Archive for June, 2012

He who has the most tools wins

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

I am told quite often, “You must have a lot of time on your hands.” This is usually following an off the wall rambling on Facebook, Twitter or at a client site. The funny thing about it is I’ve always got things to do I just make sure that I have a LOT of time to enjoy life. Among lots of reading, sports, lots of time with family, church obligations, phone calls, cooking and so many other things the goal is to fit as much into smaller amounts of time as possible.

A while ago I read the book “Getting Things Done” by David Allen and it is a book that has a cult following among efficiency experts. The GTD processes are something you can find a million websites and tools on. The one thing it didn’t mention is what a computer guy loves the most. TOOLS! See the thing my dad taught me by accident is that he who has the most tools AND knows how to use them wins. See my dad knew how to use every tool but didn’t always have them all around. However, a neighbour down the street had the most organized garage ever with tools of every kind. My brother and I would be sent down the street sometimes when we were working on our car, house, plumbing or carpentry. We’d learn how to use everything.

Translate this into modern day I acquire as many mental tools as I can as well as geek tech tools. Earlier today I had to do something and it would have been a project that a group of people would have taken hours doing. However, I know how to use databases well, I’m great with picture editing software and I know the web. The combination of the three had me set a timer for 30 minutes and knock this out in record time with unexpectedly fantastic results. At times in life I’ve actually learned things and immersed myself in them for a short period of time to get really good at them so I can do it faster.

Tools cost a lot right? Well, unlike the days of our neighbour’s garage, you don’t have to spend thousands on tools. Get some books on Amazon, install some apps on your phone, look at useful websites or search for “tip” or “tricks”, download free or open source software, read the table of contents on a book with the subject you want to learn and Google the rest or just pay somebody that knows what they’re doing in that area so you can be more efficient in the others. Get good at what you do and use the right mental, physical and software tools for the job and you’ll be a winner.

Where’s my quickening?

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

I’m really big on reading. Lets just say when I was a kid I didn’t go anywhere without something to read. Usually even just a magazine. I guess my whole goal in life was to be that wise older guy with salt and pepper hair. Picture Morgan morgan.jpgFreeman sitting with a newspaper in hand telling stories the enlighten you while also letting you know he wasn’t the most perfect child. That’s me. That’s the story of my life. I look at my bookshelf at home now and when people ask me have I read those books I scratch my head and say, “Oh crap I guess I have read most of them.” I have no idea why this still surprises me but it does every single time.

About 5 or 6 years ago I read an article where a guy said that if you read 50 books a year then imagine how much information you will have gained in 20 years. I said, “You know what you’re right!” So, starting from then I’ve set out on this mission. The first year was easier because I broke my leg pretty bad so I was on the couch for a month so I did nothing but read. One problem though. I didn’t receive my quickening. Where’s my quickening?

An old movie series that started in the 80’s and also had a the_quickening.jpgTV series based on it was called “Highlander.” Now the thing about Highlander was that there were these random people that for some reason or another became immortal. The one caveat to this is that they could sense each other and knew they’d have to search the earth to kill all the others because as the tagline says, “There can be only one.” Whenever any immortal cut off the head of another immortal the sky would become turbulent, clouds would circle and they’d go into convulsions as lightning would come from the sky into them giving them all the knowledge gained by the other immortal over his/her lifetime. This is the quickening. That’s what I expect from reading.

Last year I took a course in speed reading. I felt that I could consume even more content if I read faster since I have a really short attention span and I keep stopping for crazy things. Did it. Got good but still no in the middle of the night quickening.

I now see life as a slow quickening. The new info is in there. Churning itself together with the old stuff. I will it so I will one day be that Morgan Freeman guy but just like with everything in life, you don’t just wake up one day and you’re someone or something else. Patience is for the virtuous who want to change.