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A friend of mine.

A friend of mine.
Mrs. Murphy

    A good friend of mine passed away Tuesday. Mrs. Murphy would come up my driveway from her home across the street for the last seven years to have a snack, see what I was up to, or just to spend a few moments with me. Her health had taken a dive six months ago when her brother, William, had passed away. She had become so frail I’d gotten into the habit of keeping one eye on our driveway for her approach and running after her and opening a fresh can if I missed her.

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    But this post isn’t about cats. It’s about death. And what you – yes, you – need to learn about death. Consider this the ultimate lifehack.

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    Here’s the basics: as you get older in life, death pays you more visits. At least in the developed world, death – real death, not entertaining death on television – may not stop by your life until you’re in your thirties. Then the pace picks up. A grandmother. A friend from high school, perhaps a brother or sister, a parent. When you hit mid-life, you realize in your guts you’ll be seeing a lot more of death in the future than you have in the past.

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    Sure, you should and will fight the good fight every time death stops by – and that is good, and right and the right thing to do. But we all know how that fight turns out.

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    My point in writing this post isn’t to depress the hell out of you, and it’s sure as hell not to say you should welcome or surrender or accept death. It’s a quiet suggestion you think about what death has to teach you about life. Your life. You see, every time death comes knocking, you realize with a jolt just how important, how absolutely totally important, the people you love and what you build in your life are.

    The point of Getting Things Done isn’t getting more things done – that’s run the rat race faster and faster thinking. The point is so you can share being alive with the people (human and non-human) you love and with the rest of us by what you build. GTD and all the lifehacks you read online are good and useful things – but their only big and small ways to help you have enough time and a low enough stress level so you can do the really important things in your life:

    • Like tell your wife, husband, sweetheart how much you love them.
    • Like if you don’t have someone to love in your life making the effort to change that.
    • Like finding some way – even a tiny, nano little way – to make this a less fracked up world and the human race a smidgen more worthy of being called human.
    • Like spending a few moments out of your day visiting with Mrs. Murphy.

    Bob Walsh sells MasterList Professional, a Windows task management application and writes, codes,
    podcasts and blogs about different aspects of the digital lifestyle at ToDoOrElse, MyMicroISV and Clear Blogging. His second book, Clear Blogging, is now available at Amazon and elsewhere.

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    Last Updated on January 2, 2019

    7 Steps For Making a New Year’s Resolution and Keeping It

    7 Steps For Making a New Year’s Resolution and Keeping It

    Are you keen to reinvent yourself this year? Or at least use the new year as a long overdue excuse to get rid of bad habits or pick up new ones?

    Yes, it’s that time of year again. The time of year when we feel as if we have to turn over a new leaf. The time when we misguidedly imagine that the arrival of a new year will magically provide the catalyst, motivation and persistence we need to reinvent ourselves.

    Traditionally, New Year’s Day is styled as the ideal time to kick start a new phase in your life and the time when you must make your all important new year’s resolution. Unfortunately, the beginning of the year is also one of the worst times to make a major change in your habits because it’s often a relatively stressful time, right in the middle of the party and vacation season.

    Don’t set yourself up for failure this year by vowing to make huge changes that will be hard to keep. Instead follow these seven steps for successfully making a new year’s resolution you can stick to for good.

    1. Just pick one thing

    If you want to change your life or your lifestyle don’t try to change the whole thing at once. It won’t work. Instead pick one area of your life to change to begin with.

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    Make it something concrete so you know exactly what change you’re planning to make. If you’re successful with the first change you can go ahead and make another change after a month or so. By making small changes one after the other, you still have the chance to be a whole new you at the end of the year and it’s a much more realistic way of doing it.

    Don’t pick a New Year’s resolution that’s bound to fail either, like running a marathon if you’re 40lbs overweight and get out of breath walking upstairs. If that’s the case resolve to walk every day. When you’ve got that habit down pat you can graduate to running in short bursts, constant running by March or April and a marathon at the end of the year. What’s the one habit you most want to change?

    2. Plan ahead

    To ensure success you need to research the change you’re making and plan ahead so you have the resources available when you need them. Here are a few things you should do to prepare and get all the systems in place ready to make your change.

    Read up on it – Go to the library and get books on the subject. Whether it’s quitting smoking, taking up running or yoga or becoming vegan there are books to help you prepare for it. Or use the Internet. If you do enough research you should even be looking forward to making the change.

    Plan for success – Get everything ready so things will run smoothly. If you’re taking up running make sure you have the trainers, clothes, hat, glasses, ipod loaded with energetic sounds at the ready. Then there can be no excuses.

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    3. Anticipate problems

    There will be problems so make a list of what they’ll be. If you think about it, you’ll be able to anticipate problems at certain times of the day, with specific people or in special situations. Once you’ve identified the times that will probably be hard work out ways to cope with them when they inevitably crop up.

    4. Pick a start date

    You don’t have to make these changes on New Year’s Day. That’s the conventional wisdom, but if you truly want to make changes then pick a day when you know you’ll be well-rested, enthusiastic and surrounded by positive people. I’ll be waiting until my kids go back to school in February.

    Sometimes picking a date doesn’t work. It’s better to wait until your whole mind and body are fully ready to take on the challenge. You’ll know when it is when the time comes.

    5. Go for it

    On the big day go for it 100%. Make a commitment and write it down on a card. You just need one short phrase you can carry in your wallet. Or keep it in your car, by your bed and on your bathroom mirror too for an extra dose of positive reinforcement.

    Your commitment card will say something like:

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    • I enjoy a clean, smoke-free life.
    • I stay calm and in control even under times of stress.
    • I’m committed to learning how to run my own business.
    • I meditate daily.

    6. Accept failure

    If you do fail and sneak a cigarette, miss a walk or shout at the kids one morning don’t hate yourself for it. Make a note of the triggers that caused this set back and vow to learn a lesson from them.

    If you know that alcohol makes you crave cigarettes and oversleep the next day cut back on it. If you know the morning rush before school makes you shout then get up earlier or prepare things the night before to make it easier on you.

    Perseverance is the key to success. Try again, keep trying and you will succeed.

    7. Plan rewards

    Small rewards are great encouragement to keep you going during the hardest first days. After that you can probably reward yourself once a week with a magazine, a long-distance call to a supportive friend, a siesta, a trip to the movies or whatever makes you tick.

    Later you can change the rewards to monthly and then at the end of the year you can pick an anniversary reward. Something that you’ll look forward to. You deserve it and you’ll have earned it.

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    Whatever your plans and goals are for this year, I’d do wish you luck with them but remember, it’s your life and you make your own luck.

    Decide what you want to do this year, plan how to get it and go for it. I’ll definitely be cheering you on.

    Are you planning to make a New Year’s resolution? What is it and is it something you’ve tried to do before or something new?

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