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WordPress/Thesis Tutorial: Custom ‘Coming Soon’ Page

WordPress-Thesis Image

One of my frustrations when developing WordPress websites (separate from Thesis) is trying to have a “coming soon/under construction/under development” page so that the public gets the message that things are coming while I and the client can work away in the background. Why would you need this? Well in most cases you have a domain name purchased and parked somewhere. Many times you get a lovely, unsightly, generic ‘coming soon’ page that looks very unprofessional.

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Do You Call It A Resolution?

Sign of choice

I’ve changed my attitude a bit since the stroke of midnight on 12/31/2008. Nothing drastic just a change of perspective really. I have decided (key word) to be less stressed. Yes, I have decided to be less stressed. I can you know. Because after all stress does really comes down to choice. When presented with a situation I can choose to stress about it, or go with the flow. During last year I tended towards the stressed side of life. Everything became stressful no matter how insignificant or benign. It was exhausting, frustrating, tiring, and no fun at all.

I worked hard in the last half of last year to come to understand that everything involves choice–especially your emotional state, what and how you label things, and how you ‘feel’ about it. Thing for me was that being ‘stressed’ with regard to just about everything became default behaviour. The stress compounded to create anxiety about everything. I got tired of feeling stressed all the time and sought out answers and remedies to feeling stressed all the time. Yes, hot baths, exercise, massage, acupuncture all help create periods of relaxation but they can be fleeting. What I needed was a something longer term and I found it in understanding that I have a choice to how I react to everything around me. Choice is the power to steer clear of default behaviours. The first step is awareness and from that ‘choice’ can turn what would be stressful by default into just another thing. The fact that I did not do my 15 minutes of posting yesterday? No stress. It was a holiday.

So, I’m not sure I see this change as a resolution so much as a serious lifestyle change, or should I say lifestyle ‘choice?’ Do you see stress as a choice? Or, something else?

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Overwhelmed? Me too.

Fire Alarm

Meetings, email, projects, laundry, dinner, kids, cell phone ringing! Don’t pull the alarm yet. They all demand your time and attention many at the same time as each other. No wonder our sleep-deprived lives are fueled by a steady diet of caffeine all the while stumbling around dazed and confused.

I recently read an article in the most recent Oprah magazine titled, “Wait! Stop! It’s All Too Much” by Martha Beck. I don’t typically read Oprah but my wife has a subscription and recently read this article and had to pass it along to me. Why? Because the stuff I complain about on a frequent basis was talked about in this article. The feeling of overwhelm is usually characterized by something called attentional blindness. It’s the feeling you get when presented with too many stimuli. As the article says, ” you sink into a muddled netherworld, like Dorothy in the poppy fields of Oz. Your intentions grow fuzzy. Is it dementia? Is it Alzheimer’s? Sheer cursed laziness? None of the above.” I have had this feeling on more than one occasion and it’s disabling.

A great example.
For a great example of attentional blindness go here and watch this video (It takes a moment to load).

You need to focus on the white team and how many times they pass the ball. Go do this now and then come back and continue reading. Don’t continue to read until you have done this.

Done? Great. Now how many times did they pass the ball? I counted 15. Should be about right. Want to know what is really the trick in that video? About halfway through a person in a gorilla suit walked through, thumped their chest and walked out? Did you see that while you were counting? If not, you just experienced attentional blindness.

You should go and read her full article. She does give a 6-step process for helping train your clogged mind to focus and help strip out the overwhelm. I highly recommend it.

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Flowing Not Fighting

Flowing with the Surf

I often wonder how the hell am I ever going to reach the promised land? I read many blogs on productivity and life-hacks and wonder when it will happen. When will I ever get all my crap together and sit cross-legged floating 3 inches off the ground while scanning to-do lists, doing, deferring, and delegating all the while with a blissful calm about me?

Our workloads can, at times, get quite heavy. The workload I am referring to is the professional sort. Not that I am making personal or family workloads less relevant—trust me they are very relevant and very heavy in their own right—it just that the professional workload can dominate our lives. I believe this is due to the fact that for those of us doing the 9-5 a majority of our waking time is spent in the professional workload mode.

Recently the professional workload has gotten quite heavy for me. This is not something new as workloads wax and wane as do the phases of the moon. However, when I am in the heavy workload phase I notice a slight shift in productivity—a clarity of focus and purpose if you will. Initially when the heavy workload begins its climb I tend to fight it. I will try and procrastinate, put off, and mentally deny that I have a lot to do. All during this fight phase I am typically not very productive. I can usually be found rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Then one day it ‘clicks’ and I start to get my productivity-fu going, or flowing. I cease the fight and give in to the flow. Face it, eventually if you keep fighting you will lose. You need to give in and go with the flow.

When the flow hits my lists of tasks become very targeted. My communications are more succinct and less chatty. I really start lining things up and knocking them down as I always dream of doing. The paradox of this is I seem to need to proceed through the procrastination and fight before I hit the flow–before I hit the fu.

I wonder how others perceive their fight and flow in relation to their workloads? Are you a fighter? Do you ever get into the flow? Or are you in the flow all the time?

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Time management for parents

Parent Hands

I am the father of 3 terrific boys (7, 4.5, 16 months). Finding this post in my RSS reader and then reading comments made me think of some things.

  • The first child is a piece of cake after you have…
  • The second child. Definitely raises the bar. Manageable but your dealing with things to the power of 2.
  • By the third child you and your spouse are outnumbered. You go from man-to-man to zone defense.

I look back on having one kid and I think I could handle that blindfolded while juggling 2 chainsaws in my right hand.

Seriously though the combination of spouse, parent, and business owner is a challenging mix. Particularly without any sort of systems in place to help manage, organize and prioritize.

I worked from a home office for the first 2 years of my new business. Then sleep deprivation set in. Too many days of interruption in the office only to have Papa stay up late (2-3am) to catch up on everything only to get up by 7am to get the kiddos off to school, etc.

I now have an office 5 miles from home. Separation of personal and professional is key, at least for me. It has made me be better about managing my time. I’m no where near a zen master in time management, but it is getting better–slowly–but better.

I’ve been using GTD for a couple of years now. I have fallen off the wagon 3 times. Systems crash and you start to use your head for keeping track of everything. One thing for sure is you need to figure out what system works for you, keep tweaking it, and be flexible.

Last bit. Meditation is HUGE.

Take 20-30 minutes a day to get “mind like silence.”

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