Friday, March 28, 2014

Time Management

I took several courses in college. One that was mandatory and an early requirement was the course regarding time management. This made sense because, in order to be successful in college, especially the online courses I attended, you needed to be able to effectively manage your time. There was no boss, no schedule, and no immediate repercussions if you didn't do the work on time; you simply failed. During my couple of years at the University of Phoenix, I managed my time very well. One of the major reasons I was able to effectively control my schedule was because I was young and didn't have any real commitments outside of my job. I was unmarried, no girlfriend, no kids, and only a dog to look after. Life was simpler, structured, but a little hollow.

Now, however, I have much less free time available. I have volunteer work I do on the side for the Red Cross, I have a steady girlfriend who has two children, and she also has three cats and another dog. The bulk of my time is spent with them, and I thoroughly enjoy every minute of it. So much so, in fact, that I have neglected some of my other passions and responsibilities. She has made sacrifices as well, so it got me thinking. How do we get everything we want with minimal sacrifice? The free time is much harder to come by. Every second I finally have available appears to be a second I need to be spending taking care of something else. I love the time I spend with my girlfriend and her kids, but my time management skills really need to be fine-tuned with this new life I have acquired.

With that in mind, I try to reflect back on some of the teachings.

  1. Schedule the day. Don't just have an idea of what you're going to go, select time slots. If you start running over on a slot, skip it for now, and begin the next item. It'll be hectic at first, but you'll get an idea for what you need to do.
  2. Successful people typically plan a day the night before. This way, the mind subconsciously starts working out ideas as you sleep, and the next morning, you have a better idea of how the day is going to go.
  3. Prepare. Simply put, this is part of the day scheduling. Set up goals, but in order to meet the goals, you need to have a plan in place.
  4. Take time for yourself. This part is important. You will burn out and not do anything if you don't take at least 20-30 minutes a day to just do something you enjoy, meditate, relax, nap, something. Me, I use the time to research dreams, ideas, plans, goals, etc. I love that, and I love my tech stuff. It's been helping.
  5. Ask for help. If you're overwhelmed, there's no shame in trying to get help achieving things.
  6. Help others. It's part of the rule above, but it feels great to help others, puts coins in the Karma bank, and genuinely helps to motivate yourself to complete other tasks.
  7. Try to exercise, eat healthy, and generally take care of yourself. You'll get more accomplished, have more energy, and feel better overall if the diet and exercise is balanced.
My girlfriend is truly an amazing person. All I would have to do is tell her that I want to start budgeting my and our time better, and she would probably start drawing up schedules and get plans together immediately.

But to sum up, that's it. My pearls of knowledge after a few years' absence from the classes. There are a few things I've neglected that I need to take advantage of again, but hopefully, it'll get back on track soon. A new rhythm is already starting to get established at home, and it's starting to work out much better. I just need to be a little more disciplined with myself.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Importance of Personal Relationships

I recently was forced to attend a mandatory meeting at my company to go over financial information. I assumed this was a selling-type of thing. "Oh, you need more insurance, and someone to look after your finances. We offer those products. Blah blah blah." Well, I was mistaken. The meeting went really well, all of the services were/are free, and they gave really great advice. All of it made sense, and none of us were doing it. I won't go into particulars on this post, but one thing he mentioned really stood out, and it was extremely unorthodox and off-topic. It was extremely important, though. The man said, "The most important thing you can do about retirement is cultivate personal relationships. I have seen many, many people retire wealthy and be extremely unhappy because they didn't have any relationships. They were lonely." It got me thinking.

I have a habit of cultivating strong relationships. It started out as just needing someone to talk to and constantly needing approval. I was a very shy and insecure kid. Nothing was wrong with my parents or anything; it's the just the way I was. I focused on academics and making sure my teachers, my parents, and nearly everyone else was proud of my accomplishments. I made personal, strong friendships so that I could nurture that same need for approval growing up. It wasn't until about eight years ago that I started weening off the strong relationships. I decided that I needed to be able to do things solo, for myself instead of others, and to try and make it alone without being on constant "welfare" from friends and family. And it worked, too. I was hurt at the time, so I decided to cast everyone aside, and I was moderately happy and proud of myself for finally "making it" in the real world. But, something was missing. The relationships. 

I actually, surprisingly, enjoyed making friends, keeping friends, and spending time with people in general. It's what gives me strength, but the time spent alone has also let me appreciate silence and time to think. I have been very good friends to several people, and it has paid me back ten fold. Even today, one of my neighbors told me ways to get free gravel for my driveway, and naturally, I'm going to completely redo my driveway and some of theirs as well. I have countless tools and items from them I have borrowed over the years, and vice versa. It's nice to have a security blanket simply by investing in people. 

In the end, being nice to people is what started this journey. There's nothing more rewarding than to see a genuine smile come across a face of someone you've helped in some way. Whether it's just holding a door for someone with their hands full, helping an older lady cross the street, helping someone whose bag just burst open at the grocery store, or even helping someone with something heavy. I urge you to try this, just once a day, and see how much better you feel. It's a truly rewarding sensation.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Business Name

So, I've been reading a book called Principles of Success. One of the earlier chapters asks that you set a clear expectation of what you feel is your purpose in life. Doing this makes you happy. In doing so, you need to ask yourself what you really enjoy doing, and would do for free if given a chance. Personally, I would build electronics, test them, find new ways to create them. I'd love to one day build an android or artificial intelligence or something like that. Just really be on the cutting edge of technology.

Then, you ask yourself, what are 2-3 unique qualities/attributes about yourself. I enjoy teaching and instructing, I enjoy learning new things. I'm creative. I really enjoy the feeling I get when I've taught someone something new, and they take it and do things I didn't even realize could be done. Just knowing I started them on a path to find a real passion is fantastic to me.

After that, you're supposed to imagine a perfect world, Utopian in nature.You describe the perfect world in a few sentences. Personally, a perfect world would be everyone using futuristic products I invented, coming to me for advice and ideas on how to come up with even more, and eventually,helping to get mankind out into space more, just like in the movies. Using artificial intelligence, vast computers, everything automated. It would be awesome.

Last, you're supposed to combine the three things above to come up with a personal purpose in life. I've come up with something like this: My purpose in life is to inspire people to further humanity's use of electronics. I want to invent products that make life easier, I want to be recognized for the achievements I've made, and I want to instruct others on how to use what we have to achieve what we've only dreamed of, as far as technology goes.

Now, I'm sure you're wondering, "What does this have to do with a business name?" Good question. I want to start my own business a few years down the road. One of the goals is to have a clear vision. I kind of have that now. I know what I want to do. I have no idea how to do it, but I have a destination in mind. It's ambitious, but it's not impossible. I am dreaming again, and I've missed the feeling. Writing it down feels good. 

So, now that I have a vision in mind, I want to start creating works around that. One thing I can toy with is a website, but I want to create a business from this website. I want a name for a company that will last, a name that will be able to evolve and change as I need it to. I don't want to get stuck with a business like Jake's PC repair, and then decide to get into robotics later. The name's not versatile enough. Jake Enterprises is a little vague, and I don't even know if I'm an enterprise. My name's not a good one for business. Jedidiah May. It's redneck-sounding, and the last name is very plain. So, as much as I'd like to pay homage to my parents, it's not a good name for business.

Any ideas? Thoughts?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


So, this will likely be very similar to a journal. Maybe confessions. Who knows? There's going to be a lot of trial and error here. There will be some typos, grammatical errors, spelling errors even. There will be random streaming thoughts, but my goal is to start writing.

I need to start putting things down on paper. I want to see what I really want. I want to read my hopes, ideas, dreams, thoughts, and any other ideas. The things that come to me should not just be fleeting memories. There should be a way to track them, to use them, to modify them as needed. I have ideas for things I want to do with tech, career goals and ideas, hobbies and interests I would love to pursue, and countless other things that I simply need to write down. 

Well, here goes. My blog. My not-so-personal set of memoirs. Who knows what will come of it? Maybe the comments from my fellow readers would help me get on a good path. Or maybe my readers will help me adjust my vision. Maybe, just maybe, I might get a breakthrough, a revelation, a genuine ideal about who I am, what I am, and where I want to go.