TIP#31: The Present (X-mas) List

Xmas already? Wait, wasn’t that on December? ok, it was.
I don’t remember when I create this list, but if you are like me, you struggle with presents. I am awful, I hate go to the shopping mall. Go Shopping and Go to the Dentist are at the same level of things that I avoid like the plague.
I learned many years ago that I could write down all that stuff that you see and think that someone will love, but that it is too early to buy. For example, if my wife said that she wants an X, I write it down. I may or may not ever get it, but it is great to have it in the list.
Same works for my daughter, nephews and nieces, (I think my wife is the only adult I gave presents to, as a general rule I only give presents to kids) a soon as we think on a present I added to the list. When the time is right (birthdays or X-mas for example) I just pull out the list.
i.e. That’s one of the reasons I finish my X-mas shopping so fast, after thanksgiving in the US, I open the lists, go to Amazon and buy all the stuff I will need. It is fast and effective. Because in general I have twelve months or more feeding this list, doesn’t take that much and the suffering is little.

Working on MY iPad: Scanning Documents with Scanner Pro

I remember those days that Scan a document in order to fax it to the approbate person was something so complicated and expensive.
I remember when I got that really cool and super portable NeatScan that fit in by bag and could scan one page at the time.
The first problem, is that my main machine is an iPad. My Backup, an iPhone.
For many, that means you are out of business, for me means install one application to solve that problem. It is a software called Scanner Pro. That it is my go to every time I need to scan a document, it works incredible well in both of my devices and I can email, sent to Evernote (my file cabinet this days), DropBox, or another server, Print even fax from the application.
I have been using this application for my scan needs for many months and honestly I don’t need anything else.
One of the things that I love about working on the iPad (and with the iPhone as a Backup) is that sometimes it feels like I am carrying the biggest Swiss Army knife in the pocket, but somehow, it seems feels like it is the smallest one.

TIP#30: Set an Alarm to your Kids. Give each kid a sound.

It’s not a secret that I work from home. I have the luxury to take care of my daughter and soon I will also take care of my son. I think she was two when I pick the “Duck” sound on my phone to be her sound. Any alarm that involves her, had the “Duck” Sound.
I have on my iPhone an alarm for her to be up to school, to her classes, and on those moments that she is taking any kind of medicine, also, we have one when it is time to get to the shower and ready to bed. I even set alarms for activities that may not be a routine. She knows if the “Duck” is making noise, it is something related to her, and she immediately pay attention.
She knows in the morning that the first Duck is so I wake her up and bring her milk. She knows that on the afternoons the Duck means time to pick up so we go to class. She knows that at 7:30pm, theDuck means it is time to hit the shower and get ready to bed.
The main advantage of this, is that she knows, she is aware, and therefore she pays attention immediately. It may not be a perfect system, but she may be on the other side of the house and listen to the duck, and she will come to check exactly what happened and where she need to go now.
I wish, I could had understood the power of the alarms much more early in life. Honestly would had been incredibly useful for me.
i.e. When we told her that we where pregnant and she found out it was going to be a boy, she suggest that we use the Car sound of the iPhone (Motorcycle) for her brother. So when time comes to set alarms for him, we have a sound picked.

@Journal. (Having a Journal Context)

It’s not a secret that I love contexts, and that I believe that when you lose the fear that most people have and begin using all the context you need, your system tend to allow you to move even faster.
Some years ago, I create a context that I called @Journal. The content of this is things that I want to journal, that I want to think about it, that I want to write and reflect about. As I am writing this, I have seven entries. This are seven things that I want to spend time journaling on, I am not looking to a compromise, or a quick response. I am looking just to remind myself that once in a while, it is important to go over this topics.
Some days I can open my journal application (I use DayOne on the iPad and iPhone) and just write and write. Others, I can stare to the white screen. Are on those days that I open OmniFocus and get to my @Journal Contexts.
I enjoy Journaling, and I understand that having that context allow me to re-visit and be intentional about what somedays I am going to write, but also had been an incredible way to work on stuff and found answers that otherwise I don’t know if I would had work hard and long enough to get. Most time it is hard to Journal, at least for me, the dialog that comes from there sometimes is hurtful, but eventually the clarity that produce is magical.
Do you journal? Have you ever consider having your own @Journal context to remind you of stuff that you should journal about? Try it, it’s painful the process, but magical the answer.

TIP#29: Create a Paper Mail Routine.

Most of the people I know that had piles of papers is because they had no routine. They get home, pick the mail and drop it on the first surface and the pile begins.
Don’t pick the mail until you are ready to process it. If you pick the mail and begin creating the pile, all that you will generate is the nagging feeling that you are not doing that. Sometimes, you simply can’t take care of that, and it is OK, but make sure you don’t create stress that you don’t need.
Stop for a moment and think what it is that routine, make sure you do it, that way you don’t create the pile. It is hard to get rid of those piles.
i.e. The mailman had knock our door on more saturdays that I care to admit. If I can work my routine, I leave it there, otherwise I know it will create a pile, that simply will grow.

TIP#28: We Should Slow Down to Speed up

Are you really busy? Don’t have time to do anything? are overwhelmed and overloaded? When was the last time you slow down? I know you have no time. I know you are so busy. I know that I don’t understand; but let me ask you again: When was the last time you slow down?
In my experience, as I get busier and busier, the most important thing I can do is slow down; exactly when you think you have no time, that it is the time to slow down.
People stop sleeping, eating, drinking water, basically stop taking care of themselves because they are so busy and they need to go faster. Wrong approach.
The reason to slow down is simple. If you are getting busier and busier, every action you make need to have the maximum possible impact, you don’t have the luxury to spend time doing irrelevant stuff, you will continue having the same 24 hours as when you where not busier. If you need to make sure that every movement is producing the maximum impact, you need to make sure that you have a clear view of everything and a clear perspective of the direction you are going.
i.e. It is when I am busier, that I do the bests Weekly Reviews, that I kept my Inbox in Zero, that my lists are complete and next actions are well defined. Why? because I am busy, and I have no time to go back to check stuff twice. It is then that I need to make sure that my next actions will be the one that caused the mayor impact.

TIP#27: Purge your Wallet

Purge your Wallet.! Your name it is not George Constanza. (If you don’t get the reference, please google it, it is worth it)
What do you really need? What do you have? The problem with wallets is that things crawl there and never leave. You have that number that you don’t have a clue what it is for. The 2001 Insurance Card. The Gym Membership Card. (you know the gym you cancel the membership four months ago)
Anything in your wallet that you don’t use, should be out of there. Check it often, purge it often.

TIP#26: Have you read your 1 to 2 years Goals lately?

The reason most new year resolutions failed is because people don’t write them down and don’t read them (review them) often enough. Loose weight is not a goal. Weight 200Lbs so I can get a new jacket or begin using Large size instead of XXL is.
The same thing happen with 1 to 2 year goals. Many people don’t write them down. The ones that do, write generic stuff and little details. After that, they don’t check the list again. Later they wonder why they can accomplish them.
If you are using directions to go to someplace you had never been, you need to check the map often. Goals works the same way, if you don’t check them often, you forgot, you begin making decisions that instead of bringing close to them, take you in different directions.
i.e. I have in my system a reminder to check my goals bi-weekly. Takes less than two minutes but had allow me to accomplish incredible goals.

Here is my Plan A. I don't need another one.

Impossible is not a fact. Its an opinion.
Muhammad Ali

I grow up around many impossibles, for some reason many of my dreams where. I had been open to the fact that for many years I follow Plan B and Plan C because Plan A was impossible.
Actually it was, it is impossible to accomplish something you don’t work hard and constantly on. After I begin working hard to accomplish Plan A, I discover that planning for the impossible and accomplish it, is one of my favorite things to do.
As kids we don’t understand limits, we will be able to play basketball professionally, go to the moon, or be the best cop. Later we go into growing up on this idea of impossible, and later even begin to believe that not only impossible is real but the only reality.
I understand it is going to be hard, challenging and almost impossible. My bet is that if you work hard and constantly you will one day be an Overnight Success!
(Most Overnight Success work hard, for years and years on something that was impossible)

TIP#25: Do not need list

In my Book 25 Tips for Productivity I get into detail on this list, but it is basically my tool against consumerism and myself. I write in this list all those things that I don’t need that I will try to convince myself that I should buy. (more than what I am going to admit)
This list is a key for me, to not buy unnecessary stuff. There is stuff that I want to have, just because. That stuff is in that list.
i.e. The Convertible, two doors is in that list. Had a convertible already. The image in my mind of the convertible, never match the reality in my case, but for some reason, I often think I should get one.