Tag Archives: Self-enhancement

Effective Time Management

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Get plenty of good quality sleep.  If you are tired and irritable you are also unfocused and unproductive.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.


jack collier


Sensitive Compassionate Humanity

Sometimes making a success of my relationships is like trying to turn back the tide.


I have character defects, faults and flaws.  I can be viciously unkind.  Either by nature or due to my upbringing I tend towards being; antisocial, critical, egotistical, impatient, judgemental, opinionated, prideful, reckless, sarcastic, and uncharitable.  If you ask my Lady, she will like as not tell you there are a lot more imperfections and shortcomings about my psyche.

Two important things I am not are that I am neither tolerant nor understanding of others, up to and including my closest friend.  This tends to make for an angry and uncomfortable relationship, which would br destined to end sooner rather than later, and end very badly for all concerned.  The fall-out and collateral damage would not be pretty.

After much thought, meditation and soul-searching I therefore resolved to embark upon a major work of self-improvement.  As it goes, I have already been working on 3 important things for a while; being fit and active, eating a good diet, and really, really giving up the booze.  On the premise that Rome wasn’t built in a day, I am committed to working on just one more important amelioration of my persona, ego, super ego, and id.

Make the most of yourself…….  for that is all there is of you. ~ Ralf Waldo Emerson

This man will become more tolerant of others and much more understanding of my closest friend.  That’s not going to be so easy.  Self-improvement is something only the better among us even attempt with any determination.  Often we involve life-coaches, psychologists, psychiatrists, support groups, sponsors, partners, (that’s a usually a mistake), religion, inspirational books, videos….

Personally, I will be treading this hard path with the help of my ‘higher power’ ~ who just happens to be the embodiment of everything feminine.  The male part of me has so many negative macho traits that I need all the nurturing feminine help I can get.

I shall keep you appraised of my progress to becoming a better man.

After this, turning back the tide will be easy.

P1020368Pictures by jack collier


Overconfidence Usually Pays Off


ManlymanThe people in white coats have come up with another best seller.  Published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, a paper by Jessica A. Kennedy, Cameron Anderson, and Don A Moore, with the cracking title; When overconfidence is revealed to others: Testing the status-enhancement theory of overconfidence.  This paper says that highly confident individuals get better results, regardless of whether their confidence is actually justified, or not.  The paper states that there appear to be so few real downsides to confidence that the potential benefits of overconfidence always outweigh the negative consequences.  In group dynamics, the members of a group seem to react positively to confident individuals.  Even when they know that the individual is very overconfident, and then fails to achieve an unrealistic goal, the other members of a group still react positively.

Who knew?  Well every sports fan, for a start.

motorcycleMost fans love to see their player / team attempt the nearly impossible.  The fans still love it when a player attempts the almost impossible, and fails.  That’s a far better spectacle than the safe play, time after time, after safe play time…  And, amazingly, every so often the nearly impossible comes off.  Sometimes the million to one chance works, it has to, it’s a law of physics.  The other thing is, the opposition has usually prepared for the expected play, the safe play.  Therefore, when the overconfident team / player attempts the almost impossible, that play is unexpected enough to carry a greater chance of success than the safe play.  One day he will get that bike into Switzerland.

ryan_reynoldsIn addition to that, confidence is in and of itself, intimidating to the opposition and attractive to your own side.  I have it on very good authority, from a number of very close friends, that hardly any women have ‘wimpy geeky guy, lacking in confidence,’ on their wish list.  When they are being honest, most women will admit to liking the ‘cocky’ man, the one who walks with a bit of a swagger, the one who stands up straight and looks them in the eye.  Action heroes tend to be the most confident guy in the group / piece / movie / book / play / room…  Psychologists know that the lasting power of a very confident first impression outweighs an only-average actual performance.

In other words the overconfident will win over the less confident, even when there is nothing else to separate their performances.  And, everybody and his dog knows that’s the way it’s going to happen.

It’s called Psychological Dominance, and it’s all about control.  It’s also very sexist.  It is very difficult for a woman to be psychologically dominant in a relationship / group.  This is explained by Social Dominance Theory, which plainly states that in almost all groups men have more power and higher status than women.  Partly this is down to the fact that men work to keep it that way, but mostly it’s down to biology and race memories.  In general, men are bigger, stronger, smarter, more driven, than women.  Sorry Ladies, but that’s just the way it is among mammals.

Malcolm Marshall - West IndiesIt is well know in sports that establishing psychological dominance over your opponent allows an easier victory than having to fight every inch of the way with someone who believes they are as good as you.  If you can convince your opponent that you are better than they are, then they have already lost.  Opponents will become tentative, miss opportunities they would routinely accept, become mentally exhausted, in fact they will give up.

This brutal paradigm applies especially in the more physically brutal sports.  Look at two boxers in the pre-match.  They are obviously fighting for psychological dominance before they even step into the ring.  It’s the same with tennis players, golfers, football teams, chess players…,  Back in the day, most players had lost against Roger Federer long before the first tennis racquet hit the first ball over the net.  And, everybody knew that.

MontyThe benefits of overconfidence also apply in the world of business, politics, the arts and entertainment, the military…,  Anyone standing against a Kennedy in Massachusetts has lost before the polls open, end everybody knows that.  Anyone trying to sell books against Amazon may as well give up before the ink is dry on the business plan, and everybody knows that.  Don’t put on a rock concert in the same town on the same night as The Rolling Stones.  And, it took Montgomery to beat the Desert Fox.

Personally, I have won some huge business deals based simply on the fact that I was utterly and totally convinced that I was better than everyone else.

Which brings us to the second most brutal of all areas where overconfidence pays off.  In group dynamics there is something called  the closed group.   This is when it’s difficult to get into the group, and once you are in you have to obey all of the group’s rules, written and unwritten, on pain of pain.  There is always a dominant figure in these groups, the one who calls all the shots, the big cheese, the boss.  Usually that person is the most confident in the group.  Not always.  Sometimes there is a member of the group who is so totally confident, (overconfident), that they don’t need to be the de-facto leader to get the group to do what they want.  Usually this person doesn’t even have to play by the rules, drifts in and out of the group as they please, obtains all of the benefits and more that the group has to offer, and suffers none of the downsides.

seveThis works because, as stated by Jessica Kennedy, Cameron Anderson, and Don Moore, people seem to put the overconfident, cocky, smiling, stand-up guy in a special category.  And, tellingly, don’t change their opinion much when actual performance isn’t quite as good as all that confidence would lead everyone to expect.  We all know and understand that the million-to-one shot doesn’t always come off.  But, we all know and understand that the million-to-one play works a lot more often than it should, and that only the overconfident guy can pull it off.

The real truth is;  If a manly man wants to really succeed with women, he needs to, (almost), always appear utterly, totally, completely confident in himself and his abilities.  However, so that he doesn’t appear arrogant, that same man must also be self-deprecating.

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