As most of you know by now, I’ve been spending a lot of time in airports lately. I’ve noticed a bunch of things, which I mentioned in that last post, but one thing in particular brought something home to me.
What’s happened to all the clocks? There isn’t a single airport I’ve been to over the last 3 years where there’s been a clock anywhere. The funny thing is that airports are big on time. They put up these boards that tell you whether your plane is on time or not. They expect you to start boarding the plane at least 25 minutes before they’re ready to take off, and they’re sticklers with time; you miss getting on before they close that door and you’re stuck.
And it’s not just airports. I’m working these days in an office park for my consulting assignment, and I’ve noticed that there’s not a single clock on any floor. Almost no one has a clock on their desk either. There’s a break room on every floor, and on the first floor there’s a cafeteria where people can get food and drink… and no clock.
When I decided to stop wearing a watch some years ago, I figured that I’d have it easy because I have my smartphone with me most of the time, and there were always clocks around. But I was mistaken on that second part. Above you see a clock on the outside of my favorite grocery store; there are no clocks inside however. I like to go to the casino; there’s certainly no clocks in there because darkness never comes in a casino. There’s no clocks in the library I go to, even though they have a specific closing time.
What the hey? We live in a fast paced life, and it’s true that most of the time we have other alternatives for finding out what time it is. But it’s not always convenience to try to grab at my smartphone, and thus I might be sitting in a restaurant eating my meal and, because there are no clocks, I have no idea if I’m missing out on something.
I was visiting a friend of mine this weekend and he had an old time grandfather clock in the living room along with a baby grand. And it not only couldn’t keep the right time anymore, but it rang on the half hour rather than the hour, which didn’t matter since the time wasn’t close to correct.
Where am I going with all of this? We’re expected to be on time for many things. We have appointments of all types; meetings, doctor, kids, on and on. Many people say that they don’t have enough time to keep up with blogging; how do they know if they can’t chart time? Sure, they might have watches, but in my opinion even a watch isn’t enough to help you keep control of time.
What about me? Sure, I don’t wear a watch. But I have a clock in my home office that I can see above my monitor. I have two clocks in the master bedroom. There’s a large clock in the living room, a clock in 2 of my 3 bathrooms, a clock in the dining room, a clock in the kitchen, three clocks in the guest bedroom, 2 clocks in my wife’s sewing room, and two clocks in her office and in her bathroom.
Not only that but everything else in my house that can keep time is set, although the time is different if I set it than if my wife sets it, as she has this thing about setting clocks at least 4 minutes ahead of the actual time; what is it with wives? lol
Still, we have a handle on time at home, whether we schedule anything or not. When I write my articles for the Hot Blog Tips Newsletter that goes out once a week, put out by Brian Hawkins, I’m looking at the clock before and after I write each article, as I write 4 or 5 of them at a time to take care of the entire month up front; I’m not quite sure what he thinks about that or even if he believes I’ve written something that fast.
If you say you don’t have time to blog, or that it takes a lot of time, are you looking at a clock, or a watch, or even the lower right side of your computer to see if that’s true? Are you off watching TV or playing pool or reading magazines or eating popcorn (okay, I’m with you on the popcorn) instead of putting a blog post together?
How are you controlling your time? Where have you noticed that there are no clocks around that shocks you? My belief is that you haven’t even thought about it until reading this; now that you’re aware, take a look and let me know what you see.
Those of you who have followed this blog for a while know that I like to experiment here and there. One of the reasons I experiment is because I have preconceived notions about things, including myself, that every once in a while I need to challenge. Another reason is that I know I’m not the only one who has the certain habits, or something like them, so taking them on and then talking about them might help someone else address issues they have.
Yes, this watch is for sale 🙂
As you can tell by the title, I decided to go without my watch for a while. Of course there is the history behind this, and a brief little story as well.
I learned how to tell time when I was three years old. I got my first watch on my fourth birthday while living in Japan, and it was unlike any watch anyone else had. Mine had a spaceship on it, which was really cool because the space age was very new at the time. Eventually I went from that watch to a couple of Timex watches, then a military watch that glowed in the dark if it got enough light during the day, and finally my first digital watch a year after I started college. Around 1982 I got my first programmable watch, which not only allowed me to set alarms, but allowed me to put phone numbers in it.
This is the same kind of watch I have now, and I’ve always loved my watches. I’ve always been kind of a stickler for time as well. Having a watch that I can program with all kind of alarms seems to work out well for someone like me.
Over the last couple of months however, I started thinking that maybe to watch wasn’t helping me do what I wanted to do. Oh sure, I could still time things, but I found myself resistant to trying to stay on schedule because of the watch. I would always look at it, it didn’t inspire me to want to do anything. I had taken to really only using it when I needed to time something; that’s not so cool.
I decided it was time for experiment. I wondered what would happen if I stopped wearing my watch after so many decades. Would I miss the weight? Would I start being late for things? Would I go crazy because I couldn’t look at my watch all that often anymore? Or would nothing happened at all?
I’m not going to make you wait for it this time around; nothing happened. I found that it was quite an easy transition going from wearing a watch all the time to not wearing one at all. One of the reasons is that I have so many replacements for a watch. My smart phone obviously has a clock function. Because I’m at my computer all the time it also has a time function. I don’t have a clock in my computer room, but I have a digital cable box that always has the time showing. When I’m in my car there’s a clock. Even at the gym there are two clocks, one at each end of the track.
Also, I knew that I could set alarms on both my smartphone and my Palm, and the smart phone also has a timer. In other words, overall I’ve found that I had so many other ways of checking my time that I didn’t miss my watch at all.
Of course there is a downfall. I find that I’ve been staying up later than normal, not thinking about going to bed until 3:30 in the morning, and a couple of times not until 5AM. No, that’s not a good thing, and I find that just because I go to bed later doesn’t mean I sleep any later, so I’m not sleeping as much as I was before. Still, as long as I’m working for myself that’s a small thing because I can always get a nap if I need one.
I know you’re thinking “why did he tell us all this”? All of us have preconceived notions about ourselves, as well as other people. When I wrote my post about modeling the other day, a couple of people said that there was no way they could see themselves ever being able to do the same thing. When I wrote my post some years ago talking about having to start injecting myself with insulin, a few people wrote that they could never see themselves being able to do that either.
People are always saying they can’t do this and they can’t do that, and even though every once in while their reasoning is sound, most of the time it’s people reacting with fear to something that they really don’t know whether they could do it or not. And most people, myself included, are afraid to tackle certain things that they feel are beyond their comfort zone.
I have used watches as a crutch for almost 50 years, and in my wildest dreams I never thought that I would be comfortable without having a watch on. Not that I will wear my watch again, but it’s nice to know how easy it was to break the bonds I had placed on my own mind, since that’s where most of our bonds lie. It makes me wonder what else there is that might be holding me back in some fashion that I can break to push forward.
Think about this; what types of things and how many things are in your mind that holding you back? Maybe make a list of 10 things that follows these two words: I can’t. Then pick one and resolve to at least test it; you might be surprised at what you’re capable of.
Suffice it to say I’ve gotten used to going to my health club. I can’t say I feel all that much healthier, but I can say that I know I’ve improved in some areas and held steady in some as well.
by Jon Tunnell
It’s an interesting thing, going to a health club or gym. You start out, for the most part, not knowing anyone. Then, over time, you start becoming familiar with a few people here and there, and though you probably can’t or won’t count any of them as your best friend, you start talking to them, learning something here and there and having the opportunity to apply something they’ve said to your workout; or at least give it a shot.
It equates well with blogging when you think about it. Even if you think you know it all, you go to another blog and either learn something or have the opportunity to engage someone in a conversation where one of you might come away with something. And, unfortunately, it’s not always positive, yet it’s always another experience to learn from. Here are 5 lessons I believe bloggers can learn from health clubs.
1. Let’s start with a lady named Jen; I know it had to be longer, but that’s all I got. Within my first few weeks of being there Jen stopped me one day just to talk. I was telling her how my routine always started out by walking the track to loosen my knees up, as they’re slightly arthritic. I also told her that I only did 15 minutes, whether they loosened up or not. She said that doing only 15 minutes of cardio probably wasn’t going to do me much good, especially if I wasn’t able to push it from the start. She said I needed to try to get at least 25 to 30 minutes in for a good workout, and if I could walk longer I’d feel it because I’d start to speed up, I’d get a sweat on, and my heart would pump a little faster. I started doing that, increased my time to where I now won’t walk less than 30 minutes, and she was absolutely correct.
Sometimes new bloggers will ask how often I write, and when I say almost every day they say they can’t see themselves doing anything like that. The same goes for how long posts should be. The reality is that you get more traffic and more for your effort if you can write more and post just a little longer posts that some people might do. An entire blog of 250 word posts probably isn’t going to benefit you much. I wouldn’t expect everyone to try to write 1,000 word posts every day either. Trying to find ways to push your effort up just a little bit will get you more of what you might be looking for as far as traffic, comments, etc.
2. There’s this tiny woman named Tina. She’s very fit, though she doesn’t think she is. She’s a former bodybuilder who, just being 2 years younger than me, thinks she’s only a shell of what she used to be. Ask my wife; we can’t find an ounce of fat on her, but she can.
She offers a lot of tips to anyone who asks her something. One of the things she lamented to me was how many people lay down on the bench and do sit-ups or stomach crunches very fast. She said they get absolutely no benefit and actually will cause more harm to their backs. She showed me two ways of doing them, both much slower than what I had been doing, and said that if I could do it that way that I’d benefit more than I had been and have fewer problems with my back. I started doing them her way and my back problems went away.
In blogging, sometimes you have to learn from someone who’s been there and made the mistakes so you can improve yourself. Even when we tend to learn from what we see others doing, there’s often someone with more knowledge than the crowd who can help us progress a lot further. When we come upon those people, we need to sit still and just listen to what they have to say.
3. There’s this guy named Richard, big brotha (we like to say Mandingo lol) who’s the nicest guy as well. One day he was pushing this one machine really hard and, well, I knew that I was going to have to try it one day. Turned out to be the next day. I put on a weight I didn’t think was all that heavy, pushed it 15 times, and felt like I was the man. Two days later, over Christmas holiday at my mother’s, suddenly I couldn’t move and was in dire pain all day and half the day after that.
When I talked to him about it days later he said that it was a dicey machine that needed perfect precision and technique to do it right, otherwise one could seriously hurt themselves on it. He tried to show me the technique, but I realized this was one time I was going to have to defer on my macho because indeed it was a tricky machine.
Many of us read what a lot of other bloggers do, yet sometimes we have to realize that we can’t learn every technique that another blogger tells us. For instance, most of my posts are written within 5 minutes or so; I type fast, think fast, and have a pretty good imagination for topics. That’s not something that can really be learned, no matter how many times I might talk about it. Sure, people can improve their speed, learn where to get inspiration easier, but maybe not copy and do what I do. And there are plenty of people who do things I certainly can’t do, whether I’ve tried or not. Sometimes you just have to settle for being the best you can be and live with that; trust me, often that turns out to be pretty good.
4. There’s this guy named Andy I met at the health club. He looks like an 80’s rocker, and is the nicest guy. He used to do security for Anthony Robbins in the 90’s, and thus has acquired a lot of those special ways of talking and giving out quotable phrases; it’s scary sometimes. lol
Andy has a body that looks like he pushes a lot of weight, but he doesn’t. As a matter of fact, he does something quite the opposite. He rarely uses more than 20 pounds at any time. But he does two things I just never see me doing. First, he commits to at least 4 hours at the health club whenever he goes. Second, it’s because it allows him to do multiple sets and reps for each thing he’s going to do. For instance, if he’s going to do a 20-pound barbell curl, he does 30 sets of 50 curls, and each one he does very slowly and deliberately. He does a set, rests 2 or 3 minutes, and does another set. Every time he goes to the health club, he selects a different part of the body to work on. Although he’s about 5 years younger than me, he’s “retired”; has enough money to live on so he doesn’t have to concern himself with a job, though he’ll do a project here and there just to stay busy.
Not everyone has the time to put into working on the perfect blog post. But what everyone has the ability to do is be consistent in effort, maximizing whatever it is they do. It’s not always about speed. It’s not always about content or SEO. It’s definitely not always about perfection. It’s about the effort to do whatever it is you have to do, giving what time you have to doing the best you can in the best way you can.
5. Finally there’s a young woman named Teresa. She’s stunning if you ask me and my wife. We always see her at the health club working out hard. Around the early part of December, after not seeing her for awhile, we saw her and she was looking great. We could tell she’d lost either weight or inches, and it was phenomenal because over all the time we’d seen her working out she didn’t look much different.
So I talked to her one day and told her how good I thought she was looking. She thanked me, then said she owed it all to my wife. Seems my wife, who’s been going to some type of health club for years, was talking to her about something and inadvertently gave her a tip that she decided she was going to try; man, I wish I could remember what it was now. So she started doing this thing my wife suggested to her and she lost 20 pounds in six weeks. I mentioned it to my wife later and she said she was stunned that her words convinced someone to try something new, but was glad it worked out.
Everyone we learn something from in blogging doesn’t have to be a guru. I’ve learned things from people who have only written two or three posts, and not always only about blogging. To me, if you’re open to reading and commenting on other people’s blogs, you’re open to learning something from almost anywhere. And when you do, sometimes you’re surprised because you weren’t expecting it at the time. That’s why blogging and the experience overall is so thrilling; you never know when you’re going to pick up something that will enrich your life. And, by extension, you never know when you’ll say something that will enrich someone else’s life.
And there you go; whew, this was long. So, hope you don’t mind, but I’m skipping a day to let this one have some time. That’s actually going to be something new I’m going to try; if I write a long post I’m going to think about skipping a day to give people time to catch up, if they so choose. After all, my goal was for 300 posts this year, not 365. 😉
I used to write two newsletters for my business, one on employee topics, the other on health care finance topics. I started writing both of them in February of 2003, and in some fashion I’ve kept up with them over all this time.
A few weeks ago, I finally decided it was time to end the health care newsletter. It wasn’t a decision I took lightly, yet when all was said and done I knew it was the right time to end it. There are many people who post these things saying that one should never quit and give anything up, because success is just around the corner. How one decided to measure success is up to them, but I tend to believe that there are times when you’re beating your head against a wall in some fashion, and at that point it’s time to give up the ghost, take your ball and go home.
Still, even though I say it’s up to each individual, there should be a series of steps one takes before deciding to give it all up. That includes anything you do in life, including divorce, changing jobs, having children, getting married, or rooting against any sports team I support. With that in mind, here are those steps, with my mentioning how I came to my decision.
1. Determine how much passion you still have for it. If you’re just going through the motions with something you either need to figure out how to refresh it or get away from it because it can be quite a brain drain. I pretty much lost the passion on writing about health care finance issues and topics on a regular basis. Those articles took awhile to research and write, and I kept trying to figure out what I could write about that was new and fresh, and kept failing.
2. Determine the time you spend thinking about it as opposed to working on it. When couples are getting ready to separate, they start spending less time with each other, or dreading much of the time they’re together, even if they’re able to enjoy moments together. In my case I started out writing that newsletter every six weeks, and it started pushing itself to every 4 or 5 months. That just wasn’t going to get it done.
3. Determine if you’re getting out of it what you want to get out of it. Some jobs are just stepping stones to something bigger and better, and at a certain point you might recognize that you can’t progress where you are and want something better. In my case, I reached the high number of 60 subscribers for that newsletter and then it pretty much stagnated, ranging only between 50 to 55 subscribers after awhile.
4. Determine if your efforts can support whatever actions you can put into it. Many people have children they then have problems supporting. Other couples will talk about it up front and may decide to push things back until their situation is better. In my case I had to weigh if I was generating any income out of it at all, or even any interest in what I was writing. On the first part nothing whatsoever; on the second, I actually got it into many health care magazines and newsletters around the country, some national, and I thought that might help me in some fashion, even if it generated a few calls. It didn’t, and other than a few links here and there, I didn’t feel I ever got any real benefit out of it.
5. Determine if there’s any other way you could handle things to keep it going. Years ago there was a guy on Dr. Phil who had to be convinced that a product he was still trying to market 7 years after he’d created it just wasn’t marketable, and was probably obsolete. He hadn’t even made 100 sales of his product, yet has cleared out his life savings first mass producing the things, then trying all kinds of marketing for the item. He couldn’t think of anything he hasn’t tried, and Dr. Phil convinced him it was time to move on. In my case this particular newsletter was kind of unique, in that no one else was writing anything like it, though some were writing things close to it. I didn’t have another way to market it, I wasn’t making any money off it, and it was taking my thinking and production time away from those things that were actually bringing in money.
All 5 of these factors led me to give it up. I don’t see it as a failure, though, because I have enough content there to put together a book if I so choose to do some years down the line, and those particular concepts are timeless. And I only heard from two people when I ended it, which pretty much told me almost no one was going to miss it. Now we’re all at peace, and I can be more useful in other areas, such as writing this blog.
Don’t ever take giving something up lightly, especially if you’ve put your soul into it. Realize, though, that sometimes the best way to move forward is to drop the baggage holding you back.