Tag Archives: buffers

Protect Yourself By Having A Wind-Down Hour

20 June 2011, by A. Cedilla

Let’s say you have a big project. A big project and a tight deadline. You get this thing done, it’ll mean big change for you and your business. If you get this thing nailed…wow. But then there are the dozen other things you have to juggle in your role as a business owner.

There are also your other roles: mom or dad, civic leader or writer-on-the-side, working student, etc. You have so much to do, and not enough hours in the day. Something has to give, and usually one of the first things to go is enough sleep.

When you cut down on things like sleep to squeeze more time into your day, eventually it will catch up. It isn’t always the sudden big stresses that beat us down, but the constant little stresses that we go through that wear us out enough that when we crash, we can crash hard.

One way to deal with those constant stresses is establishing the habit of a wind-down hour.

Just as you need to have a system in place to get you up and going in the morning, you need another to park your stress and leave it before it drains you even more. Otherwise, you’d be running your mind all night and going nowhere but zombie-land the next day.

If it helps, think of yourself as a car: If you’re parking your car for the night, you’re not going to leave the engine running, right? In your actual case, to have time enough to get real rest, you have to switch off. Disconnect the negative charges running in your head before it drains your batteries.
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How’s Your Schedule 2: Reducing Stress

15 February 2011, by A. Cedilla

Logically and realistically speaking, there are certain essential principles that we need to build our schedules on. Being aware of these principles would make it easier for you to put yourself in the right mind-frame to make a good schedule, one that factors in the essential parts of your days, your weeks, and your months.

(As an aside, we’re not really wired for long-term focus right out of the gate. That kind of focus takes discipline and some training — and sometimes a singular obsession.

The usual way we deal is to break things down in a logical progression of stages, and attend to each stage before going onto the next. You focus on the work-related snafu front of you, and don’t think of the potluck party next Saturday, for example.)

Think of your schedule not just as something that keeps your time and your activities in sync, but also as a sort of “coming soon” announcer’s service, a time-radar which pings you on what you can expect in the next few weeks, or next few months.

Doing so helps ease what’s “coming soon” and helps you not to stress about next year — the mind can only project that far for so long without going a little wonky in fear, anxiety or hype. So, back to principles: Continue reading How’s Your Schedule 2: Reducing Stress

Diversification For the Smart Entrepreneur

05 November 2010, by A. Cedilla

When you talk investing, you’re talking money. Common advice is not to put all your eggs in one basket. That’s called diversification. Diversification does several things:

  • It spreads the risk across several groups of investments so that no one group controls all the outcome. While the ideal is that all the investments are working to get you closer to your goal amount, it isn’t always possible, so you diversify. That way, if something happens to affect one type of your investment, the other types can still provide the support you’re investing for.
  • It spreads the risk according your tolerance level and goals. If safety is your concern, low-risk investment can help. If you want to get out of the country at least once in your life, by golly, you can start saving up for it and let the money grow while you’re working on other stuff (like learning a new language — which is also an investment–and getting your passport processed).
  • It spread the risks across your personal time-line, according to your short-term plans and more immediate needs, and long-term plans and more distant (but still vital) goals. If you’re a new parent and looking ahead, you can already start investing for college even before the baby starts teething. If you plan for a relatively stress-free retirement, money-wise, the earlier you start, the better.

When you’re an entrepreneur, the principle of diversification can take on a whole different aspect in its application.
Continue reading Diversification For the Smart Entrepreneur

Anchor Yourself In The Present

11 May 2010, by A. Cedilla

When you find yourself paralyzed with indecision, what can you do?

Anchor yourself in the present.

One definition of paralysis is “a loss of control, feeling or function.” And the most common scenario in which we find ourselves paralyzed is when we’re required to make a decision: there are too many details or not enough,and there’s not enough time to make a good choice. Where does it go wrong?

Control – Your control is affected when you can’t settle on a course of action, or you have no idea or clue what to do.

Sudden emergencies (as if there’s another kind), or too many demands and issues vying for your attention all at the same time and you freeze. You can’t think. There’s too much and it’s all at once. So what do you do?

Breathe, step back, and anchor yourself. Take the moment back for yourself, don’t give it away to panic.
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Drawing The Line: The Importance of Boundaries

07 May 2010, by A. Cedilla

Boundaries are vital. Think of them as an extra layer of protection.

Like skin, which thickens in response to pressure to form a protective callus, your boundaries keeps you shielded and functioning under stressful circumstances.

When you recognize and honor your boundaries, you’re enforcing an internal support structure that will keep you in good stead when the going gets rough.

Boundaries are like boxes for clutter.
They help keep scattered-but-related stuff in one location, so you can deal with the whole shebang in one place, and keep them in that one place. You can come back to that one place (mentally or physically) when you’re ready, refreshed or coming back with new data and fresh input.

Boundaries give you the privacy and room to regroup.
You can leave things where they are, and come back when you’re ready. When people respect your boundaries, and you return the same respect, it makes for better relationships and fewer misunderstandings.
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Finishing Early

09 April 2010, by A. Cedilla

In this short follow-up, a companion piece to Start Early, we’ll be supplying some additional advice, meant to apply to the very end of your day.

When the work day draws to a close, it’s usually standard procedure to do a little clean up and arrange your work area for tomorrow. Here are a few things you can do to ease the transition:

When planning for the next day – carry over loose ends from but don’t deal with them first-thing…yet. Some issues will invariably resolve themselves, wait and see. In the meantime:

  • Try out what Cal Newport of Study Hacks does: end your workday with a shutdown ritual.
  • Once you’ve left work, leave it. Let go – drop the pressing issues. Stop carrying them around in your mental backpack. When you get too involved (read:tangled into a corner) you lose perspective, and that can affect your decisions. Let go, and sleep on it. There’s time enough in the next day to deal with things, and by then, who knows, a solution may come from an unexpected source (your subconscious may be working on it even as you dream), or the situation have resolve itself because of an event entirely out of your control.
  • Enjoy the free time you worked for.

That bears repeating, it’s so important. It’s the core reason why you started early. Enjoy the free time you worked for.
Continue reading Finishing Early

Respecting Your Limits

05 April 2010, by A. Cedilla

In a previous post we shared how limits can help free us, and discussed three ways to this: by recognizing, setting and honoring our limits.

This post continues in a similar vein, and explores some of the factors that lead us to build unrealistic expectations that strain our limits in an unhealthy way.

Limits are there for very good reasons. They remind you that you have a physical presence, one rooted in this world, and as such bound by physical laws.

For starters, you need to rest, you need to move, and you need to eat. You also need time and energy to do these things.

There are other limits: you can’t fly without some sort of mechanical assistance. There are only so 24 hours in a day, and so on. There are just some limits you can’t avoid.

What about the ones that you absorb? Artificial excitement – pushed through movies, pop culture, TV and advertising, pumps us to expect more out of life, and more of everything. If you just do this, buy this, get this, look like this, act this way, you can do that.

If you just work more hours, do more push ups, meet more people, plan better, make a splash, etc. then you will be successful, attractive, exciting, a winner. You’ll be living the Good Life — which at your low points would be any life than the one you’re living now.
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Blowing Up Your Fears

02 April 2010, by A. Cedilla

Everyone gets bad days when it seems like everything’s going all wrong. Days when it’s all you can do to not to yell, or throw something breakable.

Days when you do throw your hands up, and seethe because you blew up over some small thing. Then you slide into dark moods, or funks that keep coming back, like ghoulish sock ’em toys that keep bobbing up no matter how many times you hit them.  They’re named Procrastination, Constant, low-level Anxiety, and Repetitive Thinking.

Underneath many of the behaviors that hold us back lies fear. We don’t like to think of ourselves as fearful, so our subconscious manifests this feeling in ways that aren’t as obvious as screaming and physically being frozen in terror. Everything is felt internally, so it’s inside that we feel weighed down, overwhelmed, unprepared.

Weak and powerless. Frozen, even. Unable to act constructively, or think clearly.

What other behaviors hold us back?
Continue reading Blowing Up Your Fears

The Value Of Limits

30 March 2010, by A. Cedilla

Decades of Western thinking have influenced our belief that “the sky’s the limit.” Nothing’s impossible if you work at it hard enough, long enough, and you don’t give up.

For the most part, amazing feats of engineering and scientific breakthroughs seemed to prove this belief true…

Until time revealed the cracks in the facade: unexpected and tragic side-effects, damaging environmental consequences, and a host of long-term issues no one could have foreseen.

On a more personal level, we still have a stubborn tendency to cling to this belief. Limits are for other people, the one’s not willing to do what it took to succeed. Limits were for losers.

Here’s the thing: Limits can free us.

The belief that limits were made to be pushed, broken, and conquered breaks things down into an either-or equation: you either push your limits or you don’t. Either it’s good or bad, black or white, loser or winner.

Life is never that cut-and-dried. This kind of simplistic thinking can only go so far in helping us deal with everything that life throws at us.
Continue reading The Value Of Limits

7 Steps to Successful Change 2

17 December 2009, by A. Cedilla

To recap, the first two steps to successful change are 1) paying attention and realizing that there is a need for conscious change, and 2) choosing to change. Or not.

The next three steps on the way to successful change moves you from the contemplation stage to the analysis stage. This second stage will involve you weighing your options and calculating just what it is you need to give up to get what you really need and want for a better life.

After taking stock of your life in the first two steps (hopefully you took very good notes), now is the time to pull up all the information you came up with and use them.

3. Check out the options.
What else is out there? And don’t just use your opinion as a guideline for what’s good enough.

An opinion is an emotional judgment on an issue based on your feelings, your experience and knowledge on a subject. Emotions can cloud judgment, and the experience is all on your side, so you won’t know the other side of the issue. Be cool. Don’t lock the possibilities out first off.

Ask around, ask for other people’s opinions (they’re not as involved as you are and that distance can help. But prepare a few grains of salt, just in case.)

When you ask people for information, you’re multiplying your brainpower effortlessly, tapping their experience and knowledge base to amass a more comprehensive picture of the options open to you, a picture you can’t make based only on your own experience. Continue reading 7 Steps to Successful Change 2