I discovered a new feature in my old car today.
I returned from the store in a hurry to get inside. A bag of groceries over each shoulder, a third in my left hand, and my free hand juggling a water bottle and a phone. I hit the button to lock the door. It locked—as expected. Then it unlocked—not expected.
I paused. I squinted. I questioned my sanity. I pressed the button again. It unlocked again.
I am a recovering perfectionist. Or more accurately, I am a perfectionist who occasionally ends up in rehab, quitting perfection cold turkey, and remembering that life can still be beautiful with a glass half full.
In my many relapses into the mindful abyss of perfectionism, I’ve learned some strategies that help break me from my mental prison.
I found a quote recently that has inspired a lot of introspection and rethinking productivity. The quote is from Peter Drucker, known as, “the creator and inventor of modern management” (Bloomberg) and is as follows:
Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”
I’ve spent the greater part of my life mastering efficiency. I can get things done. I can cut to the chase. I can separate the essentials from the fluff. I can blaze a path from A to B and defend, against all odds, the invasion of any other unnecessary letter trying to squeeze its way in between.
However, now that I see clearly that efficiency is only half of the equation, I realize that without effectiveness, or doing the right things, efficiency has no purpose. Tim Ferris dedicates an entire chapter to this topic in The Four Hour Workweek, summarizing, “Doing something well doesn’t make it important.”
In an effort to increase my effectiveness, one of the self-improvement exercises I’m working on is focus. As you may have read, my life has been a bit insane lately; I’m spinning a lot of heavy plates. The result leaves me with little time for the most important things, which are then all fighting for my attention, leaving me without attention to any of them.
In this post I outline four practices I’m testing to battle my lack of time, get some focus, and getting to what’s important.
I started a 6-day exercise routine last year but couldn’t keep it up. Even though each routine was very short, life continued to throw obstacles in the way. This post is an outline of the new exercise routine I’m using to get fit in only 3 days a week.
There is value in daily exercise. Once I’m able to free up more time, I intend to go back to my daily program. But at this season in my life, daily exercise isn’t working.
My team is at the end of a busy project. My normal workday is 7:30 am to 4:30 pm, but as we approach a hard deadline, I am often putting in extra hours to keep the pace. This extra time at work eats into other priorities. I have tried to get life on my schedule, but for now this just is what it is.
My perfect week is being challenged by the sun as well. To keep on track with building the bridge to my dream life (i.e., this blog), I have been getting up at 4:30 am every weekday to have a couple hours to write. The only problem with this plan is the long summer days in the Pacific Northwest. I might be able to manage this schedule in winter, but when it stays light outside until 10:00 pm, forget about it.
Last year Olga and I spent two weeks in Ukraine to celebrate our marriage. I was able to meet her wonderful family and friends and she was even happier to see many people, including her dad, that she hadn’t seen in nine years. The only problem was the language barrier. I returned committed to learning Ukrainian by our next visit.
My wonderful family (Olga’s parents) during our visit to Ukraine.
After nearly a year, I haven’t made much progress. There are plenty of good reasons, but ultimately I just haven’t stayed committed. Working on my Ukrainian is on my goals list for this year (though it’s not a good goal—see my post on writing good goals). I have been failing to move this goal forward, so I’m working on a new strategy.
When you first start out doing anything, a new business, or a new career path, you probably won’t have a track record to sell yourself with. But if you’re capable and hard working, you don’t need to start at the bottom somewhere and spend years working your way up the chain. You can become an expert quickly and rival people who’ve spent their lives in a career or business.
The most important thing is to identify the what you need to be able to deliver. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes (if we’re talking about a job, your customer is your employer or boss). What do they want from you? What can you do for them? Why would they want to pay you? If you can answer those questions with confidence and prove you can deliver, you’ll be head and shoulders over most people in any field or endeavour.
If you’re trying to stay healthy, butter should be on the top of your shopping list. Like all your food, it should be the best quality you can find and afford (see suggestions at the end of this post). So here’s to a bar of gold in your safe for financial longevity, and a bar of butter on your table to keep you healthy enough to enjoy your wealth tomorrow.
The mainstream is still largely enamored by “low fat” ideology… but they are also into digging themselves into debt and keeping up with Justin Bieber, so we shouldn’t give too much weight to mainstream thinking. Quality butter is one of the best things you can put in your body, and I’m staking my life on that claim.
The dangers of cooking with vegetable oil are slowly finding their way into the mainstream. We use olive oil for dressings and marinades, but coconut oil is the staple cooking oil in our kitchen (when we’re not using butter).
Contrary to what most believe, the flavor is extremely mild and will complement any recipe. It does, however, have a very pleasant, tropical aroma and provides the added benefit of transporting your culinary adventure to a warm, sandy island paradise… in your mind.
Homemade food has the double benefit of being healthier and cheaper than prepared food. Homemade salad dressing is one of the easiest skills to add to your repertoire.
At its basic level, a salad dressing is an oil emulsified into an acid. Simply put, by mixing the oil vigorously into the acid, it is suspended into a creamy mixture. Emulsifying takes a little finesse, but is not hard to master. The video below shows you the basic skill emulsifying and then I’ll cover the basic recipe and variations we use regularly at home: