Tag Archives: GTD

Planning The Year Ahead: Use Good Questions to Get Good Results

13 December 2013, by A. Cedilla

One way to getting good results is, oddly enough, to ask good questions. You can easily start off with the simplest ones: the answers to what, why, when, how and where bridges the gap between good intentions and actual results.

Try to remember what your New Year’s resolutions were from last year. Did any of them make it, and if they did, how did you go about it?

  • What were the things that you aimed for? How many did you get?
  • Why did you choose those things? Towards what end did getting these things change your life? What aspects of your life were they concerned with? (i.e financial, physical, educational, relationships, self-improvement, etc.)
  • When did you want them, time-wise? How realistically did you allot time towards each goal, and what did your estimates show you about yourself?
  • How was the experience like? How did you keep going until you made it? What resources and support did you use or get?
  • Where are you in your life now with these things? How did you measure the improvement before and after you attained your goals? How much did it make a difference for you? Are you willing to do it again with the new skills you’ve learned for next year?

Seeing what you did this year, what about next year? What new way of scaring yourself are you willing to try so you can push yourself past old boundaries and the limits of what you think you can do? Continue reading Planning The Year Ahead: Use Good Questions to Get Good Results

…And Using Time

08 February 2010, by A. Cedilla

In this companion piece to Building Goals , we’ll discuss how to work with the time we’re given to make things happen, instead of waiting for things to happen to us. Ready?

  • Pick an age, any age older than you are now. If you can’t settle on anything, pick your current age plus 1-3 (or 5-10 years).
  • Then pick some pictures of your best moments in life, if you caught them with the camera. For those moments not captured on film, write down the details, nothing wordy, 2-3 sentences ought to do.
  • Add some more images of people you respect and admire. List down the reasons why.

This activity is a way to take snapshots of the future. If you want to be technical and metaphysical about it, photographs and movies are just images of captured light. The snapshots you’re preparing now are the light-source for the future you want to have, the one that you can work towards.
Continue reading …And Using Time

What’s Your Agenda?

01 February 2010, by A. Cedilla

When I think of the word “agenda” the image that comes to mind is of two groups of people looking at each other over a long table in the board room.

Think Wallstreet, with Gordon Gekko, or that scene in American Psycho where Patrick Bateman and his colleagues try to one-up each other with, of all things, the fonts on their business cards.

When we think of agenda what pops up is the idea of a meeting or a discussion — sometimes a heated negotiation or a nefarious plan (“I don’t trust that guy, he’s got an agenda….”).

While the latter covers some of the more emotional connotations of the word agenda, what it boils down to is: an agenda is a list of things to talk about. So, you discuss the items on the agenda in a meeting. I hope that’s clear.

An agenda is not a To-Do list. Those are personal and task oriented. An agenda can be seen as a program of sorts, listing topics and issues presented for of discussion.

(Quick insert: An agenda is also not a credenza, even though they sound somewhat the same. I once made the mistake of confusing the two, in writing. It wasn’t pretty.

And a credenza is not a place of discussion, although you can have a quick chat beside one. Remember, you can put the notes for your agenda on the credenza, but not the other way around.) Continue reading What’s Your Agenda?

Stumbling Blocks, Building Blocks, Starting Blocks 2

29 January 2010, by A. Cedilla

Coming in from part 1:

You can use the blockage (pun intended) to learn more about yourself.

In the long view, everything can be used — we can re-frame the mistakes as lessons — ones on learning about the world, about yourself, about how to handle life as it comes…

Hopefully then, you can release the illusion of control over everything in your life (“I’m the King of The World!”), and strive towards making the best of what you’ve got and been given.

You can also use the stumbling blocks as course corrections, reconsidering which way you want to go. Remember Pong (the computer game)?

You play it by positioning the slider so that the ball can bounce off it. In this case, you use the block to bounce off of, making it a starting block. Continue reading Stumbling Blocks, Building Blocks, Starting Blocks 2

Stumbling Blocks, Building Blocks, Starting Blocks

27 January 2010, by A. Cedilla

Writing an article is like assembling a jig-saw puzzle with words.

You have a central idea, and then all the little ideas get pieced together in an orderly pattern — words to a sentence, then sentences to a paragraph — making the connections until the pieces (which make little sense on their own) form into an image of the whole and show you the big picture.

In doing the research for this article, somehow the jigsaw pieces became blocks.

This is mainly because life rarely gives us the top of the puzzle box to guide us even as we try to connect the pieces we’re given. If we stick with the puzzle analogy, some pieces don’t make any sense, some come in from out of the blue, and some disappear just when we need them the most.

We don’t always get the big picture, and in the process the puzzle image failed, so, being more appropriate for what comes next, the blocks took over.

Picture it, a child’s set of blocks. Depending on who’s using them, and where they are, these blocks can do a lot of things.

The kids can build things with them when they’re playing. Blocks can hurt when thrown across a room, or trip you up when they’re left on the floor. They can also prop up your laptop when you’re too cheap to buy a proper laptop stand (Hey, it if works, why not?) Continue reading Stumbling Blocks, Building Blocks, Starting Blocks

Sharpening Your Instincts

25 January 2010, by A. Cedilla

If you mean to succeed by using your instincts, hone them first.

The shiny lures of instant success and internet fame will set you up for disappointment when you actually follow through in the hard light of day, but when you’re truly determined to succeed, ignore the dazzle and the hype.

Know what you want, know your capabilities, and learn to read the signs in the environment you’re moving in.

How do you hone your instincts?

1) Get experience. Lots of experience. Get out there.

Don’t get bogged in the research stage. Many good ideas die here, strangled by data or drowned in the just-one-more-byte disorder, when you confuse the amount of information you have with the probability of success.

Hint: the two things have no direct correlation. All the data in the world won’t make up for inaction.

A Chinese proverb explains this aptly: “Walk on two feet.” Learn while you apply what you’re learning, study while you work.

This way, you (1) actually commence past the planning to the action stage, even if it is in small steps, and (2) you apply what you learn immediately, you see what works, what didn’t, and get to try something else. Continue reading Sharpening Your Instincts

Are You On Track?

22 January 2010, by A. Cedilla

Spot check! So….how have you been?

Check your calendar. Whether it’s the 3rd week of the first month of the not-so-new-anymore-year, or the last semester before graduation, or two weeks before your unemployment benefits run out, or that dark hour before the deadline, you are always included in a cycle of sorts.

As some things begin, some things end, and in-between you do your things.

Checking in with yourself using our first question (in bold, see? Look up.) is basic.

Asking yourself this is a self-check, a way to step back and assess your progress. Check your calendar again. At this point, have you made any concrete steps towards your goals?

Are you checking your progress? You should, because how will you know how far you’ve come if you don’t keep track — or get to see how far you’ve yet to go? Continue reading Are You On Track?

Work While You Work 2

13 January 2010, by A. Cedilla

While the goal tracker mentioned in part one teaches you to focus on the activities that are directly linked to your most important, vital outcomes (the actions that will bring you the most bang for your buck) the method mentioned in this second part is a concentration aid.

The Pomodoro technique teaches you to manage your mental environment, a difficult thing to do in these split-focus, multi-tasking modern days.

To move in this time we are taught to dart our attention all over the place, looking at the shiny, the relentless, the most strident, the terribly, terribly IN-terr-esting.

The long-term effect? We keep needing more and more stimulation to push through our desensitized filters, and this drains us even as we develop a craving to the speed at which the stimuli comes at us, leading to a vicious circle.

To practice the Pomodoro technique then, would be quite uncomfortable until you get used to what it demands of you. It may take a while to realize the value of this mental training, but the results will pay out, as soon as you truly get it, and over a life-time. Continue reading Work While You Work 2

Work While You Work 1

11 January 2010, by A. Cedilla

How much work do you accomplish while you work?

For anyone who has ever worked in a company where the majority of the labor is done in an area full of cubicles, the answer can swing either way.

You can be so busy you never gopher up from your little nest, or you can use everybody else’s business to hide your uninterrupted winning streak — 212 (and counting) — in Spider Solitaire.

Work is usually plopped down into two piles: busywork, which deals with the Urgent and Petty, and grunt-work, which deals with the backlog of Important and Mind-draining.

At this point, may we suggest a different point of view to help you with your productivity? Thank you. Continue reading Work While You Work 1

Make Money at Home: Preparing Your Environment

27 September 2008, by A. Cedilla

In a previous 4 part series that can be seen here, I wrote about using your PC and workstation ergonomically and how to avoid getting repetitive stress injuries (RSI) and also how to protect your kids from getting PC-related injuries as well.

In two other articles, one on data storage here and the other on disaster recovery here , I covered data protection, security and storage issues.


In this follow-up, I’m just recapping what you may have forgotten or dismissed as not being all that important on all the previously mentioned issues above. In addition, I’ll also tackle some of the attitudes that may hinder your work flow at home.
Continue reading Make Money at Home: Preparing Your Environment