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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Due to dealing with some finances I am taking care of with a business this week, I will be absent for the most part. However, I had Sean Nguyen from Warriorblog consider being a guest blogger on The Lifestyle Maverick to help fill in for me. I appreciate his willingness to help out on such short hand notice.

To give you some quick information on Sean, he has been blogging for not even 3 months now. However his Alexa ranking has already climbed well into the 123,000 category, with loads of visitors going to his blog every day! He is a daily blogger and usually has a some very worthwhile information daily pertaining to meta blogging. Sean has definitely struck me as someone who is a proficient blogger who knows how to get traffic.

 So with that said, I invited Sean to share with us on a simple method that he uses to be proficient. This is one of Seans amazing tactics………………………

A METHOD ON BECOMING A PROFICIENT BLOGGER( OR HOW TO ATTRACT TRAFFIC LIKE A MUGG!)

We all know that in order to get more traffic and people linking to you, you need to get as many people to know you as possible. However, you alone just cannot make that much friends in order to get maximum traffic.How can we get more traffic by making less friendsYou are only going to become friend with the right people and you will find those people by using Mybloglog. You are also going to get more subscribers by this IF you have interesting content.

1. The Setup

  1. Create a MyBlogLog account and customize it.
  2. Join a couple of popular community in your niche.
  3. Install the Snap Links Plugin for Firefox.

2. Getting Traffic.

  1. Visit those community and view all their members.
  2. Visit each members and just close the tabs once you visit them.

This is not hard. All you need to do is use that Snap Link plugin and visit all of them at once. Please do not sit for an hour doing this – do it when you are blogging or while surfing the internet. Learn to do multitasking.

3. Building Relationship.

  1. Take note of those that come back and revisit your blog.
  2. Visit their blog and see if they get lots of traffic and have a large group of fans.
  3. Make friends with those that are influential bloggers.

You are basically going to make friends with those that you know will link to you (you know they will link to you because they have revisit and you need to see if they link to others or not) and are popular among bloggers. You do want to find people that have a medium or even large group of fans.This method works well because you cannot make friends with everyone. This will save you so much time and you will get traffic from those that you build a relationship with.

Please consider subscribing if you found this post interesting and helpful.

Thank you.

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Archimedes once said “Give me a lever long enough and strong enough and I will move the earth for you”. Now while this concept may seem almost egotistical in and of itself, it holds a very viable distinction. What Mr. Medes was simply stating is that if an individual has enough leverage in his hands then what once seemed as impossible thus becomes possible. When one examines the art of leverage and the ability to do more with less, I truly believe that we find the defining factor that separates…..

– Those who have moderate flow of income from those who have a distinctly massive flow of income.
– Those who have a limited amount of available time to pursue passion from those who have what seems all the time in the world to do otherwise.
– Those who are limited in their ability to achieve goals from those who seem to reach a new plateau every time you talk to them.
– Those who are locked in one location for an indefinite amount of time to those who can pick up and travel at will with no fleeing thought to hinder them.

Leverage when defined in lifestyle terms is the ability to work smarter and not harder. It is the ability to get more done and deliver more value to more people with less time and energy. It is the ability to replace yourself as much as possible without losing the quality of the task at hand. For many people this can sometimes prove challenging, due to the fact that many individuals refuse to let go of certain life tasks or formal operational methods due to a blown up ego or because they are afraid that no one can basically perform the certain task as well as they can. This thought pattern is a crippling one and is a pattern that other lifestyle designers and myself have to learn to overcome. With my experience in the past, if a task can be leveraged to someone or something and can be performed 80% as efficiently compared to if you were to do it yourself , then that is adequate and should be delegated to him/her/it.

With all of this said, let me stress that leverage DOES NOT = laziness. It simply reflects a smarter and more efficient way of tasking and all be it , living. Here are 3 main sources of leveragability that I have discovered, along with a brief overview of each.

IF LEARNED AND PRACTICED WITHIN ACCURATE MEANS, THESE 3 LEVELS OF LEVERAGE HOLD THE ABILITY TO CHANGE ONES LIFE ACCORDINGLY.

3 KEYS THAT WE ALL HOLD

POTENTIAL RELATIONSHIP LEVERAGABILITY(PRL) – Some of the most adherent and wisest leaders you will find are those who surround their selves with individuals who are either smarter than they are or are more skilled. Thus they can then leverage other peoples strengths , wisdom, and skills to further either their self or their vision.

PRL is the aptitude of leverage concerning people or the skills of people. Simply put, it is the effectiveness of how well one can use the resources of others to perform a task or further a vision. It extends to but is not limited to employees, friends, acquaintances, online contacts, those who may be in debt(not necessarily financially) to you, or anyone else in your realm of living as well as future relationships.

When PRL is put into effect, one must use a selective feeder in making sure that the people you are leveraging will in fact perform said method adequately by at least 80% of desired outcome. If not, then I suggest looking elsewhere.

· PRL also includes the reputation that you hold as an individual. Reputation too can be leveraged in relationships if people hold a high respect for you.

POTENTIAL RESOURCES LEVERAGABILITY(PrL) – Ones aptitude in using tools or objects as resources to accomplish tasks rather than the use of ones energy. PrL speaks respectively in terms of how you can use the mechanics of tools and thereof. Many computer programs fall into the efficiency method form of PrL.

PrL pertains to basically any motorized, mechanical, computerized, or nonliving forms of operations. Certain examples of PrL are……

Setting an alarm clock in order to help my wife wake up rather than taking 5 minutes of time and energy to call her in order to do the same. I use the alarm clock as my leverage.

Using any of 37Signals web applications to either help organize a daily routine, checklist, or other operation geared towards more computer minded individuals rather than relying on other outdated methods which use more of time and energy.

Simply driving a car somewhere rather than walking(although for obvious health reasons, walking may be suggested ).

Using the weights in a gym as an method of leverage in order to “get fit”.

Also let it be known that when speaking in terms of resources, many people associate time and mobility with leverage. I , however do not. Time and mobility, to me are currency, therefor they fall into the third of our leveragabilities…..

POTENTIAL CURRENCY LEVERAGABILITY (PCL)- Ones aptitude in using the assets that we create in life in order to help accomplish goals or certain tasks. When speaking in terms of assets, I speak of mainly the 3 main currencies of lifestyle design….TIME, MOBILITY, and MONEY. When speaking in terms of money, we also include vehicles that create this such as business or investments.

The peculiar thing about this form of leverage is that the very objects that we are using to create leverage are actually the same objects that we create leverage FOR.

An example of leveraging your time would be holding a telisimenar and speaking with 10, 20, or 60 individuals all at the same time rather than speaking with them each on an individual basis.

An example of leveraging your mobility would be traveling not for travels sake, but rather traveling to help support a non-profit organization that builds houses for survivors of natural disasters in Vietnam. Thus your travel expenses can be written off tax exempt saving you on your money.

An example of leveraging your money would be as simple as the concept of investing. The magic of having money work for you rather than you working for money has been tried by the test of the ages, and still holds up.

HARDER, FASTER, STRONGER…

Daft Punk has recently come to the mainstream due to the remix of this original song by Kanye West. Contrary to popular musical beliefs, one does not have to work harder, faster, or stronger but can use some of these simple suggestions of leverage to help mold ones life to fit what he/she expects from it.

What are your thoughts? Any leverage forms or rules that you would like to add. Is leverage still a relevant topic? How does leverage help you in your daily life. Sound off and let us know…..

Also, in the upcoming weeks look for an in depth interview with Michael Davis of Familyhack fame. You have seen him mentioned on here and he frequents from time to time with comments. Find out how Michael and his wife , Hanna, apply laws of leverage in their own life. Be prepared for tales of travel, independant living, and messy diapers.

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Before I delve into the heart of the matter of this blogpost I need you to turn on your mental radars and have you take a very important note. Remember this….there are 3 key forms of currency that lifestyle designers or location independent professionals use in order to live the lifestyle they do. Neither one is more important than the other, and all 3 compliment each other accordingly. In no particular order , these currencies simply are…

1. TIME
2. MOBILITY
3. MONEY

I have recently received several emails enquiring about the later, more specifically pertaining to how one goes about bringing in a nice chunk of change while still being able to have free control of time and being mobile in the same aspect. Now many of you know methods pertaining to being a traveling web developer, a online business entrepreneur, or using some other form of online coaching or networking to bring about cashflow to supplement the absence of a “cubicle or desk ridden” career . Infact many of you who read this daily, from short conversations I have held with you, have used these vehicles to accomplish this. Kudos to you!!!

For anyone who has yet to reach this supplemental income and yet still yearns to, but are not necessarily intrigued by the thought of an online start up, let me suggest a method that I have found invaluable in being able to have the third of our currencies flow in while you yourself aren’t necessarily tied down to a location limited profession. This method is valuable in that when I put it into effect I can go from an individual used to earning $20 an hour to an individual who earns $300/hour or more.

Got your attention yet?

THE MADNESS BEHIND THE MAYHEM The way that I do this, and it isn’t necessarily practiced by many lifestyle designers(at least not that I hear commented about) is through online stock trading. Now before you go running in the other direction while rolling your eyes at the last sentence let me explain something pure and simple that caught ahold of me several years ago…….Stock investing is not as risky as the PROFESSIONALS make it out to be. Remember these two things..

1. THERE IS A SYSTEMATIC DESIGN TO EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE. (Even the stock market)
Each aspect of life has a system by which we are taught to operate by.

2. EACH SYSTEMATIC DESIGN CAN BE ALTERED USING THE PROPER, KNOWLEDGE, AND TOOLS .

Reality is bendable despite what you are taught.

So don’t let what these so called professionals tell you as far as risk is involved. Its nonsense. The stock market, like everything else in life can be tweaked to your advantage. I never was a fan of investing or the stock market until I learned how to manipulate it, and at that point it became my best friend. It took less than one year of gathering some very simple and readily available information and learn how to put it into proper use before it changed my financial outlook forever.

I am a technical analysis trader meaning I buy and trade based on charts and what they tell me about a company at that point. One of the most popular technical traders at the moment is popular guru and online mentor Phil Town. Phil has a widely popular book that explains the simpleness of a method similar to the one I use which I suggest purchasing if at all possible. With that said, the simple structured plan that I go about when trading is this…..

Be willing to find a company you know is going to grow @ a good rate based on your standards given you in the book.(About 1-1.5 hours work)

Buy the company at a heck of a price when 3 easy charts(which can be accessed on MSN for no fee) match up . Reading these charts is like a cakewalk, so don’t let the thought of technical analysis scare the day out of you.Take a look at these charts about 30 minutes before the market closes .

Based on information you know, if the charts say to sell then sell and reap your rewards, if not then hold the stock and ride it out for more money. A quick glance at the charts takes all of about 5 minutes per day, the large part which is spent logging online. So this isn’t exactly hard rock pounding labor on your part.

EVEN GOOFS CAN DO THIS

An example of how this works is this. On August 22 I purchase 68 shares of Foster Wheeler(FWLT) @ $100.76 per share . Looking into the company and deciding if I was buying it at a good deal took about an hour and a half of work. I go online to a broker such as Ameritrade and place my order. A couple of clicks and my work is done for the day.

Each day after this I go online @ 2:30 PM CST to check where the stock is for the day. The reason I check at this same time each day is because the market swings up and down during the day, meaning so do the stock charts. By checking at the end of market close I know where the chart is more than likely going to sit for the remainder of the day. If the charts match up and all is well I keep the stock , if not I sell.

It takes a duration of 7 days doing this, each day taking about 5 minutes out of my schedule to check the charts , before I sell FWLT. So on August 29 I go online and sell my shares of FWLT(now which are going at $109.83) for a nice little gain of $596.66 .

It took me a total of 2 hours total time make this amount (the initial 90 minutes it took to do research and buy it along with the 30-35 minutes combined total time that I checked it daily). So relatively speaking I make close to $300 an hour for my work.

The funny thing is that I goofed and misread the charts that day. I should not have sold and in fact if I would have kept and held the stock I would be banking alot more an hour than that. So yeah, I’m really kicking myself in the arse on that one. Should my wife read this she more than likely will be kicking my arse too!

If a goof like me can do it, anyone can!

Now when it all comes down to simply restructuring your thought process and manner in which you go about this, just like anything in life, it becomes minimal and simple. The fact that if your portfolio is made up of just several companies such as this that provide an adequate amount of gain you can be set and up your average income per hour very easily. It again covers supplementing our third currency I mentioned in the beginning. It also leaves room for our other two currencies so that one can dream of traveling and cultured events such as this one rather than having to face craziness like this. Just another reason you may want to get out of the office a little more.

COMING SOON

As you read this you may notice the nice and official little “beta” located beside the blog title towards the top. Handy huh? Within the next month there will be some handy little tweaks to the blog, as we will be “pimping it out”. Meaning you get a made over Lifestyle Maverick blog plus you will get a chance to see pics of my ugly mug finally. For those of you who know me, Im sure you are running away at this moment…..

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Golden money head pic provided by rux-shots

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).

A Month of Muscle

September 3, 2007

I am an ectomorph by the pure definition of the word. To put it simple it is hard as junk for me to put on weight, it always has been. In high school, I so badly wanted to be starring in the backfield on the football team, however due to my slim build and the fact that I could not put on weight no matter how hard I tried, I was doomed to the life of a split end.

Now as some of you may know, I can add muscle definition with the best of them , but when it comes to building muscle mass it has taken hard-ass work on my part for years and years to actually make good “gains” when building muscle mass.

So for that reason, I decided to test the the perceived notions of a typical workout and opted to drop the typical “so many sets, so many reps” routine. I used a workout regimen that had me in the gym for 2 days a week, 30 minutes a day . I focused on less time in the gym, but maximizing the time in there. For the 30 minutes occupied in the gym, I went only one set per exercise on 5-7 basic multi-joint exercises (i.e. squats, bench press, dips). The difference in going one set rather than 3-4 sets, was I went to failure on the one set, which conditioned my body to release testosterone causing growth. I did a slow cadence on both the upward and downward movements, causing a heck of a lot more resistance .Many people know of this as HIT(High Intensity Training) and it has both its followers and naysayers. The end results….

Being an individual who finds it hard to put on muscle mass,

August 1st(start date) to August 31st(finish date)

Weight- from 174 lbs to 186 lbs.

Chest – from 38 inches to 43 inches

Biceps – from 12.24 inches to 14.75 inches

I also went on a strict diet corresponding with this which was compiled entirely of meats(for pure protein), vegetables(mainly greens) , and lentils(mainly beans). I drank only water and unsweet tea, as well as a protein shake once a day. Aside from this no sugars were in taken aside from the one off day I allotted myself per week in which I allowed myself to consume any food I wanted for 24 hours. Now I’m not going to give away all my secrets on this, but you get the general idea of it.

12 lbs in one month. I gained more muscle in this one month depending on lower output with higher frequency(also allowing my muscles more time to grow) than in my previous 6 years combined. And a total of 4 gym hours contributed to more muscle gain than the previous 5 years(which accumulate roughly 520 gym hours) combined.

Less= more in this case even in the case of body building.

Thanks in advance to Tim Ferris for tipping me off on methods helping lead to this.