TIL – 2/6/16

I was listening to the radio and learned about the term: designated survivor.

A clearly defined line of succession has been established for when the U.S. president is … unavailable. And if everyone in that line of succession is likewise … unavailable … then a person is arranged to be the designated successor. For example, during the State of the Union Address, pretty much everyone in the presidential line of succession is in attendance. If something were to happen to everyone attending that event, then the designated survivor would become Acting President.

During the event, the designated survivor is given presidential-level security and waits out the time at an undisclosed location.

So that’s a thing I learned today on the drive home from the gym.

(Yesterday) I Learned – 2/5/16

I learned that smooshing half a ripe avocado on toast and adding a little bit of salsa, shredded cheddar cheese, and sliced black olives is very tasty.

I also learned (still listening to the audiobook) that the number one thing that makes a house look messy is cluttered surfaces. A solution? Take a page from FlyLady and focus on tackling “hotspot” surfaces in 15 minute bursts. (See this article for additional tips)

I think 15 minute bursts would work better for me than what I’ve been doing, which is ignoring the problem and waiting for a mythical free day to do it all at once.

I’ve become an expert at tuning out the “mess” frequency, but I can usually trick myself into doing something for 10-15 minutes without overanalyzing the situation. (Note to self: consider applying this trick to writing.)

When I got home from work last night I performed the burst trick on the island counter in our kitchen. It’s not completely mess free, but you can see an improvement. Daily mail continues to be my Kryptonite. I especially hate thick envelopes from the credit card companies which contain nothing but ads or credit offers because I feel like I need to shred any identifying details, so it involves separating regular paper inserts from the pre-filled forms and taking the to-shred pile downstairs and stacking it another box… Ugh.

And then there’s the half-finished projects and stalled hobbies and fancy cookware I rarely use cluttering up the rest of the place…

Basically, I live in the house of good intentions. And that’s fine, as long as those good intentions get organized once in a while.

TIL – 2/4/16

Still listening to the same audiobook about making the most of your 168 hour week.

Today I learned about a resource for reporters, Help A Reporter. You can sign up as a Source or as a Journalist. There is a free version and a subscription version.

I also learned about the importance of asking yourself: What does the next level look like? And then from there, reverse engineering the accomplishments you would need to have achieved to reach that point. Do you have to publish a certain number of scholarly articles in specific publications? Do you need to know how to use certain types of software?

In figuring out the accomplishments, consider attaching a number to the goal. Increase income or profits by x. Publish x more than now. Decrease time spent on audio editing by x. Whatever. Be thinking of tangible outcomes and what the next level looks like.

Today I Learned – 2/3/16

Day two and it’s already getting hard to think of things.

I listened to about an hour of the audiobook I mentioned yesterday on my commute. Today’s theme was focusing on core competencies during your day job and finding ways to minimize, ignore, or outsource tasks that take you too far from those core competencies.

Today I Learned

I’d like to try to learn something every day. To that end, here is what I learned today:

Instead of saying you don’t have time to do something, try saying that the thing isn’t a priority. When you say you don’t have time, you are putting the responsibility on someone or something else. For example, reword “I don’t have time to read to my child at night,” to “it’s not my priority to read to my child at night.” Well, is that true? And if it’s not true, why do you let other items steal that time away from what you’d really rather be doing — especially when those items might be busy work like checking Facebook or email? If it is true, maybe there’s a reason that reading isn’t a priority, like the books aren’t very interesting. So … now you know to get different books.

Paraphrased from 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam

I like this lesson because it forces you to admit to yourself that there are some things you feel like you should be doing, but don’t want to do and so it’s easier to say “I don’t have time.”  Better to admit that you could probably find the time, but the reality is you just don’t want to.  Save yourself the guilt and work with the priorities you actually intend.