Total cost of commitment

The problem: Available time for new projects is very short.
Although you already invested a lot of effort into strategies to improve productivity, you still have not really much time free for your new ideas or new projects.

The reason: Maintenance work
Our life is full of things created during the progress of mankind. Many very helpful tools have been created, but also many "toys". And we are not limited to things. Because of the progress in IT keeping contact with many people also is possible in a size that never has been possible before (talking about social networking). I lately got back in contact with many old class mates and I would like to meet them all re-vitalizing the relationship. In addition to that I have set several goals during self development and I do play several roles - in the job as well as for my family and friends.

But there is a lot of "maintenance effort" needed to keep everything we use, every relationship and every service "up and running". Many people have their daily life filled up with maintenance tasks.

The solution: Reduce your commitments and life goals - unclutter your life - get less done.
While optimizing your life and finding out that you can get more things done when you start really optimizing, you might tend to set too many goals while creating your life plan and living your dreams. Together with a lot of existing stuff to be managed this may eat more time than available.

Many things, once started, eat up a certain amount of maintenance time/money (even if you are "just" a blogger - there is maintenance work answering comments or searching for advertising options etc.). To start living a big dream might come along with the fact that you have less time left dedicated to your family and friends (just to give an example).

The day has only 24 hours, you can't fill in everything and in the highest quality.
Set only a few clear major priorities/goals and declutter your life accordingly.

Keep in mind, that it is more important to be happy than to achieve something great!

At the end it is important that you enjoyed your life and leave with clear conscience rather than having your name be remembered for a long time after your death.

Review your current life with the appropriate services you are using and providing looking at all the related work that comes along with those. Often it is not easy to identify the whole related maintenance work for a particular thing or service because not occurring in a bunch.

So carefully log or analyze the tasks and time needed to keep your things and services up and running. Put them in relation to the outcome for you. You might find out that several services are not worth it for you. This applies also for every goal and every commitment you have set or taken.

Related posts: Crying for attention, Slowing down, How to be happy, Know better and act on it, Razor sharp focus, The family, Know your options.


Slowing down

It was for many years that I got into full-speed action immediately when I saw the need to take action or when somebody needed help or when somebody had a great idea and I wanted to support it.

When the first signs from health and frustrations about stress came up, I noticed that somehow there must be an end of this madness. There was the feeling deep inside that I should slow down. I changed some style of work, for instance:
  • Better planning (Schedule everything to be done).
  • Be well prepared instead of working on current pressure.
  • Don't act immediately on a new issue or idea - instead take time to analyze, research and find an optimum solution.
  • More efficient multitasking.
  • ...
Well, it worked in the way that I managed to get more things done. I managed to get more free time. And I managed to fill it up again. So I got more done but nothing won. And I knew that I should slow down and I did again several attempts to find a resolution.

As I wrote in my previous post "How to instantly change a habit", sometimes all you need is the one kick-a** reason to change. And I found even multiple such reasons now to slow down.

You can work wonders and cause miracles by speeding up to 200%, running full optimizations to your own mental and physical machine, but (please relax and read slowly):
  • You will be exhausted after a shorter or longer while working on full throttle - and then you are done: Health problems (back, heart, ...), frustration, mistakes and so on trigger a vicious circle. You will not be able any more to feel inner happiness.

  • At the end nobody will show compassion with you having done so much, instead everybody says that if you are on stress, it is your own fault (and somehow this is true)!

  • It will be impossible for you to get important deep and detailed impressions of the present moment. It causes misinterpretation and wrong judgment of the current situation!

  • It is much more important to take the right action than doing anything quickly. Taking action to fast, you can screw up things completely. So take yourself enough time to evaluate a situation and decide!

  • Stress shortens your life! So you do not win anything being on speed.
I wish you happy - and slow - browsing on www.slowdownnow.org.

Related posts: How to instantly change a habit, Reduce the stress factors, Dynamic activity, In the present moment, How to be happy, Change hype, How to eat less, Urging to forge at full speed, Total cost of commitment, Know better and act on it, Razor sharp focus, Speed.


How to instantly change a habit

It is February and I guess there are already a lot of drop outs from new years resolutions.

There has been a lot written about how to change a habit (me included ;-) ). Important tips are for instance:
  • Only one habit only at a time.
  • Select a new different habit (as change is only possible if you have an alternative).
  • Start with single step towards your desired life style or new habit (e.g. instead of not eating sweets just reduce your consume a little bit).
  • If you can walk a different road for a month, it's done (if you didn't felt back to your old habit for a month then it's solved).
  • Review your situation more often (weekly or at least monthly - once a year is clearly not enough).
  • ...
Changing a habit is hard work, isn't it? - Not necessarily: If you got the kick - THE reason - then you can also be able to change a habit in an instant.

When people talk about shocks that happen in childhood they are often talking about a key insight, a crucial experience that changed their view of the world and life goals or priorities in an instant. - Such experiences and insights are not always caused by a tragedy or accident.

As I read lately in the post "How to Think Better: The Top 8 Tips from the Last 2500 Years" at The Positivity Blog:
“People mistakenly assume that their thinking is done by their head; it is actually done by the heart which first dictates the conclusion, then commands the head to provide the reasoning that will defend it.”
Anthony de Mello
So if you want to change a habit (from deep in your heart and not because of some trend around) then you somehow already decided that you want to change, you already have an idea - a big picture - of what should be.

Watch out for the key reason - for the key experience, that erases all doubts, that makes it completely clear why you should change as soon as possible.

  • Stop smoking because it simply isn't healthy.
    I never smoked but I got explained from a coroner (with pictures from lungs etc) what effects smoking have and why. In addition to the ingredients of the cigarette other dust and stuff included with air gets deposited in the lungs then.
  • Being depressed after you got criticized is simply wrong.
    You must be happy because of a honest feedback. If it is true then you have the opportunity to correct the problem and if it is wrong then you have the opportunity to get stronger representing your position.
  • ...
Related posts: Quickly change a habit, Speed.


When to strictly avoid multitasking

The problem: Mistakes and errors caused by multitasking
Multitasking often results in mistakes and errors as you forget about a task while occupied with another or because because you get in time trouble and hurry because you loose too much time switching tasks (overhead).

The reason: While multitasking your attention to the single task is reduced.
Often longer lasting tasks involve long waiting times. Although many life hackers warn about multitasking and recommend to avoid it, there are some tasks that continuously ask for multitasking because they are simply very time consuming while not needing the full attention or come along with long waiting times between several actions.

The solution: Only multitask jobs that come to a proper end themselves.
When analyzing my multitasking behavior and the cases where problems occur due to multitasking habit I found out that safe multitasking can only be done for tasks that can be checked at whatever time if they came to a proper end. An important thing is that when multitasking the multiple jobs should not run on same priority. There should be only one active task that has your full attention. Other tasks - those that safely can come to a proper end left on their own - should run as "background task".

Samples for tasks that can be safely run in background:
  • Washing clothes (Washing maschine)
  • Copying files on your computer, burning CDs/DVDs, ...
  • Filling your tank at the gas station (usually can be fixed and it quits automatically when the tank is full)
Samples of tasks that should NOT be run in background:
  • Cooking
    Why not: If you watch the milk to boil it will boil in the moment you look out of the windows.

  • Filling a big bucket of water (inside house)
    Why not: When you forget about the tasks the water runs out on the floor

  • Handling less important phone calls.
    Why not: Even if your mom talks long about something very unimportant the subject might change and suddenly something important is said.
The point is that you should only run tasks in background that you can safely forget about.

Related posts: Why not multitasking how to, Reduce the stress factors.