7 ways to grow the action habit and get things done!
People at the top of every profession share one quality in common that supersedes intelligence, talent and connections — they get things done. This is what determines the size of your salary and the speed of your career advancement. Some relevant quotes:


· The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will. (Vince Lombardi the American Football coach)

· Success has been cited as being 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.

· There’s an old saying that goes “There are three types of people in the world, Those who make things happen, Those who watch things happen, and Those who say, “What happened?” make sure that you’re one of those that make things happen!


However, despite the simplicity of this whole concept there seems to be a perpetual shortage of people who excel at getting results. The action habit — the habit of putting ideas into action now — is essential to getting things done. And what you will see from below is that the biggest individual factor in getting things done is the ability or even the decision to actually take action, it really can be as simple as that. Too often we seem to look for reasons to do just the opposite, to put barriers up to ‘create’ reasons not to take action, to procrastinate. Yet by diligently following these simple steps over time it’s possible to change this behaviour and consistently get things done!

Here are 7 ways you can grow the action habit:

1. Don’t wait for conditions to be perfect
Conditions will never be ‘just perfect’ and perhaps waiting for them to be so is just a form of mental procrastination. So make a start and deal with the issues as and when they arise. You may come up against an issue and judge that it might have been better to start earlier (or later), but hindsight is a wonderful thing and really there never is a perfect time to start, issues might arise at any time and you just have to deal with them.
Don’t procrastinate – don’t put off till tomorrow what can be done today – TAKE ACTION and do it NOW!

2. Be a doer
Don’t just talk about it, think about it or put it on a list, get on and do it! Take action; don’t just think about taking action but make the next step and actually do something. That may be the difference between a successful person and others, the ability to do….

3. Remember that ideas alone don’t bring success
Ideas are important, but they’re only valuable after they’ve been implemented. One average idea that’s been put into action is more valuable than a dozen brilliant ideas that you’re saving for “some other day” or the “right opportunity”. If you have an idea that you really believe in, do something about it. Unless you take action it will never go anywhere.

4. Use action to cure fear
Have you ever noticed that the most difficult part of public speaking is waiting for your turn to speak? Action is the best cure for this fear and once you get started the fear will disappear. The most difficult time to take action is the very first time. After the ball is rolling, you’ll build confidence and things will keep getting easier. This is very similar to previous items, get on with it, take action and don’t procrastinate!

5. Start your creative engine mechanically
One of the biggest misconceptions about creative work is that it can only be done when inspiration strikes. If you wait for inspiration to slap you in the face, your work sessions will be few and far between. Instead of waiting, start your creative motor mechanically. If you need to write something, force yourself to sit down and write. Put pen to paper. Brainstorm. Doodle. Again, what is needed here is ACTION, don’t wait, don’t procrastinate, take action, make a start and the ideas will flow…...

6. Live in the present
Focus on what you can do in the present moment. Don’t worry about what you should have done last week or what you might be able to do tomorrow. Focus your thoughts and your efforts on what you can actually impact on, don’t waste energy worrying about things that you cannot change (past events) or that might not happen!

7. Get down to business immediately
It’s often common practice for people to make small talk at the beginning of meetings and the same is true for individual workers. How often do you check email or RSS feeds or favourite news sites before doing any real work? These distractions will cost you serious time if you don’t bypass them and get down to business immediately. By becoming someone who gets to the point you’ll be more productive and people will look to you as a leader.
Note: This blog is based on an article by John Jorgensen which in turn was inspired by The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz.


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Often it seems that we take on and start tasks and then at some point get to the point where the task feels too great, progress is slow, there is a feeling of being overwhelmed, frustrated and stressed. And in the end the desire to progress fades and you feel like quitting.
It seems that our drive and motivation is stuttering and obstacles to progress seem everywhere. Distractions are all too easily taken up and procrastination sets in. Ultimately this can lead to work on the task stopping altogether, with seemingly no clear way of it progressing to a conclusion!
So how can we ensure that we stay focused on the task at hand and motivated to see it through to its conclusion? Here are some simple steps that should help.


1. Make sure you know what the task is!
It seems obvious, but make sure that you are effective rather than just efficient (see previous post) and make sure that you are working on things that actually need to be done! Don’t waste your time working on or worrying about irrelevancies, focus on what needs to be done.


2. Break down your task into bite size chunks.
By doing so you create smaller, more manageable tasks that are then less daunting, will seem easier to complete. Furthermore by completing these smaller tasks you will then feel the sense of achievement gained (rather than the previous feeling of being overwhelmed!).

3. Establish momentum!
Just making a start is the best way (and it seems sometimes the most difficult) to getting to the end of the task – but you have to do it! Pick something ‘easy’ to start with, or something that you know that you will enjoy, perhaps something that you know can be done reasonably quickly. Completing that task will give you a sense of achievement and satisfaction..… so use that and move onto the next task, then the next, and the next. Continue like this and a head of steam will build that will be difficult to stop – it’s called momentum!

4. Avoid distractions.
You need to continue the momentum that has built up and must remain focussed, what you don’t need are distractions. Some will be difficult to avoid but you must help yourself to stay focused on the job at hand, leave emails, you can view them later, and avoid the phone (if at all possible!)
We hear so much about multitasking and clearly that can be a positive thing. But sometimes what you need is focus, you need to avoid distractions to get the job done and in this sense multitasking can be your enemy! Focus on completing the task – everything else can be done later, by doing so you will achieve more, will then become even more motivated and (see momentum above) this will snowball!

5. Take breaks.
Sometimes it is necessary to take a break, just to go for a walk and clear the mind – particularly if the task involves sitting in front of a screen for hours on end! Perhaps stop for a quick chat with someone or have lunch, get a drink or have a stretch – but get up and leave your desk, going online does NOT count as a break!
Aim to build regular breaks into your day, perhaps a 5 minute break from your desk every hour. By doing so you will come back just a little refreshed and raring to go, so by taking time out you will almost certainly increase the amount that you will achieve throughout the day.


This article is an adaptation of one by Hani Al-Qasem for which I thank him.


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Efficiency isn’t effectiveness!

Posted on Wednesday, April 29, 2009, under , ,

Are you truly effective or just efficient?
A lot of popular time management advice is aimed at making you ever more efficient. Perhaps you’re constantly googling for blog enhancements or plug ins that you might be missing out on - thus improving your efficiency. Maybe you reorganize your email or paper filing system each week so that everything is impeccably organised.

But have you ever stopped to ask yourself – Am I being effective, or just being efficient? You can be really efficient, process things really fast and actually be very good at what you do, but are you doing the right things because that is what will make you effective rather than just efficient. So the first thing we need to clarify is the difference between being efficient and being effective.


Being efficient means processing things fast. You get through your to-do list quickly and, in any given task, you eliminate time-wasters.

Being effective means doing the right things. You eliminate time-wasting activities or “busy work” from your day.

So you could rephrase the question "Am I being effective, or just being efficient" into "Am I doing something that needs to be done, or am I just being busy for the sake of it"?

Another way to look at this is to think of effectiveness as the big picture. If you want to be truly effective, you need to think about what your values are and what you want to achieve in your life. This is hard work – and it’s the sort of work where you don’t get to show off an empty inbox or a neatly filed set of papers at the end of it. But it’s absolutely essential to do this big-picture thinking if you’re ever going to accomplish anything meaningful.

Your efficiency comes after this. Because, frankly, however efficient your system for organizing your MP3 collection, it’s unlikely to be particularly effective in contributing to your wider goals. You want to concentrate on being efficient at the tasks which really are significant. This might mean, for example, coming up with a system that saves you time and wasted energy when you take on a new project.

Increasing Your Effectiveness
So if being effective is more important than being efficient, how can you go about improving your effectiveness?

One way to start is to write down a list of all the commitments that you have in your life. Try dividing them into categories like your work, your relationships with family and friends, your community, and your education (if appropriate).

If you’re anything like most of us you might be surprised and even horrified to find out how much you’ve taken on. Do you really have the time and attention to carry out each of these commitments effectively? And which of these commitments is effective for you – do they add to your life, or just take up your time?

It’s never easy to say “no” to people, or to quit an activity that you’re currently engaged in. Sometimes, though, you’ll realize that to become more effective, you can’t simply keep ramping up your efficiency – you have to let something go and aim to become more effective.

Another great approach is to look at your values. What matters to you most in life? (You might want to list several things.) It could be your family, your health, your career, your bank balance, your free time, your education, a particular cause or all sorts of other things. There are no “right” values – everyone’s will be slightly different.

This blog is based on an article by Ali Hale, for which I thank her and to which I have added some of my own thoughts…


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St George

Posted on Thursday, April 23, 2009, under

Today is St George’s day, but who is St George?
Saint George is the patron saint of England. He's popularly identified with England and English ideals of honour, bravery and gallantry - but actually he wasn't English at all. It seems that very little, if anything, is known about the real Saint George. Pope Gelasius said that George is one of the saints "whose names are rightly reverenced among us, but whose actions are known only to God."

He is patron saint not only of England but also of Aragon, Catalonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, Germany and Greece; and of Moscow, Istanbul, Genoa and Venice (second to Saint Mark). He's also patron saint of soldiers, archers, cavalry and chivalry, farmers and field workers, riders and saddlers, and he helps those suffering from leprosy, plague and syphilis. In recent years he has been adopted as patron saint of Scouts.

Everything about Saint George is dubious, so the information below should be taken as mythical rather than real.
· Born in Cappadocia, an area which is now in Turkey
· Lived in 3rd century AD
· His parents were Christian
· Later lived in Palestine
· Became a Roman soldier
· Protested against Rome's persecution of Christians
· Imprisoned and tortured, but stayed true to his faith
· Beheaded at Lydda in Palestine
· 23rd April was named as Saint George's day in 1222

The story of Saint George is so wrapped in myth and legend that it's difficult to extract the historical facts of a real life. What we believe to be the truth is that George was born in Cappadocia, an area which is now in Turkey, in the 3rd century; that his parents were Christians; and that when his father died, George's mother returned to her native Palestine, taking George with her. George became a soldier in the Roman army and rose to the rank of Tribune.

The Emperor of the day, Diocletian (245-313 AD), began a campaign against Christians at the very beginning of the 4th century. In about 303 AD George is said to have objected to this persecution and resigned his military post in protest.

George tore up the Emperor's order against Christians. This infuriated Diocletian, and George was imprisoned and tortured - but he refused to deny his faith. Eventually he was dragged through the streets of Diospolis (now Lydda) in Palestine and beheaded. It's said that Diocletian's wife was so impressed by George's resilience that she became a Christian and that she too was executed for her faith.

Myths about St George
The image of George most familiar to us today is the saint dressed in a white tunic bedecked with a red cross, astride his stallion, and skewering a dragon as he rescues a fair maiden. This image probably depends more on late medieval ideal of the ‘Knight of Christ’.


The story of Saint George achieved mass circulation when it was printed in 1483 by Caxton in a book called The Golden Legend. This was a translation of a French book, which incorporated fantastic details of Saints' lives. The version that follows is from The Golden Legend:

St. George was a knight and born in Cappadocia. On a time he came in to the province of Libya, to a city which is said Silene. And by this city was a pond like a sea, wherein was a dragon which envenomed all the country.
The people of the town had begun to feed the dragon two sheep every day to prevent it attacking them; when the sheep failed, they began to give it one sheep and one man. The king decreed that the human sacrifice should be chosen by lot. This continued until the king's daughter was selected. The king tried to bargain his way out of it, but the townspeople were adamant that she should be delivered to the dragon just as many of their children had been. The king led his daughter to the place where the dragon was.

George, who was passing, asked the lady what was happening. She told him about the dragon and begged him to leave before it appeared and killed him too. Then said St. George: “Fair daughter, I shall help thee in the name of Jesus Christ”. She said: “For God's sake, good knight, go your way, and abide not with me, for ye may not deliver me”.
The dragon appeared and came running to them, St. George was upon his horse, drew out his sword, garnished him with the sign of the cross, and rode against the dragon which came towards him. He speared him and threw him to the ground.

The princess led the defeated dragon into the city, causing much panic and alarm until George told the people not to be afraid telling them to believe in God and Jesus Christ be baptised and he would slay the dragon
The king was baptised, followed by all his people, whereupon George killed the dragon and had it dragged out of the city (requiring four ox carts to do so) and its body thrown into the fields.
The king set up a church of Our Lady and Saint George. On the site there sprang up "a fountain of living water, which heals sick people that drink thereof".

How did he become England's patron saint?
George's fame had certainly reached England by the reign of Alfred the Great, but it really took off after the Crusades, when it was reported back that he had appeared before the crusaders outside Jerusalem in 1099, spurring them on to martial valour. He was much admired by European knights, and began to appear on banners taken into battle.

In 1222, the Synod of Oxford declared that St George's Day was a feast day in England. Not being English actually gave him an edge over other saints, such as Thomas à Becket, because it meant his cult was not associated with any particular part of the country, so when English knights set off to France to fight the Hundred Years War, they could do so in the name of St George without stirring up regional rivalries. As Shakespeare put it, in Henry V: "God for England, Harry and St George."


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The parable of the scorpion and the frog

Posted on Wednesday, April 22, 2009, under ,

Recognise that people do not change their nature, a leopard doesn’t change it’s spots etc…
I came across the parable of the frog and the scorpion recently….

"Hellooo Mr. Frog!" called the scorpion across the water, "Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the river?"
"Well now, Mr. Scorpion! How do I know that if I try to help you, you won’t try to kill me?" asked the frog hesitantly.
"Because," the scorpion replied, "If I try to kill you, then I would die too, for you see I cannot swim!"
Now this seemed to make sense to the frog. But he asked. "What about when I get close to the bank? You could still try to kill me and get back to the shore!"
"This is true," agreed the scorpion, "But then I wouldn't be able to get to the other side of the river!"
"Alright then...how do I know you wont just wait till we get to the other side and THEN kill me?" said the frog.
"Ahh...," crooned the scorpion, "Because you see, once you've taken me to the other side of this river, I will be so grateful for your help, that it would hardly be fair to reward you with death, now would it?!"
So the frog agreed to take the scorpion across the river. He swam over to the bank and settled himself near the mud to pick up his passenger. The scorpion crawled onto the frog's back, his sharp claws prickling into the frog's soft hide, and the frog slid into the river. The muddy water swirled around them, but the frog stayed near the surface so the scorpion would not drown. He kicked strongly through the first half of the stream, his flippers paddling wildly against the current.
Halfway across the river, the frog suddenly felt a sharp sting in his back and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the scorpion remove his stinger from the frog's back. A deadening numbness began to creep into his limbs.
"You fool!" croaked the frog, "Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?"
The scorpion shrugged, and did a little jig on the drowning frog's back.
"I could not help myself. It is my nature."
Then they both sank into the muddy waters of the swiftly flowing river.


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I borrowed this from "The Cure for What Ails You: How to Beat the Misery of Discontentment" posted on the great ZenHabits blog
Many people feel that there is something missing from their lives, that despite having everything they need they aren’t happy, aren’t content, cannot find satisfaction.
I’ve been through stages in my life like this, and I’ve also climbed out of such ruts more than once. I know it isn’t easy, but I also know that it’s possible. Looking back on these times in my life, when I overcame discontentment, I’ve realized there are three things you can do:
. 1. Change your attitude and perspective.
. 2. Take some kind of positive action.
. 3. Do something that gives you meaning.
And you can do one of these things or all three, all at once, one at a time, or in whatever combination works for you. They can work alone, or together.
Let’s look at each one of these solutions.


Change your attitude and perspective
This is huge. I can’t overstate the importance of how you look at things. And I know, the power of positive thinking is a cliche in the self-help world, but that’s because it works. It’s worked for me in everything I’ve done, and without it I would have accomplished nothing — no popular blog or best selling book, no running three marathons, nothing.
But it’s more than accomplishing things — by changing your attitude, you can become happy, almost immediately. It’s a choice.
Here are just a few but important ways:

1. Appreciate what you have. You already have some amazing things in your life, whether you realize it or not. Most of us have incredible family members, friends, other loved ones who love us back. Learn to appreciate what a miracle that is. Most of us have good health, which is another miracle. Most of us have eyes, with which to enjoy the amazing miracles of sunsets and nature and beauty all around us. Most of us have ears, with which to enjoy music, one of the greatest miracles ever. Be grateful for each of these things, and more! Take time every day, throughout the day, to thank life for all that it has given you, to thank others for what they give you, to be grateful.

2. Find good in everything. Everything can be seen in a negative way, or a positive way. I’ve said this before, but even the death of my grandfather was an opportunity for me to appreciate life more, to appreciate his amazing life, to appreciate the time I have with my loved ones, to be thankful I’m even alive. When I get sick, it’s a chance for me to rest. When I was jobless once, I had more time with my family, more chances to create, a fresh start on life. When your child is throwing a tantrum, he’s expressing himself, asserting his individuality, being human. Find the good in anything that normally irks you, in anyone who you have issues with.

3. Start believing that you can change things. A general feeling that things are too difficult to change, that they’ll never get better, can in itself be the cause of our problems. Instead, start believing that you can make things better, and you will open the doors for change. And you can change things — I’ve done it, and many, many others have too. It’s possible.

4. Enjoy the moment. Whatever you’re doing right now, or at any time during the day, take the time to enjoy it. Anything: reading, writing, talking with a co-worker, taking a shower, walking up stairs, eating, washing dishes, sweeping. Anything can be fully appreciated if you pay attention. It makes life better.


Take Some Kind of Positive Action
It doesn’t matter what the action is, as long as you’re doing something positive. Start small — just take a tiny little baby step. But start.
And you know what? Taking that little baby step will feel like a victory. Then take that feeling of success and use it to take another little tiny baby step. And another. And then, yet another. And so on, until you look back and you’ve actually taken a series of baby steps that add up to a whole great amount of traveling. It’s amazing how the power of little positive steps can add up over time.
Two good places to start:

1. Exercise. Just do 10 minutes of exercise a day. Walk, jog, swim, do yoga, pilates, pushups, it don’t matter. The act of exercising regularly will make you feel amazing. It can turn your life around. Use this great feeling to do something else good. Read more: start the exercise habit, simple beginner programs.

2. Decluttering. Just declutter one shelf, one tabletop or countertop, one little corner of a room. That’s it. Just start, and then bit by bit (or a whole bunch at a time), continue to declutter. You’ll feel great. It’ll help you create the surrounding you need to change your life. Read more: how to declutter, 5-minute ways to start decluttering, great decluttering tips, fighting and beating clutter entropy.
These are just two suggestions that have worked for me and many others. But there are many other good ways to start: wake earlier, meditate, do some yardwork or housework, start paying off debt, or one of the actions in the next section, for example.


Do Something That Gives You Meaning
Often we feel dissatisfied with life because while we might have a good life — at least, all the comfort and leisure we need — we might not be doing anything that feels worthwhile. It might feel meaningless.
The cure: find meaning, do something meaningful. Just a few ways:

1. Spend time with loved ones. I love spending time with my wife and kids, with my sisters and parents, and other loved ones. It gives me joy. It feels more meaningful than most other things I do (besides writing). I recommend you take the time to do something with a loved one — just go for a walk, play a game together, have a conversation, it doesn’t matter what. Really be there — don’t be thinking of other things you need to do. Really listen. Really try to help the person if possible. It will make a difference in both your lives.

2. Volunteer. This is a common suggestion, but that’s because it’s so awesome. There is nothing like giving yourself — your time, you love — to something you feel is worthwhile. Make a call today to find out how to volunteer for an organization you like, and make an appointment on your calendar.

3. Create something meaningful. As I said above, writing is something that is very meaningful to me. Any kind of creating — whether it be writing, drawing, playing music, designing, building something — can bring meaning to your life. You’re creating something new, expressing yourself, sharing it with others so that it may enrich their lives and the world in general.

4. Make the lives of others better. Volunteering is just one way to accomplish this. But you could also think about your loved ones, your neighbors, others in the world around you, and think about how you can help them, make their lives better, even in a small way. That might mean baking them cookies, listening to them, cleaning for them, writing a kind letter, buying a nice gift, anything.



These are just a few ways, of course — there are lots of ways to do something meaningful. These have worked for me, but I’m sure you’ve found your own ways.



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A bullet point list for self development, improvement, motivation and well being
Earlier this year I received this via email titled "Handbook 2009" but of course its pretty much applicable for the whole of your life and not just any particular year. There’s some fantastic stuff in here, simple, succinct and to the point bullet point tips for life and self development.


Health:
1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and less that are produced in factories.
4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.
5. Make time to practice meditation, yoga, and prayer.
6. Play more games.
7. Read more books than you did last year.
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
9. Sleep for 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk every day, and..

11. While you walk, look around at your environment, take things in and smile.

Personality:
1. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
2. Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
3. Don't over do it. Keep your limits.
4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
6. Dream more while you are awake.
7. Envy is a waste of time and energy. You already have all you need.
8. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
9. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
10. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
11. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
12. Realise that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like maths classes, but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
13. Smile and laugh more.
14. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

Society:
1. Call your family often.
2. Each day give something good to others.
3. Forgive everyone for everything.
4. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
5. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
6. What other people think of you is none of your business.
7. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

Life:
1. Do the right thing!
2. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
3. Time heals.
4. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
5. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
6. The best is yet to come.
7. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
8. Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy.


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Procrastination is so wasteful, it adds to individuals stress and worries and grinds away inside, gradually wearing you down...
Procrastination seems to be so very common and almost a natural thing that many people do on a regular basis without even trying! To be good at it there’s nothing you have to learn and of course nothing to do (quite literally!). But it does take discipline to overcome it.
Here are 3 very usable, simple and easy to remember tips that if you apply should help you to overcome procrastination and get things done!


1) Clarity
You need to be clear on what needs to be done, how and when and perhaps how long it will take you to do it. Think things through properly, most things probably seem much worse than they actually are and when you actually get on with them can get them done quite quickly.
So don’t add things that you don’t fully understand to your to do list….. if you don’t fully understand and are not clear on what needs to be done, when and how then you’ll always put it off.


2) Give 15 minutes
Every task you’re working on needs to get at least 15 minutes of your full attention. If you’re not sure how long it will take in addition to these 15 minutes - that’s fine. But first, spend 15 minutes honestly trying your best working on the task.
This rule is particularly useful for tasks you’re not interested in or not keen on doing. They’re usually the ones which you know you have to do, but you don’t really want to. So spend 15 minutes working on such a task, and get rid of all the interruptions and distractions under your control. 15 minutes of really focused effort will get you under way and the chances are that you’ll then be motivated enough to continue…


3) Do one more thing
Whenever you start thinking to yourself that you’ve had enough with the task and it’s time to drop it and move on to something else, then do one more thing towards it’s completion - and then move on.
Quite often we feel fed up with tasks to the point that we struggle to get things done. We just want to leave them and walk away. Of course we’ll have to get back to them to finish, but it’s easier just to walk away.
The problem is in your mind this then just goes round and round adding to the pressure and stress and leaving you wasting time stressing over it. Consequently the more things you leave unfinished, the slower you’ll be able to get things done. So concentrate on finishing things, this frees up your thinking power for working on your new things.




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More strange but true...

Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009, under ,

Here are some more amazing but true facts...

  • During the Medieval Crusades, transporting bodies off the battlefield for burial was a major problem, this was solved by carrying a huge cauldron into the Holy wars, boiling down the bodies, and taking only the bones with them.

  • The word 'denim' comes from 'de Nimes', Nimes being the town the fabric was originally produced.

  • It is a criminal offence to drive around in a dirty car in Russia.

  • The Great Pyramid of Giza consists of 2,300,000 blocks each weighing 2.5 tons.

  • The Emperor Caligula once decided to go to war with the Roman God of the sea, Poseidon, and ordered his soldiers to throw their spears into the water at random.

  • In 1726, at only 7 years old, Charles Sauson inherited the post of official executioner.

  • Sir Winston Churchill rationed himself to 15 cigars a day.

  • Though it is forbidden by the Government, many Indians still adhere to the caste system which says that it is a defilement for even the shadow of a person from a lowly caste to fall on a Brahman ( a member of the highest priestly caste).

  • In parts of Malaya, the women keep harems of men.

  • The childrens' nursery rhyme 'Ring-a-Ring-a-Roses' actually refers to the Black Death which killed about 30 million people in the fourteenth-century.

  • While at Havard, Edward Kennedy was suspended for cheating in a Spanish exam.

  • During the reign of Elizabeth I, there was a tax put on men's beards.

  • Idi Amin, one of the most ruthless tyrants in the world, before coming to power, served in the British Army.

  • Some Eskimos have been known to use refrigerators to keep their food from freezing.

  • It is illegal to play tennis in the streets of Cambridge.

  • Custer was the youngest General in US history, he was promoted at the age of 23.
    The American pilot Charles Lindbergh received the Service Cross of the German Eagle form Hermann Goering in 1938.

  • The active ingredient in Chinese Bird's nest soup is saliva.

  • Marie Currie, who twice won the Nobel Prize, and discovered radium, was not allowed to become a member of the prestigious French Academy because she was a woman.

  • It was quite common for the men of Ancient Greece to exercise in public .. naked.

  • John Paul Getty, once the richest man in the world, had a payphone in his mansion.

  • Iceland is the world's oldest functioning democracy.

  • Adolf Eichmann (responsible for countless Jewish deaths during World war II), was originally a travelling salesman for the Vacuum Oil Co. of Austria.

  • The national flag of Italy was designed by Napoleon Bonaparte.

  • The Matami Tribe of West Africa play a version of football, the only difference being that they use a human skull instead of a more normal ball.

  • John Winthrop introduced the fork to the American dinner table for the first time on 25 June 1630.

  • Elizabeth Blackwell, born in Bristol, England on 3 February 1821, was the first woman in America to gain an M.D. degree.

  • Abraham Lincoln was shot with a Derringer.

  • The great Russian leader, Lenin died 21 January 1924, suffering from a degenerative brain disorder. At the time of his death his brain was a quarter of its normal size.

  • When shipped to the US, the London bridge ( thought by the new owner to be the more famous Tower Bridge ) was classified by US customs to be a 'large antique'.

  • Sir Winston Churchill was born in a ladies' cloakroom after his mother went into labour during a dance at Blenheim Palace.

  • In 1849, David Atchison became President of the United States for just one day, and he spent most of the day sleeping.

  • Between the two World War's, France was controlled by forty different governments.The 'Crystal Palace' at the Great Exhibition of 1851, contained 92 900 square metres of glass.

  • It was the custom in Ancient Rome for the men to place their right hand on their testicles when taking an oath. The modern term 'testimony' is derived from this tradition.

  • Sir Winston Churchill's mother was descended from a Red Indian.
    The study of stupidity is called 'monology'.

  • Hindu men believe(d) it to be unluckily to marry a third time. They could avoid misfortune by marring a tree first. The tree ( his third wife ) was then burnt, freeing him to marry again.

  • The Ecuadorian poet, José Olmedo, has a statue in his honour in his home country. But, unable to commission a sculptor, due to limited funds, the government brought a second-hand statue ... Of the English poet Lord Byron.

  • More money is spent each year on alcohol and cigarettes than on Life insurance.In 1911 3 men were hung for the murder of Sir Edmund Berry at Greenbury Hill, their last names were Green, Berry , and Hill.

  • A firm in Britain sold fall-out shelters for pets.

  • During the seventeen century , the Sultan of Turkey ordered his entire harem of women drowned, and replace with a new one.

  • Lady Astor once told Winston Churchill 'if you were my husband, I would poison your coffee'. His reply …' if you were my wife, I would drink it ! '

  • There are no clocks in Las Vegas casinos.

  • On 9 February 1942, soap rationing began in Britain.

  • Paul Revere was a dentist. The Budget speech on April 17 1956 saw the introduction of Premium Savings Bonds into Britain. The machine which picks the winning numbers is called "Ernie", an abbreviation, which stands for' electronic random number indicator equipment'.

  • Chop-suey is not a native Chinese dish, it was created in California by Chinese immigrants.

  • The Russian mystic, Rasputin, was the victim of a series of murder attempts on this day in 1916. The assassins poisoned, shot and stabbed him in quick succession, but they found they were unable to finish him off. Rasputin finally succumbed to the ice-cold waters of a river.

  • Bonnie Prince Charlie, the leader of the Jacobite rebellion to depose of George II of England, was born 31 December 1720. Considered a great Scottish hero, he spent his final years as a drunkard in Rome.

  • The Liberal Prime Minister, William Gladstone, was born of the 29th December 1809. Apparently, as a result of his strong Puritan impulses, Gladstone kept a selection of whips in his cellar with which he regularly chastised himself.

  • A parthenophobic has a fear of virgins.

  • South American gauchos were known to put raw steak under their saddles before starting a day's riding, in order to tenderise the meat.

  • There are 240 white dots in a Pacman arcade game.

  • In 1939 the US political party 'The American Nazi Party' had 200,000 members.

  • King Solomon of Israel had about 700 wives as well as hundreds of mistresses.Urine was once used to wash clothes.

  • North American Indian, Sitting Bull, died on 15 December 1890. His bones were laid to rest in North Dakota, but a business group wanted him moved to a 'more natural' site in South Dakota. Their campaign was rejected so they stole the bones, and they now reside in Sitting Bull Park, South Dakota.

  • St Nicholas, the original Father Christmas, is the patron saint of thieves, virgins and communist Russia.

  • Dublin is home of the Fairy Investigation Society.
    Fourteen million people were killed in World War I, twenty million died in a flu epidemic in the years that followed.

  • People in Siberia often buy milk frozen on a stick.

  • Princess Ann was the only competitor at the 1976 Montreal Olympics that did not have to undergo a sex test.

  • Ethelred the Unready, King of England in the Tenth-century, spent his wedding night in bed with his wife and his mother-in-law.

  • Coffins which are due for cremation are usually made with plastic handles.

  • Blackbird, who was the chief of Omaha Indians, was buried sitting on his favourite horse.
    The two highest IQ's ever recorded (on a standard test) both belong to women.

  • The Tory Prime Minister, Benjamin Disreali, was born 21 December 1804. He was noted for his oratory and had a number of memorable exchanges in the House with his great rival William Gladstone. Asked what the difference between a calamity and a misfortune was Disreali replied: 'If Gladstone fell into the Thames it would be a misfortune, but if someone pulled him out again, it would be a calamity'.

  • The Imperial Throne of Japan has been occupied by the same family for the last thirteen hundred years.

  • In the seventeenth-century a Boston man was sentenced to two hours in the stocks for obscene behaviour, his crime, kissing his wife in a public place on a Sunday.

  • President Kaunda of Zambia once threatened to resign if his fellow countrymen didn't stop drinking so much alcohol.

  • Due to staggering inflation in the 1920's, 4,000,000,000,000,000,000 German marks were worth 1 US dollar.

  • George Washington grew marijuana in his garden.

  • Gorgias of Epirus was born during preparation of his mothers funeral.
    The city of New York contains a district called 'Hell's Kitchen'.

  • The city of Hiroshima left the Industrial Promotion Centre standing as a monument the atomic bombing.

  • On 7 January 1904 the distress call 'CQD' was introduced. 'CQ' stood for 'Seek You' and 'D' for 'Danger'. This lasted only until 1906 when it was replaced with 'SOS'.

  • A ten-gallon hat holds three-quarters of a gallon.


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For the last couple of weeks the weather in Dorset has been fantastic and it's remarkable to think that little more than 9 days before thie period I was virtually stuck in the snow on my drive to work! Well now we have seen temperatures as high as 15 deg C, perfectly clear blue skies and it's been really quite warm for the time of year in Dorset. Although for the last 3 or 4 days the temperatures have taken a bit of a tumble and a cold wind is certainly more noticeable.

Below freezing temperatures in the morning with frost on the grass rising throughout the day to give glorious afternoons with a positively summer feel to them and then as dusk comes along the temperatures drop rapidly.
During the day, whilst in the sun it's like a summers day, the rural Dorset countryside is changing, the daffodils are out, fields are being ploughed and seed sown.


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We all seem to be so busy these days - life seems to be one mad rush from the start of the day to the end, there are endless tasks to be done, jobs & projects to be moved along, meetings to attend, errands to run, chores and cooking to be done, email, phone calls and texts to handle, paperwork and numerous other routine things to be done. It can be overwhelming sometimes the common time-management systems and routines just don't seem applicable and to do lists at the end of the day seem longer than those you started with!











So what are we to do? Well what about throwing out the traditional systems and learning a more focused, yet at the same time free-flowing system that changes with the situation and doesn't make you feel obligated to do everything on your list. Throw out your schedule and you'll never feel guilty about not keeping it again. Does that mean you won't get things done? Of course not, in fact, if you learn to work effectively, you can simplify your time-management system, reduce stress, and at the same time accomplish more. Here's how:

1) Keep your schedule open
Stop scheduling everything - filling your day with things to-do just leaves you with too little time to do it all, and it allows no time for the inevitable unexpected things that always seem to come up. Instead, schedule as little as possible. Of course there will always be some things that need to be scheduled, but everything else should be left open. And in respect of what you do with that time just go with the flow, make sure that you identify and focus on the important things, and take them one thing at a time.

2) Go with the flow
So what do we mean by this? Basically you have to learn to adapt to each situation as it comes up, and respond appropriately - not as if it's an emergency, but just what is needed. Sometimes that means dealing with the important task you need to complete right now, sometimes that means handling an urgent situation that comes up, other times that means dealing with unexpected visitors or phone calls. There's no way to plan for the unexpected, so don't try. Just learn to deal with them as they come up, and figure out what's most important to deal with right now, and take everything in stride and deal with it calmly and appropriately.

3) Fewer, high-impact tasks
If you only do three things a day, and can then feel like you've accomplished something then that's good. So identify the important ones, write them down and focus on them - you'll obviously have to do other things but make sure that you get those three things done. Concentrate on them as much as possible, ignoring interruptions (like email!). Think of it as concentrating your productivity instead of spreading yourself out too thinly; focus on these few important tasks.

4) One task at a time
How do you ensure you get as much done as possible, by doing one thing at a time. It's easy to get caught up trying to do everything at once, making phone calls and sending emails while checking emails and writing, all at the same time. But in doing this it's hard to really accomplish anything. It's much more effective, and much less stressful, if you focus on just one thing at a time, get it done, and move on to the next thing. You'll be amazed at how much you get done this way.

5) Limit distractions
There are many ways to get busy and get distracted, they just create chaos and pull you in a thousand different directions. Instead, just go along one path and focus; limit your time browsing the Internet, checking email, making phone calls, etc. Shut off these distractions, clear them away, and focus. Get things done.

6) Reduce your commitments
Do you really need to be doing all of the things you are committed to, can you realistically achieve them? Consider reducing your commitments by being realistic and letting people know what you can actually achieve. They might not be happy about it, but you have to be realistic with them (and with yourself) and cutting back will release time on your schedule for the more important things.

7) Simplify your to-do list
Similarly, take a look at everything on your to-do list. First of all realising that the list will never be completely finished, as you will constantly be adding things to the list! Don't worry about getting it all done but do think about whether you really have time to do it all. If you can't then get out of some of the less important things and concentrate on the important ones.



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Some strange but true facts....

Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2009, under

A list of some strange and amazing facts, of no real use to anyone, but a good read....

  • The women of the Tiwi tribe in the South Pacific are married at birth.
  • When Albert Einstein died, his final words died with him. The nurse at his side didn't understand German.
  • St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was not Irish.
  • The lance ceased to be an official battle weapon in the British Army in 1927.
  • St. John was the only one of the 12 Apostles to die a natural death.
  • Many sailors used to wear gold earrings so that they could afford a proper burial when they died.
  • Some very Orthodox Jews refuse to speak Hebrew, believing it to be a language reserved only for the Prophets.
  • A South African monkey was once awarded a medal and promoted to the rank of corporal during World War I.
  • Born 4 January 1838, General Tom Thumb's growth slowed at the age of 6 months, at 5 years he was signed to the circus by P.T. Barnum, and at adulthood reached a height of only 1 metre.
  • Because they had no proper rubbish disposal system, the streets of ancient Mesopotamia became literally knee-deep in rubbish.
  • The Toltecs, Seventh-century native Mexicans, went into battle with wooden swords so as not to kill their enemies.
  • China banned the pigtail in 1911 as it was seen as a symbol of feudalism.
  • The Amayra guides of Bolivia are said to be able to keep pace with a trotting horse for a distance of 100 kilometres.
  • Sliced bread was patented by a jeweller, Otto Rohwedder, in 1928. He had been working on it for 16 years, having started in 1912.
  • Before it was stopped by the British, it was the not uncommon for women in some areas of India to choose to be burnt alive on their husband's funeral pyre.
  • Ivan the terrible claimed to have 'deflowered thousands of virgins and butchered a similar number of resulting offspring'.
  • Before the Second World War, it was considered a sacrilege to even touch an Emperor of Japan.An American aircraft in Vietnam shot itself down with one of its own missiles.
    The Anglo-Saxons believed Friday to be such an unlucky day that they ritually slaughtered any child unfortunate enough to be born on that day.
  • During the eighteenth century, laws had to be brought in to curb the seemingly insatiable appetite for gin amongst the poor. Their annual intake was as much as five million gallons.Ancient drinkers warded off the devil by clinking their cups.
  • The Nobel Prize resulted form a late change in the will of Alfred Nobel, who did not want to be remembered after his death as a propagator of violence - he invented dynamite.
  • The cost of the first pay-toilets installed in England was tuppence.
  • Pogonophobia is the fear of beards.
  • In 1647 the English Parliament abolished Christmas.
  • Mao Rse-Tang, the first chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, was born 26 December 1893. Before his rise to power, he occupied the humble position of Assistant Librarian at the University of Peking.
  • Coffee is the second largest item of international commerce in the world. The largest is petrol.
  • King George III was declared violently insane in 1811, 9 years before he died.In Ancient Peru, when a woman found an 'ugly' potato, it was the custom for her to push it into the face of the nearest man.
  • For Roman Catholics, 5 January is St Simeon Stylites' Day. He was a fifth-century hermit who showed his devotion to God by spending literally years sitting on top of a huge flagpole.
  • When George I became King of England in 1714, his wife did not become Queen. He placed her under house arrest for 32 years.
  • The richest 10 per cent of the French people are approximately fifty times better off than the poorest 10 per cent.
  • Henry VII was the only British King to be crowned on the field of battle.
  • During World War One, the future Pope John XXIII was a sergeant in the Italian Army.
  • Richard II died aged 33 in 1400. A hole was left in the side of his tomb so people could touch his royal head, but 376 years later some took advantage of this and stole his jawbone.
  • The magic word "Abracadabra" was originally intended for the specific purpose of curing hay fever.
  • The Puritans forbade the singing of Christmas Carols, judging them to be out of keeping with the true spirit of Christmas.
  • Albert Einstein was once offered the Presidency of Israel. He declined saying he had no head for problems.
  • Uri Geller, the professional psychic was born on December 20 1946. As to the origin of his alleged powers, Mr Geller maintains that they come from the distant planet of Hoova.
  • Ralph and Carolyn Cummins had 5 children between 1952 and 1966, all were born on the 20 February.
  • John D. Rockefeller gave away over US$ 500,000,000 during his lifetime.Only 1 child in 20 are born on the day predicted by the doctor.
  • In the 1970's, the Rhode Island Legislature in the US entertained a proposal that there be a $2 tax on every act of sexual intercourse in the State.
  • Widows in equatorial Africa actually wear sackcloth and ashes when attending a funeral.
  • The 'Hundred Years War' lasted 116 years.
  • The British did not release the body of Napoleon Bonaparte to the French until twenty days after his death.
  • Admiral Lord Nelson was less than 1.6 metres tall.
  • John Glenn, the American who first orbited the Earth, was showered with 3,529 tonnes of ticker tape when he got back.
  • Native American Indians used to name their children after the first thing they saw as they left their tepees subsequent to the birth. Hence such strange names as Sitting Bull and Running Water.
  • Catherine the First of Russia, made a rule that no man was allowed to get drunk at one of her parties before nine o'clock.
  • Queen Elizabeth I passed a law which forced everyone except for the rich to wear a flat cap on Sundays.
  • In 1969 the shares of the Australian company 'Poseidon' were worth $1, one year later they were worth $280 each.
  • Julius Caesar wore a laurel wreath to cover the onset of baldness.
  • Ernest Bevin, Minister of Labour during World War II, left school at the age of eleven.
  • At the age of 12, Martin Luther King became so depressed he tried committing suicide twice, by jumping out of his bedroom window.
  • It is illegal to be a prostitute in Siena, Italy, if your name is Mary.
  • The Turk's consider it considered unlucky to step on a piece of bread.
  • The authorities do not allow tourists to take pictures of Pygmies in Zambia.
  • The Dutch in general prefer their french fries with mayonnaise.
  • Upon the death of F.D. Roosevelt, Harry S Truman became the President of America on 12 April 1945. The initial S in the middle of his name doesn't in fact mean anything. Both his grandfathers had names beginning with 'S', and so Truman's mother didn't want to disappoint either of them.
  • Sir Isaac Newton was obsessed with the occult and the supernatural.
  • One of Queen Victoria's wedding gifts was a 3 metre diameter, half tonne cheese.
  • Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, never phoned his wife or his mother, they were both deaf.
  • It was considered unfashionable for Venetian women, during the Renaissance to have anything but silvery-blonde hair.
  • Queen Victoria was one of the first women ever to use chloroform to combat pain during childbirth.
  • Peter the Great had the head of his wife's lover cut off and put into a jar of preserving alcohol, which he then ordered to be placed by her bed.
  • The car manufacturer Henry Ford was awarded Hitler's Grand Cross of the Supreme Order of the German Eagle. Henry Ford was the inventor of the assembly line, and Hitler used this knowledge of the assembly line to speed up production, and to create better and interchangeable products.
  • Atilla the Hun is thought to have been a dwarf.
  • The warriors tribes of Ethiopia used to hang the testicles of those they killed in battle on the ends of their spears.
  • On 15 April 1912 the SS Titanic sunk on her maiden voyage and over 1,500 people died. Fourteen years earlier a novel was published by Morgan Robertson which seemed to foretell the disaster. The book described a ship the same size as the Titanic which crashes into an iceberg on its maiden voyage on a misty April night. The name of Robertson's fictional ship was the Titan.
  • There are over 200 religious denominations in the United States.
  • Eau de Cologne was originally marketed as a way of protecting yourself against the plague.
  • Charles the Simple was the grandson of Charles the Bald, both were rulers of France.
    Theodor Herzi, the Zionist leader who was born on May 2 1860, once had the astonishing idea of converting Jews to Christianity as a way of combating anti-Semitism.
  • The women of an African tribe make themselves more attractive by permanently scaring their faces.
  • Augustus II, the Elector of Saxony and King of Poland seemed to have a prodigious sexual appetite, and fathered hundreds of illegitimate children during his lifetime.
  • Some moral purists in the Middle Ages believed that women's ears ought to be covered up because the Virgin May had conceived a child through them.
  • Hindus don't like dying in bed, they prefer to die beside a river.


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Too busy, too rushed or simply too stressed to even think about how you could go about adding a positive spin to your life? Of course it all takes so much time: read a book, make a list, talk to this person, etc. If you do have the time, do you have the energy and determination?
It's tough. Sometimes, too tough.As I tried to clear my head during a walk recently, something occurred to me. Things often change due to short bursts of action that last 30 seconds or less. Think about it, think of how potent and life changing a mere thirty seconds could be.


Experience Your Life Differently
The more I thought about it, I began to really notice and feel how long thirty seconds was. Try it. Do nothing but focus only on your breath (nothing else) for a whole thirty seconds (a greta stress easer this one). You'll soon realize that thirty seconds is indeed a reasonable and worthy amount of time that can be used purposefully. Begin to explore all the things you can do with such a seemingly small moment of time. Use it wisely to make small contributions towards new habits and towards stopping wasteful ones. Imagine, gradually, thirty seconds, by thirty seconds, you will be able to experience your life differently without even really trying.

Grow Your 30 Second Muscle
All, you need to do is hold your focus on a something positive for a whole thirty seconds (without getting distracted), and follow through with thirty seconds of positive action. Voila! In under a minute you've made a positive and valuable change to the flow of your life.
I'm sure you can find thirty seconds somewhere in your day, or better still, (and think here about the value to you - find that time!) once every hour to make small, yet frequent positive changes to your life.

Here are some ideas.; you may consider some useful, some not. The point is that major change doesn't always have to take major effort or major amounts of time.


Start a 30 second savings habit
All it takes is 30 seconds to grab some cash and to put a coin, some change or a note into a daily savings jar. I have a little pink pig which I feed happily each day in under 30 seconds.

Reduce your electricity bill
30 seconds is all it takes to walk over to the wall, bend down and turn all your electrical appliances off at the wall that are not being used. After one month, my kids are now experts at this new money saving habit.

Lose the frown
All it takes is less than 30 seconds to turn a frown into a smile. A smile literally relaxes hundreds of muscles and releases pockets of stress and tension held in your face. Feel your face now for any unnecessary squinting, frowning, or tight muscles. And think about how much this can help others, smiles are infectious!

Start a 30 second clutter clearing session
Walk to a cluttered draw/cupboard or your desk and spend a huge thirty seconds grabbing one thing that you no longer need and throw it out. No fuss and no stress. Allow thirty seconds each day to clear at least one thing from your chosen place. The beauty of 30 seconds is that you haven't got any time to have a discussion or argument with yourself. If in doubt, throw it out.

Take a chill pill
How often do you hold your breath and suck in the stress. Spend longer on your exhale to support your body in releasing built up stress and tension. Ten seconds on the inhale and twenty seconds on the exhale is a good formula for inviting space into your body and creating distance between you and your worries.

Get unstuck
Always keep a copy of your favorite inspirational book or a list of your favourite inspiration quotes or readings close by. Open it randomly and read a few paragraphs to bring insight, to your current situation. I often pick up a book when my mind is going around in circles to regroup/refocus an unproductive mind. Perhaps use some of the pages from this blog?

Repeat a mantra
When confusion hits, step back, take a breather, and spend a valuable thirty seconds calming those erratic thoughts with a sanity saving mantra. One favorite is "I trust" and it allows people to "let go" and relax into the situation.

The 30 second detox
Did you know that 70% of waste is eliminated via your lungs? Improve the efficiency of your lungs by breathing deeply into your lower abdomen. Place your hands on your belly and feel it rise and fall with each breath cycle. A thirty second detox every hour will do wonders for your health (and of course your stress levels).

Stay hydrated
Your brain needs water to think clearly. It's the first place in the body to lose water. Get into the habit of sipping on water for thirty seconds every hour.

Do nothing for 30 seconds
Put some space between you and your hectic schedule. Treat yourself to regular 30 second breaks and give your body an opportunity to re-balance itself. Close your eyes, cup the palm of your hands over your ears and listen to the blissful sounds of the ocean playing inside your head.

Get rid of negative thoughts
Each time you catch yourself complaining or thinking negatively, spend thirty seconds focusing on the opposite and increase your ratio between helpful and unhelpful thoughts.

Take a 30 second exercise break
Stand up, roll your shoulders, stretch or try some wall push ups. Better still keep two cans of food beside your computer. When reading an article, grab a can in each hand and lift up to your shoulders and back down again, repeat as if lifting weights.

Adjust the speed of your day
Take some time out and notice if your mind is racing, your breathing shallow or your body feels rushed and uptight. Simply by taking thirty seconds to observe your body, you can slow down your thoughts, your breath and the speed of your day.
You might even realize that your body is hungry, thirsty or simply needs some fresh air.

Turn off the TV
Value your time. All it takes is 30 seconds to get up off your seat and turn the TV off. Then do something meaningful instead like talk to your family, read a book or connect to nature by taking a walk.

Eat mindfully
Take thirty seconds before you eat your meal to make sure you are settled, present and ready to smell, taste, eat and enjoy your food consciously. Breathe in "I am calm" Breathe out "I smile" Repeat five times.

Take a break at work
Perhaps every couple of hours why not put aside a whole 30 seconds or so to do nothing, to breathe, to relax and perhaps to stretch - before going back to work perhaps a little rejuvinated.


Try it today
Take 30 seconds to breathe, smile, stretch and cancel some negative thoughts and see how much better things are - all for the sake of 30 seconds! Amazing!



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Lets recharge those batteries! We all seem to be busy, always rushing and stressed, never any time to simply 'do nothing', it's as though we have been conditioned to be 'doing something', to be 'busy' at all times with never any time to calm down and truly relax.

A monk would no doubt explain that experiencing inner peace is synonymous with being happy about each moment and enjoying everything life throws at you. But we're not monks who spend their days meditating for their eternal ohm. Most of us lead busy lives: we play hard and work harder!
However sometimes we need to calm down, to relax, to recharge our batteries and take stock of our directions. If we don't do this then we can even run the risk of becoming ill, having a nervous breakdown or simply becoming a grump that no one can stand being around.
Today's society is geared so much toward production, productivity and performance that we have forgotten how to smell the flowers occasionally. We hardly have time to breathe and before we realize it, another day has rushed by.

We need to force ourselves to relax, to break away from our normal world...... Listed here are some (mostly) simple ideas for relaxing, try them. See if you can force yourself to find just 5 minutes to try some. Immerse yourself in it and you will probably see that the five minutes seems longer than just 5 minutes and you will feel calmer, refreshed and ready for whatever come next......

  • Go for a walk on the beach
  • Listen to classical music
  • Watch a river run over pebbles
  • Play with a pet
  • Cuddle a baby
  • Smile at a child
  • Get lost in the great outdoors
  • Collect shells at the beach
  • Play games
  • Meditate
  • Power nap
  • Do yoga
  • Do any sport that helps you to relax
  • Read a good book
  • Go sailing
  • Go hiking
  • Listen, really listen to your iPod
  • Watch a funny/kids movie
  • Sleep
  • Pray
  • Gaze into the landscape
  • Gaze into candlelight
  • Read by candlelight
  • Do some scrapbooking or go through some old photo's
  • Paint
  • Find a new hobby
  • Hibernate with a cup of herbal tea and a good book
  • Take a relaxing bath
  • Get a massage
  • Sing
  • Dance
  • Lie down in the grass and gaze up into the sky
  • Walk barefoot
  • Reflect on your life
  • Daydream
  • Take a long shower
  • Go on holiday
  • Go for a weekend getaway
  • Sit in the garden with a cold beer
  • Gaze up at the stars


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We live in a very busy, cluttered and unbalanced world and many of us can't even identify the areas of our life that need attention let alone balance them! It's very easy to get into this state. We typically go through similar routines every day: wake up, eat, work, eat, sleep...do over. If you don't find the time to at least think about the many varying aspects of your life, it's incredibly easy to simply lose balance.

Here are 13 quick points for you, they are purposely short and lack detail, think about them (there's plenty more info avalable if you want it). When was the last time you made a conscious effort to improve in any of these areas? Use these to help get balance in your life.


Your Spending
Are you spending too much, most people seem to! Take a good look at your monthly incomings and outgoings and make savings where you can. But, don’t be so cheap that you're cutting out birthday gifts or being rude at occasions. Remember, you can't take your money with you!
Your Time

This isn't always easy and even the best of us work too much and don’t take enough time out. Unfortunately your time is a limited resource so seek balance!
Your Diet

No breakfast and a big dinner, that’s the way a lot of us seem to eat (me included) and yet the opposite is usually a lot better for you! A big Breakfast and small dinner tends to be a better balance for most of us, or little and often throughout the day.
Your Cheque book

Little deliberate actions really make a difference when it comes to mastering your personal finances. Look after the pennies and the ounds will look after themselves.
Your Children

Trying to make sure that your children are balanced people is surely one of the most impoprtant things you can do in your life. Make sure that they give and take, that they study and enjoy, that they read as well as watching TV (there's lots of good informative stuff on TV, just filter out some of the dross!).
Your Meals

Too many carbs and not enough healthy fats (yes some are healthy and some fat is neede by the body), or too much fat and not enough carbs. There is really nothing wrong with a little junk food once in a while, but there is definitely something wrong with junk food all the time.
Your Net Worth

This is your balance sheet: Your assets – Your Liabilities = Your Net Worth. This is an accounting formula which always balances out, but it should be calculated from time to time. Ideally, you'd see an increase in your net worth each year.
Your Relationships

Do your friends drain you? Do you drain them? Good friendships are balanced, thought provoking, informative, enjoyable, with give and take and a little challenging.
The Tyres on your Car!

Why this one? Well it can save you thousands of pounds in fuel over the course of your life and at the same time make you a lot safer too - remember when you have to brake hard in the wet, the quality, performance and state of your tyres WILL make a difference!
Your Goals

Don't make them too hard or impossible, but ensure that they are challenging enough to excite and to stretch you.
Education and Action

Too much action without education and knowledge can lead to major mistakes and pitfalls. Not enough action on things we learn can wastes our education and knowledge. You either use it, or lose it, when it comes to education and knowledge.
Positives and Negatives

Too much positive feedback can kill us, we need some negative feedback too (in a constructive way of course, constructive criticism helps us improve). If you are not getting any negative feedback, ask more people to critique your work.
Your Portfolio

A balance between stocks and bonds (risk and safety), and then rebalancing as you age is essential to meeting your life long financial goals.


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The planning application for the proposed pub at the 'new' village of Charlton Down in Dorset is in, as mentioned in a previous post of mine. Residents meetings have been held and already letters against the application have been received by the authorities!

Below are some views/representations of the proposal for the pub at Charlton Down, it's certainly a tight squeeze on the available site for it and no space is left unused!
The first is an aerial 'view' showing the pub at the junction of Deveral Road and Sherren Avenue
The second is a 'view' showing the pub when looking from the direction of the shop.
The final 'view' shows the pub when looking from the direction of the village hall.
Lastly this is a plan of the internal ground floor layout of the pub, although space is obvioulsy very limited it does appear as though there are three tables outside!


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