10 Business Lessons From a Snarky Entrepreneur (Blog)
Use this thread to discuss the following entry from Steve Pavlina's blog:
10 Business Lessons From a Snarky Entrepreneur
Wow! First time I read one of Steve's post direct from the oven :D . Great article.
I would add that many of your suggestions apply also for (technical) research
Many times people lose independence by following the main-stream, instead of following their own intuition.
Excellent blog Steve. My very favorite line is the final comment on #2...
You continually crack me up:p
I appreciate your goofiness as much as your other brilliant insight.
ps: I agree about the chair, if you're not supporting your body, it won't support you.
About #2 - get a chair you are comfy in. Don't buy the most expensive, most hyped thingy everyone says you need, feel your own body to decide.
Different people got different needs for sitting.
Oh, and if you do anything where you have to work a lot at a computer, for heavens sake get a decent screen.
Buying a cheap tft will give you a headache, kill your eyesight, even though you can't spot the difference.
If only McDonald's had let me buy a chair!
Refreshingly well written. No ambiguity or getting lost in very long paragraphs. To the point, brief, essential.
lol the comment no 2 really crack me up when i scroll back to check
thought it was some really important (although it is) principal
I'm going out to buy a really nice desk chair as soon as possible. This post made me realize how much more I would work if I didn't have to sit in a creaky uncomfortable chair the whole time.
What do you guys think of this as a working stool: Mi Shu?
Great post. I particularly like # 2, 5, 8, and 10.
Any suggestions for a very comfortable office chair?
Amazon.com: Aeron Desk Chair, Full-Featured PostureFit, Color - Carbon, Large: Kitchen & Housewares
Amazon.com: Beige Fabric Office Chair w/Arms, Gas Lift & Great Student or Computer Chair: Home & Garden
Steve, what advice would you offer on getting organized. I work full time, and when I'm not working I spend any "free time" I have trying to spend it on creative work. I know people who are organized, but it just seems like all they do in their life is clean and organize, and nothing else. For example, I can justify spending 30seconds throwing the covers over my bed in the morning but not 15minutes making my bed when I'm going to mess it up going to bed the same day. It's not like anyone sees my bedroom anyways, so making my bed is more for looks rather than functionality, so who cares? Or am I wrong here?
Another example is bills. I just set my bills to pay online and the I just stack all my enveloped in a bin to be sorted through when I get a chance, I don't open an envelope, look at a bill, make a decision and file them right there on the spot.
Another example is people I know who have VERY organized MP3 collections. Mine's all over the place, but when I want to find a song I'll find it anyways. I just don't see myself spending all this time organizing MP3 files.
There are just sample examples, but this has been my kind of thinking all my life and sometimes I wonder if my disorganized self is hurting me.
THe only examples I've seen of organized people in my life fall into two categories:
1) People who's lives are simply to go to work. Come home. Cook, clean the house, organize, do laundry, maybe watch a bit of TV, go to sleep, wake up and do the same thing over again, until they die. These people are organized, but totally boring. Things at their house never change, there is a spot for the umbrella, and that's where it goes. You'll probably see the same umbrella in the same spot 10 years from now.
2) People who are ultra wealthy and have the money to hire maid services or house cleaning services to keep their houses clean and organized.
I am very curious to find out how you do your organizing and how much time you spend on it daily/weekly.
There's an old article I wrote in 2000 on getting organized:
I still use essentially the same system today.
Great article to make me consider again on how i should improve #2( my wooden chair gives me poor blood circulation ) and #6.
Another important point i would like to contribute is to develop contingency plan for all possible failures such as having a good backup plan when you encounter a sudden harddrive failure, complete webhosting failure, credit cards failure when your domain is expiring soon and etc.
For example, let me ask some questions:
1) On your bookshelf, are your book organized by title, author, subject, etc. or are they just put on the bookshelf in whatever order comes up. If organized, isn't it a waste of time to sort your books?
2) When you put away your laundry, do you pair up and fold individual socks and fold up each pair of underwear seperately and put them away in a "sock" drawer or "underwear" drawer or do you just dump your socks and underwear into one drawer?
3) Do you open your mail/bills daily and decide what to do with them right there and then or do you just throw them somewhere until you're ready to open them? If you wait do you sometimes open urgent mail or fun mail first while leaving boring stuff for later?
4) If you're reading a couple of books, is it ok for them to sit on your desk when you're not reading them for a few days or do you put them away on the bookshelf whenever you're finished reading?
5) If you're writing an article, and drinking some water in a glass, once you're finished drinking the water, do you take the glass immediately into the kitchen, wash it and put it away, or put it into the dishwasher, or do you leave the glass on your desk "for now" while you work on the article?
6) Do you make your bed every morning and put the decorative pillows on top of the covers, and tuck in the corners and make it look all pretty, even though you know you'll be messing it all up that same night and nobody will see the "made bed" anyways since most people never go into someones bedroom?
I guess if I could call my current system something it would be "organized chaos". There's crap all over my desk, stuff is dis-organized, however as long as nobody walks into my room and moves something, i know exactly where something is even if it's buried under a stack of crap. Keep in mind this is only for my personal space like my office etc. For kitchen/living room where I entertain guests I keep it clean.
I know this all stems from my belief systems, and I'm flexible to adopt a new belief system if someone can show me the benefits of being organized, as it outweighs the time invested to keep yourself organized on a daily basis. For example, if I was to spend 15minutes in the morning making my bed tucking all the corners in and putting the decorative pillows on and making it all smooth and looking pretty like a hotel room and then another 15minutes per day putting the pillows away and getting the bed ready to sleep, that would amount to (30mins x 365days) 10,950 minutes of bed making per year, which is approximately 180 hours per year. That's like a 2 week workweek!
I *could* vacuum the house every 2 days, but if I do it every 8 days it only takes 25% as much time total and the carpets don't REALLY get that much dirtier than vacuuming every 2 days.
I guess I'm just confused as to what is meant by "organized". I have looked at some books and such and the standards in them are rediculous. Like if you followed the standards in there you would do nothing else with your life except dust, clean your house, vacuum, put away stuff, iron, make the bed. Like, does anyone out there ACTUALLY dust every day?
Maybe the reason I don't have time to be organized is because I work a full time job. If I was self-employed working from home, I'd probably have a lot more time on my hands to keep things organized.
This article gives the "how", but that isn't my problem. My problem is more along the lines of "why", as in "Why get organized?".
Really a Good question.
I find the condition of my apartment relates directly to the condition I am in. If I take time to clean and care for my place, normally I am taking good care of myself/my body, too. If you have a lot of junk piled up in front of your entryway, this might represent not wanting to open up to people. If you find yourself only cleaning or organizing when you have guests, that shows you that you value keeping up appearances. It might also demonstrate that you feel other people are worth doing things for whereas you yourself are not worth the effort.
If my papers are piled up and I don't know what is there, that often represents to me some form of denial. When my papers and books are organized, so are my thoughts and knowledge.
For me an important part of me feeling calm and prepared to go on stage is the condition my sheet music is in. Normally, one of the first things I do is put together the program, copy the music and have is professionally bound. This symbolizes making a decision, a commitment to a situation. and having a clear understanding of what my task is on any particular evening.
How Disorganization Costs Money
In my experience, organization of stuff is to allow you to find the stuff, whilst simultaneously having enough space and time to do things. So I'd say the answer to the (for example) book and glass questions depend on you. If you put a book down on the coffee table, will you be able to find it again? Is your desk large enough that when you set the glass down on it you'll be able to keep working? If those answers are yes, then don't worry about cleaning up any more. (Although often the problem is not the single book on the coffee table, but the fact that you can't find that book under all the other books, bills, junk mail, water glasses, and so on. Most people have room for one glass on their desk; few have room for 20 glasses.)
IMHO the more important organization aspect is time and task management. How much time do you spend looking for the books you needed to write this essay? How much time do you spend re-thinking the outline for the essay because you thought it all out yesterday but didn't write it down? How often do you spend all day working on something, only to have a boss/friend/spouse/teacher call and ask you about something else that you promised you'd have done today and then forgot? How much time do you spend thinking, "I should be productive" but then can't figure out what to do next? How much time walking back and forth because you didn't bother to gather all the materials you'd need ahead of time?
Your answer to those questions may be "None." But it may be "more than you think". I don't remember if it's in the post Steve linked for you or another, but he recommends doing a trial. One day, go through your day as usual. At the end of the day, see how you did. (Maybe use David Seah's points system) The next day, plan at the beginning of the day what you need to get done and in what order you will do it. At the end of that day, review what you got done. If you're one of many people that got a lot more done on the planning day, and a lot of what you got done was more useful, then that's why you should organize.
According to some guru, planning gives you time-returns of about 5:1. So 10 minutes spent planning will save you an hour of walking back and forth, redoing work, and so on.
But give it a shot and see what you think.
The "Why" for me is that I'm an orderly person on the inside. I value order and efficiency, and I like to be clear, focused, and relaxed, so I prefer that my environment be in sync with those values.
There's also a practical side because I have a lot of goals, projects, and activities. When I become disorganized, things get messy very quickly.
I do my best not to go overboard because overkill just wastes time. I don't care how my bookshelves are organized as long as I can quickly find what I need.
I think what keeps a lot of people from getting organized is that they fear the greater responsibilities they'll be able to handle. With great order comes great responsibility. ;)
Even more disturbing is that order often demands focus. I also value order and efficiency, I notice that when my environment begins to seriously become the opposite, it's usually a reflection of my lack of focus at that time.
For many people who wonder why order and organization, one explanation is that it forces the discipline and focus you speak of so many places on your site Steve.
There were times where I used to get to work 15 minuets late, and annoyed, because I couldn't find my car keys. Now I have a designated spot on my desk for my car keys.
To use your example I have a folder on my computer Downloads/Music for all of my mp3s. I just automatically download it there. I don't have to search for anything.
Staying organized takes very little time. It is only getting organized that takes extra time and that is usually only a 1 - 2 time investment.
It is like keeping your apartment clean. It takes very little time if you clean up a mess right after you make a mess instead of doing one big cleaning session after things have become a big problem.
This is my first time writing in on this forum. I'm clueless about all these icons. So here goes...
impaul, I'm a performer and songwriter... and how you describe yourself makes me smile because before I started getting serious about my art as a business, I used to be a complete mess, but I "always knew where everything was!" ;) But then I hired someone to work for me in my office, and that person didn't always know where everything was! (and i was on tour all the time, so she couldn't ask me!) Anyway, I highly HIGHLY recommend Julie Morgenstern's book "Organizing from the Inside Out." It's great for beginners, and minds like yours. (You're probably a Myers-Briggs "P." me too!) And I have to say... "order" has become one of my biggest values. Order and beauty! Another thing about it is that once I started to make space, I started to value space and actually be able hear myself think.. .then I started saying "no" more often which cleared out chunks of time, which helped me maintain order... and on and on.
Just some thoughts. I hope this post works. I'll be so very proud of myself if it does...
For example, I did make my bed quickly this morning and it felt really good. It didn't take 15mins like I thought it would, it only took like 45seconds. I also put some laundry away that was in a basket in the hallway and then took that basket and put a few items of dirty laundry and put them in that. That felt really good too. So I think there's something to this.
I was watchign Oprah one day and she said something along the lines of her home being an extention of herself. Meaning, she keeps her home very tidy and clean and organized because that is who she is inside as a person. I thought that was cool, but my ego countered with the thought that she probably has a maid or something that does all the cleaning for her.
I think it is time for me to purge my beliefs around organization onto paper to see which ones serve me and which ones don't. I'm probably holding onto some stubborn beliefs rooted in feeling of rebellion from my teenage years or something.
It's so funny how synchronicity works. Right after I wrote the message above yesterday argueing against being organized, I wanted to go jump on the treadmill so I grabbed my iPod and I was going to plug in my Nike sensor but it disappeared on me from my desk. I thought I put it in a certain spot but it wasn't there so I spent 15mins looking for it under all the crap on my desk and I finally found it. So right there was an example for me where disorganization is hurting me. THEN I went on the treadmill and turned on the TV and on the tube they were showing a series about people who are disorganized and messy and I saw this woman who lives with her son and their house is disgusting! It was like the messiest thing I've ever seen. Crap everywhere!
They introduced the woman and she wasn't a very pretty sight either. She wasn't very healthy looking, she was overweight, and did NOT look happy with her life. Her son was pretty messy looking as well. Wrinkled shirt, unshaven, etc. They asked her when this mess began and she told them it started after her husband left her and she said she basically just gave up and stopped cleaning. The only spot left in the house was this little tiny spot by the computer where she sits all day and hangs out online. She even had a DEAD MOUSE in her kitchen utensil drawer! Disgusting! They found like 5 different types of infectious bacteria around the house, one totally deadly for people with diabetes (which she had).
Man, it was a Charles Dicken's story showing me what my house is going to look like 20 years from now if I don't make organization/cleanliness a priority. :)
You know what I love most about my life? The ability to realize that I am NOT my beliefs, so I can change things rather quickly. It's cool being unattached to things like beliefs. :)
Having just reorganized our central living space, my sons room and part of the basement, I find that organization brings peace, a fresh perspective and added focus. The peace comes from orderliness, everything having a place and complementing the overall scheme. A fresh perspective occurs because when I 're'organize, I invariably re-order: moving things about into new configurations, eliminating clutter and throwing away trash. The space(s) feel new and newly interesting. The added focus comes from knowing exactly where everything is and where everything belongs, so I can avoid lost time.
PS my MP3s are organized only by artist, and I do that when I up/download them. To organize them beyond that would just be pointless busy work for me.
BTW, There is a standard practice called 5/6S in majority of manufacturing firms which signifies the important of cleanliness and orderliness in shaping the company's culture of "excellence" . I believe the concept could also be applied at home ;) .
5 S in Wikipedia
Nice to see you here! I read your blog...very nice I love your style of writing. :)
This thread is so interesting. What started out as a "discussion" for chair led to one of being organised or not. Incidentally, this issue had been ringing in my head especially over the past few days. I guess I found my answer ha!
Thanks guys for all your sharings on values and beliefs with regards to being organised or not. Cheers!
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