Psysoul

BALANCE YOUR LIFE

2018-06-18
by Psysoul
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How to build new habits easily

Goal
Would you like to learn a new language, start drawing, writing or train a lot? There are some simple ways to do it and to motivate yourself. According to studies it takes about 28 days to develop a new habit. So follow me and I’ll show you how.

How?
First step is to define your goal. Remember: you don?t have to start big. You can start with setting a simple goal: train 15 minutes a day. Once you have a goal you should schedule it. What is the ideal time to do it? If you don’t have time? Wake up 15 minutes earlier. Boom, you have time now.

Method 1: Calendar reminder
The simplest method is to use your phone?s calendar or the calendar on your desk and add this new habit and a reminder. Simple as that. Be disciplined, and always do the task, regardless if you’re doing something else at the moment. If no one?s health is in danger, stick to your plan.

Method 2: Phone application
I?m testing a simple app called Productive to create my new habits. It works quite well until now. I built some habits and do them every day. It is possible that I overdid it and added 19 new habits, which might be too much to start at the same time. However the most important 5 is already a habit.

Features of the app:
Add new habits, choose an icon for them
Schedule: morning, during the day, evening, all day, n times a week, biweekly etc.

There should be a few days or weeks or probation period where you test if you’re willing to commit doing a new habit every day, or rather should set it to three times a week first. I’ve added my most important tasks as daily tasks and some less important ones as three times a week habits.

Now meditation in the morning and evening is an integral part of my life. Also writing my long term goals and reviewing my tasks and day is part of the daily schedule.

Method 3: Additionally: note reminders
For some tasks it’s nice to have a little more push in the beginning, so to encourage my morning training routine, I’ve added a post it note next to my bathroom sink, so every morning I look at it, and immediately are reminded that I should do my training. You can keep these notes or remove them after a few weeks.

Method 4: Ask someone else
If you want to make sure you’ll do something just promise your spouse or best friend that you will do it and let them remind you and verify your progress.

2018-06-16
by Psysoul
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Why I always shop expensive, quality products

Idea
Buying high quality products is always cheaper on the long term.

Why?
About ten years ago I was looking for a tablet, as i wanted to have a mobile device to write articles on, however I didn’t wanted to buy a laptop as I didn’t need a bigger device. After some investigation I’ve chosen a cheap android tablet and went home happily with it. At least I was happy until I switched it on. The tablet was randomly slowing down, not recognising touch properly when it was plugged into the power source. I had to bring it back and exchange it. I’ve exchanged for a more powerful model from the same company which had a much higher screen resolution. My expectations were a lot higher too. I was heavily disappointed as this device was also really slow and underperforming. Finally I sold the device for about 20% less than the original price and bought and iPad which I still use today. I bough the iPad as part of another deal, so I got about 30% discount on it.

Cost of buying a cheaper product:
The time which I spent on returning the product and selling the second one
The time which I’ve lost because the device was slow
The frustration because of the cheaper product
20% of the original price

I agree that the initial cost of some products might be quite high, however if you can use the higher quality product for example five years, dividing the cost of the product by five will show a different value and often results in excellent price / value ratio.

Products which I consider as high quality: iPad, my grand canyon AL 29 mountain bike. I’ve biked with this bike more than 10000 kms and it?s still functioning perfectly with the original front fork, original breaks, original frame (of course I’ve changed the parts which needs to be changed from time to time: chainrings, chain, break pads etc.).

One more example: If you buy an expensive leather shoe for 5 times the price of a cheap shoe, however you have to change the cheap shoe every two years and can use the expensive one for ten years, which one is cheaper on the long term? Consider the time you spend on choosing those five pairs rather than the one pair (even if you’re super effective in shoe shopping this takes 5-10 hours vs 1-2 hours). Consider the small cost of maintaining the leather.

2018-06-14
by Psysoul
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Clean desk policy explained

Goal
Have a decluttered, clean desk in your office and at home.

Why?
You’ll be able to focus a lot better if piles of papers don’t distract your attention every few minutes.

How?
Remove everything from your desk which you don?t need every day. Things to keep: post it notes, clean papers, pens or pencils in a holder.
My father had a master when he was learning as a technician. The master said he’ll close his eyes and someone can say the name of a tool. The master then easily went to the proper part of the workshop and removed the item from it’s place.
If you can’t keep your office or workplace organised, how do you expect that you can keep your thoughts organised and not wander when you need to focus?
So it’s highly recommended that you have a clean desk, and you have a way to organise everything into drawers, boxes and other places. If you always put something in the same place, you’ll never have a problem finding it. Trust me, this will save you a lot of time. I have a nice system on how I store my things, papers are organised into properly labeled folders.

For more details how to get it done:
Getting things done (GTD) method

2018-06-12
by Psysoul
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How to care more for the environment

Goal:
If we all pay a bi more attention to our surroundings we’ll leave Earth in a better condition to our children.

How?
Electricity:
In the past I was working in a huge office building which had an open space plan. During most evenings all the lights were left switched on, even when nobody was nearby. I have two concerns here. Someone is leaving home knowing (or not checking if) they are the last one to leave and leaving the lights on. I?m quite sure nobody would leave the lights on at home. Yes it does use electricity, so imagine that leaving them on in the office is a problem on a lot bigger scale. Also I?m not quite sure why are there no smart ways to verify if the lights are still needed. Companies who own these office buildings would also benefit from these, as switching the unnecessary lights off would reduce electricity costs and maintenance costs as well.
Don’t forget to unplug your devices if you leave for a vacation. Left chargers in the power outlet consume very little energy, however still a good idea to unplug. Also it’s better to unplug your TV or expensive hifi system in order to protect them more from lightning etc.

Plastic consumption:
Just consider if you really need that plastic bag the next time you?re shopping. Why not take your reusable bag every time? I keep them in the car. Are you sure it’s necessary to bag your bananas into plastic bags? Aren?t they packed by nature? You’ll peel them anyways.
Also consider bringing your metal / glass bottle to your workplace rather than getting one or more new plastic bottle every day. In most bigger cities the tap water is as high quality as the bottled one (please do your research if you’re unsure). Yes, PET bottles are recyclable, however it still takes a lot of time and energy (consider: you have to take it to a collecting point, you most probably will use gas if you take the car, huge trucks will collect it and take it to a nearest or a far away recycling station, which will use electricity to recycle the bottles).

Next time consider if you really need that coffee on the street with throwable paper cup or you could maybe wait until you reach the office and use your favourite porcelain cup.

Water consumption:
Do you think it?s important to have a shower for 15 minutes? I usually shower for 2 minutes maximum. And mostly with cold water. This helps the environment and helps me to not spent too much time either. Oh yes, I do spend 45 seconds more when I was my hair, ladies with longer hair have a disadvantage here.

Driving your car:
Do you really need to take the car to go anywhere? People who walk 30 minutes or more a day are not just more happy however more healthy as well. Public transportation in some cities are a lot better than going with the car: no waiting in the traffic, cheaper (this depends), you can actually do something useful like reading, and you might be meeting your friends or colleagues.
Well, I don’t want to change your life, however I bike to work almost every day and I enjoy it a lot. It takes maybe 5-10 minutes longer + shower time, however by the time I reach home, I trained already 50 minutes. So actually I’ve saved time compared to by going with a car. Even better, when the weather is good I can just visit the lake on the way home, so I can add 30-60 minutes of swimming to my training time. It?s hard to beat this efficiency.
So I’ve listed three alternatives, try the ones you like!

Useless products / clothes
We all bought them, even when inside we knew that it?s not important or useful for us. So next time you’re planning to buy something: ask yourself: do I really need it? Is it useful? If yes, go for it! If no, forget it, you can always get it later if you change your mind. I actually have a clothes to buy shopping list: this way I can easily plan my wardrobe, think through what fits to what, and I can always check it quickly if a piece I see is on the list or not. If not, I’ll consider adding it later, however most probably I don’t need it.
Consider: if you don’t spent x money you actually saved x + taxes, as if you spend it and want to get the same amount on your bank account you’ll need to get more money, pay the taxes and you’ll be in the same financial situation.
I know you have some clothes which you really like, however almost never use. If you didn’t wear a piece of clothes in the last year more than once or twice, consider donating it, as it makes no sense to keep it. (ignore this if you need the clothes, just don’t have a lot of opportunity to wear it..although you might be thinking on how to make more opportunities: how about going to the theatre?)

Recycle:
Recycling is a good way to protect the environment a bit more. In Switzerland and Hungary there are slightly different systems in place on how to recycle.
Things to recycle:
PET bottles, other plastic bottles, PLA, metal cans, glasses, wood, bigger metal pieces. Plastic bags. Cardboard boxes.
In Switzerland recycling 90% of the things are free.

Another good idea is to reuse anything which you can. For example I receive some letters / invoices by post. I don?t throw out the envelopes, however I use them as note paper. The A5 size is ideal to list daily todos or just quickly note down something which I?ll consider later. I also reuse yogurt cups as paint mixers. This way I?m saving some money and help the environment, two birds, one stone. Whenever a company is using reusable packaging I?m quite happy. For example my roadid came in a reusable tin container, and they even have a section on their website showing a lot of different ideas how to use it afterwards.

Dangerous waste:
Please consider taking the following items into a proper place to recycle or get rid of: batteries, car batteries, used oil, chemicals (drugs), electronic devices. Most gas stations take batteries and all pharmacies should take back drugs which are expired without any costs.

2018-06-10
by Psysoul
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Stop wasting your time on social media and with funny videos / photos

Goal
Reduce the time you waste on-line, and spend it on yourself: on self improvement, meeting friends in real life or working on those projects you always wanted however never had the time to start

How? Why?
Let’s think a bit. How many hours do you spend on social media on a week? How many useful things did you learn? How many of your connections are important? You know, those friends who will be backing you up once you have a serious need for help. Those who support you with your goals instead of expressing their concerns and problems?

How many hours did you spent on watching funny videos on youtube or browsing boredpanda, 9gag or similar sites? Well, I wasted hundreds, so I urge you not to make the same mistake.

The reason why you don’t start with your project because it is big. It feels like you need months to prepare to be able to deliver it properly. And indeed your project might be big, however that is not the problem. The problem is that it?s not broken down into manageable pieces. You know what happens at companies when they have a big project? They break it down into small pieces, and delegate each part to someone who is responsible to achieve the goals. In your pet project it is possible that everything will be created by you. Even better. So here’s the trick how to stop procrastinating:

1. Define your vision, your end statement, your project goal
2. Analyse it and break it down into manageable tasks (meaning each task should take maximum a few hours of time)
3. Add your tasks to your favourite planner software (Don?t have one? Check GTD / Trello)
4. Do your first action
5. Congratulate yourself! You just made the first step into turning your dream project into reality.

2018-06-08
by Psysoul
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Shop from your local farm

Goal
Help the environment by buying local products.

Why?
I?m quite lucky as I have a farm just about five minutes walk from my apartment. The farm has a big vending machine with vegetables, diaries and other products and it also has an automatic milk dispenser.

Advantages:
It?s cheaper than buying from the shops
It?s more fresh and higher quality
I help the environment by skipping on transportation
I help the environment by skipping on buying a new plastic milk bottle every time, as I can just reuse the existing ones for a long time or use my glass container.
I support people who are working locally rather than supporting huge food chains where the majority of the profit is condensed in a small group?s hands.

2018-06-06
by Psysoul
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Zero inbox method

Goal:
The main goal if this method is that your e-mail inbox always remains empty. This way you will not lose or forget any important e-mails.

How:
If you?re like most people chances are that you have hundreds of e-mails in your work or private inbox, however this is an inefficient way to organise your e-mails and tasks. So instead you should keep your inbox empty all the time.
Once you decide to read e-mails, just open your e-mail software and start reading your e-mails. The ones where you have nothing to do and are not relevant in the future should be deleted immediately. The ones which require your action should be handled immediately if the tasks take less than 2-5 minutes, and the e-mails could be deleted or replied. After replying you should archive these messages or keep them in a waiting for answer folder, if you need to follow them up. Messages which you might need later or would like to keep as reference should be put into some archive folders, which could be organised by topic.

Tip:
Don?t start your e-mail software in the morning. Start it twice a day, for example once after lunch and once in the evening. If you have the e-mail running it will just disturb you many times a day, and it takes at least 10-20 minutes to switch back to your original context once you were disturbed. You will receive urgent tasks per skype or personally, or if in e-mail, you can still request others to contact you on one of these channels instead of by e-mail. I?m doing this since months and never had a problem with it. Also don?t start reading your e-mails in the morning, as this is the time when you have the most energy, so you should spent on the most important tasks.

2018-06-04
by Psysoul
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Getting things done (GTD method)

I’ve read the book from David Allen a couple of months ago and started to implement the methodology right away. For me it was rather easy to do this, as I already had the tools (mostly software) to create my lists and planning tables. I’ll describe a short version of this method, however I highly recommend that you read the book for detailed explanation and real life examples. If you would like to read more details on the software I use please read how to be efficient.

Goal:
Get things off your mind so you can focus on the action which you’re actually doing. Your mind should not wander. This will help you to be in the flow.

How:
This method is quite simple, however it might take a few weeks until you get used to it and build your own system. I’ll describe my way to do it, however create your own way to implement it in a way which makes most sense.

1. Collect
2. Decide
3. Work
4. Review

Collect your things which need your attention and put them in your inbox. For me this means a couple of things. I have an A3 sized inbox folder next to my desk, so any invoice, newspapers, letters, ads which I want to decide about later goes into this. For some time I had a box next to it for bigger items, this was cleaned already, so I don’t need it anymore.
I bet you already have an email inbox, so use it, however keep it empty. See more about this: Zero inbox method.
I have an inbox list in my trello planner. This is the first place where any new idea would go. So I never forget anything. If I have a project idea, if I need to call someone, take care of something however I didn’t decide what and when, it goes in here. Any time of the day when I have a new idea, I just pull out my phone and add the item to the inbox, so I’ll decide and take care of it later.
I have an inbox in my Evernote notebook tool, which is my default notebook.

Decide

Is it actionable? If yes:

Don’t need it? Throw it out.

Does the action take less than two minutes? Do it.
Want to do it in the next 1-2 months? Add it to the next actions list.

Does it need more than one action? Create a project, and add the first action to next actions list.

Want to do it later? Add to someday / maybe list

Is it time specific? Add it to your calendar. However please note that this only works if you actually trust your calendar and follow it properly. Don’t clog your calendar with tasks which are not day or time specific. Rather use your planner to take care of them.

If not actionable:
Don’t need it? Throw it out.

Need it?
File it as reference:
For papers I have a folder, so I’ll just put the paper in the folder
For digital notes I have a reference folder (in Evernote) for each topic which interests me (ie: references travel, references writing). I do have a general reference folder which contains about 5-10 notes of actual topics. Ie. related to my next vacation etc.
For e-mail, I keep a reference folder as well, to keep the actually needed data at hand. Don’t collect more than 5-10 e-mails as it might be hard to find things later.
Tip: If a reference is no longer actual delete it. If you still want to be able to check it later, move it to your archive folder. You could keep a general archive in which you can use the search functionality (given it’s in electronic format), however it’s always a good idea to organise by topic.

Get things done (Do it!)
This is quite simple. You just get the first item in your next actions list and do it. Optionally you might create a short action list which should take less than 15 minutes.
More advanced scenarios: create separate lists for actions to be done at the computer or which can only be done at home (ie. cleaning rooms).

Weekly review
It’s quite important to review your system and lists every week. Review your projects, your action items. Remove anything what was done or what is outdated. Add new ideas and items. Clean all your inboxes. This might not be possible in the first few weeks, unless you can dedicate two three full days on it. Don’t worry, just do it one step at a time. The weekly review shouldn’t really take more than fifteen minutes.

Things to clean at least during weekly review
Inboxes:
E-mail
Trello
Evernote
Dropbox
Downloads folder on your computer

Physical inbox folder / box

Clean reference files:
E-mail
Evernote
Dropbox

You might ask how this method will change your life. I had my concerns, however trust me, it’s working and it’s working extremely well. There was nothing in the past few months what I forgot. Also I can focus a lot more on the things which I need to focus on. Pair this method with waking up early and you’ll switch to a lot more efficient mode compared to your past.

Buy the book on Amazon:

2018-06-04
by Psysoul
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How to improve your life and be happier 1.

Intro
You might think this sounds bullshit, however bear with me for a moment, as I’m talking from experience. You don’t have to take big steps at any time. Trying to make huge steps and stopping after two will take you nowhere. Taking small steps constantly will take you to the highest peaks. Set a goal. Break it down. Focus on the next step and go on. This is how you climb Mt. Everest.

How? I’ll list a few bigger topics which I started to do. Not all at the same time, however once I got the momentum things just followed, so I could say it was roughly a few weeks between I’ve started doing these. And I did it in this order, however that’s up to you to decide if you’re willing to go on a similar journey with me.

Organize yourself aka Getting things done
I had the getting things done (GTD) book by David Allen for a few months on the shelf when I decided, it’s time to read it. I wish I would have done it earlier, it would have saved me some from worry on how to get the dozens of projects and tasks done and how to organize them.
So what is this book about? Get things off your mind. It describes a way on how to organize your daily, weekly, monthly tasks and life goals. David estimates that it one needs about two years to fully implement GTD in her life. I think I can do better, however I have to tell you that I already had a similar system, so I just had to adapt it. I’m using GTD since two months and my life feel already a lot more organized, and I never forget anything. I might sound like someone who wants to sell the book, however I want to sell the idea.

Meditate
First I’ve meditated about ten years ago during my martial arts trainings, however this meditation was only a few minutes long. Later I started taking it more seriously and I was meditating twice a week with my project manager at that time at the workplace and sometimes after work too. I did once one day long meditation (25 minutes sessions, 5 minute breaks), and once three day session. It was great experience.
So a few weeks ago we decided with my partner that we will meditate properly. So we set up reminders twice a day. 7:15 and 21:30. We do meditate every day twice, for 15 minutes. I plan to make longer sessions in the future. I meditate in seiza position, however some people like lotus or half-lotus position.

Tip: buy nice pillows. App: Insight timer or any timer.