Coping: With a Rare Book Review

It’s not often that I find very much useful in life,  maybe because my life is so damn complicated. 

There’s this here website, there’s the odd client project (slow due to the “recovery” that’s going on, lol), developing a server for a “black project” with a friend/client, building the new room onto house, finishing restoration of a tube-type ham radio for my son, and planning for the kitchen rebuild ahead.  All while keeping up the accounting/taxes and staying current on flying.  Then there’s the project and fine-tuning our Trading Model for Peoplenomics subscribers…Say…did I mention the four books I’m writing?

Like I said: Complicated

But I’m not the only person in this pickle – since you’re either there or remember it from your own recent experience,

So this morning I can’t say enough good things about Gary Keller’s book The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results which will run you $17 bucks at Amazon. Or, if you have a Kindle, it will set you back about $15 bucks here: The ONE Thing.

If you’re already struggling to find time (but still somehow have $264(!!)  laying around, there’s the The One Thing in 30 Minutes – The Expert Guide to Gary Keller and Jay Papasan’s Critically Acclaimed Book.

Now the reason for the recommendation:  It’ll help you focus on doing what needs doing.

In a way, it’s similar in thinking to William Oncken’s classic book Managing Management Time which is still available.  Oncken’s been writing about time management almost forever, seems.  My friend Gaye of and I were talking bout his work (and others in time management) back in the early to mid 1970’s.

Two points from these:

First, a couple of readers have asked “How do you do all the stuff you say you do?”   Well, here are some hints:

  1. Build “walls” in your life.  Allocate only so much time to Task A and when it’s done (as much as it ever will be in allotted time).  Move on to Task B.
  2. Make a list to keep yourself focused. A short list of a dozen “outcomes” you’re building.
  3. Streamline and find every efficiency you can in order to get things done.  The idea is to get things done, not to reinvent the wheel at every turn.

Here’s what I did Sunday, just for discussion:

a.  Tested a new breakfast (details in the “Around he Ranch” part in a minute.

b.  Solve a half-dozen damn difficult computer issues around the house: All kinds of new security updates, anti-virus and the firewalls, defrags, file checking, speed tuning, network rearranging.

c.  Made spaghetti.

d.  Searched for the  easiest way to build a LAMP server… and found the Linux version of XAMMP

e. Began cleaning off an old Pentium XP 32-bit box for that project.  Researched and found quad core machines for under $250 (off lease from as alternatives for round two of the “secret project”.

f.  Enjoyed two hours (approximately my weekly escapist TV budget which is six hours) consuming two episodes of “Tomorrow People” and the current “Elementary.”

A TV warning here:  I like to watch series’ after they show up on Netflix or Amazon streaming because you get an hour of TV in 43 minutes (after the commercials have been stripped out) which saves time.  45-minute hours!

g.  Tuned up graphic locations in the column to the right so they are better centered on this page.

h.  Measured wood and made a shopping list for the “next things” I need in the new room, namely a couple of rolls of tar paper (doing double vapor barriers (a long discussion) and some 1-by-10 for trim…

i.  Got 8 1/2 hours of sleep.

This is not to put this “out there” as particularly productive.  It isn’t.   There were several other items that I would much rather have done, but the computer problems on Elaine’s laptop ate way more time than planned and it had a “flexible wall” because I need it working…

But back to point:  A lot of people say they just don’t have enough time.  But everyone has the same amount of time and so it really comes down to how much you actually allocate time to tasks. 

If you hadn’t noticed, the Information Age is demanding our attention — all the damn time. 

But the most important things to remember really come from Oncken’s books and Keller’s.

The ultra-short message (from Oncken):  Distinguish between the urgent as opposed to the important.  Some things will jump up and down and scream how urgent they are.  But in the end, they are not important.  Blow those off.

Personal Example 1:  Relative  calls and nearly screams that I must read this emotional exchange of emails.   I decline.

Now, four weeks later, I have both avoided being drawn into (false but highly entertaining) drama, but I reckon I saved 2-hours of phone time and maybe another half hour of email time.

Yes, it was urgent as hell at the time – but not to me.  I recognized that it wasn’t important

Cost:  People tend to think of me as a hard-hearted bastard.  While it may be true, I’m on a mission:  Life is only so long, as I’m spending that time in a miserly way. I’m building memories, thanks.

I commend that way to you as well.  People will eat, thieve, and waste all your time if you let them.  And Oncken’s view of every “problem” as being a monkey on your back is invaluable stuff.  Develop a burning hatred for monkeys and you will get more of your own agenda done.

Ultra-short message from Keller’sOne.” This one is even more clear.  Do the ONE THING that matters most toward your goals as many hours a day as you possibly can and you can do amazingly more than most other people.

Personal Example 2:  We have an airplane, but it costs about $100/hour to fly it.  The fuel consumption is around 10-gallons per hour (roughly) so there’s $60.  And there is another $40/hour in annual inspection costs, hangar costs, and engine reserves.  (We may be selling the plane this year, but that’s another story…)

I looked at the problem of how to keep sharp flying.  The FAA requires three full stop landings in the aircraft type you’re using, every 90 days if you want to take a passenger with you.  And, I know from previous experience that your “eye” does indeed get ‘less sharp’ in estimating aircraft handling, the longer you’re away from the cockpit.  Gotta have your “head in the game” to fly safely.

My solution:  A good aircraft yoke, throttle quadrant, and trim wheel plus dual monitors, a fast computer (which I had anyway) and Microsoft Flight Simulator Gold with some enhancement software.  Set on as difficult as you can make it (absolute realism and high failure rates) it does an excellent job of “keeping sharp.”  Dial in flying in a hurricane or 25-knot crosswind…

Since we got back from Annual (March) this year, there are 94 hours of flight time, 103 landings, and 27.5 hours of instrument time.  Toss that on about 50-hours of actual airplane time (and probably 30 real landings) and I’m not only exceeding the required flight time to remain current, but keeping up with the safety intent.

Oh, and that 94-hours of simulator time is almost (but obviously not quite) the same as flying $9,400 worth of airplane time.  And, unlike the real airplane, it doesn’t eat a half hour each way to the airport plus 15-minutes of “monkey motion” to fly.  I just turn around, slide my chair to a different server and there it is…$300 worth of parts for a $9,400 value?  Hell yes.

One hour of flying equals one hour of time in virtual is way better than one hour of flying equals 2.5 hours of time…  And, if you wreck an airplane in a 40-knot cross wind?  No bill.  You can push the envelope safely…

So there you have it…a rare book review. 

Ideal stuff for this time of year because you’ve got my permission to invest a little in yourself and because over the holidays you will likely have time to read. 

Not to piss of every football fan on earth, but while the couch potato crowd is watching cheerleaders, I’ll be insulating, wiring, and hanging sheet rock.

Humans only have two operating modes, yet few people talk about them openly.

You are either in the “Value consumption mode” or you’re in the “Value creation mode.” 

In order to have a lot of reserves to consume, you’ve got to create lots of value. 

And anyone who tells you the world operates in a different manner is either a liar or a politician.  I’ll leave it to you to discern if there’s a difference.

Around the Ranch: FTTDF

Missing your sugar blues?  Got a bread machine?

Order: Krusteaz Cinnamon Raisin Supreme Bread Mix, 1 lb 5 oz, (Pack of 4).

Make one loaf in the bread machine on Saturday.

Wake up Sunday morning and make French Toast out of it:

French Toast Mix:


1 shot of Bailey’s

1/2 cup whipping cream (or milk, whatever’s handy)

1/3 tsp of nutmeg

Mix well

Soak thick slices of bread (3/4” – 1 inch) in mixture for five minutes each, turning once.

Cook of low-medium heat for 6-minutes, turning once. 

(Should be golden to medium brown)

Plate.  Slather on butter.  Top with organic maple syrup.  Serve with a slice or two of honey-cured ham, coffee & orange juice.

Tastes like a fresh pastry from heaven.

French Toast To Die For  – FTTDF

More tomorrow once the sugar rush wears off.

Write when you break even…


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