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My wife and I have two beautiful children. Alivia, our little girl, is 4 and is ALL girl. She despises dirt, loves anything that is pink or purple( or frilly), adores make up and is in love with all of the Disney Princess movies. Zeke, our little boy , will turn 2 in January and is completely ALL boy. He loves the outdoors, adores  animals of any kind, gets excited about any kind of sport, and even enjoys wrestling with dogs 3 times his size. They are complete opposites and have been one of my biggest blessings on this earth.

Alivia is already starting to dream and her imagination is a wild one. From professional ballerina to astronaut, even the desire to be a mermaid for Disney…….. to her the world is at her reach. For that reason , who am I to tell her any different. In a few short years, the same will be the way with Zeke. The fact that children can dream beyond our comprehension about what the future holds for them is both a challenge and a inspiration. It is the dichotomy that life has not stolen away their desires and aspirations of dare i say it……dream lining, and setting a course to be what they want to be and accomplish what they want to accomplish.
THE ESSENCE OF LIFESTYLE DESIGN: CHILDHOOD

This is only my opinion, but I believe that everyone has a small lifestyle designer in them at some point in their childhood. It is the inner voice that tells us that we can dream of doing something wonderful with our life and that we wont fall prey to the ho-hum conundrum of every day life. I mean , seriously, how many kids do you know that DREAM of living an average life behind an average desk and following an average mundane routine for their entire life. I certainly never knew any while I was growing up as a child, and I have not seen any since to be honest. As children, it is actually expected of us to dream big and to “reach for the stars”. Any proud parent would agree.

Where and why in life are we either told or expected to stop? The usual scenario is one that plays out as so…

1) Child grows up dreaming(possibly even dream lining) about goals and projects he/she wants to accomplish in life.

2) Child becomes young adult, goes to school, and eventually to college. Although his/her dreams and aspirations may change, the fact usually remains that there is INDEED still a dream or goal that they want to accomplish. They usually think college will factor into this . Sometimes it does through a placebo effect, and other times it does not.

3) Young adult graduates college. At this point the dream that they have held onto for so long is usually smacked by the “reality” of life, which is a joke all be it. The young adult is forced to let release of the dream/aspiration and is usually met with open arms by a “real world job”.

4) Real world job turns into 45 years of mundane bouncing around between jobs/professions only to find that retirement sits pretty at the end, where you meet up with it……usually two old and worn out to dream any longer.

AM I A LOON AND AM I SAYING WE SHOULD NEVER GROW UP?

By no means! I mean come on, I have watched Peter Pan with my daughter hundreds of times to know that we all must meet life at some point. However, my belief is that at the heart of the matter we alone decide (when we do meet life) whether we will design it or it will design us. That is the challenge that each lifestyle designer has truthfully embraced with open arms, and at the core of it remains the heart and faith of a child.

Children have the faith and strength to believe that life itself can be contorted to either work to their advantage or be the stepping stone of dreams. Lifestyle designers, rightfully so, do as well.

It is for this reason that I cannot wait to see what my children have rolled up their sleeves as far as future plans. In Part 2 of this post I will explain what I truly believe can and should be done to help nurture your children’s little lifestyle designer within them and help them reach their aspirations. If you have children and have a desire to see them truly live life to the fullest you do not want to miss it. These are viable tips that I am already seeing make a difference in the lives of both of my children.

Also , the NEW AND OFFICIAL LIFEJOTTER DOMAIN will be going public in the next couple of days. For those of you who have remained loyal as a reader these past months , it will only get more enhanced from here on out.

Possibly a cash prize contest to be held the first day of websistance? Check back to see. Until you see it before your eyes, just check out this simple little commercial of Lifejotter TV that officially hit youtube the other day. Simple, I know….but that’s the point.

When Batching Goes Wrong

October 19, 2007

Since the inception of The Lifestyle Maverick early last month, one topic that I have tried to focus on conveying with readers is that of simplifying life. There are many ways and routes in doing this and if you are new to the blog here you are welcome to search back in some of the lifestyle design posts to see a small collection of methods that can be implemented.

One such method, which many of you may be familiar with, is that of ‘batching’. For the sake of all of those of you who may be familiar with this word, I will save the long definition and inform those of you who may not know of batching as this…

BATCHING – In short, a method used to simplify life by grouping together tasks over a remedial period of time to save both time and energy.

Methods of this that we all are probably more than aware of are batching your emails to check only once every day, perhaps once every week. Batching your bills so that you pay them once every week or once every two weeks. The list goes one……and hopefully you know how it operates……..

–WHEN MORONS DECIDE TO BATCH–

With that said, let me do the opposite of what you may be expecting and suggest certain tasks that SHOULD NOT BE BATCHED!!! Brace yourself, as you would think that one would have enough common sense to not use batching in such a moronic sense as the several items I am about to mention. But sadly enough, these instances(and I can vouch for this) have either happened or there are individuals who have pondered these.

1) Bills(Long Term) – It is great and a very practiced exercise to batch ones bills. I do this and find myself, if not first doing a simple bank draft, paying a collection of bills once every 2-3 weeks. I have found myself having to pay only one late fee due to this method, and it was for a total of $12.73……not exactly a killer. The time I have saved doing this has been invaluable.
However, batching your bills into quarterly periods is not that hot of an idea. I recently read a thread on a popular message board in which some poor bloat was bragging about how he batched his bills and payed them every 2-3 months. NOT A GOOD IDEA. He did not realize that if there are a lot of 30-60-90 day late payments that show up on your credit history it can ruin you.

So to emphasize, paying bills once every couple of months = BAD.

2 ) Diapers — Once a father made the joke about batching his child’s diapers to me . Sad thing is I imagine that there may be several parents out there who have actually thought of this. Change your child’s diapers after every poo, don’t wait for 3 or 4 to build up before changing them. It should make perfect sense as to the reasoning, not to mention that your child would kill you once they reached adulthood for the fact that you are the one to blame for that permanent brown stain on his butt .

3) Car Maintenance – Take your vehicle to the mechanic whenever a problem arises. DO NOT think it a good idea to wait for 2 or 3 more to arise before you do the same. Odds are are that the preceding problems were more than likely caused by the original and will kill your wallet in the end.

“My engine sounds horrible, and the bottom of my car is leaking stinky green stuff. But you know, its only 3 more weeks until my next oil change. Maybe I can hold off until then to get it checked.” ……………………………………..Simply not a good idea.

4) Medications – There is actually a proper way to do this and a moronic way to do this. People sometimes wait until a certain point in the day to take all their medications for that day, and there is nothing wrong with that. The problem arises when someone decides to not take their medication(s) for a certain number of days and then batches all the past days worth in one day.

Kind of like if an individual instead of taking 2 Tylenol once per day for 3 days decided to instead batch them and take 6 Tylenol all at once every 3 days. This would hold the power to kill the individual depending on the medicine and dosage amounts. Reason enough that this is not a smart move.

5) You Name It — What do you think should not be batched? Have your say and let me know of any other task that was never meant to be grouped. Going to the bathroom? Personal hygiene issues? What is #5 on the short list of “Batching Gone Wrong”? Use your imagination and let yourself be known.

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Pic provided by Chubby Bat

I cant explain the excitement I have in writing this certain post on The Lifestyle Maverick blog because I am about to unveil one of the most integral aspects of freeing your time from mind-defining tasks so that you may pursue more fulfilling aspects of life. As i write this, America continues to be overworked and studies show that the average weekly work hours combined for a household family is continuing to rise with no sign of slowing down. Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing wrong with earning an honest days wage, my problem is within earning an honest days wage(or less) and not living a life of substance due to that. And honestly through the majority of people, this seems to be the case.

A study done by Edward C Prescott, of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and W.P. Carey Chair, with the Department of Economics at Arizona State, showed that Americans now work 50 percent more than Germans, French, and Italians. And the odd thing is that this was not the case around 25-30 years ago, when the majority of Western Europeans worked more than those in the United States. Now, all be it, I know that our advance as an industrial performing country as well as marginal tax rates on labor income can be pointed to for some of this effect. However I firmly believe that the simple fact that Americans are programmed in believing that they now must work 60+ hours a week just to keep up with the Joneses is a large factor.

As masses of individuals march to a numbing existence behind a desk day after day, the simple fact that they do it because that is the “normal” and “typical” thing expected of them lies at the heart. It is something that I prefer to as Habitual Work Syndrome(or HBS). HBS in its simplest terms is the act of working for works sake, or rather punching in 9-5 (or in today’s standards 9-9) not because you necessarily enjoy your job or even need the money but rather because that is what everyone else in your office is doing. Its following the herd to the slaughter and it literally is killing many of Americans, as well as their dreams of a life that is filled with excitement, pursuits, and passions.

With that let me introduce “Groupsourcing“, which as you will find can be integrated not only into workplace situations and tasks, but to any and all tasks assumingly associated with life . Groupsourcing is the direct derivative to outsourcing(which is what the larger majority of lifestyle designers favor as of late). Outsourcing in effect is to subcontract services from an outside source, such as if a small business were to outsource its bookkeeping to an accountant firm. Basically , it is handing off work that you do not desire to do or you know can be done more accurately by someone else for a fee. It is done by some of the largest corporations in the world, and even by a vast majority of individuals who would rather have someone in India perform a task related to work for them. Outsourcing can even be found in small neighborhoods……when a homeowner outsources the mowing of his lawn to a teenager down the street. In terms, outsourcing is found everywhere….you just may not know it.

PROBLEM=SOLUTION 

Groupsourcing, in the same terms can hold a vast advantage over this. It, in effect is sourcing out (or rather bidding out) your work or life related tasks to a group of individuals or firms for performance, with the desired result being finding the one that performs said task most to your liking. The advantage that I find in groupsourcing is that you have multiple options to choose from when deciding exactly what you want performed.

For instance, if I want to set up a new online business I need a quality and attractive website that I feel values the image of my company. If I outsource the design through Brickwork, an outsourcing company in India, I am stuck with their end product whether I like it or not because I only have their end result to choose from. However, with groupsourcing I can go online to Sitepoint and submit a contest through their site. With the contest I will have a handful of designers who will post their adaption of the site I long for. If I don’t like one designers work then that’s OK….I still have numerous other designs to choose from. At the end of the contest I can choose which design I feel is most adaptive to what I want and continue forth. It provides me with options, which ultimately is what I am want to design my life to have.

How can groupsourcing directly affect your work-task-related life and shave hours off of your workload? Well the beautiful thing with groupsourcing is that it too, like outsourcing, can be applied to almost anything in this day and age. If you have a presentation that needs to be given at work that you cant seem to complete and that has destined your next month to sleepless nights at your computer terminal, groupsource it. One can go onto sites such as elance and place a bid for a certain task to be done…..whether it be collecting information for a school report, to actually writing the report, to buying groceries, sending flowers to your wife, implementing market research, making appointments, the list goes on and on.

By placing the bid you see who is interested and by testing them , see who is actually capable of getting the job done for you. And with a task being performed for you rather than you performing it yourself , you now have the option to pursue something that you may not have had the ability to do so otherwise….spending time with family, picking up a hobby, regaining a social life again……. OH MY THE CHOICES!!!

Groupsourcing, when implemented correctly, can ultimately help in decreasing your life hours spent on work related tasks. And the fact that the big conglomerates in New York and Paris are doing it, yet do not want their employees to know about the method, should tell you something. If you want a lifestyle, or for what its worth even a LIFE, one may need to learn the art of groupsourcing…….atleast in America. Of course there is always Western European countries offering open arms to those who desire to work half the workload, and be content and merry with the remainder of their time. How to get there will be another post in and off itself. Until we can get there, we all have a little Habitual Work Syndrome that needs to be taken care of.

YOUR TURN TO CHIME IN 

What are your thoughts? Do you feel that you carry more of a workload than you see others with?  As a whole do you feel that Americans work now more than 25 years ago?  Please feel free to chime in and add your input.

Until next time,

Bunk Price
The Lifestyle Maverick

With the fall already upon us and with school back in session for the majority of both high school and college students, I cant help but think about how quickly time flies by. And the scary thing is that within no time this year will be over and a new large mass of “graduates” will be unleashed into the real world. Which brings me to my specific blog of the moment.

I am the proud parent of two children myself and one day(if all goes according as planned), I will be standing in the bleachers with other parents and onlookers as my children walk across stages to get their diplomas and hopefully their degrees as well. From what I have been told it is definitely one of the prouder moments in a parents life. And with graduation and everything that follows , the graduation gift always falls into the picture. This is something that has always confused me beyond belief. Not the fact that graduation gifts are expected, but rather the lack of creativity in the gift giving process. Its the typical scene I have seen all to many times and that I agonize over. A graduating student becomes the proud owner of a brand new car from the proud parent , with the proud parent thinking that this gift is something that will express his/her way of saying “Congratulations, job well done!”. Stop the bill for one moment.

My challenge to any type of parent who falls into this “lazy” type of gift giving pattern is to put a little thought into the matter and bend reality a little bit. For the same price of a new Honda Civic (roughly around $15000), a student could be rewarded with something that would be a heck of alot memorable and with stories to tell THEIR children later in life. How about a trip across the world from Airtreks.com to visit all the seven wonders of the world? Far fetched you say? I think not. For the price that a father would shell out to buy a new shiny vehicle(which honestly would get run down in just a few short years), one could pay the way for a parent and his graduating child to visit Beijing, Delhi, Amman, Rome, Rio de Janeiro, Cusco, and Cancun . Food and accommodations could be payed for from the remainder of the $15000 after airfare was taken out, and if played right a good quality used car could be bought even after the return home. Its very doable and would provide a once in a lifetime memory for both a very thoughtful parent and I assure you a very thankful student.

Remember that teenagers are smarter than we give them credit for. They can tell when something has been thought out and more often than not would probably appreciate the creativeness put into the effort. The stories and pictures from the trip would be enough to last a lifetime, and it would give any lucky parent/child team the chance to do something that the large majority of families tend abstain from doing……spending some quality time together(and have a heck of an adventure to boot).