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The Eternal Dilemma of Relationships: Actions VS Words

The Eternal Dilemma of Relationships: Actions VS Words

What would you rather have: a partner who nags you within an inch of your grave but always takes care of you, or a partner who is sweet as honey but hangs about waiting for you to handle everything?

Whispers only sweet nothings plus does everything, you say? Well, I applaud your optimism while chuckling with mild amusement at your childlike dreams. It’s not going to happen — you will end up with one kind or the other (or someone who both shouts and does nothing, if you are one of those particularly unlucky ones). People who will do the world for you while also remaining easy on the ears do not exist. If they do, they become Mother Teresa and avoid the dating scene altogether.

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The Greater the Actions, the Louder the Words

Whoever said actions speak louder than words missed an essential point — it is not an either/or scenario at all. Actions in relationships mostly come with the “and” of words. The ones who are quick to do things for you are also quick to talk your ears off. It is so naturally human that it cannot be avoided.

The more a person cares about you and does for you, the more they expect from you and of you. Actions come with expectations, and these expectations get expressed in words (or shouts if they go repeatedly unmet!). So, if your partner is in charge of cooking dinner and you show up late two nights in a row, rest assured there will be hell to pay the third night — “I’m making the effort to cook and you cannot make the effort to just show up?”. If they have taken over your laundry, you will surely hear about your dirty clothes strewn all over instead of being in the hamper. If they threw you a huge birthday bash and you don’t have any plans for their birthday, well, you are playing with fire my friend!

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While we keep complaining about how much our partners nag us, the fact is that it’s pretty much collateral damage – if you want the care, you have to accept the nagging.

Conversely, the ones who are always quietly pleasant (if they even exist) will just not be that emotionally invested in you — they will not do so much. It’s quite simple, really: lesser the actions, lesser the words. If they don’t do as much in the first place, they will not expect as much from you. If they don’t expect as much, they don’t say so much. That’s probably the reason why relationships that afford both partners a lot of space also work – if no one is waiting for you at home, you don’t get yelled at for coming home late.

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So, is it “Goodbye Meaningful Relationships” or “Goodbye Ears?”

Well, before you place the order for that hearing aid, let me hastily mention that one can, of course, have balance in a relationship. But before that gets figured out, you need to accept the fact that your partner is not Mother Teresa. While we enjoy being taken care of, we need to understand that the expectations, nagging, and parent-like scoldings are a natural outcome of that care. Just the same if your partner is the relaxed one who doesn’t interfere in every little aspect of your life — that will work only as long as you are OK to not have constant care and support.

This is not to say that one or the other is right; it is more about what fits better for two people. You can’t always see the love in the nagging. Sometimes you literally just want to pull your arm out and stuff it in your ear. Just the same, while it is very lofty to talk about space and independence in relationships, sometimes you actually need a pseudo parent — the complete package who pampers you like a child and scolds you as if you really are an erring 5 year old.

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The idea is to balance it out while being aware of the actions-words equation. Don’t expect your partner to do everything for you and don’t do everything for them. Sometimes, leave them alone and let them do whatever the hell they want. Yes, the shirt does not exactly match the pants — let him go anyway. Yes, she is binging on those unhealthy cookies today — turn away!

Use this time to let go, be the cool one, and enjoy the calm and quiet (while it lasts). Just the same, if you have been whining like a baby for the last 3 days because of a cold and your partner has that exasperated-yet-concerned look that reminds you of your mother, well, accept your inevitable fate: there is a big bagful of words and only words coming right at you!

So this is the “big” secret to a happy life: next time your ears are tired, do the laundry. In the case that you are tired of laundry, send a little note to your ears to brace themselves and report for duty!

Featured photo credit: http://www.thebrunettediaries.com/ via thebrunettediaries.com

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Last Updated on April 8, 2019

22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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  1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
  2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
  3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
  4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
  5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
  6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
  7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
  8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
  9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
  10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
  11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
  12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
  13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
  14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
  15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
  16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
  17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
  18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
  19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
  20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
  21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
  22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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