Mindset – How to get things done.

Mindset, how to get things done. Whatever that may be! Well I have done a lot of experiments with what works for me and what I should improve when I want to get stuff done. It consist of a few key ingredients. First and foremost is planning. Have a goal , break it down into steps and plan the time, resources and order and start stepping.

Well that’s easy. No it’s very hard. When I first started using weekly planning sheets it was out of sheer necessity because I would otherwise forget everything. It was in place for me to get by on a day to day bases.

Then after a lot of trial and error I got my day to day in order and got myself thinking what do I want challenge myself with. And make a plan. Then I started falling into some traps. First and foremost I planned way too much , too much tasks and too much goals.

Which brings me to ‘rule’ rather recommendation number 2. Plan too little. There will always be something that takes up more time or an unplanned event will destroy your carefully set to do list.

Have no more than 1 great goal at any time in 3 categories. Max, why ? Well otherwise it will get muddy and stuff starts drifting. You can only focus on so much. For example , set a work or learning related goal, one physical fitness and one personal life goal. Learn how to program , run a 10K race and plan a trip. Or whatever you want. There will be lots of other stuff needs doing besides those goals.

It’s also divided into 3 categories for a reason, one is demanding on the brain, one on the body. You can keep those two nicely balanced , your brain needs time to digest newly learned stuff and exercise helps a lot (as does sleep) , the third must be less of a braindrain and more in the way of relaxing.

You have only about 4 hours worth of intens brain work a day anyway. If you trained yourself right.

So keep to do lists small, and allow yourself much needed rest in between. Recovery is key. Only make new to to lists when old ones are fully done. Don’t put notes and reminders for future tasks on existing to do lists , it will distract.

Makes a nice bridge to the last tip for today, when doing work that needs a of your brain power , make sure you get rid of any distractions. Put away your phone, disconnect the internet, don’t open your mailbox. Make sure you fully focus on the task at hand. Make sure everyone knows you cannot be disturbed. Make sure you have a way of letting people know they cannot disturb you during those hours , only for emergencies. And let them know what an emergency looks like.

Make sure you don’t stretch yourself too much in those intensive brainpower consuming sessions. Set an alarm after an hour or two and take a real break. Jus eat something or enjoy a good coffee. Do not let your distractions in, no phone no email no internet. Just time for recovery. Limit the total amount of time to a max of 4 hours or so per day. Start with a half an hour and build from there. It’s hard focusing with such intensity.

I have made all the mistakes having way to many goals , too much on the to do list and every distraction possible at hand. It leads to frustration and anger because nothing gets done within the time frame you planned for it. Not even close. It’s not easy getting razorsharp focus. It needs a lot of training. The mindset isn’t just there the moment you decide it is. It needs training , consistency and rhythm to cement itself.

And for now , rule or recommendation 3, don’t be too hard on yourself. There will be days when everything goes easy , and there will be days, weeks even when nothing works. Just trust yourself and stick to it. You will get there and it will get easier to get your focus back. Make sure you evaluate your goals over time, is it still the right goal and does it need adjusting. Are the steps still the right ones. Have no fear of throwing goals in the bin if it’s not achievable for you. Just start a new one. I have trashed more than I finished. But made sure I learned from my mistakes. That’s why it’s important to evaluate.

And have fun, it’s not always fun, nor should it be. Some goals will be a necessity in order too get forward. But make sure you have fun along the way. And set fun goals, stuff that you know is fun from the beginning. And never give up on yourself and the process.

Zero

Back to zero, this lockdown for me is a forced rethink of what I need to do, or love to do. I have had a forced reset after my brain injury and after a few years I have a pretty solid base. And I got into a rhythm again. I sometimes forget to focus on the goals I have set after my return to the ‘real world’.

After adjusting to the lockdown and getting my head around it, I have spent some time going tru my notes and thoughts just after my revalidation. It was very much focussed around learning and getting some old ideas done. Mostly focussed around creativity and music. It’s has been hard getting started on those things for some reason. This part of my goals has been overshadowed by the day to day stuff I need to do. So I am now need to set some time for it.

This new crisis has also made me think we as a society need a reset, a bold start from scratch, back to zero.

It has also shown the fragility of our system and the need to rethink a large part of it. For me a lot needs to get back to zero. Start to rethink the whole idea of how we need to organize society and how we do things.

The focus on economic growth and keeping big business happy is long overdue. The metrics we use for calculating our output is one of the past. The cost of every crisis lands on the weakest shoulders. Most people haven’t really recovered from the financial crisis of 2008 and are now here. It might seem as if there was a recovery but most people just got back to a level of were they were in 2008.

The main problem is the inability for most people to get there financial situation more stable, workers rights have steadily been downgraded, the gig economy is not one that benefits most workers. And thus most people. Combining this with the every growing privatizing of healthcare , utilities and so on it’s a risk cocktail that has again landed on the same group of people.

The risk for society as a whole has gone up as well, the governments around the world have stepped in at an enormous cost for the future , all in a all in bet for quick recovery. Which might not happen.

So while this is all pretty gloomy it also gives us as a opportunity to force a few long overdue changes. The most important is the mindset about how we measure the wealth in our society. It needs to be a new mix of economic growth , health and happiness of the people and nature. A focus more on the quality of life and things rather than just things and masses of them.

It’s just a thought but these levels of leverage on financial , environmental and human risk our current system is very much unsustainable. Hopefully this new crisis will give way to forward thinking and real problem solving. I for one hope for the best.

Rethinking the blog

Well I have been absent with blog posts for a while now. Last post was November 2019 and we are well underway in 2020 in the meantime.
So what’s up, well I have drifted a bit from what my original idea for the blog was. My personal interests in finance, music , running and art. The main idea was to write whenever I felt like it and keep it a bit diversified. I got caught up in the personal finance part of it all. Mainly because there are so many cool ideas and I tried incorporating all that in my blog.

Well that generated more posts but not a lot of interesting ones. So I am stopping all series, which don’t add to get people thinking about things and just state facts, like the dividend and portfolio updates. Lot’s of other people are doing a much better job on those topics than I do. It also means I don’t feel any pressure (totally self imposed offcourse) to keep a monthly schedule and post stuff for the sake of it.

It’s a bit of a re-focus if you will and a drive in writing more meaningful pieces than just following a format. Let’s see where it takes me.

Time and life

Time is a unknown factor in life, while planning ahead for retirement and saving some money for later sometimes your time can be cut short. So why not try to invest to get a bit more free time now.

The main goal for me to pursue financial independence, is time. This became even more evident when I got sick in February.

While I maintain a healthy lifestyle and mostly watch my health closely, you can’t control it. I have some stuff I want to do before I am too old to do it, such as running a few more marathons and a few Ultra trails. While some people run them at age 70 , changes might be I am not in a shape to do that after I am retired. Also there are a few travel experiences I cannot fit in the 24 days off I get every year.

So I am now even more determined to become largely financially independent and have the options of taking months of to train and travel. I have been on this path for some time now, while it is easier with a full time yob which pays well, fast is nice , but a bit slower and doing what I really love doing might be more important.

I will keep you posted on the progress.

Recovery and pictures

A few weeks back I suffered an encephalitis due to a virus that got stuck in my brain. Now I am getting back from that which isn’t all that easy. Progress is slow , and not always a straight line up.

In order to get my health back I need to do some exercising , no running so I stick to walking for now. One of the advantages is I get to take my camera with me and snap some pictures. A few I have uploaded and added.

Chemical waste

The whole world applauded the Paris environmental treaty. Which mostly covered the restriction of the fossil fuels. This all to prevent the rise temperature worldwide. Good work on all fronts. Everybody happy, mostly because everything that has been agreed can be easily outmanoeuvred. Simply because you can travel the world with all the carbon emission rights and buy or sell any paper deficit or surplus you might have. As with all matters which nobody really cares about. It’s near impossible to check.

Same thing with waste. Mountains of waste. And these massive amounts of waste is a more pressing problem at the moment I think. Since a very large part of the industrial waste is simply dumped around the world, where it should be disposed of in the proper way. And on paper it most likely is, at least when people are able to track it and check it. There is a massive waste trade around the globe. And hopefully somewhere someone is doing the right thing and getting rid of it the way it’s supposed to at the end of it all. Well that assumption is wrong.

I had read about the illegal dumping of loads of industrial waste in Italy in the book Gomorra by Robert Saviano. And in some articles in newspapers and magazines over the years. Last week I watched a documentary on 2doc a Dutch documentary about these illegal dumps. they used to dump it and dump tons of clean soil on top. The dumping nowadays is done by orchestrating fires , and once the fire is burning the chemical waste is dumped on the fire. This produces toxic fumes. And a lot of the toxic materials end up in the bottom due to the rain and the water used by the fire department when extinguishing the fire.

This has resulted in extreme levels of heavy metals and other toxic materials in the fruits and vegetables that farmers grow on the lands surrounding all these illegal dump sites. It has caused variations of cancer which you normally come across with elderly people , now people as young as a couple of months have been diagnosed with these types of cancer.

More shockingly the money to clean up this mess, paid for by among others the European tax payers , ended up in the pockets of the criminals that dumped it their in the first place, cleaning absolutely nothing. All this has never been checked , although there was a nice piece of paper outlining all the parameters of the cleaning. But nobody cares after the ink is dry. And in the statistics it’s probably marked as clean again. In the meantime everything stays the same. And nobody wakes up.

The documentary (in Dutch). De gifcirkel

Cookie laws and Google adsense

Since I rebooted my site I had a Google adsense banner on my site, just to see if I could get some revenue out of it. Today I removed it since Google sent me a mail stating they are actively complying with the EU cookie law. Which means I have to ask permission for the use of cookies and especially the adsense cookies. Unfortunately the laws are different from country to country. In the Netherlands, which is were I live and host this site I have to ask permission before the cookies are placed. Other country’s do not require this.

So for now, I have removed the ad and I am going to find a solution to this first before I put the ad back on my site.

Learning Linux

Well , since I have a very very old laptop which used to run windows 7 and got extremely slow, I now installed Ubuntu on it.

Which is easy, simply next next next and yout there.

A bit of a travel companion, doing some browsing , editing pics and creating docs and that was it. Now I have decided to use it as a programming tool as well. Using phyton, which is free and very good, apparently.

The thing is I never had to use all the different Linux commands until now. Learning again , which thanks to the good old internet is fun :).