10 March 2011, by A. Cedilla
“You just gave advice on how save money and now this?”
Well, with every important choice we deal with in life there are always flip-sides to consider. If someone gives you advice that doesn’t jive with you, you don’t have to take it as is. Or reject it outright, either.
Consider pulling a 180 and look at it the other way.
Or take a few steps off to the side, say, like a 90-degree shift. That way, through some cock-eyed mental contortions and inner re-shuffling, you can get a good look from different sides of the equation, and somehow get a better, more rounded view of the entire situation than if you were firmly stuck on just one side of the discussion.
See, there are just some things more important than strict adhesion to a budget. A budget is a plan, a map. It is not the terrain. You stick to the plan without adjusting for real-life circumstance — a busted water-pipe, an emergency root-canal, an utterly unexpected opportunity to see your favorite band — you’re holding “The Budget” as paramount, and forgetting the purpose for which it was drawn up for — which is to use your money to serve you.
Continue reading Spend Money, Save Time
28 February 2011, by A. Cedilla
It’s very easy to take advantage of all the many conveniences that modern technology and services offer. Drive-through’s and delivery services, fast food, concierge services, convenience stores, on-line banking and shopping …you don’t even have to leave your house. And if you’re going on vacation, you can even get house-sitting services, and pet-sitters for your fanged, feathered or furry darlings.
Now, if you’re the type who thinks nothing of using services like these because you’re on a level of financial security where you can afford not to think about it, that’s cool.
But if you’re burdened by a nagging feeling that you’re working to pay for the life you have yet to live — being so busy working you have no time to spare to enjoy the life you’re working for — then you need to take some time to think about what you’re doing.
A few hours of study and preparation can save you money, time and stressing out.
It’s in the research and preparation. Old sayings bear this out: “A stitch in time saves nine,” and “For want of a nail, the kingdom was lost,” or the more modern “Prior preparation prevents piss-poor performance.”
In other words, thinking things through works. Paying attention pays off.
Continue reading Save Money, Spend Time
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
02 February 2011, by A. Cedilla
When someone asks you this, you:
a) Refer to your handy Crackberry, Google Calendar, or old-school pen-and-planner.
b) Burst into tears and run out of the room.
c) Say nothing, but a muscle starts to tic right under your eye.
d) Say you’re overloaded —pleasedon’taskmeforanyfavorsrightnowpleaseohplease.
e) “It’s fine, I’m on top of things.” (And then you get hit by lightning.)
Schedules came out of the need to coordinate resources and manpower in the industrial age.
During that time, the obsession with efficiency and productivity led scientists to analyze motion studies, breaking down each step a brick-layer took, for example, to see how it could be done faster, better. Time-tables showed how much work and how long each stage of the production line took.
Today that obsession has contributed heavily to an always-on, better-faster-more-NOW culture with a short attention span and a bottomless appetite. Continue reading How’s Your Schedule?
26 January 2011, by A. Cedilla
Continuing from part one, here’s another method to help you. One useful tool to give you a boost is PITA ( and no, it doesn’t stand for Pain in The A$$, although if that helps you remember, hey, go for it.)
PITA stands for Plan, Implement, Test and Adjust. These are basic principles that we were introduced to in all our science classes and experiments in school — remember tossing around words like thesis, hypothesis, variables, analysis and conclusions, and then having to cite the reference material you used? Death by boredom. (And too bad everything evaporated at graduation.)
Now that you’re an adult, maybe you can appreciate what you learned (and lost) from those classes. The teachers weren’t exposing you to these things to make your life harder, they were showing you a way to think systematically, logically and strategically.
There’s definitely a great advantage in training yourself into doing so, rather than being stuck in the habit of doing things on-the-fly, or flying by the seat of your pants.
That being said, let’s break it down, then. Continue reading Starting Small and Growing Slow In The New Year 2
21 January 2011, by A. Cedilla
We’re well into the first month of a new year, long enough for the holiday-glitter to fade, and for everyone to return to their regularly scheduled programming. But even after having settled in, it’s not uncommon to still have some parts of the old year taking the front-stage in your inner musings. After all, it’s a new year, right?
What’s more satisfying than to plan how to make this year better than last year, eh?
And how better than to do so by replaying the best and worst of 2010 in your mental movie-house?
Today’s article is about taking the pictures out from your mental reel and translating them into a workable plan with real-life accomplishments, and purposefully, consciously make this a better year for you.
Looking back from today’s perspective, were you satisfied with your last 12 months? Think about the year you just had. How was it? What stood out? What happened that you wish didn’t stand out? Shake it apart and see how it breaks down.
You can’t go forward with purpose if you don’t know where you want to go. If you want to move away from something you don’t want anymore, or towards something you want more of, you have to know what these things are.
In the same vein, if you can’t remember a lot of good or bad points, well, what do you want to do to make this year more memorable?
Continue reading Starting Small and Growing Slow In The New Year
26 April 2010, by A. Cedilla
Here are more links with security tips, this time with great stuff from Lifehacker.com.
Assorted phishing and protection tips:
Continue reading Protecting Yourself On-line 2
23 April 2010, by A. Cedilla
Here’s a little compilation of useful articles from an excellent resource, MakeUseOf.com, to give you a few helpful suggestions on more secure browsing and internet use.
Whether you’re doing business or buying stuff, you can check out the following articles for safety tips on account security and credit card protection.
Your kids need to keep safe as well, and here are a few suggested sites you can visit for more information on how to do so: Continue reading Protecting Yourself On-line
21 April 2010, by A. Cedilla
Continuing from part 1:
No matter where it comes from, stress generally can come from the feeling that you’re being controlled ( when you suffer the lack of personal choice, or feel that you’re a puppet), or feeling out of control (as in having run out, being pushed past your limits; having no power to change the situation, or that you don’t having a handle on things — and reacting by flying off the handle).
However you perceive it, you feel at the mercy of things outside you, and the way you handle things internally decides how stressful the situation is.
Notice what happened there? Outside events influence your internal state. To manage your stressors and your stress, you need to be able to change that kind of viewpoint around, and take the focus from outside influence to inner decisions. This is a shift in locus and focus.
Side note: You might find our two-part special on Focus and Planning ( part one and part two) helpful reading.
Internal locus is, in this sense, being centered.
What’s outside you is quite literally outside your control, but not always out of your influence, so it’s up to you to decide how things can go, using what influence you do possess, and then not get too attached to the results.
Attachment is also a source of stress — the emotional over-investment can drag you under if the results aren’t exactly what you wanted or expected. Continue reading How To Manage Your Stress 2
19 April 2010, by A. Cedilla
Inescapable, ever-present and all too often overwhelming, it is a major cause of billions of man-hours lost to a host of illnesses, lowered productivity, mental fatigue (and even more serious conditions), and just plain more stress.
There are hundreds of web sites and tens of thousands of web pages out there detailing the many ways in which stress is created, how it manifests in us physically, emotionally and psychologically, and how you can deal with it– but reduced to simplest terms the bulk of the advice comes down to one thing.
The feeling of having control.
Not too much control, of course –that in itself is another source of stress– but a realistic and honest understanding of the things you can affect, and the changes you can put into effect. A human control, not one based just on technological know-how and mastery, or only strongly rooted in intellectual understanding, but one managed from the heart.
Think of the popular Serenity Prayer, well-known from various 12-Step programs (most notably Al-Anon).
- God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; The courage to change the things that I can; And the wisdom to know the difference.
Happily enough, there’s another version available, one which is slightly altered from what many think of as the original, and the alterations themselves make a very telling difference. Continue reading How To Manage Your Stress