All of us have to accept some anxieties.
Back in the day, when I was working all the hours God sends, I suffered terribly from the effects of stress. Everyone around me suffered too because I was bad-tempered, impatient, irritable and moody.
We all experience stress, to a greater or lesser degree. In fact without some stress we couldn’t function ~ our minds and bodies need a little stress to feel alive. However, too much stress is bad, and far too much stress can kill you.
Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one. ~ Hans Selve
The proximate causes of stress and distress vary from person to person, but the usual suspects are: Bad News, City Life, Too Many People, Mindless Bureaucracy, Being Discriminated Against, Bullying, Work, The Rushing Woman’s Syndrome, Dysfunctional Relationships, Failed Relationships, Sex, Sexual Dysfunction, and the Death of Someone Close to You. And then you might have your own particular reason to feel that you’re under intolerable stress. Of course, there is also a chance that you are seriously mentally ill with something like Borderline Personality Disorder.
People with BPD are like people with third degree burns over 90% of their bodies. Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement. ~ Marsha M. Linehan.
The warning signs that stress is adversely affecting your mental and physical health are;
- Apathy and Depression
- Chest pains
- Drinking too much
- Inability to relax
- Intolerance of and over-reacting to noise and disturbance
- Irritability and a bad temper
- Lack of concentration / brain fog / poor memory
- Palpitations (oh Gods, did I suffer from heart palpitations!)
- Tiredness and an inability to get things done
The symptoms associated with stress are in themselves so distressing that they are likely to make you even more stressed.
Many of us will approach our doctor if we feel under intolerable stress and are suffering from one or more of the very serious symptoms listed above. What your doctor is most likely to do is prescribe you some powerful psychoactive drugs; Celexa, Cymbalta, Klonopin, Lexapro, Librium, Paxil, Prozac, Tofranil Valium, Viibyrd, Wellbutrin, Xanax, Zoloft… to name but a few of the very powerful chemicals your doctor could give you.
All of these drugs come with a load of side-effects, from tiredness, to sexual dysfunction, to feelings of dread, to wanting to commit suicide… Reading the leaflets that come with these drugs can be a very sobering experience. In my experience these drugs will either detach you from reality so you don’t worry about anything at all, or they will have an adverse effect.
If you’re lucky, then your doctor will also / instead refer you to some ‘talking therapy’ such as; Cognitive Analytic Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Counselling, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Gestalt, Group Therapy, Hypnotherapy, Mindfulness, and Psychoanalysis. Alternatively you could take yourself off to a 12-step group like Alcoholics Anonymous.
I love going to my AA meetings and I don’t think I will ever stop. ~ Davina McCall
Drugs act fast, but all they do is mask the symptoms and make you ill from the nasty side-effects. Talking therapies and 12-step meetings will eventually make you well again ~ but the key word there is ‘eventually.
So what can you do to help yourself overcome stress?
Breathing is good. I mean slow deliberate breathing with serene and peaceful visualisations is good.
When I was under extreme stress I would take myself off to somewhere quiet, maybe into a church or public garden or down to the beach, stand or sit, or lie down comfortably, and really slow down my breathing, and at the same time I would breathe very deeply. Concentrating on my breathing I would listen to the sound of each breath, imagining it was the gentle sound of soft surf washing in and out on a white sandy beach under a blue sky. My breathing in and out exactly matched the sea gently washing in and out. After just a few minutes of this breathing exercise I always felt immeasurably more peaceful, and ready to face the next thing the day was going to throw at me.
Learning how to relax is the cornerstone of helping yourself to overcome stress.
‘Ha!’ You say; ‘If I knew how to relax I wouldn’t be so stressed…’
Breathing exercises are recommended by doctors and psychiatrists everywhere as a method of relaxation to overcome stress and anxiety.
Being better organised also helps alleviate stress. The best way to begin being better organised is to start writing things down, keep a journal, keep your diary and day-planner up to date, make lists, always have a to-do list, never go shopping without a shopping list… If you think of something you need to do, write it all down and then stop worrying about it.
Break big tasks into a number of smaller parts, and write a list of those smaller tasks with the date and time they need to be completes ~ then stop worrying about it all.
Learn how to say NO. Being at everyone else’s beck and call all the time is a sure-fire way to put yourself under extreme stress.
Stop using social media first thing in the morning, or late at night, and especially don’t look at crap like Twitter and Facebook when you are pressed for time.
Get plenty of good quality sleep. It’s hard to sleep when you’re under stress. If you really have insomnia, then it may be worth asking your doctor for something to help you sleep. But only rely on sleeping medication for a couple of weeks ~ these drugs are addictive.
Make reducing the stress in your life your #1 project, something you practice all the time, every single damn day.
Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There’s going to be stress in life, but it’s your choice whether you let it affect you or not. ~ Valerie Bertinelli.
And please, please don’t resort to booze or recreational drugs, they make things worse very fast, and you can trust me on that one.
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Men who fear demons see demons everywhere.
My life has been plagued by demons; or character defects, or weaknesses, or a disease, or a mental illness, or Borderline Personality Disorder ~ call it what you will but with a new understanding I know that there are demons lurking in the deep darkness of my innermost subconscious.
We all have inner demons to fight, we call these demons, fear and hatred and anger. If you do not conquer them then a life of one hundred years is a tragedy. If you do, then a life of a single day is a triumph. ~ Yip Man
My demons have attacked me, tormented and tortured me, brought me low and taken me down the long lonely Road to Hell.
My demons have not won the final battle. Yet at times I have been overwhelmed and given in to anger, depression, drink ~ and that is exactly what my demons want.
My demons are cunning shape-shifters and change from one insidious, pernicious, torturous form to another as soon as my back is turned.
My demons are very good at finding the things that can hurt me the most, cause me the most pain, and bringing those things to the forefront of my mind in an ugly distorted form designed to torment and torture me. My demons use negative thoughts of those I care for the most to hurt me the most.
My demons assume the guise of Fear of Rejection, Worthlessness, Anxiety, Depression, Jealousy, Fear of Failure, Addictions, Obsessions, and Compulsions ~ and all of those disguises are designed to cause me the maximum suffering. And my pain never seemed to lessen, or subside, or stop. The pain always got worse than the time before.
It is a frightening thought that man also has a shadow side to him, consisting not just of little weaknesses and foibles, but of a positively demonic dynamism. The individual seldom knows anything of this; to him, as an individual, it is incredible that he should ever in any circumstances go beyond himself. But let these harmless creatures form a mass, and there emerges a raging monster. ~ Carl Jung
My demons are my shadow side from my deep subconscious, and my demons may also exist in an evil spiritual form. Yet I have embraced my shadow side, I have accepted and acknowledged the existence of my demons. If dark spiritual forces surround me, if demons lurk in the blackness of my deep subconscious, I will make those demons face the light of my awareness.
My demons now know that they cannot win, they cannot kill me. The pain only lasts if I allow it to. Now that I am aware of my demons I can accept that all the vicious negativity in my soul is only my demons trying to hurt me. My demons want me to feel the pain, my demons want me to fail, and my demons want me to descend into drunken depression ~ and I will not give my demons the pleasure of hurting me, of witnessing me hurt others, of seeing my abject failure.
Facing my demons is not easy. Facing my demons may well be the most difficult thing I have ever done. From out of nowhere my demons can make me feel mentally and emotionally exhausted, angry, jealous, afraid…
My demons want me to stop looking them in the face and telling them that they can never again cause the kind of pain and suffering I have known in the past.
My demons no longer have ultimate power over me ~ now I have some little power over them, and now I can truly begin to recover from the poison in my soul and walk the warrior’s path.
Our very souls may be consumed by shadows.
We each have a complex relationship with ourselves. If we have ever really suffered through something like; alcoholism, drug addiction, addiction to gambling, sex addiction, too many of the wrong prescription drugs, parental abuse, an abusive relationship, borderline personality disorder, PTSD, serious problems with our diet, mental health problems, failed relationships, job loss, loss of our home… (or more likely a mixture of all of these problems and more), then we also have a complex relationship with the whole world and everyone in it.
At times we can find ourselves in a very bad place where every voice is critical, malevolent, and negative ~ even our own inner voice. Our inner voice creates inner demons; anger, depression, fear of rejection, rejection of others, jealousy, judgementalism, self-doubt, self-hatred, worthlessness…
All the dark, malevolent Passions of the Soul are roused and exerted; its mild and amiable affections are suppressed; and with them virtuous Principles are laid prostrate. ~ Charles Inglis
Unless you have been there you can have no idea how bad the pain and anguish these inner demons can create. One will do almost anything to escape the crippling pain; including going back to our addictions, making big geographical moves, shutting down and numbing ourselves, isolating ourselves, psychotherapy, strong prescription drugs, attending 12 step groups, spirituality, retreating further into mental illness, suicide…
It is not just our inner demons. If we are in that bad place then we are also surrounded by demons. Everyone we know, everyone we meet, adds to these outer demons with their misplaced concerned advice, criticisms, and rejection. Many people do not want us to get well, they measure themselves against our struggle and feel superior, they add their negative demons to our own. When I was at my last rock-bottom I became aware that almost everyone I knew, everyone I met, was feeding off my pain. Few understand, few want to understand, and fewer still truly want to help.
Some especially gifted, intelligent, and sensitive people believe that there is a third layer of demons, in addition to our inner demons, and the tormenting demons gifted to us by almost everyone we know. Most spiritual and religious people also believe that there are more demons than the physiological and psychological. These special people believe in genuine demons, in the spiritual realm, and that some of us may be victims of these demons. In my mind’s eye I am very aware that in the shadows surrounding my soul lurk the powers of darkness seeking to torment and torture me.
Demons manifest themselves in people in different ways. For instance, out of nowhere, somebody can become very angry for no reason. That’s not just an emotion. That’s a demon. ~ Stephen Baldwin.
None of the details really matter. What I do know is that if you have truly suffered, and if you are suffering now, then you are the victim of demons who will feed off your pain, and want nothing more than to destroy you and everything and everyone you care for.
It is our demons that make us believe that our partner is sleeping with other men, that giving into our addiction will solve our problems, and that suicide is painless.
Many of us have tried over the years to face down our inner demons. Some succeed, many fail. Many fail because they don’t realise that the main causes of their misery are inner demons which seem to have an intelligence and will of their own. Many more fail because they never realise that they are also surrounded by malevolent evil demons emanating from the subconscious psyche of everyone they know. And, some fail because they are the victims of true demonic possession.
Demons are not your superiors, demons are not even your equals. All demons have is the ability to make you cause yourself pain and suffering. Demons can only torment and torture you if you let them, but most of us allow demons to torture us because we are not even aware that they are there.
Negative thinking patterns can be immensely deceptive and persuasive, and change is rarely easy. ~ David D. Burns.
Recovery begins with admitting that you have a problem.
I cannot yet face down my demons, but I know they are there, trying to make me torture myself so that they can feed off my pain. (Even your inner demons feed off the pain you cause yourself.)
Now, when I feel myself going down a negative path to my own personal hell, I can tell myself that it’s just my personal demons trying to destroy me, and that I should ignore their oppressive persecution. That helps me. A psychological bully can only bully you if you let them. Your demons have no physical power over you. Ignore them and your demons will go away. Eventually I shall be able to face down my demons and tell them to fuck off ~ and that will be a good day.
Demons are to be pitied. They have nothing but your pain and suffering. If you do not allow your demons to make you cause yourself pain and suffering, then those demons will eventually die and vanish into nothing.
You can and will get well if you do not allow your demons to torment and torture you.
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you reach the end of day
just wishing you could fly away
from people, places and possessions
but as happens with all commitments
you can find yourself caught in such a trap
you get so used to it you can’t find your way back
just assert yourself and hope they won’t all desert you
you know when you are not yourself every day just hurts
There may be snow on the roof, but there’s still a fire inside.
As we grow older, we are justified in taking far more risks, embarking on far more adventures, pursuing far more dangerous dreams, than is someone in their more youthful years.
It’s not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams. ~ Gabriel Garcia Marquez
I read an article in my news feed about a 101 years old great-grandfather who has just taken up skydiving. You may think that sounds crazy, but what has Verdun Hayes got to lose? The veteran of D Day has already lived a long life, and if he kills himself doing something dangerous, by how may days, months, or years has he cut his life short? Not that many I’d bet.
Contrast this with a man in his twenties, who has just started a family ~ just the kind of man we would expect to go skydiving. If he kills himself, not only has he cut his life short by maybe 50 years, he’s also orphaned his children and widowed his wife. Maybe that young father should be careful, risk averse, not very adventurous.
I would argue that as we grow older we have much less to lose than we had when we were young, so why not gamble more, take more risks, become more adventurous in our senior years?
A twenty-three years long study in Ohio determined that people who saw growing older as something positive lived a whopping seven and a half years longer than those who didn’t. ~ Victoria Moran
Later this year I’m flying out to California, picking up a Mustang convertible, meeting up with ‘the girl who rides shotgun’, then driving across California, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming to witness a total eclipse of the sun on Monday August 21st. I think that’s a pretty crazy adventure, but what have I got to lose? Not a lot.
Taking risks with your wealth, health, and happiness, (not to mention taking risks with your life), is not really for the young. As we grow older we can afford to gamble more because we have much less to lose.
Don’t waste your life by working another 10 years slaving away in that 40 hours a week job. Have fun instead, add adventure to your senior years, you have nothing to lose except your unhappiness.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan.
These days I seldom dream. Last night I had a vivid dream reminding me of a moment in my past.
There was a roadside casualty, a girl in the gutter. Obviously I stopped my car, got out to give assistance, and while I was putting the girl in the recovery position someone drove off in my car. Then the girl got up and ran off, and a guy does not chase a woman late at night. All of which was a bummer because I was then stranded on the wrong side of London, late at night, no wallet and no cell. (We call them mobile phones, and my wallet was in my jacket in the damn car.) Just getting back to my place took until mid-morning, and then all the phone calls cancelling cards, contacting my insurance company, telling the office I wouldn’t be in…. And that was a great car, which I never saw again.
That wasn’t the first, or the last time, my being a ‘Good Samaritan’ caused me much grief, pain, and suffering.
From trying to help a drunken woman in the street, to giving my bank details to a charity worker, (bogus), to rescuing a woman who was being hassled by a drunk in a bar, to driving an acquaintance home late at night, to helping out a coworker solve a tricky problem, to not having first date sex with an inebriated woman… Well, the list of ‘nice’ things I’ve done which then caused me much grief goes on, and on, and on.
Too often in my life I have tried to do the right thing, to be the good guy, the man in the white suit ~ and what has it ever got me? Trouble.
Even in close relationships I’ve found, to my cost, that being a genuinely kind, caring, and considerate guy, leads to trouble in the end. Women can and will walk all over a nice guy.
It seems that many people see a good guy as a soft touch, someone that can be trampled underfoot, someone of no real account. A geek, a jerk, a loser.
Well, maybe that’s their loss.
I can retain my ethics and morality, but my dream tells me that I also need to exercise harsh judgement in the people I am prepared to be kind to. There is no more universally nice Jack Collier.
What ever became of the Good Samaritan anyway?
Never lie, never cheat, never steal.
Mostly that doesn’t matter one little bit. Deep down we know when we are being lied to and we act accordingly. Little lies are what makes the world go around. Little lies are the lubrication in relationships. Little lies are what keeps us sane.
I firmly believe that lying is wrong, but I also believe that, in the big scheme of things, little lies may not matter so much.
Big dark lies are destructive, damaging, and dangerous.
Big Lies Matter.
But everybody lies, and that matters when the liars are scientists, doctors, bankers, lawyers, judges, charities, the police, the military, the security services, politicians, prime ministers, and presidents. Big dark lies by the ‘Fat Cats’, and ‘Important People’ ruin lives, affect interest rates, cause financial crashes, get people hurt, and start wars.
This is a nation that has lost the ability to be self-critical, and that makes a lie out of the freedoms. ~ Joni Mitchell
Big dark lies reported in just one newspaper today, (Tuesday April 11th 2017), involve airlines, bankers, more bankers, politicians, more politicians and generals, presidents… And now, we are but a short step and a few lies from WWIII. Take your choice of the spark that starts WWIII, the Middle East, or North Korea?
Clinton lied. A man might forget where he parks or where he lives, but he never forgets oral sex, no matter how bad it is. ~ Barbara Bush
You would really think that a President would follow the example of George Washington and be unable to tell a lie.
Big dark lies by the people you care for ruin relationships, imperil your health, imperil your mental health, cost you a fortune, and lead to nasty things like alcoholism, drug addiction, infidelity, domestic violence… A big dark lie by someone you love can kill you. And, thinking your loved one will ever change and stop lying to you is nothing but wishful thinking.
Cheating and lying aren’t struggles, they’re reasons to break up. ~ Patti Callahan Henry
If you catch someone out in a lie, what can you do about it? Almost nothing.
The chances are that if you have caught someone telling a big dark lie it’s because you’ve been investigating them, for example by following their twitter feed, hacking their emails, listening in on their conversations…. and do you want to admit to that? Spying on liars is almost as bad as lying ~ almost.
The only thing you can do about being lied to is know that you are dealing with a liar, and take everything they say with a very large pinch of salt. In other words, when you know someone is a liar, believe nothing they say until you have got yourself some independent proof. All lies, and all liars, get found out eventually.
Besides, leopards never change their spots, and liars don’t ever stop lying. Catch a liar in a lie and they’ll just strive to become better liars in future.
Lying is addictive. And, once a liar, always a liar.
Some liars are so expert they deceive themselves. ~ Austin O’Malley
But you know what? Once you stop believing the lie, it loses all power over you. Once you know someone is a liar, everything they say is just pointless noise.
I’m sorry, what language are you speaking? It sounds like bullshit.
Have a nice day.
A Leader is one who shows the way.
Listening to the wireless yesterday, I happened to hear part of a speech / response to a question by President Trump on the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Allegedly some 100 men, women, and children were killed by Sarin Gas / and or Chlorine Gas, on Tuesday of this week. This ‘massacre’ took place in Khan Sheikhoun, in the rebel-held Syrian province of Idlib, allegedly the ‘massacre’ was carried out by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
Russia says this atrocity was caused by gas leaking from a terrorist / Syrian rebel chemical weapons depot.
Sarin Gas is particularly nasty stuff, invented by Hitler’s boffins, odourless and deadly in 10 seconds, it’s a perfect terrorist weapon. The use of Sarin was banned in 1997 under the UN chemical weapons convention. Chlorine Gas will also kill you pretty quickly, and obviously chlorine isn’t banned, but chlorine stinks. The 1925 Geneva Protocol specifically prohibits the use of Gas in Warfare, but apparently allows the use of chemical weapons within a state’s own borders in a civil conflict. So it wouldn’t actually be completely illegal for Syrian forces to use Chlorine Gas on rebels in Idlib Province.
However, the rights, wrongs, culprits, retaliations, and possible solutions for this terrible incident wasn’t what struck me about President Trump’s words during his Rose Garden Press Conference. My first thought was that Mr. Trump didn’t sound ‘Presidential’. His presentation skills were, quite frankly, terrible.
Strictly speaking, this wasn’t a ‘presentation’ by President Trump, but anytime a President of The United States of America speaks, shouldn’t he radiate authority, clarity, confidence, gravitas, and complete command of his brief? For me, Mr Trump just sounded like an amateur speaker at a golf club tournament.
The President committed the cardinal sins of deviation, hesitation, and repetition. I have a strong feeling that Mr. Trump speaks totally ‘off the cuff’, and ‘shoots from the hip’. At the same time I believe that Mr. Trump has spent far too long using facile social media such as Twitter, and not long enough reading modern history written by statesmen such as Winston Churchill.
Listen to one of Mr Churchill’s great speeches, such as the ‘Finest Hour’, and then listen to Mr Trump on Syria, and note the differences. If you like, you can also listen to someone like the actor Morgan Freeman, who sounds far more ‘Presidential’ than President Donald Trump.
The question is; does sounding and acting like a great president, make you a great president? Well, partly it does. Some say that John F. Kennedy was a great president, and that his greatest speech was his 100 days speech. All I know is that Kennedy ‘sounds’ like a great President, and sadly Trump doesn’t, not quite, not yet. Although Mr Trump does have a pretty cool sense of humour, and maybe that’s why a woman like Hillary Clinton couldn’t get herself elected.
Some say that a man should ‘fake it to make it’, and that looking and sounding like a leader is nine-tenths of the battle. All I know is that presentation skills are part of urban survival skills and something every man should learn.
Yoga is a type of meditation ~ and done properly it’s difficult.
Calling this post Yoga for Men isn’t as sexist or as misogynistic as you may think. When I was a much younger chap, far more cynical, and much less worldly-wise, I used to think yoga was a bit ‘strange’. In my mind yoga was something that girls did, and perhaps men who were a bit metrosexual. Now that I’ve grown up a bit I realise that yoga can be a strenuous and difficult workout ~ the kind of workout that hurts while you’re doing it and makes you ache afterwards.
It turns out that there are lots of reasons why more men should regularly practice yoga. Some say that yoga strengthens your immune system and relieves stress. And, that regular yoga improves muscle tone, flexibility, agility, posture, stamina, and core strength. All I know is that regular yoga exercises and nurtures my body, mind, and spirit. Some also say that yoga will give you a better sex life.
Just in case you don’t know, yoga involves holding postures, and holding some of these postures for any length of time can be damn difficult. Even the few, (simple), postures I use require a great deal of strength, balance, and concentration. Because holding these postures take a lot of strength and stamina, your muscles become more toned and develop greater power and endurance.
Yoga also helps with proper breathing, better posture, better balance, better concentration, better digestion, and increased mindfulness and serenity. Regular and difficult yoga improves the way you look, stand, walk, and talk. I have been told, by a very close friend, that regular yoga also greatly improves one’s sex life, and increases the pleasure you can give to your partner. Also, some yoga poses work as great sex positions and increase the intensity of the female orgasm. Allegedly, it’s possible for women to have an orgasm just from doing yoga. Who knew?
So, these are the yoga positions I use regularly, and if I have the names wrong… well I’m not a yoga instructor.
The Tree. This classical, impressive, and elegant position promotes strength and balance in your feet, ankles, legs, and core. Like all yoga positions I’ve tried it also aids concentration, calms your breathing, and improves your grasp of mindfulness. Don’t worry too much if at first you keep losing your balance, what’s probably happening is that you’ve lost your mental focus. The tree pose puts all your weight on one leg at a time, but the balance, poise, and elegance has to come from the whole body.
Downward Facing Dog. Allegedly, this is one of those yoga poses that’s also a great sexual position ~ I can see that. This position throws a lot of weight on the upper body, wrists, arms, shoulders, and chest. It stretches the whole of the back of your legs and body ~ your spine, arms, shoulders, ankles, calves, and hamstrings. For me, unless I’m doing it wrong, it also strengthens my knees.
The Bridge. This position is especially designed to strengthen your pelvic floor, (and backside), which is good for all kinds of reasons, up to and including sex. The bridge position builds strength in your core and lower body ~ personally I can really feel this in my lower abdomen. This is another of those yoga positions which is also a fabulous sexual position ~ or so I’m told. When I do this, I keep my back straight and my belly flat ~ I have no idea if that’s a good idea or not.
The Plank. I find this pose tremendously difficult, not because I don’t know how to do it, but because it calls for a tremendous amount of strength. Done properly the entirety of one’s body weight is brought into play to build core body strength, exercise the arms and shoulders, and increase one’s fortitude. There are three basic variations of the plank, and the easiest is to rest on your knees rather than stretch out your whole body and rest on your toes. The second easiest is to support your upper body on your forearms, while the hardest of all is to be in a push-up position with all one’s weight on your toes and hands. Right now, I can hold this position for one minute only ~ which is a bit pathetic really.
The Warrior. This should be so easy, trust me, it isn’t. The warrior pose stretches and strengthens the legs and core muscles of the body. For me it also works the arms and shoulders. More than that, this is the one position that should be so easy that I want to do it properly and elegantly. Where that gets difficult is the whole being straight, having one’s belly and backside tight, steadiness and ease thing. The lady in the picture looks a bit wimpy because her right arm is dropping.
Right now I only use these five positions, and the list above is in the order I do this stuff. I hold each position for as long as I can, and that varies from 5 minutes per position, to less than a minute, depending on the pose and how I’m feeling that day. And, again depending on how I’m feeling, I’ll probably run through all five positions a couple or maybe even three times.
However, there are stacks more great yoga positions, and if you really want to learn about yoga, then I should strongly suggest that you take a proper class, there will be one near you. There are even a bunch of good online yoga classes. (I took one actual class at my local gym, once, and never went back ~ but that’s just me). Who knows, you may find yourself alongside some fit, supple, young women. Who will probably make you feel totally inadequate.
Procrastination is the foundation of all disasters.
You can grasp the important essentials of effective time management in 20 minutes ~ living with it, really using your time wisely and to your own best advantage, well that takes a little more work.
So, just what is this time management thing? Effective time management ~ it’s all about making a little go a long way. It’s about improving the way in which you use the 86,400 seconds you get every single day. Time management is about doing away with; displacement activities, delay, deviation, distractions, hesitation, indecision, indulgence, procrastination, repetition, sloth, stress, tardiness, and waste.
I am definitely going to take a course on time management… just as soon as I can work it into my schedule. ~ Louis E. Boone.
Effective time management is all about doing the important things, at the right time, and spending the right amount of time on them. Like everything good and important in life, effective time management is also about control, restraint, and self-discipline. What time management is not about is making certain that you are doing the right things ~ that’s something else entirely, something we will talk about at a later date.
You already know the basic techniques for effective time management, it’s just that you never use them. So here’s what you should do, from now on, every single damn day.
- Make a list. Start with a to-do list. These are the things you should / must / want to do today. (Actually, tomorrow, because you should start writing your to-do list the night before.) You can even buy a ready-made to-do list App, packed with colourful features and supposed benefits. Don’t bother to waste your time and money. Get a notebook, or just some sheets of paper, and write down what you need to do. You can use different colours for different categories or importance of tasks if you like. Personally, I merely number things, in order of importance.
- Cross tasks off your list only when they’re completely done and tangibly, measurably delivered, and then forget all about them and move onto the next task with a clear mind.
- Do the worst / most unpleasant / most important things first. Getting the nasty stuff out-of-the-way early in the day makes the rest of the day both easier and much more enjoyable.
- Make more lists. These extra lists are for sub-tasks. For example your to-do list may say ‘do grocery shopping’ ~ so you need a shopping list, (never, never, ever go into a store without a list of what you want / need / would like to buy).
- Break big and unwieldy tasks down into smaller and more manageable bits. This is called chunking, and it can be used in all kinds of situations.
- Keep a journal. As well as writing down what has happened and how you feel about it, you can also use your journal as a detailed day planner, and as a place to plan and manage future events / tasks / projects. Properly used a journal will stop you turning up for things unprepared / on the wrong day / without your passport.
- Avoid meaningless distractions. These come in all kinds of shapes, but the most insidious and pointless time-wasting evil right now is social media. If you use social media at work, or first thing in the morning, or last thing at night, or during your lunch break, then stop it. You are just wasting time while turning your brain into mouldy dough.
- Take regular breaks. Just sitting at your desk for 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12 hours a day is not the way to be productive. Worse than that, sitting at your desk for long periods is literally killing you.
- Get plenty of good quality sleep. If you are tired and irritable you are also unfocused and unproductive.
- Develop good regular habits. If you can run part of your day on auto-pilot, if doing some routine essential tasks becomes a habit, you are saving a hell of a lot of time and mental energy for the really difficult stuff.
- Learn how to say NO! Agreeing to things that are unimportant / meaningless / we don’t want to do anyway, uses up a huge amount of our time, mental effort, and spiritual energies. Along with that, drop people who waste your life and suck up your energies.
- Multi-task the routine stuff. For example, prepare dinner while the bath is running, and let it cook while you’re soaking away the aches and pains of the day. But be wary, multi-tasking doesn’t work for important stuff.
And then there is the tricky and oh so important number 13.
13. STOP DICKING AROUND. There a billion things you could do instead of actually doing the stuff you really want to do, should do, need to do, absolutely must do. Recently I read where a guy got sacked for spending all day at work looking at internet porn on his cell phone ~ if that’s not a definition of dicking around then I don’t know what is.
All of this is pretty much common sense, actually you knew most of this already, so why aren’t you using these good practices? Probably because you’ve been lazy, lacking in self-discipline, or you think that ordinary rules and good advice don’t apply to you. Well, let me tell you, little sister, you’d better shape up if you want that good quality, rewarding, spiritual, healthy life you’ve been promising yourself.
Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone. ~ Pablo Picasso
Procrastination doesn’t cut it.