45 Things to Live Well (26-30)

It has been said there are three ways to gain wisdom; 1) By reflection and thought, 2) From watching and learning from others and 3) By personal experience.  The first two are perhaps the most expedient but if you are like me, sometimes you have to learn the hard way by experiencing it first hand.  As messy as this can be I am most likely to remember these lessons - but not always!
This next instalment of 45 Things to Live Well is pretty practical.  I would like to say common sense but I have learned common sense is often not so common!

1. Be sure to pay your bills on time.  The practical aspect of this is by paying your bills on time you don't pay any extra interest or penalty and often times those who pay on time tend to be favoured  with extra perks.   Paying on time goes a long way to keeping your credit rating healthy and makes it easier and often less expensive to borrow money.   Paying your bills on time is also an integrity issue as well.   When you enter into an agreement for a product or service, you are giving your word that you will pay for that service / good.  This is often in the contract - verbal or written.  If you commit to it, it is important that you follow through - "Let your Yes be Yes, and your No be No".

2. Use technology to automate tasks but don’t get all Skynet about it. I love technology and the gadgets that promise to make life easier so I advocate using those things which bring real-time saving value to your life.   However, technology can enslave you in a number of ways (hence the Skynet reference from the Terminator movies).  In particular, upgrading technology for the sake of upgrading with no real, concrete benefit towards simplifying your life!  This often has more to do with keeping up with the Jones' or the thrill of having the latest and greatest.  Remember, technology should serve you, make your life easier, more efficient in some way, and we need to be careful that we don't become enslaved to it!

3. Handle important two-minute tasks immediately.  The dreaded to-do list can be daunting with a long list of tasks.  An effective strategy to thwart To-Do list intimidation is look for those things that can be done quickly.  By knocking these quick tasks off your list you get a sense that you are making real headway and diminishing the pressure of the long list hangover!

4. The Multi-Task Myth. The evidence is quite clear, the effectiveness of multi-tasking is indeed a myth.  Performance and productivity experts have discovered that applying your focus and energy on one task at a time results in faster work flow and better quality of work than if you are trying to do several things at once.

5. Watch for chronic interruption and adjust.  The telephone, the text message and email can all be unwelcome interruptions in your day and counter productive to your work. Address chronic interruptions by choosing a couple of specific times a day to check your email and voicemail.  Consider turning off the text notification on your phone while you are working on a specific task.  Even closing the door to your office while you work on a specific task is a good way to manage distractions and help you focus on the project at hand.

(Bonus) Don’t steal.  This seems like a no brainer but... while many of us would never consider stealing thousands of dollars from our employers, we often never think twice about office-owned stationary or time.   Sometimes we don't see these things as stealing, after all it's just a pen, or a USB drive or it's just a two-hour lunch break.  The truth is the pen, the USB drive, etc. was purchased by the company for you to use doing company work - really, it is their property.  If you are paid by the hour or by salary you are exchanging your work/time for pay.  If you are being paid $X for so much time, not providing that time and still being paid as if you were, is, in effect, stealing.  Ouch!



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