Tag Archives: execution

Sweep Your Way to An Easier Workload Tomorrow

  • “Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today!
  • “First things first.”
  • “If you don’t have the time, make the time.”

What does time-pressure, GTD and prioritization have to do with house-cleaning? Stay with me.

Unless you’ve been raised completely unaware of one of the most basic of household chores, to get a really clean floor, you need to sweep before you mop. In this metaphorical scenario, sweeping is preparation, mopping is action, the clean floor is the finished, desired goal.

Get it? Not yet?

Okay, say you want really clean floors. Maybe your in-laws are coming to your new home, or you’re planning an open house to show it off to prospective buyers, whatever. You just want a really nice, clean floor. For purposes of this exercise, you don’t have carpets. For those, there are vacuums.

  • You get stuff that’s not supposed to be on the floor, off the floor. Clothes, books, gear, whatever. Off, back to their proper places, all of it off.
  • Then you get out the broom and start sweeping out from under chairs, tables, and sofas. You capture the small debris and the fuzz-bunnies.
  • You then work your way out from all the corners of the room, sweeping towards the center, and end up with a collection of dirt that you sweep up into a dustpan. You throw that stuff away into the garbage can.
  • You can prepare your preferred cleaning solution, diluted in water, to use with the mop.
  • Then you get out the damp mop to make sure you get the really small stuff off the floor — schmutz, ground-in dirt, dried-up spills, tracked-in street-crud etc.
  • You mop. If you’re the really, really picky sort, you mop with cleaning solution (twice) and do a final mop up with plain water.

Boom, clean, fresh-smelling floors.

Continue reading Sweep Your Way to An Easier Workload Tomorrow

Throw The Dice

30 March 2013, by A. Cedilla

I’ve been in a rather grey funk lately. A family member had to be hospitalized earlier in the year, a big bill just came in (it was expected, actually, and we’d saved up for it, but it still bites, you know?), that damn ache in my knee came back, the politicians are still pointing fingers….I mean, all at once would have been overwhelming, but over time?

Over time, things can just just grind you down. Your field of vision gets narrower, until it’s all you can do on some days to put on foot in front of the other and just keep moving.

Then there are the days when it takes everything you have just to stay and not say, “That’s it. I give up.” At those times, I think I’d rather throw the dice than throw in the towel. I give up, things stop. Nothing changes.

I throw the dice, I make an opening for something else to happen. Continue reading Throw The Dice

Sustainable Progress: Keep Going By Making Small Bets

25 February 013, by A. Cedilla

In the LifeHacker post, “How To Design A Lucky Life” member stainless_rat left an awesome comment in response to the article, reproduced in full below:

“I’ve lived lucky by simply trimming the odds, which conflicts with recommendations here. Small changes that give things a chance to happen. Such as having met an attractive woman on a group hike…and arranging to attend the next hike with that group instead of another: if she was there, great, if not, I still end up with a fun hike. End result? Happily married for 7 years now.

Unlike the recommendation here, I say DO go for low cost gambles, just don’t go overboard. One small investment nets an infinite increase in your odds of winning while an additional investment might increase them negligibly. So going for the ‘infinite’ bump, I’ve had enough wins for others to consider me ‘lucky’.

Small changes in just paying attention, trimming your odds a hair here and there…it all adds up over time.” (Emphasis added)

Low-cost gambles can make for small wins. And more importantly, small wins keep you going. Continue reading Sustainable Progress: Keep Going By Making Small Bets

Eisenhower On Planning

18 February 2013, by A. Cedilla

“In preparing for battle, I have found that planning is essential, but plans are useless.”  Dwight D. Eisenhower, 5-star general, 34th president of the United States

Planning ahead is extremely powerful, but you’ll often find that the better you get at realizing your plans, the more you realize that much of the plans you make get discarded. So what’s the point?

The planning prepares you for whatever may come. The process of preparation lets you be prepared — putting you in a state of readiness. Process is doing, state is being. You plan, you execute, and in the execution you adjust on the fly, moving with what happens in real-time –which is where most paper theories fly out the window.

Planning isn’t doing. Doing is doing.

As an offhand example, let’s say you do regular cardio (running) to get and stay healthier. Short-term and mid-term benefits: as long as you keep at it, you’re acting to preserve your health, strengthen your heart, bones and joints, and feel in charge of this part your life.

The possibility that you may have to run to save someone from getting hit by a card, or run to save your own life, is a remote one –it’s rare to find anyone who seriously trains for that— but the slim chance is still there, and if it does happen… well, won’t you be glad you were ready and fit enough to do so? Continue reading Eisenhower On Planning

Lights, Opportunity, Action!

12 February 2012, by A.Cedilla

“Making it” is a combination of luck, circumstances, choices and planning that decides where you go next. Action definitely counts as well. For good or for ill, when you commit to executing your plans, there will be consequences. And most of these things, unless you’re on reality TV, happen behind the scenes.

“Stop thinkin’ and start makin’ moves.”
– Dave Chappelle

You do something, you learn something.

  • You do something and it hurts — the result, at the very least, can be embarrassment and-or physical pain you can recover from, and you remember it.
  • In the best case, you you still learn something — not to do that thing again, or read the instructions first, you goofball.
  • You live, you learn — sorry to pull in Alanis Morisette, but if the song fits, use it.

Continuous stupidity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting the results to change just because you want them to, or expecting to be excluded from suffering the logical consequences because you’re you, you special, special snowflake.

Remember, when it comes to preparation and making choices, germination happens in the dark. Don’t be afraid of the dark.


When you’re fumbling and digging for answers and turn up all this other crap instead….don’t back away. Given enough time, all that crap turns into fertilizer for the rest of your life. Things you want to assign to the burn and bury pile — bad decisions, expired dreams, hardships and emotionally exhausting experiences…those are all things that are in your life. Continue reading Lights, Opportunity, Action!

The Bullet List: Here’s Why You Can’t Win (Not)

05 January 2013, by A.Cedilla

There’s something you’ve been thinking about. And you already know why you can’t do it anyway. For example:

  • You’re too old, or too young, and you’re always in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • You have too much experience.
  • You don’t have the experience.
  • You don’t have the time to spare to get the experience.
  • Or the money. Or the training.
  • Or the money for the training. Or even money for the rent. (It could be food and housing, but not new shoes, or whatever the most urgent two out of three important things you pick. Your choice.)

There’s always something, you know.

And there’s also this one thing that you absolutely have to get done….actually, several things you have to take care of — pay off your student loans, take care of your kids, hold body and soul together under the weight of your responsibilities….Busy-busy-busy. Take your pick, I bet you have a whole magician’s hat-full of reasons you can pull out at a moment’s notice. Go ahead and write them down. I’m serious. Write them down. I’ll wait.

Why did I ask you to do this? Continue reading The Bullet List: Here’s Why You Can’t Win (Not)

On Enthusiasm, And Using Your Passion

21 January 2013 by A.Cedilla

En-theos – “…to be lit up with divine fire, to be possessed by a god.”

When people discuss having enthusiasm for their jobs, sometimes tossing in the etymology of the word can cast quite a different light on the issue. I mean, being aflame or being possessed?

That would be kind of mesmerizing to watch on the big screen…until you realize that if it were in actual, real life, anyone literally in such a state wouldn’t be focused on doing anything productive. Heck, they wouldn’t be able to focus at all. They’d be all terrible, screaming sensation. With the possible addition of explosive pea-soup vomiting, guttural howling and piss-your-pants terror. Nasty business, that.


That being said, enthusiasm is a feeling. It is a feeling and feeling fade with time, because time is a phenomenon that imposes limits. Without help, feelings fade. How do you keep them going? As a mental exercise to illustrate:

  • Think of a sheet of paper. Imagine folding it lengthwise into 4 parts, opening it, then dividing those 4 columns crosswise into 7 more columns: you have a lunar calendar of 28 days. Play around with a few of the weekends, you can bump it up to 31 days.
  • Find a paper plate, divide it into 12 sections. Number each section, and fix a pair of uneven “hands” smack dab in the middle of the plate: you have a 12 hour clock.


You have something you’re excited about. Something you really look forward to doing. You have the feeling, you have access to the means, and you have the time to execute your intentions.

What isn’t mentioned in all that are the things you do to fill those hours and days when you’re also doing other stuff that are not the thing you’re currently in love with. You still have to handle the blocks of time filled with hard, boring stuff while watching the clock tick away. You can’t get away from that. Continue reading On Enthusiasm, And Using Your Passion

Making the Leap From Employee to Entrepreneur

22 September 2012, by A. Cedilla

How do you lay the foundations for a new business — one of your very own — while you’re still employed?

  • You’ve been thinking about it for quite a while now. Especially on those days when it seems everyone in your office (and out of it) is breathing down you neck with their impatient follow-ups for Things Owed, Things Past Due, and Things They Need Right Now. When you hit your limits, you just want to shut them out, or snipe at them to shut up, and just walk away.
  • You long for the freedom to pick your own hours and sleep when you need to, instead of trying not to suffocate in traffic. You want to be happy on Mondays, not morose on Sundays because, yes, you guessed it, tomorrow’s a Monday. You don’t want to keep doing what you’re doing now. You want to make something new, do things your own way.
  • You want something more. You want to be in charge of your life and where it goes, and you believe having your own business is the way to do it. And something is just telling you it’s time to make a serious change.

And you’re making plans to do so.

On your lunch break you fill pages with scribbles about your ideas, and draw a lot of contingency plans. After work you squeeze all the free time you can into doing the research, making contacts, crunching the numbers, and preparing the paperwork. As you plan, you keep working. You know you have a great idea, but it takes time to get things up to speed, since you still need to work and save some fall-back money, and well as store up more capital for your business idea.

What else can you do to make the break easier for everyone concerned? Continue reading Making the Leap From Employee to Entrepreneur

How Do You Play The Game?

14 July 2012, by A. Cedilla

“Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.” – Voltaire

Face it, we really do work better when we have a clear view of what we have and how much of it is there. For example, take deadlines.

One rather immature way of dealing with a deadline is procrastination. It’s exciting and intense to do things at the last minute–ohmygodthePRESSURRRE!!--but then again dealing with the fall-out and the let-down afterward can be quite wearing after a while, not to mention the havoc it plays on schedules and other activities you’d rather be doing.

When you have only this much of something, you pay attention to how you use it, and when you use it. This applies to everything –time, money, energy, tasks.

It’s a mind game, a test of will, mental agility and focus: to make do with what you have in order to to get you what you want. Ever hear the one about a boatman needing to transport a goat, a wolf and a bag of cabbages across the river*? It’s something like that, only more complicated. Continue reading How Do You Play The Game?

What’s Your Incentive?

13 December 2011, by A. Cedilla

Made any plans lately?

Why are you doing the important things you do? Why are you drawing up the plans you’re making?

There’s got to be something that keeps you doing them, and when you get to know what that something is, you can surprise yourself with how many ways you can get more of that something into your life.

  • Your crazy hours are running you down, leaving you open to every sniffle and cough that presents itself. When your friends and family are still sleeping, you’re up, and vice-versa. You hardly get the time to have a meaningful conversation with any of them. You want to feel healthier and more connected to the people important to you. You want to keep to a regular schedule, and you struggle to do so.
  • You’re tired of scrimping and saving and feeling poor, dammit, but when you look around everyone’s in the same boat, and you’re not the only one hurting, so you put on the boots and keep going. Things won’t stay like this forever, and you end your 30-minute pity party to seize the day and kick its ass.
  • It sticks in your throat like you’ve swallowed a whole pineapple — or a grenade — but you don’t run, and you start that very important conversation that you’ve been meaning to have with your wife/boss/co-workers/employees/friends, etc. for weeks.

Thinking about how you think about things is called metacognition — And when you examine your way of thinking, you can uncover long-held biases you, haha, never though about. You Are Not So Smart, David McRaney’s website, lists down many of the ways we fool ourselves into thinking that we make unbiased decisions and hold balanced views.

When you actively become involved in “thinking about thinking,” you become more adept at seeing things clearly, as they are, not as you think on the surface they are. You develop clarity. When you see things clearly, with little illusion or self-delusions, you can act unencumbered by false information, inflated expectations and sketchy data.

You see what you truly need to live the life you’re happy with. You know what matters, and these things that matter to you are both goals and spurs. Continue reading What’s Your Incentive?