Rise and shine- early start for maximun productivity

“early bird, gets the worm” or so the saying goes. rising early in the morning has allowed me to do a ton of things. I wake up say 5:30 AM, do my “breathditation” (breathing and meditation) before I get out of bed. I kinda briefly plan my day and do a Halo adjustment to keep my attitude in check. Then I roll down to the floor and do my Yoga “awakening” stretches. All this in minutes which setting up a short routine helps a lot. I do a mental roll call while I prepare the coffee, check my daughter etc… I write down in any piece of paper my to do list. Sometimes I do this before I go to bed the night before. If I get to the computer, I sit down and write whatever is in my mind. I use the quiet time in the mornings to generate ideas and goals. Then is on to the daily chores of waking up my daughter, help my wife with breakfast and preparations.
If I don’t have to work that day, it is precious time with me , myself and I. Love the solitude and stillness of a beautiful morning. During the day, I do my list without missing a beat. If I am stuck on something, I leave it alone for a while and then at it again at a later time. This works great, when I think I am wasting time. One things that helps me maximize my time is to avoid the TV. I only watch the news once to summarize the day or the week. Whatever is so important I will get informed by others telling me what is going on. This “information ignorance” mode I learned makes me value my time efficiently and also keep my sanity in check.
If I have to work, I use my travel time to nourish my mind and soul. I listen to self help audio books about any subject. My car is my rolling classroom. I spare no time for meaningless talk shows or worry more about what’s going on in the world. In the afternoon, evening hours I like to do my hobbies. Whether riding my motorcycle, learn Systema,work out, play guitar, practice languages, etc… I set time aside to do these in no particular order.
When my daughter and wife arrive home, it is family quality time. I avoid the computer fort the time being and leave worries behind. It is time to play with my daughter, read stories, prayers, dinner with the family, etc.. Once my daughter goes to bed, then I return to my computer to write in my daily log, catch up with I have left and prepare for the next day. Before I go to bed I set a special time to get my mind at peace, talk to God, leave my worries behind. Tomorrow is another day and whatever didn’t get done, It will be on the top of the list the next day.

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Work in Progress, creating a schedule

I have been working on a non-scripted schedule where I write my things to do list and go over my list through the day. Very flexible, not so carved in stone approach. I prioritize urgent or important tasks, but I have gone through it as the day goes by without having to set time or deadline. I simply do whetever needs to be done around my time in the office, around playing with my daughter, traveling from point A to B, etc… If I don’t finish a task, it gets rolled over to the next day as a first thing to do task if is that important. I noticed that I cannot set a specific time to do a task because of the unexpected things happening in life. Yet this flexible schedule works for me and I have from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed to do as much as I can do and if not , well, tomorrow is another day 🙂

How to write daily as a habit

“Writing in my journal makes me accountable for the things I do everyday”

How I did it: I created a template with three questions to answer at the end of the day: What happened today? 3 things I learned today and why are they important? and What good deed I did today?

At the end of the week, go briefly over the week’s journal and soon you will be able to pick up interesting things that can help you in becoming who you want to be or whatever you want to accomplish.

Lessons & tips: Start simple, write simple. Start with the last thing you did during the day and/or take notes during the day and then write on your jouurnal every night before going to bed. Stay on it, do not miss a day. This way, you are creating a habit and will make you feel bad if you missed a day after couple weeks without missing a day.  As I wrote my journal, I noticed an awareness of what I write and was able to pick up trends and patterns on my behavior as well as my surroundings.

Resources: Use your cellphone’s reminder feature. There are a lot of applications out there and online calendar, reminders, alerts , etc.

It took me 4 months.

It made me feel accountable

In creating a schedule

I have been working on creating a daily schedule for some time now. It seems though to me that whenever I put a schedule in writing by the hour I end up not doing it at all. However, I write a list of things to do every day on any piece of paper and include the things I want to do along with the chores or errands at random. I do not prioritize just yet. Over the day I go over my list and do the things I can at that specific time or place I am at. At the end of the day, I have done most of my things on my list and the ones I could not do, they get rolled over to the next day. Those I try to do first if time and circumstances permits and so on. Synchronizing tasks with my phone and setting reminders for specific (must get done) things works very well so far.

How to stretch and release tension while traveling

How to relax and keep your body free of tension while traveling while standing, in a car or airplane even in the office. If you are a road warrior or get fatigued too much from work, these can help you stay relax and free of tension and aches. Start with breathing. Just breathing. Concentrate in your breathing. In through your nose, out through your mouth. Try bursting breathing and 8 count breathing technique. After 10 cycles of inhale and deep exhales start tensing your face and releasing it as you breathe. Do this for a minimum of 3 breath cycles. Continue with the neck, shoulders, arms, chest, hands in the same patter. Do shoulder shrugs, cat and chest elevations. Then move to your lower body, squeeze your abdomen as you breathe and arch your back as you exhale. Change patters for the entire cycle. Do the same with your hips, do pelvic raise, squeeze your butt and practice Kegel muscle (squeeze your pelvis as you would do when you stop urinating). Do all this while breathing normally. Deep long breaths with no tension. If feel a body part with tension, breathe through it. Focus your breathing on where you have the tension and breathe through it. Continue breathing a tensing your body all the way to your feet. Then start wiggling your body. Normal breath controlled wiggle. Now start smothering, rubbing and squeezing you body starting with the head. Massage the scalp, face and entire body parts. Do like you do when you wake up in the morning without breath restriction. Once done with it starts taping your scalp, face, eye sockets, and neck shoulders. From the shoulders down use a loose fit tap or punch through your entire body muscles. Do not stop the flow of breath. You can even use a mantra or sound to go through the breathing and movements. Finally you can do eye rotations, up and down movements, around the clocks, ect.. Finish all with a deep breath feeling grateful and ready to take on whatever comes your way.

How to quickly inspect your home before you sell, purchase or doing maintenance

It serves you to check your house often to maintain the building’s integrity and check for problems that can cost $$$. A maintenance issue may become a minor issue and that can turn into a major problem if it doesn’t gets fix. You can break down this list to suit you. Here is the scope: To protect the building envelope; penetrations to the structure, cracks, holes that may allow moisture or critters to get inside. Checking the Integrity and service ability of building materials and its components for functionality and serviceable life. Checking for any health and safety hazard: tripping exposed wiring, connections, missing safety items, fire and health hazards, etc… That may compromise safety and security of building and its inhabitants.
Observe record and repair minor, major and maintenance items that can have an impact on the bottom-line, comfort and habitability of the building.

Take a look at your building from a distance. You should be able to see the roof structure from all sides. Look for anything missing, broken or doesn’t look right. Observe the condition of the roof covering. How does it look (moldy, deteriorated, missing pieces, previous replacements, and mix/match)? I will break it down into three areas:

Site and common areas:

Look for attached/detached structures or areas where people may gather like gazebos, storages, garages, basements, closets, balconies, porch, playground, decks, and pool areas. Also you’re surrounding areas. Check interior and exterior fences for holes, damage missing sections and anything that can compromise security and safety, retaining walls for integrity, falling, leaning, grounds for erosion (specially near building and components) or overgrown vegetation that would prevent ventilation around the building or pose a hazard, roads, sidewalk for potholes, cracks and tripping hazards, look for site drainage, ponding, wash outs. Ask when the last time it rained was. Usually take up to 48 hrs. For some sites/areas to completely drain.

Exterior

Walk around the building take a look at the exterior structure for cracks, gaps, holes, missing pieces of the exterior walls and foundation wall (lower portion of wall). Any crack, gap, missing piece(s) can be a potential moisture intrusion point which it can have hidden and costly damages on the interior wall structure (the one that bears the roof weight and structure over your head). As you walk, look up and down the wall from the very top where it meets the roof to the bottom of wall and adjacent grounds. Observe for broken, cracked windowpanes, siding condition, particularly on wood structures. Observe other components that come in and out of your building such as sewer/ sanitary pipes for broken pipes to missing clean out caps (which smell pretty bad). Look for Air conditioning components, lighting, electrical boxes and water hose bibs for anything missing, broken, leaking or have a potential health and safety hazard. This item need attention and may have a bottom line on the total value of the building.

Systems:

Look at A/C, sewer, plumbing and electrical components. Check the electrical boxes for rust, openings on the panel enclosure, missing cover or breaker switch that would cause an immediate fire or shock hazard. Think about what if when you look at a component. Ask for these questions:

Does it look right, what may be missing?
Does it looks old, rusty, makes lot of noise?
With electrical equipment…What could happen if someone touch it or accidentally poke it?
What you think may happen if it doesn’t get fix in a timely matter?
If it doesn’t look right, write it down.

If the building is over 30 years old, hire a qualified inspector to look over. There may be items that need updating to comply with today’s industry standards.

Interior:

Open your main entry door, check for damage weather-strip around the door. Close the door see if light can be seen through closed door. This is a sign of damage/missing weather-stripping that may allow air/water to entry building raising heating/cooling cost and allowing pest to enter. Operate door as you would normally operate it. Check operation of door handle, deadbolts and locking mechanism. Ring the doorbell (if any). Walk to your immediate right depending on the interior configuration. Open and close doors, check for proper operation, and damage to surface or hardware. Check flooring condition and wall integrity, cracks, and bulging, peeling paint. Look for stretched out carpet, stains, missing flooring, tears and tripping hazards. Operate the windows. Does it stay up on its own, broken, cracked pane? Damaged, peeling around window or sill? Always keep in mind means of egress or exiting in case of emergency. Leave one window completely accessible and do not block it with heavy furniture. Check ceilings and wall surface for stains, cracks bulging and other condition that doesn’t look right. When in doubt call a professional, get a second opinion.
Test the smoke alarms, do they need a battery? Does the area need an additional smoke alarm? (Recommended in every room) enter the bathroom, does it smell moldy, is a ventilator damaged, missing? Does it need one? Are there any signs of plumbing leaks? Stains, rust, on wall, floor? Toilet flush? Is secured to the floor? Does it rock when you rocking a bit? Any cracks on the bowl, seat? Shower/tub enclosure. Rust spots? Operate the shower/tub diverter. Fill the tub and check for leaks. Do you get hot/cold water? Check cabinetry and vanity for damage, leaks. Check electrical outlets. Does it have a GFCI outlet? If not consider upgrades for safety. Missing/broken outlet covers, exposed wiring, lighting fixture work? Check the living room, hallway and other areas look for ceiling, wall, floor damages or in need of attention. . Go to the kitchen, operate the stove. Check for missing damaged elements, not operating, as they should. Check the refrigerator for proper closure and seal. Damaged seal/gasket. If you can see the black magnet or it has a tear on the seal insulation, it needs to be replaced or fixed. Do you see moisture on the doors, does it looks rusty. Does the compressor operate on and off? Check cabinetry for proper operation. Test outlets and GFCI’s. Replace as needed. A GFCI is recommended within 6 feet of any wet area for safety to prevent shock hazards that can be deadly. Test the outlets if you have a tester. Most testers have different lights to diagnose several issues. Check under sink for any leaks and plumbing issues and any potential electrical hazard. Check for dish washer (if any) plumbing connection to garbage disposal or plumbing pipe. Make sure “P “ trap is seen. Operate the garbage disposal and dishwasher. If stuck, use an Allen tool to un- stuck it. Check dishwasher for seal and proper operation. Look for insect/rodent infestation. Look for any fire extinguisher in the area. If not, install one for safety. Locate a suitable are for installation. Close but not directly next to stove, where it can be easily reached. Find the location for electrical panel and water. Heater. It can be in the laundry area, utility closet. Kitchen or service area. Check for surface integrity of the water heater. Make sure TPR valve (the bronze valve connected to the water heater) is in place and drain pie connected and extended at least 18 in to floor or routed outside. Check for electrical connections and no exposed wiring. If is a gas operated WH check for combustion/air exchange, rusty components and misaligned vent pipes. Gas water heater should be raised approximately 18 in from floor and impact protected. A carbon monoxide monitoring device installation is recommended for safety. Ensure that there are no combustible materials inside the gas water heater compartment for safety. Check the electrical panel for missing breakers, missing cover, exposed connections, rusty enclosure and other hazards. If possible remove the interior cover and observe breakers connections. If not sure, use a qualified electrician or inspector to do this inspection. Check for burned breakers, circuits, double wiring connections and signs of deterioration, rust, foul smell and upgrades needs. Again if not sure, hire a qualified person to do this part. Check the laundry area for signs of leaks. Ensure dryer vent is connected to the dryer and venting to the exterior. For inside stairs, check for railings and steps. Make sure railings are secure, not missing and steps are fixed and not loose in need of repair. If a balcony or porch area, check the decking and railing. Is it loose? Needs reinforcing?

If you have a crawlspace or basement. Check or plumbing connections, leaks, crack on walls and floor, floor support alignment and conditions. Excessive litter, foul smells, insect/rodent intrusion. Inside the attic. Look for air leaks, check air ducts for leaks, critter intrusion, stains and damage to the roof frames, roof member damages, leaks.

If on the roof, be careful where you walk, be safe. Have someone to watch you from the ground level or with you while on the roof. Do not climb/use an unsafe ladder. Use common sense. Check for missing, broken, loose shingles, deterioration, exposed areas. Moss/debris covered areas that will shorten the serviceable life of your roof structure. Observe Trees to close to structure and/or too close to electrical equipment. Make necessary repairs and keep area clear from any vegetation. Check roof vents and top (ridge) vent to make sure it is properly attached and secured. Hire a qualified contractor to perform this inspection if not sure. Always get three estimates from three different contractors if doing any repairs. If have a chimney, check for proper flashing to wall/roof, signs of leaks and attachment. If unsure, leave it to the pros. If have no gutter system to properly drain roof, install one, it will save you down the road for proper roof drainage and prevent wash out or erosion.

If equipped with a pool, check equipment for proper operation. If not sure hire a pool contractor. Watch for leaks on the equipment, unusual (not right) noises and exposed wiring/connections. Ensure there are a GFCI outlet or breaker within the equipment and that it is working. Observe for rust on the equipment and other potential hazards. Observe the pool floor for installations of safety drain cover, if not visible; hire a pool contractor to verify. Check for jet operation and entire equipment. Observe any cracks on deck on enclosure, tripping or safety hazards. If enclosed, check for lanai integrity and self closed door operation.

Doing it and improving

I have been doing daily logs for 12 days in a row using a template I created asking a couple of simple questions. I get reminded every night on my phone and before I turn in the day, I go over the day’s events, lessons learned and good deeds. It is working very well. Pretty soon it will become a habit and I can bump up this goal to ” I’ve Done it”.