A Short Guide to Plan Anything and Achieve Results

Having a plan, regardless of how simple, can be a massive time saver. How many times have you had a job to do, but instead of getting on with it, you find yourself staring at it waiting for inspiration to strike? Only to eventually give up and see what Netflix has waiting for you? If your reading this, then I guess this may be the case. Hopefully some of the simple ideas that I use every day can help you.

The Perfect Time to Plan

Picking a time to plan is a personal choice. I find that the best time is when your mind is at rest. I like the quite of the morning, but if my day hasn’t gone as planned I will create one before going to sleep. When failure happens, it’s best not to dwell on it, as only fools get things right the first time every time. Failure occurs due to a poorly made plan. When this happens you need to reassess if the plan was actually achievable and start again.

Steps to Planning Success

  • Set the Goal

A goal can be anything, but it will be nothing unless it is defined. What is it? What needs to be done? You can call it different things, such as a task or an achievement, but I find that goal suits better as it reflects an idea of something tangible. Try to make the goal as simple as possible, if you can’t fit it into one short sentence then it may be too complex.

  • Break it into Smaller Parts

Even though a goal may be simple, it could still be herculean in scope. In this stage examine if the goal can be broken down into smaller parts. This step is pivotal if the goal has already failed to be completed once before.

  • Set a Time for Completion

Give the task a time frame. This step can be difficult if you are not aware of how long things can take. If it is the first time you are completing a task, set a timer and see how much can be achieved in a given time. I find that thirty minutes is a solid block to start. Once you are aware of how fast you work, you can begin to set more reasonable times. Timing your work is also beneficial in self evaluation.

  • Reward Yourself

Everyone loves getting a pat on the back. If you achieved your results then you deserve something for it! Self-rewarding is a valuable part of slaying the procrastination beast that dwells inside us all. Eventually you will see sitting down for a bit of Netflix (or what ever feeds the beast) as the reward, instead of the distraction. Just make sure the reward fits the task, so no trips to Paris for cleaning out the car!

Working With Others

It is very easy to let yourself down and not get that thing done. Having others that rely on your input can be a brilliant motivator and can be the flint that lights the fire. Collaboration comes in many forms and you don’t necessarily need to work with people, find an online group that you can share your work with. Support from peers can lead to dramatic swings in achievement.

Keep on Trucking

Best of all don’t get down on yourself if you fail the meet your goals. Review the plan and have another go!

Feature Image: Jetty Sunset by Lenny K Photography (CC BY 2.0)

Selfie Culture; What a Bunch of Posers!

One of my secret pleasures is looking at random selfies. I have found that many subjects, mainly those under 25, have a few poses to pull ready for the shot. When looking at these and I often wonder how did they decide on that  pose? How many photos did it take to achieve such photographic confidence?

Kids Today

When I compare the way my kids, especially my daughter (6), handle themselves in front of the camera it is clear that the ability to pose just comes with experience. Although she doesn’t ask to delete photos that she’s not happy with, I am sure that this is not that far away! When taking photos I can ask for a variety of expressions from her and she hits it almost every time. A part of this success is that she wants to see the photos straight away. Could this be an aid to memory? I believe so. With the immediate result it’s easier to see if the pose had the desired effect. If not then a new photo can be taken in seconds.

You Lookin’ at Me?

Generally, I don’t enjoy getting my photo taken (despite a recent post), or even looking in a mirror. It was something that I was never used to as photos were mostly taken to mark a special occasion. They were not especially expensive, but there was a cost and time involved. Film was sometimes developed weeks after the shot and there was no second chances to capture the moment. Occasionally a roll would come back and some photos were taken over six months ago! I didn’t give too much thought as to what I looked like in a photo at the time it was taken; it just happened. But with modern devices it’s possible to have reflective considerations on how you look in photos and this can prepare you for times when you’re not in total control of the camera.

I’m No Model but…

I don’t believe taking a selfie is vain, and knowing how to handle yourself in a photo is an ever increasing important skill. Imagine going for a job and the interviewer takes your photo (this has happened to me three times), do you want your one chance to stand out to be a good one? You can’t ask to see the photo – well you could but that’s not going to go well – and you need to be confidant that you look your absolute best to stand out of the slush pile.

Selfie Skillz

Like most things taking a good selfie requires skill and patience. Find out what works best for you. However there are a few tips that I’ve picked up in my travels.

  • Look up to the camera and not down.
  • Avoid the front on shot, a slight angle is more interesting.
  • Don’t look into the light, find some shade if possible.
  • Take many and pick the best one.
  • Delete as you go, don’t wait until the memory is full.

These work for me in most situations, but not necessarily for everyone. Figure out what works best for you; but also remember not every photo needs to be a selfie.

Feel free to comment below with your own selfie tips!

Feature Image: Posers by Mick C (CC BY 2.0)

Why I said ‘Goodbye’ to Facebook Groups

Groups on Facebook are a way that like minded people can come together and discuss topics of interest. Anyone with a Facebook account can start a Group, and dependent on the settings others can find it and join. Once accepted the new member can make posts and comment on other peoples posts. All of this is great in theory, but it relies on the premise that people are accepting of the ideas of their fellows. In the end I found groups to be more divisive than inclusive, again showing that ‘social media’ is a fallacy.

I’m right and you’re wrong!

Many Facebook Groups appear to follow the mantra, ‘I’m right and you’re wrong!’. However, this is flawed thinking. A Group by its definition is supposed to be a place of shared ideas. People of different backgrounds join or are invited because of a common theme. Listening and understanding the thoughts of others is how we learn. We don’t have to accept the ideas of others but it is not that hard to listen, and engage in sensible debate. I found that too many times a person started a Facebook Group with the intent of shouting their messages and ignoring or abusing all others. But that is more akin to a Page rather than a Group.

So what happened?

I was a member of several groups that were about a similar topic. However, I found that many people were just arguing all the time, mostly over rules and how it should be played. But the funny thing about this particular hobby is it has very few rules on how to play, as set out by the creators. Some of the arguing was so bad that a few members had split and formed new Facebook Groups. But even in these new Groups a lot of the talk revolved around which Group was right and why they don’t talk to that Group and so on…

It was all very depressing and it made me start to dislike something that I had loved doing. A few times I had  commented that maybe these things were not worth worrying about, only to find myself at the bottom of a dog pile. So instead of trying to weave my way through the clouds of hate that these groups produced, I pulled the plug and exited all of the groups. I’d had enough. I didn’t care which faction was right. Why should I let some toxic individuals ruin my fun? It was something I didn’t need in my life. It was all very sad (as in pathetic).

How I feel now…

After ditching all the groups, I felt a massive wave of relief. I got back into doing what I thought of as an enjoyable pastime. I began to see it for what it was, and was less concerned about what others thought of it or each other. I started to follow people that seemed to enjoy it as much as me. They were making videos and periscopes and running blogs. They talked about the hobby itself rather the who did what or where. It was a much more interesting time. I feel that Groups are really for the few individuals that start them, and not necessarily for other people to join.

Would I try them again?

All of this happened some time ago and just recently I have joined a couple of different Groups. I am much more diligent this time and I read a few posts and see how people respond. Also I found that a Group that has clear rules about what it accepted and what is not, has made for a better time and an active community (such as this Hiking & Camping Group).

What I learned…

Basically, if something is happening in a Group that you don’t like. Don’t hang around, get out! Odds are many others feel that same way. As I said before, anyone can start a Group, but to run a Group? Perhaps that takes something more than the average Facebook user is willing to commit. Before starting something, have a think. What will the Group be about? What should the discussion revolve around? How should the discussion take place? How should people that don’t follow guidelines be dealt with? Maybe then social media will become more social rather then a network of closed door rooms.

Feature Image: Goodbye. by Lucy (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)