Agree to be done right now – if someone says, “I could be done right now, or I could…” always agree to be done. You’ll save a lot of time and stress in your life. Cutting corners helps make your life well rounded.
Avoid psycho-analyzing in groups – It’s never a good idea to ask someone if they’re in a “bad mood” in a large group, or why they’re embarrassed. If they’re either of those things, asking them when you’re in a group will make them even more so. If they’re not either of those, it will make the others think they are, and then put the person in question into one of those moods, potentially.
Watch out for free stuff – often, you don’t need free stuff. The airport parking lot I go to gives you a free paper in the morning. I don’t ever read it, but often take it unthinking. Then I have a paper in my car forever. The same generally goes for conference shirts and bags, which end up just piling up in my house and creating work for me: taking them to Goodwill.
Use what you have – Use what you have to get what you can done, not what you wish you had to get what you wish you could get done. Put another way, Buddha had it wrong: unfulfilled desire is the root of all suffering.
Release early, release often – getting starred and getting it out there is more important than structure, tools, etc. Stop worrying about perfection or the perfect publishing mechanism and just publish. E.g.: I worry about putting a PDF in Slideshare because I can’t track metrics as close as in or weblogs – but we don’t actually track PDF metrics ourselves at the moment. I should just post it there and benefit from what Slideshare has. Another example: don’t worry about Scribd vs Slideshare: use the one that you’re currently using and just get it done. Writing is the hard part, not publishing. And, you can always edit and re-publishing. In fact, you should.
This doesn’t really apply to just writing, most things you’re “creating.” Writing is just the easiest thing to re-work. A house, for example, is a bit more difficult.
Make lists of what to do when you’re stressed – while it’s nice to know what to do, a list allows you to know when you’re done. It will also make it easier to give up (and stop being stressed) when you’ve done “enough.” And it will allow you to pause and pick up the remaining items later. The list should be detailed. Instead of “clean the living room,” list dusting, vacuuming, removing piles of clothes, etc.
You can always get up earlier than you think – Just get out of bed. In most cases, people with power and money will value doing things earlier in the day. On the other end, not much interesting happens late at night as you get older. As Governor of Texas, Ann Richards once said, leaving an evening meeting, “nothing much important happens after 9pm.”
Often when people when complain, they don’t want you to fix their problems – complaining is often cathartic – solutions to the problem are often easy, not impossible. While people who complain will often want help fixing the problem, in many instances they’re not looking for your help applying those fixes. They just want to air themselves out, and have you agree. They want to know they’re not alone in being frustrated and, indeed, if you don’t acknowledge their complaining, they sometimes feel like you’re thinking less of them, belittling them. Know when the recognize when people are just complaining as a social exercise instead of to get things done.
Also, once you offer to fix a problem, you’re drawn into spending time and energy to help fix it. Worse case scenario: you get blamed when it doesn’t work.
Before complaining, try fixing the problem – things go wrong all the time, and the easiest thing to do (other than ignoring them) is to complain. Perhaps the point of complaining is to build sympathy and support for getting to a fix, but I find most people complain about something that could easily be fixed. Have a head-ache? Take some aspirin. Nothing good to eat? Go to the grocery store. Tired? Take a nap. Before you complain to those around you, ask yourself if you can just fix the problem. People will appreciate being around someone who isn’t always pointing out problems and instead seems to have “things always go their way.”
Also, most people don’t care about your problems, they have their own that they’re trying to fix.
Smile a lot, laugh too – much of our lives are filled with boredom and, worse, frustrated people who are generally grumpy for no reason (the person in front of them at the grocery store decided to pay with a check at, perhaps). People will appreciate if you smile at them, and if you laugh from time to time. They’ll often smile back, making you feel better and, if you’re lucky, they’ll do extra things for you because you smiled. Dogs wag their tales and tongues when they’re looking to tell people that they’re happy. What us humans have is smiling and laughing. Which one would you rather be around (dog and human)?