The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up - Book Review

I’m going to start by saying that this was one of the most interesting and fun reads I’ve had to date. Given this is a book about tidying up, this may come as a shock for those of you who know me!

Few books have had the ability to inspire me such that I’m instantly willing to change personal habits and my view of the world. Even fewer have left me feeling like I’m a better person and wondering how I ever lived before reading it. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo has done the unthinkable.

The first thing I think needs to be clarified is this: do not begin reading this book expecting to get a static list of steps and tips for tidying up. If that’s what you’re looking for, go find something else to read. I believe this is why you’ll find a very split community of reviewers out there. My guess is that people can’t appreciate the Magic of Tidying Up (seriously not typing the whole book name every time) for what it’s meant to be.

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Meetings – A Necessary Evil

Meetings - A Necessary Evil

Meetings are seriously the worst. There’s nothing worse than being forced to spend your time on a call or in a room covering the same content you did last week. I struggle to understand why organisations, managers and teams schedule meeting after meeting when none of us really want or need to be there.

The way I see it, a meeting should be a last resort. They should only be held in serious situations or when it will be the most effective way of communicating and collaborating.

Not all meetings are bad of course. In fact, I actually have a pretty fantastic “meeting experience” at work compared to most people I know.

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Being too busy is a Myth

Header Image - Being too Busy is a Myth

I’m currently reading the 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. Groan if you must. I reckon it’s a pretty good book. The concepts he discusses are interesting enough to get you thinking about your own situation which I think is great. In my case it was his take on being busy that inspired me. In fact, within the span of a few days I had a few different resources discuss the concept of being too busy – it’s like the Universe was trying to tell me something!

What being too busy really means.

Being too busy is a myth. We all have stuff to do. What makes one person different to another in this regard? We all have the same amount of minutes in a day. All that differs is how we choose to spend those minutes.

If you’re too busy to do something, it just means that you haven’t made it a priority (yet).

This is why I love the concept of the 4 Hour Workweek. We all busy ourselves with fluff and time wasting activities such that when we go to bed we complain about how little time there was in the day or that we didn’t have enough time to do something we’d planned on doing.

 

Evaluation

The first thing you should do is evaluate the tasks that make up your day. You’ll probably find there are plenty of things you do on a daily basis that are essentially time sinks. You put aside the core, important tasks that will help you move forward, for tasks that are just fillers. These are tasks that may seem important, but really don’t get you anywhere.

Take email for example. How much time do you spend a day checking and responding to email? It’s a big part of most jobs but does it really help you in the long run? Is maintaining a watchful eye on your inbox going to get you that next pay rise? I don’t think so.

Actually doing the things that you don’t really want to do because they involve work or are a challenge, these are the things that will move you forward. Don’t bother with the rest.

When you start focusing your time on the important tasks, you’ll find that you’re no longer “too busy” in the traditional sense.

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A Morning Routine for the Rest of us

A Morning Routine for the Rest of us

If you’re on the productivity bandwagon you’ll undoubtedly have read or heard that having a solid morning routine is one of the key foundations to being productive and successful. Starting your day off correctly sets the mood for the rest of the day and ensures the right frame of mind.

BS!

Don’t get me wrong, I totally agree with starting the day on the right foot (or left!) but it’s just plain silly to promote to the masses a consistent morning routine of reading books while doing yoga on the roof at sunrise. It seems to me that the people promoting this notion don’t have children. If they do, who the heck takes care of them in the morning? Maybe their time management skills are just out of this world… something I don’t think I’ll ever comprehend!

After reading countless books and articles on productivity, to some success, I’ve been able to implement my own morning routine. Not so surprisingly, mornings with the kids completely differ from mornings without. I’ll cover what my productive morning routine is like at the end of the post (it’s not that exciting). For now, here’s:

 

A Morning Routine for the Rest of us

Thursday to Sunday (not super productive)

Let’s start with the days that the kids are at home (Mon – Wed they’re in day care).

6:00 – 7:00am: Somewhere in between this hour of death, the boys (obviously in cahoots with one another) decide to wake up. Our 3yr old will stand out in the living room yelling “DAAADDY” while the baby lies in his crib talking to himself at the top of his lungs (spoken in gibberish of course). Read more

5 Tips for Learning a New Programming Language

5 Tips for Learning a New Programming Language

Learning a programming language has to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever attempted to do. I constantly start the learning process, get through the introductory steps and then end up losing interest or procrastinating. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve written a Hello World program!

Recently however, things have changed. I was introduced to the Python programming language by (yet again) my friend, Bob who’s very proficient in the language. After seeing some of the amazing things he’s created with the language I was pretty motivated to get learning.

It didn’t take long before I’d actually created my own program. Not a program that a book or course required me to build but something I wanted to build for myself. After successfully creating the app, it hit me why I’d never been able to get this far before and what was different this time around. Here’s what I discovered. Read more

Pomodoro and a Challenge

Pomodoro Technique

Pomodoro! Totally sounds like something I’d eat for dinner… mmmm pomodoro…

Quite the opposite! For those who haven’t heard of it, it’s a technique used to maximise your productivity. We’ve all heard of these things, especially if you work in the corporate world. (HR and management love to go on at length about some sort of productivity method sooner or later).

Pomodoro is one that actually speaks to me and was introduced to me by my good mate Bob. The gist of it is this:

  1. Note what tasks you want to accomplish in the day. (I write them down on my to-do list the morning of or the night before).
  2. Set aside a certain time block to go completely offline and work on one of those tasks.
  3. Set the timer, close off all distractions (email, text messages, phone calls, family, kids, facebook) and FOCUS on the task at hand.
  4. When the time is up, take a short break.
  5. Repeat.

The idea is that you’re going to go completely off grid for a specific amount of time and give 100% focus and attention to a task.

How awesome is that?

These days we’re constantly switched on. I even get bloody emails, texts and calls on my watch. I’m literally connected 24/7 so giving a task 100% of my attention becomes a feat in itself. This is probably why I’ve been pretty slack at blogging (being honest here!).

How Long do I Pomodoro?

You customise Pomodoro to suit you. Read more