Pretty Excited About This Eurolux Stainless Steel Cool Touch Electric Kettle

Do you know how you know when you’re old? It’s when you order a quick-boil electric kettle on eBay and you want to high-five someone. Or, you know you’re old when you talk about the quality of a chair because you can sit in it for a long period of time and when you stand up, your back doesn’t hurt. Or, another sign you’re old is when you start driving about 2 m.p.h. under the speed limit because you’re really not in that much of a hurry, and driving conservatively saves gas and will prolong the lifespan of your engine.

Yup. I’m old. But I’m excited, especially about the 6 temperature settings.

  • 160°F- Delicate Teas
  • 175°F- Green Tea
  • 185°F- White Tea
  • 190°F- Oolong Tea
  • 200°F- French Press Coffee
  • 212°F- Black Tea

And it gets many, many 5-star Amazon reviews.

I also ordered socks for the legs of my chairs to protect my new hardwood floors. Oh, yes. I party on Monday night’s like a mutha!

Keep checking back to my blog as I will be building shelves for my laundry room to custom fit into an odd shaped area. It will either be the most brilliant thing I’ve ever done, or it will make me look like the guy in A Beautiful Mind and while my brain tells me I’m brilliant and saving the world, my wife will be asking me to sit and talk with a counselor.

It ain’t like I’m bragging, but I will have a badass (and organized) laundry room.

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Need to Simplify

For the past 5 weeks, I’ve been displaced from my home. Nothing bad, don’t worry. We’re remodeling our kitchen and it’s a pretty major project, so major that our family-of-five had to move out. Blessing of blessings, my Aunt, who lives 1.9 miles away from us, was spending January and February in Florida and we’ve been able to live at her home.

Because her house is only 1.9 miles away, we pretty much were able to move out of our house in a matter of hours (my wife might argue otherwise, but trust me, compared to many doing major renovations, we had it easy). My Aunt’s house is fully furnished. We grabbed enough clothes to last us a week, loaded it into a suitcase, and we were out. I think we brought some pillows, some food essentials from our fridge to her fridge, and that was it.

Again, my wife would argue it was much more complicated, but for the point of this Blog entry and the point I’m trying to make, I’ve lived the last 5 or 6-weeks with much, much less than what I have at home. I have 5 wash-n-wear dress shirts. I have 5-shirts. I have one pair of athletic pants. A couple sweatshirts. Some socks and underwear. Pretty much, I have about 25% of my wardrobe with me, and it’s been more than enough.

I think I’m learning I …have …too …much …stuff. I’m American. We’re consumers. Having “too much” is very much our way of life. We work to make money to buy stuff. As George Carlin famously said, “we buy houses to put stuff in it.” And then we buy bigger houses when we eventually have too much stuff in our smaller houses.

Please don’t scroll back through my Blog and see the many, many entries with my Christmas and birthday wish-list, because, um, well, my life has been about acquiring “stuff.”

In six weeks, living out of a suitcase and cardboard box, I’ m rethinking what I need to live moving forward.

Like, what if I donated everything that I didn’t bring with me to my Aunt’s house during the renovation? I’ll bet I’d be fine. I can donate things to people in need. I can sell some things. I’ll have less things to take to the dry-cleaners and less things to clean around. I’ll feel more calm because I’ll have less clutter to contend with.

Things will be simple. Simpler. Here goes another 2017 initiative.

Betcha wonder how #Project44 is going? More on that, tomorrow. But “simplifying” is going to be added to that. Thinking, “44 items of clothes.” Something like that. More on this as the year moves along.

Selfish with the Weekends? Am I Selfish?

I have more work to do at work than I have hours in the week. And not your typical, lazy 8 1/2 hours days. I’m talking 10-hour days. And I still can’t get everything done. On Monday, and all week, I’m going to journal every minute at work and see where I’m going wrong and where my distractions are, and I’ll try and figure out where my time is going and what I can automate, delegate, or skip entirely.

But back to the point of this Blog entry. When I get to my weekends, if you ask me on Friday at 5:40 when I’m leaving work, I’ll tell you, I’m going to get up early on Saturday and Sunday …early. Like, 6:00 a.m., and I’m going to dominate the 3-hours of peace and quiet until my family wakes up and starts their day. That’s like a 6-hour day.

Guess what? I don’t. I sleep until 7:00. I get up and take the dog on a half-hour walk. I come home and make a fabulous cuppa joe. I make a healthy breakfast. I hop on my iPad and read things and look at things. Before I know it, it’s 9:00 a.m. and I start contemplating going to the library for a few uninterrupted hours and really crank out some work (write some scripts, update some pending, put together some proposals).

Guess what? I don’t.

Instead, selfishly, I spend some time with my kids, make them breakfast, sometimes watch English Premier League, and tackle some chores. Sometimes, like yesterday, I head to the hardware store, my son and I both get haircuts, and we walk around the pet store researching dog harnesses because I don’t like the two we have. Then I make lunches. Then I clean up my firepit a bit because we plan to have s’mores later on.

gary_vaynerchuk_300dpiWhoa. It’s mid-afternoon. I’m relaxed. I’m enjoying living. And I start to feel guilty and lazy and like I’ll never “get ahead” because I just don’t have what it takes. I’m a big fan and devotee of Gary Vaynerchuck and his thing is “hustle” and he’s one step shy of being the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” type mentality and it makes me think – maybe I’m not that type of guy.

Is that OK? Is that selfish of me to want to enjoy my time and my family and my house? Is it selfish to rake my own leaves and mow my own lawn and wash my own car to (a) save some money and (b) because it all needs to get done and what’s the point of paying someone else to do it?

Gary Vaynerchuk definitely doesn’t clean his own house, wash his car, or mow his lawn.

What’s the point of all of this (for anyone who read this far)? The election. That happened and everyone was angry and yelling and people are still protesting. You’d think the way we voted for a billionaire who said he’s rebuild our economy, cut taxes, and make us safe …well, you’d think every single person in American could be a millionaire if only it weren’t for the oppressive Clinton and Obama polices. Everyone!

But guess what? We’re alllllll lazy and selfish. The vast majority of us aren’t the types who will work 12 hours on the weekend and 60 hours Monday through Friday, and delegate and farm out all our chores and tasks because most of us …and when I say “most”, I’ll bet I’m talking about 90% of everyone in the U.S. . . . most of us just wanna work a little and enjoy alotta of our life. We want to coach our kid’s soccer teams. We want to have people over for BBQs and cocktails. We want to take a walk. We want to see some sports and go to the movies, do a little shopping, take a nap, and read a book. We want to have a hobby. We want to throw a ball around with our son.

I want to clean out my gutters.

So, back to my question. Am I selfish? Or am I normal?

Sleep is Important

Wanna know who my nemesis is? My ultimate rival? It’s Night-Time-Don. That guy is completely out to sabotage Morning-Don and Daytime-Don.

Let me tell you about Night-Time-Don. He eats like shit. He loves cookies, chips, beer, ice cream, and Halloween candy. And not just a little bit. Sometimes all of the above. Calories on top of calories, and sometimes more than one alcoholic drink and Night-Time-Don makes it impossible for Morning-Don to wake early and get the day started on the right foot.

Night-Time-Don is also like a spoiled child and refuses to go to bed. Not because he’s doing anything productive or is engrossed in a work project or an amazing book. Nope. Night-Time-Don stays up to watch mindless TV. To check Facebook. To watch sports. Games, in fact, that don’t even involve a team he roots for.

Night-Time-Don knows that Morning-Don and Daytime-Don need sleep to function at their peak performance levels. Morning-Don likes to wake up, drink some water. Put the dog on a leash. And then take a 1/2 hour power-walk. It’s good exercise for the dog and for Morning-Don and gets his juices flowing. He listens to a Podcast or, more often than that, he’ll meditate over the Rosary while walking. But when Night-Time-Don doesn’t head to bed until midnight(ish), well, Morning-Don can’t drag himself out of bed at 5 a.m. . . . nor 5:30 a.m. . . . and not even 6 a.m. Morning-Don, instead, hits the snooze and starts stressing about the day and cursing Nighttime-Don.

And don’t even get me started talking about Daytime-Don and how that guy curses the choices that Night-Time-Don makes and how disappointed he is in Morning-Don.

Daytime-Don, too often, finds himself tired, unfocused, and unable to cope with the tasks and demands of the day. Daytime-Don simply doesn’t function well on less than 7 hours of sleep. Well, you ask, why doesn’t Daytime-Don and Morning-Don agree to sleep-in until 6:30 or 7:00 a.m.  Ahem. Don (all versions) has kids and a morning routine. Morning-Don needs to shower and be ready for the day by 6:55 a.m. when he wakes his kids and starts their 6:55 a.m. to 7:40 a.m. morning sprint out the door. That’s non-negotiable. OK. Yes. Morning-Don could set his alarm for 6:45, spring out of bed, handle the morning routine of his kids, and then at 7:40 when they leave (along with his wife), take a walk, shower, and then head to work, but that’s not realistic either. His work-day starts at 8:30 a.m. Morning-Don’s commute is 25-minutes. So that means if Don waits until 7:40 to get ready, he only has 25-minutes to shower and leave his house by 8:05 a.m.

Working backwards. Let’s say Night-Time-Don could live with an 11 o’clock bedtime. In order to get 7 hours of sleep, he would need to sleep straight through to 6:00 a.m. So, yes, that’s an option and will be taken under consideration. But understand this. Morning-Don, not by choice, has a bad habit of waking up at 5 a.m. anyway. He’s not sure why this is. It just is.

The point is this: when Nighttime-Don isn’t so dang selfish and heads to bed at 9:45 and spends some time reading or listening to a Podcast, and gets to sleep by 10:15 or 10:30, and then wakes up at 5:00 a.m., it has a profound impact on Morning-Don and Daytime-Don.

Wow. What a long blog entry. Nobody read it, I’m sure of that. But if they did, they know all I’m doing is beating myself up about the fact I stay up too late and then fail myself by neglecting my morning routine and lacking energy and focus throughout the day. Everything suffers when Don (all versions) neglect sleep, which is really neglecting his brain.

“Early to bed. Early to rise. Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”  -Ben Franklin

How come nobody lives by that, anymore? You can’t Google search “morning routines” or “power of sleep” without reading about the benefits. Damn you, Night-Time-Don.

benajmin-franklin-early-to-bed-early-to-rise

Focus. Focus. Focus. Organize. Organize. Organize.

Do you, like me, often feel like you bite off more than you can chew? How does a normal person manage it all?

I think it’s about focus and organization. It’s about being honest about how many hours exist in a day and in a week, and using them to your full advantage.

For example. Here I am at work at 8:03 a.m. and I’m firing off a quick blog entry. Should I have done this at home? Well, at home, I got up at 5:40 a.m., was out walking (with the dog) at 5:45 a.m. saying the Rosary until 6:10 a.m. Then it was a quick cuppa coffee, a shower, and then some morning chores (empty dishwasher, make breakfast for the kids, wake the kids, make my own breakfast, make my bed and pick-up my side of my bedroom, floss, and brush teeth).

I want to write my own book. I want to ghost-write another book. I wish I still had time to write for spunkybean. I want to chillax with my kids in the evenings and help them with homework. I like coaching their soccer teams. My billing at work isn’t where I would like it. I should be working 10- and 12-hour days to make up for that. I want, and need, 7 hours of sleep each night and would do better with 8-hours. I worry about EVERYTHING and, then, I wake up at 4:00 a.m. in a near panic.

It starts with focus.

Not a Lazy Sunday

Who made the rule that Sundays have to be a lazy day?

Here’s the ten things I wanna get done, today.

  1. Clean all windows in my home
  2. Strip, wash, and make the beds
  3. Dust and vacuum the family room and all three bedrooms
  4. Vacuum and detail my car’s interior
  5. Organize under my bed and my nightstand
  6. Organize/straighten the north wall of my garage (it acts as our catch-all mudroom and it’s starting to look like a hoarder lives here)
  7. Clean my shower floor
  8. Chop down a bush, pull weeds, and move my wood pile
  9. Clear the weeds and brush on the north side of my house
  10. Mop the kitchen floor.

Go!

The Best Podcast I’ve Heard in a While

I believe in Divine Inspiration. I believe that sometimes, when I pray (and I believe in prayer because, well, at the risk for making my readers uncomfortable, I believe in Jesus and God and I believe there is some good in praying to them), someone is listening and sometimes, whomever that is listening – Jesus, God, Angels, spirits – guide me. Trust me, I don’t have the whole theology thing figured out …not even close …but I believe I’ve been guided at times.

divine inspiration

I feel like Divine Inspiration was in play when, after recently skipping a few of Tim’s podcasts, I noticed Tim Ferriss, of 4 Hour Work Week fame, had Seth Godin on his podcast. If you don’t know Seth Godin … you should. OK, let me put it this way …if you don’t know Seth Godin, and you’d like to take my advice, listen to Seth on Tim’s podcast. You can get it on iTunes, stream it by clicking here, or just go to this blog. You’ll learn who Seth is, how he’s been successful, you’ll hear two successful dudes riffing back and forth, and I think you’ll want to start being a better version of yourself.

There you go. Someone simple, today. You can knock this out on your commute (seriously …turn off Sports Talk or News Talk for a round-trip back and forth to work …trust me …Trump will still be crazy, tomorrow, and nothing all that exciting is happening in NFL free-agency).

More about the Tim Ferriss podcasts in my next post.