open doors but you don't know what will happen when you go through. Those doors may be labeled and colored in a very attracting way and you feel hard to choose.

What then happens often is that you want to just do a few steps through at least the most attracting doors, lurking at what is in there (for you). You want to keep the opportunity to take another door. When you look back in the room you were in, you want the other doors to be kept open.

But the truth is, that the doors are not static, they do open and close dynamically. Depending on the situations doors may open and close slower or faster. I do think for instance for business strategies doors are opening and closing in weekly or monthly rhythms while during an emergency in the hospital it might be seconds. So you are not in static rooms, you are on a dynamic journey hoping on and off trains or planes.

Once you decided hoping on a train it does not make sense to jump off in the wildness between two stations. And you cannot expect that returning to the last station you will find the same opportunities you faced before.

And you cannot tell what would have happened if you would have taken another door or train because situations change and you may never face the same set of opportunities again. On the other hand when you move on you might arrive at points where you also would have arrived taking other paths. However, you never can really be sure how it would have been taking other routes.

What to learn is:
  1. Evaluate the opportunities (have a look which doors are open) and take yourself the appropriate time (depending on the speed the doors are opening and closing).
  2. Take a decision
  3. Don't waste time in trying to figure out if it wouldn't have been better taking another door/train/route because you cannot reproduce older situations.
Life is a one-way ticket!
Choo choo train
Tuckin' down the track
Gotta travel on it
Never comin' back

Related posts: Decision planning, Direction over goals, 2 major mistakes, Getting older.


Hurry home ... no more running

The problem: The rush to get to our goals and/or to earn a lot of money.
When we are setting goals (often too late) we want to achieve them in an instant with zero effort. That's often because we already feel tired and burned out from earlier rushes to previous goals. Or - when we see the opportunity to make big money - we are willing to make some bigger effort because we hope for the rest after the big win. So we hurry from one goal to the next.

The reason: We want to get home and rest.
I see the word "home" here standing not only for a home apartment or house where you live but also for "the save point" in general. "My home is my castle", a figure of speech says. We are tired from being chained to the oars. We want to rest. And therefore we are hurrying. We are hurrying because we think that when we get a "home run" we have more time to rest. But do we really feel safe there and can we really relax? Or do we start thinking of more things that put our safety in danger?

The solution: Give up desire for complete safety, the desire for retirement and rest at the opportunity.
There are only few cases where people invent something very great and make a lot of money and then don't need to work any more. And in those cases there either can happen unexpected events that ruin everything that has been "earned" (talking about wars or financial crisis for instance). In most cases you have to work your whole life to maintain your life style. Some did reduce their demands and need to work less but anyway there is some continuous work (even if only a few) needed. And I don't think that everybody who got rich, did plan it.

The next time you get in a rush to just achieve that only last big goal until you finally can rest, think if you can really find the rest then. Instead just do your daily portion of work and take a rest when there is opportunity even if not everything has been done yet.

Related posts: Urging to forge at full speed, In the present moment, Reduce the stress factors, Productivity spiral, All Done status.


The state of mind matters

I am used to work under pressure - only in rare cases this pressure is obviously produced by desparated customers. Mostly I feel the pressure because of the empathy I have developed for the customer so I can imagine how unpleasant it is facing some wired problem while trying to do some other productive and important work. Hours are easily lost by technical problems. In other many cases it is the expectations of others and the desire of being honored and respected that drive me into pressure so. In exaggerated words: "I want to be the hero that can get everything done in miracles." The sad truth is: Unfortunately even if you do miracles it will often not be honored and only expectations grow. Or in the worst case: People think that before the miracles you were doing nothing and just sitting around being bored.

The big bad side effect that everybody will notice when you get more and more done is that you will leave the impression to others being the hectic, fast-paced always on the run guy. People will simply begin to feel bad when you are around.

Just think a moment what people you prefer to meet. When do you feel good together with other people?

In my case people with a calm voice that carefully listen without urging me, allowing also moments of silence giving space that thoughts and feelings can flourish. People who seem somehow in meditation, fully present and relaxed do improve the general quality of the situation. It is the breeding ground for good communication and hence also a breeding ground for a successful meeting. Being on speed comes with the potential danger that you behave like the bull in the china shop. You can destroy the relationship with friends as well as with (potential) customers that way - or also with your boss. Being on speed is not always getting you to the goal fast!

Related posts: In the present moment, Urging to forge at full speed, Getting older.

Too much

You can continuously improve productivity to gain free time slices. But the free time usually quickly gets filled up again. Or as it was in my case: You improve productivity to somehow get everything done that is your duty or "has become your duty" (due to rationalizations or external events) and has created very long to-do lists that always grow bigger and bigger instead of getting cleared out.

Well, it must be stated: Too much is too much!

If you are facing continuously more and more work, more and more tasks to be done then the simple crude but unattractive answer is: You are doing too much!

And here we are at the very difficult situation that you have to decide what to drop.

Before deciding keep in mind that a lot of general commitments for jobs, tasks or projects come along with a lot of tiny (administration) tasks that one usually doesn't get aware so easily. Samples:
  • Just one or more short phone calls.
  • Archiving of paper (or files) that gets produced along with the tasks.
  • Reading of mails, documentation (or blog posts ;-) ).


Today two short posts were planned instead of a single longer one. And then I remembered a post at The Positivity Blog: Would You Like To Be a Guest Blogger?

It says that a guest post has to be at least 800 words. So I first felt it could be bad quality by writing only a short post. But thinking of it and remembering several things I learned I will stick to my original plan and the reason is the KISS-Principle - as nothing should be "implemented" (in the widest possible meaning) with more than necessary (but even not with less).

What does the K.I.S.S. principle mean? Here are several interpretations:
  • Keep it simple, stupid.
  • Keep it simple and stupid.
  • Keep it small and simple.
  • Keep it sweet and simple.
  • Keep it simple and straightforward.
  • Keep it short and simple.
  • Keep it simple and smart.
  • Keep it strictly simple.
  • Keep it speckless and sane.
  • Keep it sober and significant.
Related post: Who cares?


Masked rot

The problem: Inability to extract the important information from the complete information input stream.
When you are in meetings, in shops, in discussion with vendors or even at job interviews there you are often confronted with new abbreviations, new spicy good sounding words and a lot of filler words. It is epidemic that people get more and more vague in their form of expressions.

The reason: People are masking the rot to get their things or stories sold.
People need to mask the disadvantages of their stuff or the strategies they want to sell you. The vague stuff they want to sell often they bought under vague circumstances themselves. - Yes I am talking also about stock market and the financial crises, but not only. ;-)

As many do cover and mask the stuff to hide probable risks there is also a lack of information which multiplies on the way from a producer to the final buyer. I experience this for instance if I am asking for more detailed information while analyzing the disadvantages before buying something. Many times the (re-)seller has only a very poor idea of what they are selling.

On the other hand there are those who know more details and had bad experiences with angry customers who returned to the shop because they were so disappointed. Those (re-)sellers really try everything to not give any definite answer - especially in IT. They fear the moment you come back and tell them something like "You told me that it works this way".

The solution: Identify the smoke and mirrors and stick to concrete clear information.
The only chance to survive all those false fronts is to analyze the situations to dissolve illusions and to insist in your requests for concrete and clear statements, in detail:
  • Ask yourself for possible interests of the people you are dealing with.
    In general the others talking about their interests they seem like Mother Teresa, but usually they are not. They are working to achieve their very own egoistic goals. Guessing their goals can uncover smoke and mirrors.

  • Do unemotional analysis.
    Especially when somebody wants to sell you something the person wants to push your "wish" buttons and create demand within you - demand you might never have had before. Drop your emotions and especially your expectations also. Then analyze the situation, the product or the offered service.

  • Search for the disadvantages.
    There is always at least one disadvantage. There is no product, no service - nothing - that has only advantages. Why? Because of the simple truth that you can't have everything at once - there is no magic pill. If you get told that there is no disadvantage you can be sure that the person is masking rot (or isn't either aware of the disadvantages). Try to ask for the disadvantages.

  • Ask for concrete explanation of all the fancy words that people are using that you don't know.
    People often use abbreviations and buzzwords to appear as a specialist and they count on the other people's desire not being the stupid. Many that don't know the meaning of particular words are too shy to ask. So those people using these words can hide behind them. If you ask for explanation of the fancy words (even if you already heard 3 other explanations) the other people get annoyed and they reduce usage and get more simple and clear in their speaking. A justification of that behavior asking for explanation is that often people use fancy words without really knowing what they mean. If you ask for explanation (and insist of a little more detailed explanation) those often can be unveiled.

  • Ignore fillers and brilliant labels.
    There is so much stuff that does not affect the quality of the product or service. Vague filler words that everybody is using (buzzwords) or particular labels that scream out to stand for quality are some of that stuff. Memorize only the information that really matters.
Related post: Information overflow., Create consensus.


Urging to forge at full speed

The problem: You feel pressure to get things done and be successful.
In our civilization speed is a fast growing hype. Either people are producing pressure on their own or get pressure from outside - or both. Speed is fun, speed is sexy, time is money - use it or loose it. Being on speed is the default mode for many people. Speed is everywhere in our life, from speed reading to speed dating.

The reason: Fear of going to rack and ruin, fear of (personal) economical crash.
Our anxiety to fall behind, being not interesting any more, being not attractive any more for the job market or for social groups and friends, drives us to full speed.

The solution: Slow down and either stop to get a distant and detached - more realistic - view.
Just stop, step back and look around to get a more complete view of the situation and world (as a painter steps back to see his painting from the distance checking the general impression the painting offers).

Take a serious look at the whole. Try living on full speed for a while and then remember your days when you were younger and had plenty of time to build a Lego house for instance. And try retreating for something you want to do with a bigger piece of time (writing a nice computer program, self development, ...). You will experience that
  • it is not enough doing things right, it is also important to do the right things,
  • there is a big difference in quality of output if you had enough time achieving it,
  • you feel healthier and feel more being an integrated part of the world (hence being happier),
  • others feel more comfortable and relaxed, staying with you,
  • you notice more details of the world around you which can be the source of creativity.
Being at full speed all the time inexorably leads to a crash. It narrows your view and your options. You will react in panic and do aimless quick shots rather than taking coordinated and target-oriented decisions and actions. This will create a spiral producing more fear and panic and more quick shots.

For many, being on full speed for many is a distraction from dealing with major questions or problems in life. So the paradox situation can be that one who is on full speed is a procrastinator in reality.

Here are some related videos:
Unfortunately being slow is tagged with being stupid and unmotivated. Slow is not always good, but slow can be good. Discover the tortoise mode - don't be on speed as a default mode!

When will I learn to slow down...

Related posts: The state of mind matters, In the present moment, You can't urge the river flowing, Why investing enough time rules, Parkinson's law and quality, Reduce the stress factors, Productivity spiral, Dynamic activity, Hurry home ... no more running, How to be happy, Slowing down, Minimum effort, Getting older.


The mismatch problem

Lately I saw this video - by accident - because the title was a completely different one and in the video the speaker - Malcolm Gladwell - mentions that the original topic was planned differently.

He talks about something that he calls the "mismatch problem".

Basically in a nutshell he explains that the way we measure things and the parameters we think to be important for a particular job often do have nothing to do with what really matters. The way we measure performance of people through tests, graduations, certificates often does not bring the expected results. Instead the number of people that would do a good job is reduced by filtering all those out with bad marks and such who are missing particular graduations. Malcolm shows a few examples where even the opposite can be seen: That those people who have the worst testing results and graduations are the best performers.

He recommends not to rely on standardized testing routines and instead prefer looking on how people are making it on the job in the real world.

I already had similar thoughts many times. In particular I remember support calls where people emphasized their academic titles when calling and had the worst understanding of how the software works. My experience is that an academic title is no guarantee that the person behind is an intelligent and productive person. On the other hand there are persons without an academic title who are really smart, creative and good performers. Don't get me wrong, there are very good academics also. I only want to point out, that a title or a certificate is no guarantee for quality.

I think that in many, many cases our analysis, testing and labeling of things, people or events happening are affected by the mismatch problem in the way that the interpretation we are attaching to our impressions is hardly ever fitting the reality. Even history of science is full of mistakes and misinterpretation of results.

Sometimes it is better to rely on the gut feeling instead of doing scientific tests, polls and statistics.

Related posts: In the present moment, Detect the weak point, Crappy guesswork.

Good heart these days is hard to find

In tough times people tend to hunt for money wherever possible. And often people only have their advantages in mind before doing anything.

Remember that how things are done in the small will reflect in the picture of the whole world. We can see the exploitation of the world and the people looking at many different aspects.

Keep in mind, that your neighbours, your co-workers and the people on the street will notice those who are trying to exploit everything they are encountering. They will feel anxiety and flee from those plunderers.

Look out for the brave hearts, for the people with a good heart trying to be a good neighbour, a good friend, a good worker, a good comrade. When socializing, focus on those that give a good example of a human being for a better big picture of the world.

Related post: Scoundrel days.


Productivity spiral

Although I was working on self development already for many years I was not aware of all the particular buzzwords of this realm. Only after a coaching about two years ago I started reading several personal development blogs and jumped on the bandwagon of life hacking and productivity optimization in a declared manner and in a more comprehensive way.

Now looking back all those improvements I can say, that I got the time for a child and family (before we both, my wife and I, we worked and worked, even on weekends and there was only few room for socialization and spare time). As a child and family occupies a lot of time I could be proud of all the time that I "won" by optimizing productivity.

About 16 months ago I was in a situation where our child still wasn't born but I could see first big results in optimization and gaining free time slots - and I used them for personal development increasing productivity.

Situation now is that I my time is getting again fully occupied with family needs and with work. What happens? I am improving productivity not to have (more) time to relax - no, I am improving to pack more and more into my life.

But: Real satisfaction is only evolving if you slow down and definitely stop. So you can not increase your happiness by improving productivity to get more and more done! Be aware of the productivity spiral and don't get addicted to productivity improvement.

Related posts: Highly happy people, Dynamic activity, Who cares?, All Done Status, Urging to forge at full speed, LTO - Letting things open, Hurry home ... no more running.


Solve conflicts

The problem: Unsolved conflicts growing bigger and bigger.
It often happens that for some reason (for instance because fearing any form of negative impacts) people are in conflict with others but they avoid talking about the problem and they do all kind of strange things to avoid having to face the issue.

The reason: Negative experience and attachment to harmony.
The desire to have everything in harmony around you is a good desire. However, if harmony is not really given, denying it will have the conflict growing in the hidden. So harmony should be a long-term thought.

The solution: Have it out - solve the conflict.
Don't hide or suppress your feelings and opinions. Have it out with the involved person(s). Tell your arguments but show also empathy for the other persons involved also. But when telling others don't loose respect to them, be constructive in your critics and show your best will to find a solution that fits best for everybody (not just for you). There might be big discussion and there might be litigation but if everything is out then both have more opportunity to understand each other. Avoiding, suppressing and procrastination is no solution. It might take several attempts and longer time until an earlier established harmony returns but it will then last longer.

Related posts: Stake your claim, Setting borderlines.


Will to change is not enough

When I read websites dealing with personal development I noticed that often they say how important is the will to change and that it is the most important thing. About two weeks ago I read an article in a journal that stated that in reality people can change only very few. Most things are "written" into our character already very early so that big changes of the character are not really achievable. - I disagree with both. I know from my own life that I have implemented significant changes also.

From my experience the will to change is only one factor - an important indeed - but far not the only one being sufficient to trigger and implement change. Here is a list of the most relevant factors from my point of view in the order of relevance during a change phase:
  1. Suffering
    Yes, it is important that you feel suffering - because otherwise the psychological strain is missing that make you act.
  2. Self-criticism
    You need to understand that you are a - the - major contributor to your suffering and to bad situations. You need to accept that you can at best change yourself and there is only a very slim chance to change others.
  3. Will to change
    The will to improve yourself and the believe that you are able to change yourself. It is the point where you say to yourself: "Things can't continue that way.", "I have to change.", "This road has a dead end." and so on.
  4. Analysis
    You need to analyze the problem, to identify the same problem in different situations (often in several different situations the reason for getting into trouble is often the same). And you need the ability to find the reasons for symptoms and digging for the real sources.
  5. Insight
    When you found reasons you need to understand where the mistake or error initially occurs and that your decisions or automatic responses in those relevant situations are unhealthy. It is the moment when you see alternatives that are more healthy. It is the point where you change your general philosophy in the affected area of your life. This is one of the most important factors: Every change that you are implementing without the appropriate insight then it is forced change that consumes much energy and often cannot be implemented for a longer time and you will suffer relapses more often.
  6. Energy and drive
    You need the appropriate energy (enough rest, food, friends and all other kind of support) and drive (mental power, self-confidence and courage) to implement the change. The will to change can be the energy drink for the "power hour" you also must be in general physically and psychologically healthy enough.
  7. Persistence and practice
    Never give up and practice your implementation whenever adequate and appropriate. When you fail you have to try again or review your insight and maybe continue with point 2 or 4.
Related posts: Finding the root problem, Switch to authentic mode, There is suffering, Analysis and therapy, External success factors.


What to learn from the Borg

The Borg is a species from Star Trek. While this race is quite destructive there are some things that can be learned from them:
  1. They assimilate new technologies and knowledge to improve themselves.
    They assume that foreign species have something that they could benefit of. What it can mean for you: See others as interesting species. You can learn from them. Add the learned strategies and knowledge to your own portfolio increasing your possibilities and choices.
  2. They have a plan but they can adapt quickly to new situations anyway.
    When something happens that causes a significant change of the situation they quickly re-evaluate the situation, choose new goals as well as new strategies. What it can mean for you: Don't stick to goals when the situation and environment changed in a way that make your initial goals obsolete or inadequate. Don't continue to act in manners that do not work (any more).
  3. They do perfectly share their knowledge.
    Whenever one of them is getting new information or experience it is transferred to the collective. What one knows is knowledge of all. What it can mean for you: Get aware of the advantage of sharing your knowledge and exchanging information and experience with others. Everybody can benefit from the interaction improving the overall outcome of the (business) processes.
Related posts: Knowledge is freedom, Television.

When changing the environment does not help

Lately I had a strange experience. A person was frustrated and taking things very personally and serious where it seemed exaggerated to me. The problems of this person were obviously to me.

First I thought that the person simply was not able to see and therefore didn't learn the lessons. So I decided to go for an attempt to help. I tried to explain and give hints for what to change.

I would have expected everything but the clear statement that the person don't want to change because for 20 (or more) the person behaved that way and wants and it worked well. Although I even have some doubts that it always worked well this way, I mentioned that it can be clearly seen that now it does not work any more.

As the discussion continued I could see that this person would take every effort and any cost to change the environment - everything but changing the own way of thinking, way of doing and interpretation of things. I have never seen such a hard "desire" to continue suffering.

When I thought of changing the environment sometimes in the past the first question I asked myself:

Would it really be an efficient step to change the environment or would I just take the problems I have in the current situation with me and face the problems again (and maybe even more)?

In most cases when people change the environment they hope for better environments somewhere else but they forget that they are themselves contributing a lot to the situations and another lot is their interpretation of the things happening.

Often people change the environment to escape from problems but they just take their problems with them instead of solving them and so they never find the environment where they can be happy.

That definitely is not always the case - but you should do a self-check before you carelessly change the environment with wrong expectations.

Related post: Change the environment.


Best wishes to all

The problem: Bad wishes to bad guys
I am sure you already experienced situations in which you felt affected in a negative way by the actions of other people - or you are just worrying about possible negative effects on you.

When people are acting in an irresponsible way on you personally, on particular grouops you belong to or when people are acting antisocial in general then you might wish them bad things (with good reasons). Some people do either create voodoo dolls.

The reason: Reward and punishment thinking style
When we are socialized we get rewarded (sometimes) when we do good and accepted things and we are punished when we act in an antisocial way or if we simply fail doing our services for others.

As we are focused on ourselves in the first line we are often very likely to see a lot of punishment happening to ourselves. So for the sake of fairness and equity we hope (or even trust) that even the others get punished when they are not doing their best. And poor ourselves even often get punished although always doing our best.

Whenever you find yourself wishing other people negative effects then you should be aware of some facts:
  • Wishing the other people bad things does not recover the suffering caused by them already.

  • There is no guarantee that they will learn from the punishment. Often negative effects come with a delay that they either do not really associate them any more with their original actions (and reasons for their actions).

  • Most likely every negative effect that occurs to others might make them angry, anxious or hateful and will again produce negative effects.
The solution: Think realistic and give your best wishes to all.
Wishing bad things to others can be seen in your eyes. Don't evolve that habit because people will feel it and be anxious. And they will fight you because if others have to worry about your bad wishes they also worry that you will punish them for their failures.
  • Help to recover the suffering produced by those people instead of loosing time wishing bad things as there is no guarantee that your wishes come to truth.

  • Help others to learn how healthy things can be done by being a good example.

  • If other people experience love, kindness, helpfulness and cooperation it is more likely that they develop skills like empathy or love themselves. If you hate them they will only respond with hate themselves. Be love and the love will evolve also in the others.
That does not mean that you should show love to people that did harm to other people some minutes ago. The idea is to prevent people from doing harmful things, to help recovering from suffering and to show people how to do healthy actions giving others the opportunity to learn.

Related posts: Inequity, An eye for an eye, Healthy motivation, Stop war by stopping defense, Dissolved aggressiveness, Ethic economy, Importance of collaboration, Best defense.



Again a video about the "credit crunch". It shows again an issue that is not found only in the financial markets: Moral Hazard and Inequity.

The problem: Inequity
In many cases it looks like people can deliver a lot of bad quality without any negative consequences. To give an example: In politics and financial markets bosses receive huge amounts of money even if they withdraw from their jobs after they failed or even after being involved into illegal operations. I also have seen such people invited to TV talks as a sample of successful people after some years it seems nobody is remembering any more what they did.

The reason: Negative consequences often take effect late or never.
If illegal operations are involved and hence the matter is taken to court, it often takes many years until a definite judgement is spoken. Then often the punishments seem not adequate from the moral intuition. In other cases where no court and judge is involved negative effects also often show their impact very late so the people often aren't either able to associate the effects with their earlier actions. And the worst thing is that people enriched themselves (more or less legally) they manage to get out of a lot of trouble with the help of their money.

The solution: Courage, increased efficiency of the court and Empathy.
Increasing the efficiency of the court and general state administrative tasks related to it is just one thing. A lot of litigation is never escalated to the court (not only because everybody knows about the poor efficiency), so civil courage - of you and me - as well as education is needed to reduce inequity around us. Respecting the others and considering their needs is an important social skill. Courage and empathy must be within you and spread out by giving a good model/example. Live those properties you would like to find in other people.

Related posts: The big difference of the how, Little respect, Economy performance and empathy, Guarantees and responsibility, The resource problem.


Hot air

I got a link to a video discussion about the financial crises with the title "Bird and Fortune - Subprime crisis". It is a funny video but anyway shows perfectly the style how business often is done in these days:
  • Acting irresponsible
  • Playing at high risk
  • Absence of any essential value
I want to focus on the last point - "Absence of any essential value" as I can see this as a general problem many times in all imaginable areas:
  • In meetings
  • In advertisements
  • During chats
  • Whole companies selling nothing but stuff
  • Certain relationships
  • News Articles
  • ...
I have lately seen a lot of companies putting a lot of effort into marketing strategies and marketing activities. However, when it becomes concrete - for instance if you want to test some software or start with some concrete planning - then they stop their efforts, keep being very vague in their commitments or keep repeating their marketing slogans.

On the other hand there can be relationships where no content can be found and whenever you meet these people you think that there is no development and no value extracted from talking to these persons.

It is just talking hot air! In so many cases there is nothing behind, no real value to be added, no real information, no real productivity gain.

How to identify such environments and establishments?
  • Try to identify the concrete purpose or benefit (how is productivity increased, can you get closer to your goals, can you be happier) - in many cases just ask (yourself).
  • Ask for concrete next steps.
  • Search for concrete information (dates, values, material things, steps to reproduce, causes and effects, empirical studies, ...) in the information provided.
Just try to focus on concrete information and with a little exercise you are able to skip all the buzzwords and marketing phrases.

Don't waste your time dealing with such companies or people that never (or only very slowly)
  • get to the point and
  • get into action.
Related posts: Crash course, Efficient meetings, Tell not more and not less, Who cares?, Guarantees and responsibility, People and Information.


Hunger and poverty

The problem: Hunger and poverty in the world
Poverty.com and Wikipedia show the dimension of this really big problem in our world. Not mentioning the videos showing bare and naked poverty. I think I do not have to talk more about the problem...

The reason: Overpopulation, insufficient resources and unbalanced distribution of resources.
I think these are three reasons:
  1. Overpopulation
    Let's imagine for a moment that there are only 1000 people living on the planet - let's say in a single group. They could produce a big amount of garbage and just move when the resources got used up. There will be many years passing along until the people get back to the same place and the nature will have recovered completely.
    The only thing I do assume here is that people know how to make fire, how to get fed up, how to make clothes and how to build houses - so some primary skills are required. But that's it - no real further problem and a stress free living.

  2. Insufficient resources
    Let's imagine for a moment that people in general have the resources to leave the planet and find other planets like our earth to settle down. I can't avoid thinking of Star Trek here. It may be more complicated and more effort required - but either can be more interesting - something for adventurers. In relation with this solution is the more efficient usage of the existing resources so that everybody consumes less energy and products.

  3. Unbalanced distribution of resources
    At poverty.com they write, that "Almost all of the deaths from hunger and disease that you see on this site can be stopped. The cost to do this is about $195 billion a year, according to the United Nations".
The solution: Stop population growth, reveal more resources and balance distribution
Well, the solution attempts are basically removing the causes. However, to solve the problem sustained and lasting in any case each single person has to take the responsibility for the own contribution. Everyone has to contribute to the solution.

Some additional thoughts on the different solutions:
  1. Stop/reduce increase of population
    I think, this is the cheapest and most easy (if we could speak of "cheap" and "easy" here) solution to implement. If not done by taken responsibility it could be forced with operations or by finding a once-to-take medicine. Biggest problem: Some people must be kept fully "intact" to avoid extinction. Which people should that be? And who should decide that?

  2. Explore new resources
    When using up the resources we could find new and other resources that can be used to produce energy or we could explore new planets to gain additional resources. Problems with this solution: Exploring new earth-like planets can be expensive because they are probably very far away. Bringing resources from other "dead" planets to the earth I do consider short-term-thinking because then the garbage on our earth will increase and population also. So this is the way also the economy in general wants to go: Grow, grow, grow - But there can't be infinite growth.

  3. Balance distribution of resources
    As written on poverty.com $195 billion a year is enough to stop this suffering and "Twenty-two developed countries below have pledged to work towards each giving 0.7% (a little less than 1%) of their national income in international aid, which would raise the $195 billion".
    This is very good news and I hope it's true. My doubt is that the price will increase with the years passing by. And the paradox thing is: The "developed" countries do exploit poorer countries and then they should pay it back. Why not stopping the exploitation? Fortunately there are attempts to solve this at the root.

Related posts: Finding the proper priorities, Crash course, The resource problem.


Crash course

The problem: The crash
There are many types of crash and many things, systems and organizations that can crash. The current financial crisis is one example and the one that got me to write a post about crashes. Then yesterday I read in the news that one of the main politicians in our country had a deadly crash with his car - another good example of a crash because it is the car that crashed, a person that "crashed" and a crash for a party.

A main thing that comes with a crash is disillusion. Things you got used to are not applicable any more. People you counted on are not reliable any more.

Putting the critical eye on a lot of systems creates a doubt that they are on crash course. Viewing things unemotional we could see that a lot is running on risks.

The reason: Optimism and ignorance
People are often hardliners in optimism and ignorant - they have unbroken positive expectations. Or on the other hand many people are full of fear that they frighten to look at the bare facts. They are running high risks hoping that everything will run fine. Often when I do tell people about possible problems and risks I get told: "Oh, we will solve them somehow if problems arrive". - This is optimistic procrastination.

The solution: Take the secure way
  • Don't run on your limits!
  • Keep the safety distance.
  • Early intervention - fix things when still is time - don't wait to long.
  • The opportunity of high gains mostly include the opportunity of big losses. Don't bet on the uncertain outcome.
  • Watch out and don't drive to fast!
  • Deliver and search for quality.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Don't take anything for granted.
Related posts: Early intervention, Safety distance, Reduce the stress factors.


Highly happy people

While trying to increase productivity to get more done we should not forget that at the end it counts less how much we achieved in our life than it counts how we felt.

I do read a lot about the key skills and key habits of highly productive and successful people. I would like to read more about highly happy people.

It is one of the lessons of the story "David in Diamondonia" at SuccessMakingMachine (see also follow up post "Rich Lessons From David in Diamondonia"), that it is easy to forget about the main goal. We need money to feed us, to keep the house warm in the winter and so on. Often people forget after a while WHY and FOR WHAT the money is really needed and they focus on earning money. Earning money often substitutes the original goals. Earning money should not be your main goal in your life plan - and neither it should be to achieve a lot. Such goals are neither concrete nor the source of happiness.

So when you are trying to improve your productivity and going to get more done don't forget that you might want to be happy in the first place.

Marc Lesser gave a talk "Accomplishing more by doing less" at Google - I ask me now why he didn't rather entitle his talk "Being happier by doing less".

There is nothing wrong with improving productivity, achieving more, being successful. But the main goal to aim for should be to be happy with that.

If you are setting goals and you are convinced that they make you happy then it is important that you feel happy also while on the way! - Living a life full of suffering for having a relaxing death is a bad deal!

So let's watch out to find higly happy people - and get highly happy!

Related posts: In the present moment, The big difference of the How, The tension habit, Reduce the stress factors, Expectation dropping, Being positive, Finding the proper priorities, There is suffering, Between GTD and GHE, How to be happy, The power of intention, Being like a child.


Dynamic activity

You can't drive your body and your mind continuously at full speed in the long term. Full speed is not always really movement (whether physically in motion or just thoughts are occupying you). Being continuously in the common alert state or having to fully concentrate on a particular thing is ruining you in the long term.

A few days ago when taking a hot shower I remembered the animal kings - the lions. I often wondered in the past why in particular the lions are called the king of animals and not for instance the elefants or mosquitos.

Inspired by the lions I think in the daily life there must be a continuous dynamic change between state like the following:
  • Return to the present moment
    As mentioned earlier in "In the present moment" or "There is suffering".
  • Relax
    Just forget every To-Do's, every problem, concentrate on your body, feel your body - let your body and your mind rest.
  • Re-align
    Review the situation, remember your goals, reorder your priorities to fit in with your life plan or just the direction you want to go. Set your next actions.
  • Ramble
    Animals check their claim, you can check your to-do-lists and do some of your routine actions. Then you can check your working fields, the roles you are playing and get some organization into it and work on your long term projects.
  • Speedup
    There might be a goal in sight or some problem that may want some extra action to get accomplished. This is your power-hour to get something extraordinary done.
  • Strike
    The right aimed action in the right moment can bring you a big success.
  • Stock
    Fill your experience pool. Refill your tanks - pull energy from your success and get fed.
  • Stretch
    Prepare for regeneration. Stretch your body and stretch your mind by giving it free time to flow.
These steps can either be remembered easily by remembering 4R4S. And maybe the lions follow those rules and therefore are called animal kings. ;-) - However the lions inspired me to get to these steps.

I believe that it is very important to have such a dynamic change of activity - sticking to any particular phase for too long will become unhealthy.

Related post: Urging to forge at full speed, Reduce the stress factors, In the present moment, How to be happy, Slowing down, Know better and act on it, The productivity trap, Getting older.


In the present moment

Being in the present moment, just to accept everything around as it is, the noises and sights, everything, without adding thought and interpretation to it - that is enlightment and meditation.

I learned how to meditate many years ago attending a course and I continued with exercises for a while. Somehow it came that I did it less times and somehow I think I could not really get into it very well.

Thanks to Henrik Edberg at positivityblog, who mentioned the name Eckhart Tolle in his post "What Would Winnie the Pooh do?", I re-discovered - or let's say, improved - how to get into the meditation status - to return back (or forward) to the present moment and fully be there. To live in the present moment is crucial as the present moment is the only time and place were life is happening.

Eckhart Tolle has published several short videos on several issues which I really enjoyed. His talks are short although he is speaking so slowly. But anyway afterward I got more from it than from others talking fast for fifty minutes. Watching some of those videos helped me today being able to enjoy the present moment for at least 5 times and I got more relaxed. So I want to link some of his videos here as I enjoyed them so much:
More are available at youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/EckhartTeachings

Related posts: The tension habit, There is suffering, The fear, Reduce the stress factors, Respect by attention, Urging to forge at full speed, Hurry home ... no more running, Get focused with 3 questions, Slowing down, Between short and long term goals, Know better and act on it, Living your opportunities.


The big difference of the How

Marc Lesser gave a talk "Accomplishing more by doing less" at Google. While the talk is a bit too long for my favor there was a very interesting exercise he got his audience to do: He asked each to talk 3 minutes with his neighbor about one thing that one is doing being somehow an "extra" - something, that if not done, would make a big difference.

So I was asking myself: Why am I doing that - if I would stop it - would make a big difference?

My answer is: I was searching for some big project I am working on, some life plan but I cannot really find such a big thing that would really make a big difference. If not me, then somebody else will manage projects or write software - this is not MY extra. Even writing a life hacking blog is not my extra. ;-)

I am working to get my family and me fed, that is the most important of my doing. I think my extra is that I am there for my family because they love me. - If I am away I am earning money to contribute on their economic situation and when I am with them they are happy being together with me. I am a valuable person for my family. If I would escape or pass away it would make a big difference for them.

It is no matter what work I do, if I develop software, clean the toilets (indeed I do that also as we do not have a cleaning lady at home ;-) ) or if I would manage a company. Maybe I could find a big project it is worth putting a lot of effort into. But reality shows that there are only very few people like Gandhi or Einstein. Although there are websites listing a lot of important people, the biggest part of human beings are sitting at some cash desk, doing some office work or being another type of "simple" worker. It does not mean that these people cannot be outstanding performer in their workspace or in their branch. Lately I read about the most dangerous jobs and the most dangerous job listed at careerbuilder is being a fisherman! And how much fish are we eating without being aware of that! Thanks to all those doing dangerous jobs for our comfort! They are not considered as being so important because they seem to be easily replaceable by others but in the sum they are important. But while doing things that are or can be done by many others also - how can you be outstanding anyway?

So the second big lesson from asking me that question is: It is less important WHAT I do, it is more important - and makes more difference HOW I do it!

When I come home and do something together with my family it is much more important that I am present, listen to them and handle them with care. The awareness of being together affectionately is far more important than the particular thing we are doing.

And again (earlier posted in "To be important") I remember a part of a song text: It's nice to be important - it's more important to be nice!

Maybe we work on some very important project - maybe we will in the future and maybe not. Good, if we can look back and say that HOW we did our job, HOW we treated our family and friends, was good.

Related posts: To be important, Who cares?, The most important things to know, Humor heals, Respect by attention, About religions, Imagine the missing, Finding the proper priorities, Between short and long term goals, Ethic economy, Prudential innovation, Cost of substitution.


The tension habit

I am at home having problems with my back. I take it as a lession: When I look at me and trying to get aware of what happened I notice that whenever a problem arises, an email is arriving that is potential workload for me then I get tensed up - my muscles are not relaxed. People are loading me with work. It is so easy to write a mail asking somebody to get your problem to be done.

I wonder where this behaviour comes from. I immediately think of the Neanderthals stalking for animals or listening to the sounds if there probably a bear is getting close to them. - Or next thought: A soldier is at the front and tries either to stop breathing to not move - to avoid being discovered by the enemy.

Why the hell do I behave the same way when an email arrives or when I am in the middle of a big work? - It is like being out at the front. In modern offices you are always on the front because communication is not limited to the conference rooms. You have fixed phone, mobile phone, email, chat (often not only a single chat application running), people rush in...

In stone age people went out hunting then they turned back to their group hiding in a cave. Until some years ago people could hide in their houses but nowadays everybody needs to stay connected not to miss any of the important changes out there. Economy continues even while you are sleeping. The PC connected to the internet always may have bad news delivering through RSS feeds, mailing lists or other websites all of a sudden.

But the big question that remains: Does it make a difference to be tensed up? I could also face all that stuff in a relaxed manner. There is no reason to constrict my muscles.

So I am asking me now as often as possible:
  1. How many of my muscles are constricted?
  2. Are there more muscles constricted as really necessary to get the thing done I am actually doing?
  3. Do I stress my brain and my muscles more than necessary?

And I say the following to myself:
  • Relax, things will not get faster done if I am tensed up.
  • Relax the muscles, relax the mind, relax the nerves.
  • Slow down, I can't do everything.
  • If I could do only one thing now, which thing should it be that makes most sense?
Last, but not least a quote from David Allen:
Your power is proportional to the ability to relax.
Related posts: How not to eat the frog, You can't urge the river flowing, All Done status, Reduce the stress factors, In the present moment.


Show respect to the team

When you meet a person then get aware of all the effort that was/is necessary to get and keep this person "up and running". There were/are a lot of people contributing to the health of a person while growing up:
  • Parents (especially the mother)
  • Grandparents (often being continuously a very great helping hand)
  • Aunts, Uncles and other relatives
  • Close friends (often they behave as close relatives)
  • Other people doing public services (e.g. doctors)
Samples of work done:
  • Changing diaper
  • Preparing to eat
  • Paying food, clothes and all the other necessary equipment (which often makes it necessary for parents and relatives to forgo about things for their comfort)
  • Paying assurances
  • Education
  • Surgeries
  • ...
When you are aware of all that effort needed, you may also get aware that everything positive you are doing to this person will also make other people happy - those people giving their best to support this person ensuring a healthy and happy life.

Take into consideration that all those people did their best but nobody is perfect. That team of parents, relatives, friends and others did the best from their knowledge to avoid negative impacts and gave their best possible on the person you are meeting. No matter what size the team was/is and who were/are the members - they might have created some "unwanted side effects" also (neurosis and so on). Where work is done there are also mistakes happening.

And the person you are meeting might also be making a lot of effort currently to take care of other persons himself (children, parents that are bedridden).

Say thanks to the team that is supporting you, say thanks to those who are supporting those you love and do your best to continue the supporting work of others wherever possible.

Related posts: Little respect, Respect by attention, Unattended mode, Knowledge is freedom, Be united.


Stake your claim

The problem: You feel hemmed in because you don't want to hurt others and don't want to trigger litigation.
You may be (already) convinced that hate and anger are bad habits and only cause suffering. You are a peaceful person and want to help people reducing their suffering and achieving their goals for god's sake.

The problem is that while trying to satisfy all the others your power gets consumed and maybe exhausted. And while helping the others and getting more and more productive to make others achieve their goals you feel that you loose opportunities and realm to act.

The reason: Others discovered that they can utilize you for achieving their goals and they make use of it.The reason is quite similar as mentioned earlier in the post "Stop the service". Others got used to your assistance, your helping hand, your support and as people's thinking is mostly concentrated on themselves they neither recognize that they are consuming you. And not enough in their unconscious mind they might think something like "if not me than somebody else will take advantage of this guy".

As people's thinking is mostly concentrated on themselves waiting for those utilizing you to give you something in back or to stop utilizing you is no solution. That day will not come - in contrary they will increase their demands if you do not stop it.

The solution: Stake your claim.
You have to set limits for others "stepping around on you"! Empathy is a great thing but trying always to satisfy others and help them achieving their goals on your costs will ruin you in the long term!

You have to thump your rights! You have tell others the limits and if they do not respect you then you have to fight others when breaking inside your fences!

Search for peaceful solutions whenever possible but some people simply do stick at nothing and sell their own grandmother to clear-cut their path and people behaving this way must be stopped!

Related posts: Stop the service, Dissolved aggressiveness, An eye for an eye, Man in the middle or honor the people, Switch to authentic mode, How to rebuff somebody, The wise talk less.


Efficient meetings

I have been on an interesting meeting lately. The big boss joined the meeting in a rush, told taht he has only 10 minutes time - and left after about 15 minutes. At the beginning I thought that he is just a fan of Parkinson's Law (I wrote earlier about my opinion on this) - but observing the situation I learned the following things:
  • Have a team that you can trust.
    There were 3 other people in the meeting and I think he has chosen the attendees very wisely. There was one who I imagine to be a creative head with ideas and he was the excited. The second was the critical eye and the third the one with the technical know-how.

  • Have very few and clear goals and have your team be aware of those.
    When the big boss joined the meeting he clearly stated his goals. However, the team already knew since one or two weeks ago (because they already told us in advance to get prepared).

  • Don't give others too much time to answer your questions.
    If the others have too much time to respond to your questions they can talk you into something step by step. If one has only few time to respond to your question the other has to get to the point directly.

  • Ask the most important questions that are needed for you to make decisions.
    Those questions can be: What do I get? What does it cost?

  • Trust your team.
    Seem to be a double entry - as already mentioned above? - No, the point is: Setting up a team you could trust is one thing. Actually really trusting the team members is a second step that clearly came out at the meeting in my opinion. When the big boss left, he left in the full trust that his team will manage the details.

  • Be prepared.
    The big boss had an overview about the topic and situation and he had some important background information.
Related posts: Parkinson's law and quality, Why investing enough time rules, How to rebuff somebody.


Stop the service

The problem: People loading you with work.
Many like to be important and many do hard work at lower levels. For both the opportunity of being a manager is sugar on their ego. Those who usually do hard work at lower levels are often argued if something is not done (fast enough). They like it if they can play the other role once a time.

What I am talking about here is not (necessarily) boss related. There are a lot of other people also trying to load you with work who are on equal level as you are.

And the worst what than can happen: They complain that you are not performing enough.

Such situations usually cause anger and litigation with collegues, family members (yes even your wife/husband or even children can load you with a lot of work).

The reason: They got used to your assistance, your helping hand, your support.
People find out quickly from whom they can get easy help to solve their issues. Those who have a helper syndrome are easily found by those who are looking for patronage. And people like it to be helpful and to achieve a lot of goals. But this can exhaust your power.

The solution: Stop the service.
I do not mean that you should refuse any support completely. But from time to time it is important to set or raise the limits - for you and also for the others. This is different from learning how to say "No" because the problem I am talking about is usually addressing something you already accepted somehow earlier and you get utilized. Maybe you accepted to give a little help and slowly the issue grows up. So you are already in the middle of something.

If you just stop when a thing grows too big and you feel to get utilized then others get the opportunity to notice their exaggerated request for your support.

When to temporary refuse: When family members or important colleagues are asking too much in too few time then usually a temporary refuse is the appropriate action. Retreat for a while and use the time for relaxing, personal development or for your hobby. Depending on how penetrating people are demanding your services the longer you should refuse.

When to completely refuse: Some people might simply got used to the fact that you are a friendly person always trying to help. If they do not play an important role in your life and you are not expecting a big change in this then it is better to stop completely supporting them if they get too cumbersome and annoying.

It is always better to simply stop the service than quarreling and arguing about your occupation and engagement!

Related post: Setting borderlines, Stake your claim, How to rebuff somebody, Scoundrel days, Productivity limits, The family.