Monthly Archives: April 2011

The Essentials of Keeping It Simple

30 April 2011,by A. Cedilla

There are several flavors of KISS available, aside from the tartly traditional “Keep it simple, stupid!”

There’s the sweeter “Keep it short and simple,” for people who want less attitude, and the more eloquent “Keep it short and straightforward,” for the more precise among us.

As an example, The KISS Principle as applied to coding embodies the very essence of the entire idea. It’s short, straightforward and gets to the point: helping you apply KISS to your work.

In KISS, the fewer things and factors to consider, the fewer things can go wrong. When you factor out the non-essentials, you leave more focus on the vital 20% (of the 80/20 principle, a supportive, close cousin to KISS) and make more time for the essentials, so you have a leg up on what needs to be accomplished to actually getting it done.

Like the circles on a dart board which successively narrow down your focus to the bull’s-eye, keeping things simple asks you to marrow down on the heart of the matter, what is essential to its success — and then taking action to get to that point. If you know that this needs to happen so that that gets to become a reality — you move to make this happen so that you can have that.

Plain and simple.
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Let Things Work Out On Their Own

16 April 2011, by A. Cedilla

Sometimes, you have to take a few steps back to understand that there are that you’re the only one who’s getting in your own way by trying to control too many things.

  • The idiots who keep screwing up the customer fulfillment program: “It’s not that hard, just follow the directions, can’t you freaking show some initiative — no, not that way, this way!”
  • The morons who keep yapping after you to solve their own problems, and ignore your helpful advice anyway. “Why ask me if you’re gonna do what you wanted anyway? Sonofa–” *grumble-mutter-steam*
  • The clueless talking heads in their corner offices who tell you they’ll “take it under advisement.”

…if it seems that everyone is always out to get you, maybe, just maybe, it’s not just them that’s the problem.

Stress is internally generated. It’s a reaction to what happens on the outside. Bet you’ve seen it for yourself in all kinds of situations — something that makes other people blow up just leaves you shaking your head in disbelief, or something that drives you off your rocker leaves you staring bug-eyed at a good buddy when he tells you, “It’s not that big a deal, man. Chill.”

Everyone has their own unique triggers and limits. What sets you off may just be a point of mild interest for someone else. But it still holds true that your stress — and your reactions — come from inside you. And one source of stress is have an issue with control, like trying to hurrying things along to “fix them faster.”

You keep pushing, keep too tight a hold, try to control everything in your environment –even the people– the pressure builds up internally. Even a pressure cooker has a vent — a controlled way of letting off steam. Unless you’re unusually self-aware, the ways you’re used to venting and how you choose to vent can hurt you and the people around you.
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The Importance of Energy Levels in Scheduling

09 April 2011, by A. Cedilla

AKA: The E(nergy) Factor and You

While it’s intimidating and awesome to have a relentless and unstoppable machine like the Terminator on your side, it’s self-defeating — as well as delusional — to think that you can be just as unstoppable in the pursuit of your goals. For one, this is real-life, not the movies. For another, you’re made of flesh and bone. Bones ache and flesh gets fatigued. What’s more, brains get drained.

And can you imagine getting James Cameron for a boss?

Anyway, when it comes to ensuring a sustainable schedule, people often forget to factor in their personal energy levels. To everything there are cycles, remember? Ups and downs, stops and starts, peaks and valleys…

When it comes to heavy tasks and big projects, it’s never quite one straight shot – zoom! – right down the road, with a full-tank, no obstacles, blue skies and green lights all the way.

That’s a nice fantasy, but even with the best of times, you’re still a person with a body that needs rest, a mind that can burn out and feelings that can influence your thoughts and decisions (and vice-versa), and distract you from paying attention to where you’re going.

Even as the way to your goals are twisty and full of stop-starts, misfires and rapid adjustment, your body has its own demands and cycles. If you don’t want to be torn between the two, you need to be able to get them to work together. There are high-energy people , low-energy people, and a wide range in-between. What’s your baseline?
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