3 things to do, when overwhelmed, overworked and overstressed

This has been an intensive week, I had been require to make extra efforts on keep my attention going, and make sure that I move forward. That usually means that I am overwhelmed, overworked and overstressed. In the past, I will do this until I fell from exhaustion, this time, had been different, at the time I am writing this, I have an incredible amount of stuff to do, more than I am going to be able to do in many weeks, and many of them of extremely importance, I have been force to negotiate agreements with myself and others, but I have been moving forward.
What I have notice that change is that I am doing 3 things that are keeping me from  overwhelmed, overworked and overstressed:

  1. I took some time for myself.
  2. I focus on the goal
  3. I keep moving, slowly but surely

I use Omnifocus as my GTD system, but there is also many next actions, projects, and things to do, because I am overwhelmed, overworked and overstressed, I can actually focus on them.

  • First, I am making sure I took sometime for myself, I had been exercising for almost thirty minutes at five in the morning, and I am making sure that I am taking a five minute break in the morning and the afternoon, as well as read for twenty minutes. This little things keep me recharge and allow me to keep the levels of overwhelmed, overworked and overstressed in check.
  • Second, I am revising my Omnifocus list and picking only three items, including the twenty five minute reading when appropriate, and the five minute break. This ensure that I am having success all the day.
  • Third, I am moving, I am not keeping twitter, email, Omnifocus or anything else close, and I am only doing the things in my list of three items, when is done, I go to create the next list, evaluate all the important things and make sure that I keep some time for recharge, at least one every six items.

How are you making sure, than when you feel overwhelmed, overworked and overstressed, you are doing the right thing… or you are just hoping?

Book Review: My name is David Cole

I just finish: My Name is David Cole. This is the first novel of Jon Souza and you can find it on Amazon, on paperback as well as the Kindle.
I had the honor and privilege to meet Jon Souza on my day job, and had the opportunity to talk to him about this book, before I read it, but this was an unexpected treat. I had cry, jump, get exited and visit wonderful places while reading this book, I honestly had a blast, and was sad that it ends.
The Book tell you the story of David Cole (I think you can guess that by the tittle), the story has romance, adventure, sadness, parts that are hard to read, because they are so sad, intense and controversial, but all done in a great narrative. I am one of those people that run from Religion and Politics, books and discussions, but I was impressed on how well this book handle the religion topic, I actually find that the perspective was really well done, without a doubt will open your eyes, and make you reflect.
This is not a fast read, because will make you stop, think, and continue reading, but not once, during the time I read the book, I wish I had not began reading it, I wish I had more time to read more.
After I finish my book, I sent a couple of copies to friends, and I hope Jon write the a second book, I will be there to buy it a soon as is available. I also wish him the fame and success of Sheldom Kramer, only the success.

I am a Fire Prevention Specialist, and you?

I am a fire prevention specialist. I got that title, when I learn that was easy to prevent fire than try to extinguish it.
The last weeks had been insane, the amount of things to do are honestly overwhelming, I know we all ave more things to do than what we can do in a lifetime, but when everything looks like is coming fast, and at the same time, you need to choose, what you are going to do. I had discover, that check priorities, deadlines and things to do is the best way to prevent fire for happening.
I have like a lot of people I know, too many responsibilities, the ones that are impose and the ones I create in my goals and objectives.
When things get crazy, you should slow down, and make sure you are spending the right time on the right stuff, otherwise, all that you are going to do is drive yourself crazy; and that include time to recharge, if you can’t recharge you can move as fast as you need later on.
I have learn, that when things got crazy, you need to stop, and recheck your priorities, and somedays this happen more than once a day. This is were a system can help you. I am a GTDer and have a system that has mature over the years, for the three days I have been doing some king of weekly review three times a day, because there is too much, that is the only way I know I have to keep things in track.  The reason this work, is because it help me prevent fires and emergencies, even that has been absolutely insane, I had move forward, and had accomplished a series of important stuff.
Making all this checking, and reviews, allow me to make sure that I am spending the time in the right stuff, when things are this insane, I can trust nothing but the system I had.
So three times a day I check my lists, empty my inbox, and focus on the next. I make sure that I take time to recharge, including new in my routine, exercise at 5:10am before the day start, keeping my extraordinary hour, making sure I don’t have lunch in my desk, but use that time to do another review, read well, review not work, and one before I am leaving home, making sure that I will have time to work more, and recharge.
All this steps, allow me to keep me sane, allow me to keep the fires to get really big, allow me to be a Fire Prevention Specialist. How do you prevent fires in your life?

Tossing another draft in the trash

I won in November of 2009 Nanowrimo, in case you are not familiar with Nanowrimo, you can go to this link, but basically, they define NanoWrimo as the “National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.”
I wrote the first draft of my novel and took a break in December (for technical reasons out of my reach) and finish the reading of that first draft in January. Then I decide to toss the Draft and begin again. Took February to work again on the outline and then March and April to write the second first draft. Today, after final review, I toss it on the trash, again. Tomorrow I am starting for the third time. Some said that you need One Million Words in order to have an Expert Level Writer. That make me, just on this novel an 11% Expert.
I don’t feel bad because I am tossing this draft in the trash, actually I am proud of myself as a writer, to be able to recognize that it will take me more time to edit the current draft than begin again. I discover a couple of big holes in the story, and the two previous drafts had help me to learn a great deal about writing, dedication, and hard work.
It is always interesting when you tell the world that you are a writer, people always think it is an easy job (after they get over the fact that they don’t know you, or you are not published), every one of those people can write a novel, without too much effort, so why you are suffering with this, is impossible to understand for them.
Recently, I was traveling  in Mexico, and when I told that I was a writer someone told me: “we already had Octavio Paz and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, we don’t need anything else”. By the way, I would like to say, that this was a regular guy, and I was really honored that my work inspire this person on any way the work of Octavio Paz or Garcia Marquez, that instead of an insult was a great compliment. (regardless, this person was trying to insult me, he made it clear)
Anyway, going back to the draft, we are back to the first page…

Cool Mac Tip: Checking the Dictionary

This is one of those tips on Mac, that I really love. Lets say you are reading on Safari (or any other web Browsing) and find the word “Mystical” and you don’t know exactly the meaning of this.
You hit CONTROL + COMMAND + D and move the cursor over the word.
The result, is that a box will appear with the definition of the Word “Mystical”.
After this happen, you will have the option to see the Thesaurus definition, or hit more and open the dictionary application on the mac and see the whole content.

Fixing a broken writer heart

It was more than thirteen years ago when my writer heart was broken the first time. I knew I want it to be a writer since I was twelve, I wrote the first draft of a novel, a lot of poetry, and some short stories. On 1997, my writer heart got broken for the first time, and I simply stop writing.
Took me thirteen years to find my writer heart, there was a close encounter on 1999, when I won a research project on Intellectual Property in Venezuela, but it was too much pain, so I just close the box with the broken writer heart inside and got heads down into business.
Two years ago, I found the old box with my broken writer heart, and decide to fix it. It has been a lot of pain, it has been really painful, and took me almost a year to begin writing constantly again, and when I was feeling great, someone that I really appreciate, and without any wrong intention, broke the not yet fixed writer heart again. For the last two days I had not write anything, I have been with a melancholic song repeat in my head, over and over
I was thinking hard into put my broken writer heart, yes the writer heart that I have been trying to fix for more than two years in the box again and make it disappear, but something has change, I want to make my dream true, I want to see my dream, and even if that means that I need to accumulate all the rejections in the world, and get my writer heart broke many more times, I had no other choice. I try not to be a writer, I try to forget that I am a writer, I put my writer heart far away from my reach, but it came back.
I am not expecting anyone to understand this, I am a writer, I am writer with a broken writer heart, but I am proud to be a writer, I am proud to be sensitive, I am proud to be able to allow my writer to express itself, I am proud to have a writer heart to be broke.
I don’t know how this broken writer heart is going to get fixed, I don’t even know if will get fixed, but even if I need to write from this broken heart, I will, because the alternative is simply more painful.

Open letter to Jeff Bezos

Dear Mr. Bezos
I have been a happy Amazon costumer for a long time, I have buy over 100 books on kindle, and two kindles, one first generation and a second generation one too. I also use the kindle application on my iPhone, and now on my iPad.
I was looking forward to the iPad application on the kindle, but was quickly disappointed, for some reason I can’t see the book in two column, and honestly the wide column is distracting for me. I hate to say that the iBook application on the horizontal form beats the kindle, without any effort.
Also I ignore if the reason the iPhone and iPad application lack a dictionary, I don’t know if it is a license issue and/or an Apple limitation, since otherwise I consider another short coming of this application.
I think is great the job Amazon is doing getting the content in all kind of devices and allow you to use whispersync to keep up, that actually is fantastic, but why the lack of features and the application looks incomplete.
Again I love the format, the content and I hope to continue playing with this platform for the years to come, but for now I will limit my reading of Kindle books in the iPhone until Amazon can do a better job with the application on the iPad.
If Apple came with an equivalent of whisper sync as they offer, I will begin moving on, as I did years ago from eReader to the Kindle.
I hope Amazon can surprise us with an update and improve application.
Thanks a lot for your time.

If you are not checking the map, you risk never reach your destination.

I was talking this week with a dear friend, and she was really frustrated, she explain to me than she feel that she is not even close to her dreams, that she is getting old, and may never achieve them now…
I ask her: what are your goals, what have you done toward your goals, how close are you in comparison with 10 years ago?
She answer me, with a blank face, and told me, I don’t know, but is not this.
A lot of people find themselves in a place they never dream to be, others are in a place they imagine impossible, others are walking in a place that they couldn’t imagine, but the difference sometimes is subtle but powerful, many people, had a map, a map that show them where they are going.
I ask my friends again about her dreams, and share about mine, her answer quickly make me real ice that she was right, she was Nefertiti going to reach those goals, she was too busy (her words) and did not have any time to do what she love or to simply find out what she loved.
I told her, that I am a writer, and I write when I can, I love to read, and read when I can, and I read a lot, my map shows a place with a lot of writing, speaking and reading on my future, hers, well she has no map.
Doesn’t matter were you are, but matter and is critical to know where you want to go, how is that future, because otherwise you will never reach that destination, if you don’t know were you are heading, any road will do, and in many cases, the different roads will never take you to cool places. You need to imagine and create the cool place, otherwise, you will never get there.
How is you map? You you have one?
This is mine:

The mystical place. Black Belt GTD

There is a mystical place called Black Belt GTD. I have been there, but I discover that you get there and you get out of there faster that you can imagine, you get to that zone, you get to be in Black Belt GTD, but that is not a permanent state or place, is a place you reach for a little amount of time, and them, you go back to wish that you reach it again.
Why I said is a mythical place, well we know exist, people talk about it, but we have been never able to stay long enough to show others that we are there.
The problem of Black Belt is that the better we get, the better we want to get, the reason a multimillion dollar’s industry has come around lifehackers is because the more you use lifehackers in general, the more you will want to use them, the more you can get things done with ease the more stuff you want to get done.
Black Belt and technology act in the same way, we have technology today that will allow us to work only twenty hours a week and accomplish more that what my grandfather was able to do on a month, but the result is that we work more hours, are connected more and never had any free time for anything. Same thing happen with Black Belt, you reach that place and begin taking more, and more and more and in many cases expect to do it much faster. That is the reason GTD Black Belt is a mystical place, no one can reach that level and not increase their extend projects and objectives to cover the new freedom.
Like with technology I would love to be able to get more done and have more free time, but I work today more hours than seven years ago, with the Black Belt Myth, I will love to stay there, but the more close I get the more I want to be able to do more and better things.