Staying Focussed

Distracted Bunny
Image via Wikipedia

I don’t have much trouble staying focussed. Given a task, I will often dive in and get it done, ignoring many other things happening around me. There have been many times at work where I’ve been engrossed in a task and someone comes in, says hello and I jump because I was not expecting them.

How do I do it? Two main things:

  1. Remove distractions, and
  2. Set mini goals for larger tasks

Removing the distractions is the big one. Remove everything that could distract you from your task – internet, twitter, tv, radio etc. If there’s something else happening your focus will be split and not working effectively.

Setting mini goals allows you to acknowledge that your brain wants to be distracted. So say my task was to write 5 blog posts. I would set myself a mini goal of a single blog post, and once that was completed I would take a short break. Or if I was designing a website, I would split up the different areas and when one area was complete then I’d allow myself to get distracted before getting focussed again.

What tips do you have for staying focussed?

Postaday2011 links:

(PS: It surprised me looking through the posts on this topic that have been posted already, the amount of posts from people who say they can’t stay focussed. Is this reflective of a generation with a short attention span, a world with too many distractions, an over-reliance on drugs for ADHD, or are bloggers just generally the type of people who can’t stay focussed?)

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Stressed? Stressed?!?

Stress
Image via Wikipedia

Thankfully, I’m not someone who gets stressed out very often. I’m fairly relaxed in my disposition, so things that might stress other people out don’t generally stress me out. I just go with the flow.

That’s not to say that I haven’t been stressed out before. The 6 month period at the beginning of last year when I was searching for a job was particularly stressful. Getting constant rejections, running out of time before my wedding, and more, it got very stressed.

I also got stressed towards the end of this year as I started to work on the directory for the Uniting Church. Having never done anything like this before, and knowing it was such a big project, it was getting me stressed out as to whether I would have enough time to get it done. I even chose to take the train for a work trip to Kalgoorlie that I have coming up, so that I could have an extra 14 hours to work on it. However, once I actually started working on getting the layout done, and working in access, I got it working fine in no time and am now trying to figure out what I’m going to do on my 14 hour return train ride.

So am I stressed right now? No – because I’ve just finished a nice little break, and go back to work today (for a day, then a three-day weekend). Are you stressed? What’s some of your techniques for dealing with stress?

Postaday2011 links

Text or Talk

Demo Cell Phones
Image by djwudi via Flickr

When it comes to preferred method of communication, I far prefer text over talk. The reason for this is that I prefer to be able to read and review what I say before I send it. However, text (and e-mail) does have its limitations.

For example, you can’t put any meaning in text. No Emphasis. For example, a sentence my mum would use when teaching English as a second language: Do I know Elvis Presley? This can be said in a number of different ways. Do I know Elvis Presley, Do I know Elvis Presley, Do I know Elvis Presley, Do I know Elvis Presley and Do I know Elvis Presley. Five different ways of saying the same sentence, each with a slightly different meaning.

I’m getting more comfortable on the phone. My work has me calling some people, and it does make me nervous sometimes, but so long as I go through my head what I’m going to talk about I’m usually ok. When I get calls, I can’t do that, but I’m getting better.

So What about you? What do you prefer to use? Let me know in the comments, or vote in the poll.

Postaday2011 links

What makes me smile

"Sharing smile!"
Image by abhiomkar via Flickr

I had a little trouble coming up with something for todays topic. It’s not that nothing makes me smile, but I wanted to pick something specific. See, a lot of things make me smile. Getting a solution for a problem at work so that something finally works the way it was intended – that makes me smile. Seeing weight loss each day as I weigh in on the wii, that makes me smile. Seeing my wife, my family, my friends happy, that makes me smile. I’m heading to my brother-in-law’s wedding today, and I’m sure that will make me smile. Seeing young people stepping out in their faith – that makes me smile.

I’m thankful for so much at the moment, and they all make me smile.

What makes you smile?

Postaday2011 links

Most important thing I did in 2010

I did a lot of important things this year. From becoming a Senior Soldier in the Salvation Army, and starting the application process towards becoming a Salvation Army Officer, getting a job and starting working essentially full time (across three jobs), moving out of home, and probably most importantly of all – getting married.

It was a wonderful day in September, but I would rather talk about my super crazy week at the end of June, where everything fell into place.

The story to this week actually starts back in January 2010, when a week before the school term started, I got an email from one of the schools that I taught at saying that they didn’t have any students for me and my services were no longer required. That made things very difficult – the mental jump from three days to five days work was no where near as hard as the jump from tow days to five days. I started applying for jobs everywhere. I would apply for on average 15 to 20 jobs a week, but wouldn’t get even an interview. I asked my contacts, and got an interview for a job with the Salvation Army, but didn’t end up getting the job. I went for a job at the Uniting Church that I thought was perfect, but didn’t get that one either.

Through all of this, Liesl and I had started looking at houses, as our wedding was fast approaching and we needed to find a place to live. I went to look at this one place that was in a great location, with cheap rent. It wasn’t anything great, but I really liked it, and when I showed photos to Liesl, she liked it too. We did our sums and figured that we would probably be able to afford it, just. So we applied. We handed our application in on Wednesday morning, and Wednesday afternoon I got a call saying we’ve got the place. It happened so quick, and they hadn’t even called any of our contacts.

Then on Thursday, the next day, I got a call from the Uniting Church asking me to come in as the selected applicant for the job I’d applied for had fallen through. So Friday, in the morning we signed for the loan on the Bond, then we signed the lease and got the keys to our house, then in the afternoon I went to a short interview and signed my job contract. Within three days, I went from no house and little hope, to a house and a job. I moved in on Saturday (Liesl wouldn’t move in until after we were married), and then started my job on the Monday. It was really quite incredible.

And apart from getting married, that was the most important thing that happened to me. While it wouldn’t have been an issue, there was a big sense of pride in me in being able to provide for my wife – and working two days a week didn’t do that. So having that job now allowed me to be the provider for my wife, and be comfortable in our new house.

Postaday2011 links

Who deserves more credit?

91.365 "Tell them to remember hope. We ha...
Image by ashley rose, via Flickr

When thinking of people who give so much to society, but don’t receive enough credit, I couldn’t single out a single person. I could only think of an entire industry – the Not-for-profit industry.

Why not-for-profits are necessary

The not-for-profit sector is sometimes referred to as the third sector, with the Government and Business being the other two. They fill the area of projects that are necessary to society, but the Government doesn’t want to (or can’t afford) to pay for them, and it isn’t going to produce a profit so business isn’t interested in it. They’re projects such as domestic violence refuges, rehab centres, refugee support services, and more.

Why they don’t get the credit they deserve

Essentially, its due to the type of work that they do. More often than not, it’s work that society is slightly ashamed of. We don’t like admitting that there are people whose lives get utterly destroyed through domestic violence. We don’t like admitting that there are people who get addicted to dangerous substances. So while many of us, when questioned, would say that having the not-for-profits is vital, they probably wouldn’t say they need recognition, or money.

So what can be done?

Well first of all, we can donate to these not-for-profits. Money isn’t everything,  but every cent helps. Find a not-for-profit that you like what they do, and donate to them. And not just a one-off donation, but regular donations. Secondly, the business and government sectors should host a yearly awards night, where they recognise the efforts of the not-for-profit sector. Industry hosted awards are important, but for the Government and business to recognise the work of these programs, that would show significant credit and recognition to these people who so often receive none.

The Daily Post #1: Countries

Proms in the Park
Proms in the park (Image via Wikipedia)

I’ve decided that I want to blog more often, so I’ve signed up to The Daily Post, to use their daily inspiration for some posts. Today’s inspiration is a question: What are the three countries you’d like to visit and why?

England

England is my first choice of where I’d like to go. First of all to see my heritage – my mum was born in Liverpool. But there’s plenty more in England that I’d love to see. I’d love to attend a Manchester United football match at Old Trafford. I’d love to see a county cricket match. I’d love to attend an Ashes test at Lords (even though Australia isn’t going all that well at the moment).

But the thing I’d love to do the most (and did seriously consider at one stage) would be to take two months off, and visit England during the Proms. Just stay in a backpackers for the two months, and head off to a prom each night for two months (and hopefully get in for the last night of the proms). It would be such an incredible experience.

United States of America

There’s lots of stuff that I don’t like about the USA, but there’s still lots of things that I’d love to see. The sports, for one thing, is incredible. I’d love to see a Los Angeles Lakers match, an NFL match (Chargers are my team, but I don’t follow closely) and I’d like to see a baseball match live.

Music in the US is also incredible. One thing that I would like to do is to go to a College Football match to view the marching bands. This morning I watched the Edinburgh Tatoo, and now I’m watching the Rose Parade. The thing that I think makes the US marching bands incredible is their percussion section, the drum line. But the music doesn’t just stop there – many of the greatest orchestras are in the US. I’d love to see the New York Philharmonic and Boston Philharmonic, amongst others.

There’s also a number of people who I’ve met online through Violinist.com that I’d love to meet in person.

Europe

I know I’m kinda cheating here, in that Europe is more than one country, but this is the third trip I’d love to do. I’d like to visit Germany, Austria, Italy and France to visit all the places where my favourite composers lived. And again, hearing the other great orchestras of Europe – such as Berlin Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic. And if I got to go skiing in the Alps, well that would just be a bonus.

So that’s it, that’s my first Daily Post, and I’m looking forward to seeing what else gets suggested. Hope you enjoyed.