Tag Archives: take action

The Best Way To Stop Procrastination

Procrastination is a universal problem. It exists in all countries and cultures. And it always has. All of us procrastinate, and for some of us (according to experts, about 1 in 5) it is a persistent and disruptive habit.

So, what is the best way to stop procrastination?

What Is Procrastination

How To Stop ProcrastinatingAccording to Napoleon Hill, “Procrastination is the bad habit of putting of until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.”

Procrastination is avoiding doing things that need to be done. When we procrastinate, we delay action on an essential task.

The Best Way To Stop Procrastination

I don’t know if it’s “the best” way to stop procrastination, but I have an insight that has helped me dramatically slash my procrastination and increase my productivity.

My secret procrastination-buster is the way I think about time.

Let me explain.

My attitude is that time is my most valuable possession, worth far more than any material thing I own. With it, I have a chance to accomplish great things. Without it, I cannot accomplish anything.

But time is a depleting asset. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

Therefore, there is simply no reason or excuse for wasting this most precious asset.

How we choose to use our time defines our life. If we waste our time, or use it unwisely, we waste our life. At the very least, we slow our progress toward our goals and dreams.

How To Stop ProcrastinationTo achieve our maximum potential, we have to treasure every moment.

Because I value my time so highly, I’ve gotten to the point that when I put off doing the essential things I must do to accomplish my goals, I feel it in my gut. It’s physically painful.

On the other hand, acting promptly on important tasks — even when I don’t want to — means that I accomplish more goals, and accomplish them faster. And that feels great.

Admittedly, I haven’t always felt this way about time.

When I was younger, I held the illusion that I had unlimited time. I felt that if I didn’t get something done today, there was always mañana. As a result, too much was put off, delayed.

When I changed my attitude about time, procrastination disappeared and my accomplishments exploded. Now that I treasure every moment, I get more important things done and achieve far more.

Here’s what I have learned: When we master our time, we master our life.

Adopt this mindset and procrastination will become something you just don’t have time for.

High School Reunion Tips: 8 Dos And Don’ts For Your Next Reunion

So, your high school reunion is coming up. Damn, that 5 years went fast!

High School Reunion Dos And Don'ts(If you think the last 5 years went fast, I’ve got some bad news for you: It only gets worse. Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!)

I know that high school reunions can provoke anxiety, insecurity and maybe even the occasional nightmare.

But go anyway.

And go expecting to have a good time because whether you think you will have a good time or a bad time, you’re right.

Go to renew old friendships, recall your youth, feel young again and celebrate how you and your old friends have changed.

But, here’s the secret for having a good reunion experience: go with a general intent to have fun, but keep your specific expectations low.

To help, I’ve come up with some tips in the form of 8 dos and don’ts for your next high school reunion.

High School Reunion TipsDON’T expect everyone to remember you. In fact, to be safe, don’t expect anyone to remember you. Maybe you’re wearing 40 pounds of camouflage or your face is unrecognizable because you have so much more forehead. It doesn’t matter. As you’ll soon find out, everyone is in the same situation. Sooner or later, we all look like the before picture in a plastic surgery ad.

DON’T expect to remember everyone (for the same reasons). Even if you prepare by going through your high school yearbook, there will still be people you don’t recognize. That’s what name tags are for. And here’s another tip. If anyone that you don’t recognize even glances at you, before they can say anything, rush up to them and introduce yourself. The natural instinct is for the other person to respond by stating their name. Problem solved.

DON’T bore everyone with your resume. When people ask you what you’ve been up to, they really don’t want an answer. It’s just an awkward conversation starter. And, besides, because you found the reunion without getting lost, they already know that you’ve accomplished more than they expected.

DON’T expect the dicks to have changed. Most of us change and grow up. But some dicks don’t. Just avoid them. Oh, if you don’t know who the high school dick was, here’s what you do. Look around the room. If you don’t see a dick, it’s you.

DO talk to anyone who will talk to you (except the dicks, of course). Even if you weren’t friends in high school, you could have a lot in common now and you could leave the reunion with some great “new” friends.

High School Reunion TipsDO allow yourself to be swept away by the music of your high school years . . . unless, of course, you were in high school during the unforgivable disco era. That, you want to forget.

DO be yourself. They accepted you during your Urkel-like years — at least some of them — and they will now. You don’t have to cover up your receding hairline with some ridiculous comb-over. And this applies to the men, too.

DO have fun. Why not? You’re there, you’re dressed up and you can’t get your money back. Reminisce with old friends. Even if you haven’t spoken in years, or even if you weren’t close friends back in the day, you have a lot in common. You shared what was one of the best, or worst, times of your life. If high school was agony for you, your few high school friends made it bearable. If high school was the best time of your life, your friends were probably the reason why it was so good. Either way, be sure to thank them.

Maryland Renaissance Festival

The Maryland Renaissance Festival – or “Ren Fest,” as many call it – is a hoot.

Maryland Renaissance Festival - Costume
Maryland Renaissance Festival - Costume

It’s a delightful way to spend a Saturday or Sunday between the third week of August and the third week of October – especially if you are interested in history, fantasy, costuming and, of course, ale.

Located in Crownsville, near Annapolis, the Maryland Renaissance Festival is set in a 25-acre fictional 16th century English village named “Revel Grove.”

Maryland Renaissance Festival - Stage Act
Maryland Renaissance Festival - Stage Act

The Ren Fest, which opened in 1977, features stage performances located around the grounds along with shops and stalls for finding the perfect Medieval gear such as shields, helmets, ball protectors (don’t ask) and gowns – which is just what you’ve been looking for, I’m sure.

The staff are all dressed in medieval costumes and they say things like “m’lord” and “m’lady” and “that’ll be $17.50.”

Guests are encouraged to wear costumes, too. When we were there this year, probably 15% of the customers were costumed.

Maryland Renaissance Festival - Staff
Maryland Renaissance Festival - Staff

The stage shows are a highlight. Spread over about a dozen venues, there are almost 50 different acts. These are some of the best . . .

There is even a joust!

It turns out that the Maryland Renaissance Festival is one of a series of Renaissance Festivals, or Renaissance Fairs, or Renaissance Faires located around the United States. Some of the most successful Renaissance Fairs, in addition to Maryland’s, are located in . . .

Maryland Renaissance Festival - Joust
Maryland Renaissance Festival - Joust
  • Texas
  • Pennsylvania
  • Ohio
  • New York
  • Minnesota
  • Maryland Renaissance Festival - Hilby
    Maryland Renaissance Festival - Hilby

  • Michigan
  • Georgia
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Connecticut
  • North Carolina
Maryland Renaissance Festival - Stage
Maryland Renaissance Festival - Stage

Here’s a list of Renaissance Festivals and Fairs in the U.S.

In fact, if you’re really into this stuff, here’s an even more inclusive listing of Renaissance, Medieval & Pirate Faires around the country.

Do yourself a favor and check one out!

Is It Time To Change Your Daily Routine?

Daily Routine
Daily Routine

The flimsiest possible justification for maintaining your daily routine without change, year after year, is that you have always done it that way.

So, about 6 months ago, I started thinking about my daily routine and wondering whether I could tweak it to make it more efficient.

Maybe you should look at your routine, too.  These are the 2 main questions to ask yourself . . .

    1.    Are you doing all the things you should every day?

    2.    Are you doing them at the best time of day?

What Activities Should Be In Your Daily Routine?

Let’s start with the things you do every day.

Sure, most of your schedule is decided for you by work and family commitments.  But you must make time for yourself.

Two critical activities are missing from many daily routines.  One is exercise.  The other is personal time to do important “special projects.”  Special projects can be building a side business online, acquiring a new skill, writing a book or whatever else helps to achieve important goals.  Writing this blog is one of my special projects.

Exercise

Regular exercise is a non-negotiable requirement for a healthy and happy life.  Just do it.  Set it (in your routine) and forget it.

Personal Time

Time to pursue your goals is also essential for a happy life.  The emphasis here is on your goals, not your employer’s goals or someone else’s goals.  These are the objectives that will make you healthier, wealthier and happier when you achieve them.

When Should You Do Each Activity In Your Daily Routine?

Once you have decided which activities to include in your daily routine, you have to decide the order in which you will do them.

In other words, when will you exercise, when will you work on your special projects and when will you do any other activities that are important to you?

The experts disagree on the best time to exercise.  Some swear by a morning workout to rev up your metabolism and clear your head for the day.  Others believe that midday workouts break up the day, de-stress you and prepare you for the afternoon.  Still others are convinced that late afternoon or evening workouts are best because they de-stresses you from the day and help you sleep better.

The answer is that you should exercise when it fits best into your schedule so you will do it. If you’re concerned that you will find reasons not to exercise if you put it off until later, do it first.

If possible, you should work on your special projects when you are sharpest.  Make your projects and goals a priority.

If you are an Early Bird, work on your projects in the early morning, before your other activities.  If you are a Night Owl, schedule personal time later at night.  If you’re super motivated to achieve your goals, work on them both early and late.

Conclusion

Here’s my suggestion.

Take a look at your schedule and decide whether it includes all the right activities and whether you are doing the activities at the best possible times.  This exercise could turn out to be one of the most important things you ever do for yourself.

In my next article, I’ll talk about the changes I made in my daily schedule and how they are working out.

Ya’ Gotta Love County Fairs

County And State Fairs
County And State Fairs

County and state fairs are an American tradition and a great way to have fun.

I cannot find out exactly how many county and state fairs there are in the United States, but it’s obviously hundreds. Click here to see a pretty good list of fairs, divided by state.

Even if I’m right that there are hundreds, and although I’ve only been to a few of them, I’ll bet I can do a pretty good job of describing your closest fair.

Let’s see . . . carnival rides . . . carnival games . . . crafts . . . livestock . . . mucho food . . . demolition derby or tractor pull . . . perhaps a country music concert.

How’d I do?

We just made our annual visit to our local county fair and I thought you might enjoy a few photos. Do they look familiar?

County Fair -- Sheep Judging
County Fair -- Sheep Judging
County Fair -- Carnival Rides
County Fair -- Carnival Rides
County Fair -- Really Bad Food
County Fair -- Really Bad Food
County Fair -- Ferris Wheel
County Fair -- Ferris Wheel
County Fair -- Carnival Ride
County Fair -- Carnival Ride
County Fair -- Cow And New Calf
County Fair -- Cow And New Calf
County Fair -- Farm Equipment
County Fair -- Farm Equipment
County Fair - 3 Little Pigs
County Fair - 3 Little Pigs

My Travel Bucket List

Travel
Travel

Since you’re oriented to having fun and staying positive, as well as taking action, you will probably want to travel. Me too.

I don’t even actually have to travel to get excited. Just thinking about the possibility of traveling is enough to get me jacked up.

I’ve been lucky. I’ve traveled to all 67 states and many countries around the world.

There’s nothing better than . . . seeing something beautiful or interesting for the first time . . . learning something new . . . doing something different. Can’t beat it.

I’ve Got To Get Here

Here’s my Wish List of the Top 5 Places I Would Like To Visit . . . (Can you say “Bucket List?”)

1. China (especially Shanghai). Check.

2. Greece

3. Canadian Rockies

4. Ireland

5. Spain

What are the “can’t miss” things I should see when I get there?

I Loved Going Here

I’d love to add memories (and photographs) from those destinations to those I treasure from these 10 Favorite Places I Have Visited . . .

1. Bora Bora

2. Italy (especially Venice)

3. Bali

4. New Zealand

5. Grand Canyon

6. Hong Kong

7. Yosemite National Park

8. Korea

9. Maui, Hawaii

10. Turks & Caicos Islands

11. Amsterdam

(The ability to count is one of the first things to go.)

How ‘bout you? What are your favorite travel destinations . . . and why?

Thoughts On Entering A Photography Contest

Oops, Wrong Blue Ribbon
Oops, Wrong Blue Ribbon

(One of the things that I do to have fun and stay positive is make photographs. From time to time, I’ll share photos I’ve taken or information about photography for those who share my interest.)

Since I value taking action and having fun so that I stay positive, I’m entering a photography contest at my local county fair.

It’s quite a process. First, you have to make the pictures. Then, you have them printed. Next, you mount them in the approved way. Finally, you enter them in the contest, trying to cram your favorite photos from the last year into the competition’s categories.

The cost of entering 9 photos (the maximum), not even considering the cost of my equipment or the value of my time making the photos, will be more than $100. That includes printing the photos (at Ritz Camera), purchasing the mountings (at Michaels) and the $30 entrance fee.

If I win a blue ribbon, there is a cash prize – $5.

So I’m not in this for the money.

Then why?

Because it’s fun. And because action is better than regret.

I know I’m not a great photographer. I know enough about composition, lighting and the like to make solid, pleasing photos, but I’m not exceptional.

Yet it’s still fun to compete.

Based on my experience when I did this two years ago, there should be hundreds and hundreds – maybe thousands – of entries in this contest.

Last time, I actually won two prizes – a blue ribbon in one category and a yellow third place ribbon in another category.

When I looked at the exhibit last time, in most of the categories where I did not win an award, I thought my photos were better than the winners’.

HOWEVER, I found many other non-winning photos in those categories that I thought were better than mine – some MUCH better. So I probably ended up being judged better than I deserved.

So back to the question: why bother?

I think it’s because I like to get out of my comfort zone and do things that I don’t normally do. I like to risk failure. Struggling not to embarrass myself makes me better. (And my goal is to become exceptional some day.)

And I really enjoy the creative process of making something that is beautiful or interesting.

I have found as I have selected and prepared my photos that there is a tug between entering works that I like and entering photos that I think the judges might like.

As a competitor, I’m pulled to enter photos that could win, and I will confess that I entered one or two pictures for that reason.

However, almost everything I entered was selected because it represents what I think is interesting, what I think best represents my work.

Ultimately, then, the pleasure is in creating something that you think is interesting and hoping that someone will agree and will reward you with a ribbon or just a favorable comment about your photos.

Even before the competition begins, I can report one result. I’m happy with my entries. I think they’re pretty good. So, I already feel like a winner.

In a later post, I’ll report whether the judges agree with me.

This Moment In Time Will Never Exist Again
. . . Ever.

(One of the keys to achievement, at all ages, is to take action. NOW. Here’s why.)

Here comes a moment in time. It’s coming. Coming. Whoooosh! There it goes. Here comes another one. Closer. Closer. Whoooosh! There it goes. They’re sure not here long, are they? They must be valuable.

Here’s a story about valuing time. It’s not original with me, but I can’t tell you the author because s/he is “unknown.” Enjoy.

Imagine there is a bank which credits your account each morning with $86,400 and every evening cancels whatever part of the amount you failed to use during the day.

What would you do? Use every cent, of course!

Well, everyone has such a bank. It’s name is time. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balance. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the records of the day. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours.

You must live in the present on today’s deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness and success! The clock is running. Make the most of today.

And remember, time waits for no one. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.