Have you ever been lounging around, facebooking or googling, when suddenly you have a thought such as "I should buy a new toner cartridge for the printer," or "I should make a bunch of spaghetti and put it in the freezer pre-portioned?"  If you've had an idea then continued reading about a 400 lb woman who can dunk a basketball, then I'll bet you don't get as much stuff done as you would like.  Take control of your life by following these instructions:

STEP 1: GET A SMALL NOTEBOOK - something about 4 x 6 inches, 40-60 pages is perfect.  This notebook is now your best friend and goes everywhere with you.  You may even want to give it a name.  It will be your constant companion.  If you use it right, it may be even more important than a wallet or purse.  If you can find a notebook that holds a pen, you will be very happy that you did.

Note: You are free to try using a smart phone or device in place of a notebook, but as a rather geeky person myself, I still find the notebook has advantages (like drawing pictures) that my iPod touch can't handles quite as well.

Use pieces of masking tape to mark off each section.

Section 1 - To Do
This section should have about 3 times as many pages as any other section.  Every time you think of something you need to do, write it here.  This will be your most frequently used section.
Section 2 - Ideas 
Any random thoughts such as "fluorescent bulbs" or "bug collection" should go here.  There are no bad ideas, this section frees your mind to have wild imaginings without your inner realist shooting them down.
Section 3 - Lists
My lists section has lists of songs I'd like to buy, movies I want to watch, foods I could try cooking, my shopping list, people I'd like to interview, websites I've been told to visit, Books I want to read, etc.  I love section 3 because it always has answers to my personal "Jeopardy" questions such as "Someone last Thursday told me I have to see movie Z."  I look at my movies list... there it is!

Section 4 - Goals
Anything that takes multiple steps to accomplish is a goal.  Examples include "Run a 10k, save $20,000 for a down payment on a house, visit all 50 states, become a black belt in karate, etc."  Some people call this a bucket list because they want to do these things before they "kick the bucket."
Section 5 - Notes
You will always have stuff that doesn't quite fit in any of the other 4 sections, but that you want to remember.  Use this section for quotes you like, doing some quick math, or just to look busy writing something to avoid awkward social situations.

Tomorrow I will write more about how to use your notebook to save the your world.

If you liked this post, share it on Facebook!



I have a quote on my desk at work that reads "Change what you do until you get what you want." It's just a part of a larger quote by ​Francis Xavier Muldoon. His advice on succeeding is: "Know what you want. Find out what you're getting. Change what you do until you get what you want." (link) 

1- Know what you want
Figure out what you want. This is your end point or goal. Do you want money? How much? When do you want it? Perhaps you want to reach a certain level of spiritual enlightenment. What level do you want to reach? When would you like to reach that level? Whatever you want, it must be measurable so you will know when you have met your goal.

2- Find out what you're getting
It's impossible to get directions to an end point if you don't have a start point. If your end point is what you want, then your start point is what you have. If I want to become a billionaire, and I currently have $500 in the bank, then I know this may be a long journey. If I'm worth $835 Million, then getting to a Billion is a lot closer. In either case, I need to make a map of how I'll get from where I am to where I want to go.

3- Change what you do until you get what you want
Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome is the definition of crazy.
In 2006 I was working in a Chemistry Lab at the University of Utah, helping to create a device that could detect a certain chemical in the bloodstream. I was able to detect this chemical as low as about 30 parts per million, but needed to get it down to 2-3 parts per million in order for the device to be marketable. I made changes to how the blood was mixed, how the device was cleaned, and every variable I could think of, but none of those changes made a difference. I was not allowed to change the surface area of the detection device because that piece was the most expensive. Changing it would have made the device too expensive to produce. In the end the project was thrown out. The one variable that needed to change could not be changed.

The good news here is that the chemical detection project was just one of a number of projects going on. Other projects were successful and profitable, which is what the University wanted all along. The department heads knew that some ideas would not pan out, but that did not keep them from sponsoring new ones. ​It took over a hundred tries before Edison reached an acceptable light bulb filament, but he eventually found a way and it was worth it. 

Remember, the people who succeed the most, fail the most- because they try the most.



Make life a little less hectic by following these time-saving tips:
1 - Lists.  I can't emphasize lists enough.  To-do lists, checklists, goals lists, birthdays lists, grocery lists, "songs I heard and want to buy lists..."  You can even make a list of the lists. If you want to remember something, put it on a list and look at it frequently.
2 - Only buy what's on your shopping list.  This will make the trip shorter and probably reduce how much you spend.  It will also improve your list-making.
3 - Keep a key bowl near the front door.  Think of the times you've been in a hurry and can't find your keys... this can help.
4 - Cook large quantities, then pre-portion and freeze.  Now you have appropriately portioned meals that can be heated in the microwave quickly.
5 - Listen to audiobooks.  You can learn a lot while you drive, clean, or workout.



Games are fun because there are boundaries, rules, and winning.  So what would make cleaning fun?  That's right- boundaries, rules, and winning!
For games like "clean the kitchen," it's important to make the boundaries clear.  If dishes are all washed & put away, counter is wiped and free of any unsorted papers, the floor is swept and trash emptied then you're done!  Doesn't that feel good?
Without boundaries, you might finish the dishes, counter, floor, & trash but then decide that "clean kitchen" now includes a clean oven, microwave, and refrigerator.  That's not fair!!!  Instead of a feeling of accomplishment, you are now overwhelmed.

A rule like "must pass the white glove inspection" is essential to keeping a consistent standard when cleaning.  Be generic in rule setting and the worker will exceed your expectations.  It also takes less time to quality control than a long list of specifics.
You must have an opponent to win.  In the cleaning game, time is usually the opponent.  If it normally takes 45 minutes to clean the kitchen, then you must beat that time.  If you've never thought how long it takes to clean the kitchen, make an estimate and see if you can meet or beat it.
For some people the clean space is reward enough.  For others (like children) it's best to have an incentive.  There are lots of ways to motivate, just be sure the motivators are positive.  I also recommend you make rewards incremental.  Example: $1 if you do it in 30 minutes, $1.25 if you do it in 25, $1.50 if you do it in 20, etc.  This will make continuous improvement more likely.  You may even find the "winner" asking for more tasks because he or she is hoping for more reward!
If you liked this post, share it below by clicking the F (facebook) button!


How to lose 325 lbs. - Get a DVR

Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) let you skip commercials.  ​A 1 hour program can be watched in 44-45 minutes using a DVR.  Since the normal household watches 6500 hours of TV every year, 1625 hours could be saved by using a DVR, or you could spend that 6500 hours watching 8650 hours worth of programming.


1625 hours of running would burn over 1 million calories or 325 pounds.  Of course you could do other things with that time like play charades, bake cookies, read books, write books, or break and then fix the stuff you broke, the possibilities are endless!

Like this post? Share it on facebook!



​Buy wrinkle free shirts unless you're an Olympic ironing champion.
My mom can iron a shirt in 3 minutes.  I can iron a shirt in 15.  It would be unrealistic for me to schedule one hour to iron 10 shirts.  It would be more than enough time for my mom.  So if I need 10 unwrinkled shirts, it's probably a better use of my time and money to buy wrinkle-free shirts.​  I would spend a little more time and perhaps money buying the shirts, but would save myself many hours by not needing to iron them as much.



For pizza, hamburgers, chicken nuggets, fries, sandwiches, and a lot of other foods, use paper plates.

At 2-3 cents per plate, paper plates cost less than the energy & water required for washing ceramic or plastic plates.  This also means 0 time spent time rinsing the plates, putting them in the dish washer, then back in the cupboard.
So what about bowls, cups, and plastic utensils​?  Save time? Yes.  Save money? Depends.  Using disposable bowls, cups, & utensils will save you the time spent washing them.  It will also help reduce the piles of dishes near the sink.  And if you don't own a dishwasher, I highly recommend living on disposables.  It takes a very long time for the cost of disposable dinnerware to outweigh the cost of a new (or used) dishwasher and the cost of operating it.

However, there will always be cases when disposable dinnerware just won't do.  Microwaveable throwaways are often 2-3 times as expensive, so the cost is often more than using durables.  Special events like Holiday gatherings might also be deemed a bit tacky if disposable dinnerware is used.  Lastly, most people have a dish washer.  Pots and pans don't have paper substitutes, so unless you are on the sandwich-only diet, you're probably going to be doing some dishes anyway.

Like this post? Share it on facebook!