Social Media is Exhausting

I am not sure about you – but keeping up with x, y, and z, learning about the latest this, and the newest that is pure exhausting. I gave up Facebook over a year ago (still happy about that), really fell off of twitter in the last few weeks, and even stopped posting here. Why? I am overwhelmed. I really need to re-assess what is important and re-focus. Anyone else feeling completely overwhelmed by everything out there? Heaven forbid I miss out on something…

Stop Overwhelming Yourself

I don’t know what it is but the last few months I have felt completely overwhelmed. My TiVos are filled with shows piling up that I “need” to watch, I have a pile of mail to go through, posts to write, RSS feeds to read, magazines to read, things to do, etc. Regardless – I could not seem to make a dent in any of it.

This past week I decided enough was enough. I know the one way to take care of something like this is to just keep chipping away at it one piece at a time. I started by first with all my computer related overwhelming tasks. I did a full backup (offsite to Amazon), then re-organized. All media is now on one computer specifically for media and all my Apple devices are set up to properly sync with this computer as well. I then went through and archived email from a year ago to cut the clutter from my mailboxes. I also went through my iPhoto library and trashed any junk photos (blurry, mis-takes, etc). Less photos – easier to go through and truly appreciate. I also went through my RSS subscriptions and deleted a good 40%. I probably spend a good hour+ a day going through RSS feeds and hopefully this will give me more time to actually read only about what I truly care about.

After that, I started in with the mail – and have designated a day of the week specifically to go through everything so that I know (and do not have to worry) that this will not build up anymore. After the mail – I decided to take on the TiVos (which may sound silly – but this was causing a lot of overwhelming feelings of not being able to get caught up). I ended up tossing a lot of things I know I will never watch and also decided to cut down on the number of series I watch. There is only so much one can watch – and I just need to pick this more carefully. I am still at 60% full with TiVo – but I can easily knock that down to 40% by next week.

I also went through my magazines – threw away what I had read or “just about finished” but still had laying around (like my October 2010 Astronomy magazine which highlighted Astronomy events in October of last year).

I know I have a little more to go through, but all in all sometimes you just need to clean out the junk and start fresh or simply plan some time each week to go through certain things so you know you definitely will get to it. We are all busy – but a little goes a long way and even with the things I did this week – I am definitely feeling a little less overwhelmed.

Lesson learned: Get rid of the junk so you can focus on what’s important (applicable to just about everything).

This is Not Google

I just got a call from an automated service (I did not stay on long enough to hear all of it) that said:

“This is an important call for the business owner. This is not Google…”

I figured when they said “This is not Google” they really meant to say “this is a scam to get you listed when you could do it for free” so I hung up. I did have to laugh a bit when I heard “This is not Google”.

Timing Is Everything

I would have totally been up for this if I got it BEFORE it started instead of AFTER it started…by three hours. Let’s hope they got some people for the event.

Plastic Card Payment

Continue with Plastic Card?

Some form buttons need to be noted – and this is one of them.

Really – a simple “Continue” would not have worked?

Where is this from? Library of Congress. Perhaps I should have donated more to help out the programming team.

How NOT to Take/Make a Business Call

It is unbelievable how some people act on a conference call or even a business related call. From my experience here are some pointers on how NOT to impress your colleagues/clients/developers. (All based on actual things I have experienced)

  • Make a business call while in the drive-thru at McDonanlds…and then ask me to hold while you order your “Big Breakfast”. You called me – why couldn’t you wait until at least after ordering?
    What it tells me: You do not respect my time and this will not be the last inappropriate call. Anything is game.
  • Have multiple conversations while on a call. Setting up a call with me, then talk to your co-workers about unrelated topics in between actually taking to me – who you called is just not acceptable.
    What it tells me: You are over scheduled or have no idea how to stay focused. Reviewing the project with you is going to be a bear.
  • Answer another line, without asking me to hold so I can hear the drama with you and your spouse.
    What it tells me: You lack discretion and inappropriate comments are soon to follow.
  • Yell at your co-workers while on the phone. If this is how you treat someone that you work with day in and day out – perhaps I should stay clear from you and your business.
    What it tells me: You have respect issues and interactions with you are going to be rough.
  • Talk to your kids while on the phone. Telling them to “go watch TV” or anything else while Daddy is on the phone just does not cut it. If you work at home – make sure your family members have boundaries.
    What it tells me: You have no boundaries and are going to expect me to work all hours of the day (since you do as well).
  • Take a call with very loud background noise. I have been on conference calls with people who had to literally mute their line when they were not talking because of the background noise. If you cannot find somewhere quiet to take/make a call – perhaps you should just wait.
    What it tells me: You think your time is worth more than mine.
  • Make the call, but then answer all call-waiting incoming calls. I know there are exceptions and emergencies, but if we have a 30 minute call scheduled and you put me on hold more than three times, perhaps this is not great time to take the call.
    What it tells me: You have a lot of other higher priorities than what is being discussed.

Seriously – phone calls should be to the point and between the parties on both ends done with mutual respect. This is not rocket-science – it is just a matter of time and respect.

Traveling with Children

We just returned to Chicagoland from a trip to see my parents/grandparents. While I was not really excited to travel with all three kids – I knew my family would appreciate it. Since we were traveling with all three kids (4 years, 7 month twins) I figured it would be a nightmare. To my surprise – we had a pretty good experience by doing the following:

  1. First thing first: make sure you tell yourself that regardless of whatever comments/facial expressions you get – that they do not mean a thing. People are idiots and very selfish – and they tend not to care about anyone else but themselves – especially when traveling without kids.
  2. Make sure to pack at least one change of clothing for all travelers. We went through 3 out of 5 changes of clothing over our trip due to spit up/accidents/etc
  3. Don’t rush. Rushing only causes more stress for you and regardless of what you do and how fast you do it – people will not see a family as moving fast.
  4. Bring plenty of food. When all else fails, a bottle, a snack, or something tasty might help with the boredom, crankiness of both adults and kids.
  5. Bring plenty of water. Kids and adults can act/think/react better if they are well hydrated. I would just make sure the non-diaper children have a controlled amount so there are not multiple on-plan bathroom trips.
  6. Bring plenty of candy. When all else fails – a lollipop or some lifesavers go a long way to help make kids happy (and also helps with the ear pressure changes).
  7. Bring the entertainment. Our four year old spent almost the entire flight playing on the iPad/watching movies on the iPad. This kept his mind off the fact he had to sit quietly for almost three hours.
  8. Dial back the “no”. On our first flights with Evan, I constantly said “no”/ “don’t” to everything. Don’t touch this, don’t kick that, don’t look there, don’t talk to that person. It was over the top stressful to all. This time around – Cora decided she wanted to play with the onboard WiFi information handout and while I generally would have been saying “don’t touch that” – I let her and it entertained her for over 30 minutes. As long as the kids are not bothering others on purpose – let them do what they need to to get by.
  9. Travel in the AM. We have traveled on the first flight out and on the last flight in. Earlier travel seems to work best and allows the kids to adjust easier for the activities once we land.
  10. Give yourself a day. Give yourself (and your kids) a day to relax before rushing into some planned events. Traveling is stressful and we all need some downtime. Likewise – make sure you have some time the day after travel to just relax and unwind.

Nothing is more important than the first item. For all you non-family travelers, remember as bad or as horrible as a flight you had because of someone’s kid screaming – the parent and the child feel 1000 times worse. Suck it up and invest in some good earphones for the next flight…and consider this: who is a bigger baby: A baby crying because they are stuck in a small space, not sure of what is going on, with ear pressure problems or a big baby who did not get x hours of their day as quiet as they wanted and then complains about it and says nasty things to the parent – who in most cases – would have prevented the screaming/crying if they could.

Holy Crap

I walked past this car and it instantly made me laugh. What did those birds eat – and what did the person do to them that owns this car?