(Technically, this is going up after boot camp day #6, but I wrote most of it over the weekend.)
The biggest surprise after four days of boot camp? I reckon I could see this damn programme right out to the end.
That’s interesting for two reasons:
- As I mentioned in my last post, my immediate reaction to an eight week boot camp was “hell, no!”, and
- I’ve been notoriously bad at seeing projects out to the finish.
What’s the difference between this activity – which involves sustained, intense physical action at inconvenient hours of the day – and others I’ve abandoned in the past, like my second and third tilts at NaNoWriMo, my other attempts to write a novel and the like?
On Saturday, I:
- Weeded part of the vegetable bed.
- Painted the detail on my Asura.
- Cooked dinner, especially the frozen pies which looked like they weren’t going to cook through.
- Helped Vickie fold a set of sheets.
- Caught up on some missed sleep from the night before.
I’ve had this saying, which I most tend to use at work. I usually use it in the context of myself. I’ll get joyous or relieved abut something I’ve just done, which someone will point out isn’t too much of a big deal.
To that someone, I say:
I take my victories where I find them!
- Rob Farquhar
It’s something to remember, especially when working in a business as deadline driven as a daily newspaper. There are a lot of little things that you need to do to make sure the big win at the end of every day – an edition filled with enough advertising to positively contribute to each day’s overall target – happens. As with every work place, there’s a lot that can go wrong.
While I might celebrate the victories, though, I’m less effective at keeping track of them.
The dreaded M-word. No one really wants to go to meetings: A bunch of people droning on about targets and metrics, goals and actions, grinding axes and scoring points. (What’s that trusim? What to make sure nothing gets done? Have a meeting.)
But what about when it’s just you and your solopreneur business? How can you have meetings when there’s no one else to meet with?
You likely have things that are just as dull and dry called “weekly reviews.” Maybe you look forward to them when you’re in full-on Venkman mode, in the swing of your personal business, but in the beginning, when going into business for yourself sounds hella cool but looks pants-packingly scary (like a green slimy ghost charging down the hallway of an upscale New York hotel hotel at you), why would you want to spend time with yourself admitting how much you sucked in the last week and setting up all new ways for yourself to suck next week?
Well, what if I could told you you could invite others to your meeting – awesome others - and still have it be just you?
After bragging about finishing off a priority before launch date, I think it’s time to get into one of the four others on my list.
I’m keen on getting into some things, exploring opportunities. But right at the moment, I don’t fully trust myself to actually fulfill my promises, mostly because I tend to misplace them. I’m either not paying full attention when I make the promise or I’m afraid of actually pulling out a notebook and storing it for fear of being ridiculed for not having a good memory.
And when I do note the promise down, there’s the issue of transferring it to somewhere I can find (or be reminded of) it easily when I’m in the right circumstances to get it done.
That’s why I’m keen to get organised. When I wrote about my five priorities, I stated that I want a smoothly-operating productivity system and organising habits. That, I now realise, was a rather dry way of saying that I want to trust that I’m doing the right things to ensure I take the small and large steps toward fulfilment of my priorities.
And I have two-and-a-half months to earn my own trust by.
Organising is a bugbear of mine. I’ve tried implementing David Allen’s Getting Things Done system, but the end result has been more mess than mastery of all things me. Still, I’m coming back to the idea of ensuring that I have a place for everything important in my life and a way of ensuring I remember the things I need to do when I’m in the ideal time and place to get them done in.
While that goal is still some time and work off, I recently discovered two tips – both organisational, but one also mindset-oriented – that are helping me get the hang of where I am right now and what I need to concentrate on.
Back in September of last year, I splurged $120 on some sound kit in order to improve the quality of my podcast recordings. I’ve not regretted my purchase of the Behringer PodcaStudio USB, but I’ve often felt like I’m under-utilising it. I think I could be making adjustments to improve the sound quality I get from it; I’m just not sure what.
Last night (July 8th), I decided that it was time to educate myself. I got the user manual for the Studio’s included sound board, the Xenyx 502, out and sat down to read it.
And was blinded… with science!
Has it really been over a year since I last wrote about getting up early?
Well, in that time my overall success at the 5AM Challenge has been spotty. For a good while, after I lost my enthusiasm for writing a novel, I wound up setting the alarm back to six AM and just concentrating on getting ready for the day job.
Then I started thinking about it again, especially after I began building momentum on freelancing, and the alarm clock went back to five thirty. For the last few weeks I’ve had it back consistently to five, and I think I’ve got some things I can share about how we can all do it.
Personal branding. As if the very concept of “branding” wasn’t tricky enough, they throw this other concept at you. Isn’t developing your business identity for your web site, business cards, e-mail signatures and voice mail accounts enough?
Even if it weren’t, just what is a personal brand? What makes it different from a regular old brand?
And – scariest of all – why does it have to be so personal? Isn’t just being professional enough?
As someone who’s making his first, tentative steps into the field of freelancing, I can tell you that I know what a struggle all this is, especially when you’re trying to do everything on a shoestring. It’s tempting to put it off until later.
But I reckon that working to identify your personal brand is one of the things you really need to tackle first, because it’s going to help the people you want to do business with realise just why they ought to do business with you.
Let me start off with some good news:
Most card games are complex beasts, especially collectable and living card games, where each card has some way of altering the basic rules. It can make actually enjoying the game right out of the box difficult.
Android: Netrunner is no exception, especially as each of its two sides, Corp and Runner, have different playstyles and completely different cards. It means you can lose the game almost as soon as you start. While the game’s manual is thorough in terms of laying out the rules of the game, it’s a little sparse in terms of helping new players, well, play.
Here are a couple of suggestions that will help you ensure that your first few games of Netrunner will go for long enough for you to get the hang of it.
Facebook, if you’re subscribed to the right pages or people, can become a hall of positive thinking. It’s even better than those framed motivational posters you see on folks’ office walls.
There’s one quote I’ve been noticing lately, and it goes something like this:
“You’ve spent most of your life disapproving of yourself. Why not try approving of yourself and see where it gets you?”
I know the first half of it well. It’s why I manage to talk myself out a lot of things I’m otherwise keen on. I don’t think I’ll be able to do it, or I’m not worth the work or the result.
As probably mentioned before, it’s also a reason why a lot of folks close to me want to throttle me half the time.
But I’m trying to turn that around, and one of the things I’m doing is giving myself around half an hour of “me” time every evening. Just half an hour where I ask myself, “Okay, Rob: What do YOU want to do now?” And do what ever the answer is.
Ten or twelve days ago, the answer was, “Paint a Space Marine.” So I got out my paints and brushes and the sprues of Space Marine miniatures that Gav sent me up last year and got going.