Categories
Life Progress Self-awareness

From Chaotic to Harmonized Mindset

Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s 2020, and a lot of things happening now might seem very chaotic and confusing. Brexit inescapably happened. Man-caused global warming is changing landscapes. Oceans are flooded with plastic. The Covid19 pandemic brings risk to our lives and limits our mobility. Wildfires in Australia and the USA kill live beings. People are still experiencing discrimination and brutality because of skin color. Moreover, you might believe in some conspiracy theories that add to stress and anxiety about the current world situation. But do you want to stay under that stress, or would you instead want to have peace of mind?

First of all, what you can do is think about whether you can change any of that? Is it in your scope of control, or is it outside of your abilities? If you can’t control something, detach yourself from it. It is as it is. You have to adapt to it, but there is no necessity to keep worrying about it day after day.

If adversity happens to you directly and you are affected badly, you have to calm down and focus on what you can do to solve your situation. For example, if you lost a job due to Covid19, you have to find another one. Maybe even get some skills in another area than what you know already. Don’t panic. Clear your mind and surroundings at first.

If you have a chaotic mind, you probably also have a messy home. Start cleaning up your mind by cleaning up your home. Define places for each thing you want to keep. Get rid of or hide the things that bring you bad memories and emotions. It might take hours or days, but you will finally have a system for something you see every day.

Take a problem you want to solve and plan the way how you are going to solve it. Divide the path to the solution into multiple steps that you can take one by one. For example, you were in a restaurant business but decided to learn software development. So you will borrow some money, take online courses on some technologies, create a project for a friend, work on your LinkedIn profile, and apply for a junior position at a chosen IT company.

If you feel down, maybe you are lack of brain fuel. The human brain runs on glucose and needs at least 420 kcals per day to maintain normal function. That’s 42 grapes or cherries, 4 bananas, or 4 big apples a day. It can as well be more or less depending on your body mass and the mental work intensity.

To have a harmonious mind, make sure to spend time with people you care about. But also have some time alone. You need both: a feeling of connection and love; and time for meditation or prayer, journaling, and exercising.

When doing something, try not to multitask. Focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking brings you more stress and makes you less productive. If you have several or many things to do in a day, create time blocks for each of those things. For example, you will spend two hours reading and answering emails, one hour for the industry news, and one hour for an online meeting. Try to stick to your plan.

Simplify your life. It is recommendable to choose up to three most important tasks every day and only focus on them. Quality is more important than quantity. When you work a lot, you have a risk of mental burnout. That’s especially often in the tech industry.

Try to get information in your head classified. Either connect the points of knowledge in your head and group them into categories. Or read more about your interests and find some categorizations on Wikipedia or other resources. This gives you more trust in yourself and your opinions.

Get an essential objective in your life. It should be a big aim worth pursuing. Then make a plan for how you will achieve your dreams. And try to progress towards it. Know that failures will happen on the way. But focus on the process and enjoy the ride.


Cover photo by Hello I’m Nik.

Categories
Life Self-awareness

What Was Your Name Again?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Whether your first name is James, Mary, or X Æ A-Xii, your name not only identifies you but also shapes your character and influences how other people will accept you. With the wrong name, you could have problems with being accepted by the society you are living in. With the wrong name, you can have difficulties getting a partner or job you want. With the wrong name, you can have a weight of associations that people bring to it. When you are about to have a baby, don’t give them the wrong name.

Our story

My wife and I are from Lithuania, and we are living in Berlin, Germany. Before the births of our kids, we did some name researches to find names that would be well accepted in Germany as well as being Lithuanian. I wouldn’t be a programmer if I wouldn’t take 500 most popular names in Germany and filter them using Python programming language to see the ones with Lithuanian word endings. From that point, we got just a handful of names and intuitively chose the ones that we liked most. I hope that Joris and Laura will enjoy the names they got at birth and will live integral and successful lives.

If we didn’t trust our intuition, we could have used the strategic prioritizer 1st things 1st to analyze a few names by multiple aspects. Let’s see how we could have done that.

Using the prioritizer

At 1st things 1st, you can evaluate anything (like first names) by multiple criteria (like aspects) and get calculated priorities. The workflow looks like this:

  1. You define your criteria or aspects.
  2. You list out your things, like first names.
  3. You evaluate each name by each aspect.
  4. You explore the prioritized first names.

Step 1. Define your aspects

Let’s brainstorm for some aspects that we can use to evaluate first names:

  • Both parents like it
  • Easy to pronounce
  • Easy to spell
  • Sounds good together with the last name
  • Doesn’t have negative associations
  • Has a nice meaning
  • Unique
  • Traditional
  • Globally recognized
  • Authentic in your native country
  • Ethnically appropriate
  • Doesn’t prompt negative nicknames
  • Doesn’t sound foolish for a middle-aged person
  • Some relative has it
  • A person you admire has it
  • A favorite book or movie character has it

I will choose the ones that are most important to me and enter into the prioritizer.

Both parents like it
Easy to pronounce
Easy to spell
Globally recognized
Doesn't sound foolish for a middle aged person
Bulk-add all the aspects into the prioritizer

Here they are all added to the tool:

Essential aspects for prioritizing first names added to 1st things 1st

Step 2. List out the first names

Now let’s list some first names that you thought could be good candidates, let’s say, for a daughter:

  • Lina
  • Laura
  • Ada
  • Lara
  • Emma
Several female first names listed for evaluation

Step 3. Evaluate each name by each aspect

Then I go through the list of aspects and names and rate how each name matches each aspect.

Evaluating first names by 5 most essential aspects

Step 4. Explore the prioritized names

In the last step, I get all first names prioritized by how much they match all the aspects. “Laura” is in the first position with a 100% match. Other names got fewer points, so they are less recommended to choose. 

Last thoughts

If people call you by another name already or you want to start a new chapter in your life, you can still officially change your first name in some countries. But if you care about your kids’ well being, choose their names wisely as soon as they come into this world.


Cover photo by Yoann Boyer

Categories
Life Self-awareness

How to Choose a Guided Meditation for Daily Practicing

Reading Time: 4 minutes

If you want to stay happy and peaceful, you probably practice meditation. Tried a series of different guided meditations, you would find it useful to have a meditation track on your iPhone so that you can practice it in a park, at the workplace, or even in public transport. Meditation apps like Soulvana, Omvana, Calm, or Headspace are cool, but maybe they are not your thing, and all you need is a simple MP3 with the guidance that you can listen to at any place.

You did your research and selected several guided meditations. Now you want to decide which of them to choose. Your guided meditation must meet several criteria you have. To help you prioritize, 1st things 1st comes into play.

Using 1st things 1st to prioritize guided meditations

At 1st things 1st, you create prioritization projects, where you perform these four steps:

  1. Define criteria.
  2. List out meditations (or other things).
  3. Rate each meditation by each criterion.
  4. Explore priorities.
The workflow of prioritizing guided meditations

⚙️ Project setup

At first, you will add a new project to your personal account. You will choose “Blank” from the project templates.

Choosing a blank project template

The project creation wizard will guide you through the essential questions:

1. The project Title and Short description – you will probably call the project “Guided Meditations”. Next!

Entering the project title

2. Then you will set how to name things. You will change the Things to Meditations.

Deciding how to name things

When you created the project, you will go to the main steps of prioritization.

🧭 Step 1. Add criteria

In the first step of prioritization, you will add the list of criteria and their evaluation types.

  • Can be saved on your iPhone because you want to access it anywhere. 
  • Takes a short time because you don’t have much alone time during the day.
  • Improves well-being because that’s what matters to you.
  • Boosts energy because you need to relax and gain the focus back.
  • Performed in a kind tone because you don’t want to listen to unpleasant guidance regularly.

Choose Bulk add criteria and enter these criteria one per line. Set their evaluation type From “definitely not” to “definitely”

Bulk adding criteria

The criteria will be added to the prioritizer. Now you can edit them and change their importance.

Criteria listed

💡 Step 2. Add guided meditations

In the next step, you will list out your guided meditations.

After choosing Bulk add meditations, you will enter them line by line:

Bulk adding guided meditations

The meditations will be added to the prioritizer. You can then edit them individually.

Guided meditations listed

🎚 Step 3. Evaluate meditations by criteria

Now it’s time to evaluate all guided meditations by all criteria.

For example, you can save most of these meditations on iPhone either as MP3 or as offline Spotify tracks, but “15 Minute Guided Meditation by Boho Beautiful” is from Youtube, extracting sound from it would be complicated. 15-minute meditations are probably not short, but you can practice the others in 10 minutes or less. “Arriving Meditation by Connected Business” and “6 Phase Meditation by Vishen Lakhiani” definitely improves well-being and boosts energy, whereas others are not so effective.

Evaluating guided meditations by each criterion

📊 Step 4. Explore priorities

The prioritizer will show you calculated and sorted meditations grouped into the ones:

  • to choose for sure,
  • to consider, and
  • to skip.
Exploring priorities

“Arriving Meditation by Connected Business” might be at the top, matching your criteria at 95%. That will be the track that you will transfer to your Music app and listen to it regularly to calm your mind and restore energy. “6 Phase Meditation by Vishen Lakhiani” could also be pretty close, matching the criteria at 85%. It’s worth having on your iPhone for more random and longer rest times.

Final words

Whether you evaluate meditation tracks or meditation apps, prioritizer 1st things 1st might be handy for you. Check it out now and make rational decisions about things that matter to you!


Cover photo by Jared Rice.

Categories
Life Progress Self-awareness

The Cycle of Long-term Success

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In my younger days, I was obsessed with finding the formula for happiness and success. Why do some people achieve more than others? Why do some people suffer when others enjoy their lives? What is the secret of some people’s advantage against some others? What do successful people do differently from the poor ones?

At some point, I realized that happiness and success are two different things. Happiness is something that you feel yourself, whereas success is something how others perceive you. There are happy people without significant achievements as well as successful but stressed and depressed people.

Success might be random, like a toss of a coin. That will likely be short-term. Have you heard that 70% of lottery winners spend all their money just in a few years after receiving the big amounts? There has to be something else. Something better than randomness.

As of now, I know that circumstances are one of the factors. But mostly everything depends on the mindset. A human being can change their mind and then be able to change the conditions or adapt to them.

Success happens through forming better habits and sticking to your goals.

As a great thinker and author, James Clear, once tweeted

There are 3 primary drivers of results in life:

1) Your luck (randomness).
2) Your strategy (choices).
3) Your actions (habits).

Only 2 of the 3 are under your control.

But if you master those 2, you can improve the odds that luck will work for you rather than against you.

Did you notice that in life, everything happens in cycles?

I want to introduce you to the cycle of long-term success as I see it today.

The Cycle of Long-term Success
  1. Everything begins with prioritization. It can be some productive work using mind mapping, TODO lists, decision matrixes, and other tools. It can be something that you do intuitively or meditatively in your head. Or it can be something that your managers and bosses do for you.
  2. Then there is planning. It’s dividing big tasks into small ones, assigning time for different tasks, deciding who will do what, choosing appropriate tools. Maybe you’ll also be using Trello, Monday, or Clubhouse, to name a few.
  3. Now it’s time for action. Do what you have to do to move towards your goal. Try to make progress. Try to fit the timetable. Remove all the bottlenecks. Make that call. Write that email. Create that masterpiece. Travel to that destination.
  4. The last step of the cycle is celebrating your successes. Or, if your actions failed, you have something from what to learn and improve for the next time.

And the cycle goes on and on again.


Cover photo by Grant Ritchie

Categories
Life Progress

Top 10 Things to Do at Home for the Next 2 Weeks

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Top 10 things to do at home? As if I could know what fits for you best. You are you, and your choices are what makes you – you. I can only give advice and help you make the most favorable and rational choices. Let your days shine, while you stay home and make coronavirus spread slower so that doctors could keep all patients alive.

What can we do during home quarantine?

There are many things you could do:

  • You could practice your hobbies, like singing, knitting, painting, or reading books.
  • You could try out new hobbies, like decoupage, sculpting, creating poetry, carving, or playing cards.
  • You could improve your skills, like taking online classes, practicing a foreign language, or watching webinars.
  • You could play with your kids, spend quality time with partners, skype with relatives, or care about pets.
  • You could clean up the home, reorder books, or declutter the wardrobe.
  • You could cook dinners, bake pies, shake cocktails, and taste wines.
  • You could socialize online, stream your skills, or participate in web campaigns.
  • You could watch TV, binge-watch a series on Netflix, or play a video game.
  • You could do yoga, workout exercises, or lift weights.
  • You could work from home, build a new business, or develop something for passive income.

But there is one problem. You only have 14 days to stay home during the quarantine. For now. So which things should you choose to make the most of your time?

Maybe you want to do only fun activities? Or maybe you want to do only creative activities? Or maybe you only want to do activities that have long-lasting effects? Or perhaps all at once? Let’s have a look at how you could evaluate things by multiple criteria using the strategic prioritizer 1st things 1st and create your top 10 activities. There is even a project template for that.

⚙️ Project setup

When you go to the Projects section of the 1st things 1st prioritizer, you can start a new project and choose a project template with which to begin. A project wizard will guide you through the configuration steps.

1. Choose a project template, “What to Do at Home”:

Choose a project template

2. Change or keep the project title and description:

Change the project title and description

3. Decide how to name things. By default, you will be evaluating activities by criteria. If you want, you can rename that to things evaluated by values or something like that:

Decide how to name the things

4. Choose your initial criteria. You will be able to add some more free-text criteria later.

Choose initial criteria

5. Choose your initial activities from a list of more than 150 options. You will be able to add even more free-text activities later:

Choose initial activities

Now that you set up the project, let’s go through the 4 steps of prioritization.

🧭 Step 1. Review and edit criteria

In the first step, you would edit the criteria and adjust their importance and the way of evaluating. As I prefer the word “Fun” more than “Engaging”, I renamed that criterion.

Edit criteria

💡 Step 2. Review and edit activities

In the second step, you would edit the activities. For example, I added “Play with my son”, because I find it an essential thing to do for his development and family healthiness.

Edit activities

🎚 Step 3. Evaluate activities by criteria

In the third step, you would evaluate each activity by each of your criteria. For example, cleaning up the home is definitely not fun for me, but probably necessary, and taking a selfie is definitely family-friendly, but probably not mindful. Of course, you could argue about my choices, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that you make correct choices for your evaluations. 

Evaluate activities

📊 Step 4. Analyze priorities

In the fourth and last step, you would see all your priorities. Check the first 10 priorities – these are your top 10 activities for the next two weeks.

For example, for me, it was:

  • Start journaling, because it’s my way of tracking progress, and I do and like it already anyway.
  • Read a book together, because I find it a good activity for my child’s development, and I still need to get him used to book reading and storytelling.
  • Practice coding, because that is one of my most reliable professional skills.
  • Learn internet marketing, because I need to market the strategic prioritizer and earn more money for lots of different things and causes.
  • Listen to an audiobook, because that allows learning something new while relaxing the eyes.
  • Call a friend or a family member, because during a lockdown, I still need socialization.
  • Chat with someone, because of the same reason.
  • Coach or mentor someone, because we learn by teaching.
  • Play some brain games, because I need some rest too.
  • Play with my son, because for him playing is a fun way of learning.
Analyze priorities

Final words

It makes sense to follow your top priorities because then you can mostly realize yourself and make the best out of your time. Of course, you shouldn’t limit yourself only to those activities. You will still need to do some things that you don’t like. But when you have self-defined guidelines to follow, you can make your life more progressive.

Check out the strategic prioritizer at my 1st things 1st.


Cover photo by Pierre Bamin.

Categories
Life

How to Prioritize Your Necessities Today and Stay Healthy Tomorrow

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Last weeks have been stressful for a lot of us. Just in days, we switched from skepticism, irony, and relaxation to uncertainty, awareness, and caution. We locked ourselves at homes and got anxious about real contacts with any people around. Coronavirus changed our lifestyles a lot. We started communicating online more. Some of us began to work remotely. At last, we learned how to wash our hands properly.

What do we need during home quarantine?

While staying home, we need to have some necessities by our side. What exactly should we purchase to be able to stay home safe and healthy two weeks or even longer? There are many aspects of how we could evaluate the importance of things that we need to get. Some of those follow:

  • Is it something that has no alternatives?
  • Is it not too expensive? You know, the jobs and economy are on the risk now for many of us.
  • Can it stay on our shelves for a long time without expiring too soon?
  • Is it healthy for our bodies?
  • Does that make our lives more comfortable?
  • Is it ecological, vegan, ethical, fairtrade?
  • Is it something that we don’t have yet?

When there are so many perspectives, how can we make the right decision on what to buy, so that we don’t end up only with the piles of toilet paper? We are going to use the strategic prioritizer 1st things 1st to evaluate a list of necessities by multiple criteria. There is even a project template for that.

⚙️ Project setup

Start a new project. From the project templates, choose “Necessities While in Quarantine”.

Choose a project template

The project creation wizard will guide you through the most important questions:

1. Change or keep the project title and description:

Change project title and description

2. Decide how to name things. The preselected values suggest evaluating things by criteria. You can change that to evaluating necessities by aspects, or anything else.

Change how you name the things

3. Choose some or all criteria from a suggested list. You’ll be able to enter some more criteria as free text later. 

Choose initial criteria

4. Choose some or all things from a suggested list. You’ll be able to enter some more necessities as free text later too.

Now when you created the project, let’s explore the main steps of prioritization.

🧭 Step 1. Review and edit criteria

Now you can edit the list of criteria and change their importance or evaluation types. The default importance for all of them is 100%, and the evaluation type is choices from “definitely not” to “definitely” (you will see them in step 3).

For example, this is how I set the criteria and their importance:

  • Irreplaceable with the importance of 100% because we definitely need something that has no alternatives.
  • Affordable with the importance of 100% because the state of our jobs is unclear, and we have to save money.
  • Long lasting with the importance of 80% because we can order food online in case of running out of some necessities.
  • Healthy with the importance of 100% because we can’t properly function if we don’t care what we consume.
  • Comfortable with the importance of 50% because we can allow ourselves to live less comfortably in such critical times.
  • Ethical/Fairtrade with the importance of 70% because other criteria are more relevant to us when it’s a question of life.
  • Vegan with the importance of 70% because I am not vegan anyway.

Your criteria and their importance will depend on your attitude and perspectives.

💡 Step 2. Review and edit things

In the next step you will see the list of our chosen things where you can change their titles and descriptions.

For example, at the setup I chose these things:

  • Wifi because I need to work from home.
  • Drinking water because I drink a lot of tea and sometimes coffee.
  • Breads because we like sandwiches for breakfast.
  • Rice because it’s a food that can stay on the shelf for a long time.
  • Pasta because I love having Italian dishes from time to time.
  • Fruit because we need vitamins.
  • Cheese because sandwiches include something more than just bread.
  • Avocados don’t ask me why.
  • etc.

And also, I need some toddler supplies for my little son and some caffeinated drinks to stay awake and productive every day. So I am bulk-adding these things to the list:

  • Milk
  • Diapers
  • Wet wipes
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Club-Mate
  • Coca Cola
Add more things

🎚 Step 3. Evaluate things by criteria

Now evaluate all things by all criteria. Go through the whole list and mark your choices. We see that fruit is probably not long-lasting, but definitely healthy. Rice is probably fairtrade, and cheese is definitely not vegan. Some things will be objective (like drinking water is definitely healthy), and some will be subjective (like cheese is probably affordable to you).

Evaluate each thing by each criterion

📊 Step 4. Analyze priorities

The prioritizer shows calculated and sorted things grouped into the ones:

  • to choose for sure,
  • to consider, and
  • to skip.

My most essential things are electricity and wifi (I should not forget to pay the bills), drinking water, and stuff from the drugstore like hand sanitizer, shampoo, diapers, soap, toilet paper, trash bags, etc. The most questionable thing is cheese (I could live without it).

Analyze your priorities and take action

Final words

After prioritizing your necessities, it’s time to print the PDF version of the results, grab a couple of tote bags, and go to the supermarket.

Check out the strategic prioritizer at my 1st things 1st.


Cover photo by Şahin Yeşilyaprak.