Top Ten Things I’m Highly Grateful For

Posted: January 28th, 2011

You know, I seem to find myself whining a lot… clients late on payment, damn coffee stain on my computer screen. Well, enough of that. Positivity is the key to enlightenment, and to keep from writing that nasty email for today.

10. Twitter: live proof that you’re not the only one goofing off at any point in time.

9. IE8 because, without it, I don’t think I’d have much work to do.

8. Due to the evolution of being able to give a summary of Moby Dick in 140 characters or less, emails have followed now suit.

7. Ditto for calls.

6. !important;

5. Mashable: Keeps you up-to-date on things you should keep up with but don’t really give a crap about.

4. I haven’t gone blind yet from holding the mouse too long.

3. Ending the work days watching a beautiful sunrise.

2. The best education I’ve ever had: mistakes.

1. Spending each and every day staring into a 1600 X 1200. Just as long as I’m still above ground that day.

A New Approach to Setting Goals… Forget the Goals

Posted: January 21st, 2011

Photo by BazaarBizarreSF (Flickr)

Photo by BazaarBizarreSF (Flickr)

Another January rolls around and it’s the same thing over again. Reflect on the previous year, figure out what you accomplished and what you didn’t quite get to yet. Then set some goals and see where those lead to.

Pretty much the same for years on end.

Of course it’s important to have a yearly audit of your own business and find ways to improve. That, however, usually happens without even realizing it. Call this trial and error with a bit of growing up.

Then there comes the list of goals…¬† somewhat completed by the end of the year. Unless you can say you gave your absolute best effort into trying to achieve every last one of them, though, it would be hard to call it a success. More like somewhat of a success.

But, in my opinion, that translates into somewhat of a successful person, not exactly something to inspire to.

Well, my approach changed. Actually it’s been changed for the last several months and results, which carried over into the new year, have been surprising. So what is it?

Take care of yourself physically. Sounds simple but that requires change which isn’t so easy. But we are looking for change, are we not?

My take is that if you are sitting at your desk behind a computer for numerous hours on end then you need to be alert, motivated and ready for the long haul of a day. You can call it training for a daily freelancing marathon if you will.

One thing I realized is that, no matter how you think your own work is routine, if you are not at your best physically, then there is no way you can accomplish everything you want to in a day. Hence the somewhat success that results.

By no means am I a health expert but ask yourself a few questions.

Are you getting too little rest (or too much)? See what a full 7 – 8 hours of sleep a day has on your productivity. Not a minute more or less. Waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day also cures the oversleeping blues.

Are you getting enough exercise? I don’t need to repeat here anything you haven’t already heard before. Get out… break out that dusty gym card, walk around the neighborhood or bike to the next city. Whatever it takes to break a sweat and make a habit out of it.

Are you eating healthy? OK, I’d be a hypocrite if I said I still followed a completely healthy diet but at least try swapping some of that junk food for fruits and veggies. You’d be surprised how much of an effect unhealthy eating has on your energy levels throughout the day and the positive effect natural foods have on them.

These may all sound simple but it takes some time to really believe in them and make a part of your lifestyle. But if the end result means your productivity goes up and a few more of those New Year’s resolutions get done this year, isn’t it worth it?

No Go For The Status Quo

Posted: January 12th, 2011

Image by Vipez (Flickr)

Image by Vipez (Flickr)

I was a bit disturbed this week after viewing some news that really hit close to home. As you may have already heard, a shooting occurred in Tucson, Arizona where six people were killed, including a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl, and a U.S. congresswoman shot in the head.

Tucson is where I grew up and graduated college, not to mention, I regularly frequented the Safeway store where the shooting occurred.

What further disturbed me was that I found out in the headlines… all the way out in Spain.

Now, I have a general dislike of the media (though, yes, I do need some news sources once in a while) and couldn’t help but attribute the shooting as a product of the media and some deranged young man whose switch suddenly flipped. I could go on and on about that but that’s not what this post is about.

I’ve thought a lot about it in the last few days but my real beef with the media is its extreme power in shaping our actions without us knowing whether we are really hearing the truth or some crap to get our attention. This especially hold true when it comes to our employment. In case you haven’t you heard:

“Job prospects remain grim for 2011” – Chicago Tribune

“Unemployment rises to 9.8%” – Miami Herald

“Evergreen Solar to cut 800 jobs as it tries to compete with China” – Boston Globe

And my favorite…

“A Modest Proposal to Stimulate Employment and Fight Terrorism” – NYT

I’d be lying if I said I never always trusted the media because, at one point in my life, I’d get my daily dose of CNN “world” news and the then the local news at 10 PM. I still remember that “It’s ten o’ clock. Do you know where your children are?” in that eery voice as it comes on.

But these were the days when I believed it was hard to find a good job and maybe I should consider further education to expand my degree. If I remember correctly, around the begining of the last decade, the job market was requiring skills beyond a bachelor’s degree.

In other words, I followed the status quo right to the tee.

As I began my freelance career, it took a few years to realize not to believe everything I hear in the news, if anything at all. In fact, I can sum up all the news for you in two sentences. If the economy is going south, there’s no jobs. If it’s in a boom, it’s still hard to find a job in a crowded job market.

Complete bullshit.

I can sum up the REAL news you need to know in two sentences. If there was no work  available, there would be NO economy. There is an economy and, in fact, economies all over the world so work must be available.

Of course, it isn’t to say that work is that easy to get. It takes a lot of work and, pardon the expression, some balls to get the work you desire but it’s there for the taking.

Now it’s time to get to it… or sit back and wait for the news to come back on again.