The Power of the Plan
If you are anything like me, you find it extremely hard to know what to do next. It may even get to the point where you say, “Fuck it! A nap sounds pretty good right now…” Well, there is a way to fix this. Instead of waiting for free time to figure out what you want/need to do, how about you make a plan!
There are 3 main phases to how I make my plan of attack when it comes to my “life’s work”. I have just begun this method and it seems to be working out fairly well for me. It would be going so much better if this damn weather would cooperate. -5 air temps are no fun.
*Hint: A large desk calendar comes in super duper handy*
Phase 1: The Monthly Plan
This is where you will plan out what you need to do this month. This can include what days your bills are due, any doctors appointments, etc. The main items that should go on anyone’s calendar. If you are an internet content creator, this is where you would set up your publishing dates. Think of the monthly plan as your Final Step for any projects. This is all of your due dates.
Phase 2: The Weekly Plan
Every week is going to be different. That being said, you should pick a day to plan out your week. I like to do mine on Saturday nights (I know, I’m lame). I usually plan through the next Sunday, that way I have more than a day’s notice to prepare for what I have planned.
For the weekly plan, you should figure out what goals/milestones you need to hit each day in order to make you monthly goals actually happen. These are not scheduled by times, just what needs to get done each day to bring you closer to your goals. For example, on Monday, your task could be to reach out to potential sponsors for your podcast. Then, on Friday, one of your tasks could be to make sure you received a response from that sponsor.
If you have a blog, youtube channel, etc and you know that you want your content to go live on Friday mornings at 5:00, then your weekly plan should include the small steps that will get you there. Some posts or videos will take more time to research and perfect. This is where your monthly plan comes into play. If you have set a publish day for each of your projects, your weeks leading up should include the small steps to get you there. When you have an idea for a project/post you can add to your weekly plan the groundwork phases for what your need to get to the final product. Once you know you are close and you can set a firm finish goal, that is when you enter that into your monthly calendar.
*I know this sounds confusing, but once you get started it seems to just come together. If I was more computer literate, I would have all sorts of diagrams, but I’m not that smart. Yet.*
Phase 3: The Daily Plan
Once you have completed your weekly plan, you need to start scheduling things. For your daily plan, you want to schedule out everything you want/need to get done. I have a full time job so the majority of my day is blocked off for that. I also like to workout regularly, so I need to schedule a time for that. I need to set aside time for what I call my “life’s work” which is all of this stuff; Barefoot Buffalo blog, my youtube channel, my podcast, everything that I am doing that isn’t my “real job”. A typical day for me looks like this:
As you can (maybe) see, is that I just block out times where I intend to work on shit. Inside each of those I have a description that tells me exactly what to work on, when that item is due to publish etc. I’m still working out a ton of youtube videos. There aren’t even on my Monthly Calendar because they aren’t even in the recording phase. Once I get the videos/posts everything into the editing phase is when they go on my calendar.
To summarize, the three phases go from the big picture down to the small picture. You plan your main items first, then fill in with what needs to get done then figure out exactly how to go about getting it done.
When you have a plan, especially like this, it becomes extremely easy to not get off track. If you have every little step planned out, you won’t find yourself with free time thinking ‘I know I want to do something, but what do I want to do?’ You’ll just end up wasting your free time trying to figure out what it is you want to spend your free time doing.
Your plan doesn’t need to be as complete as mine. I need mine to be more specific or else I end up taking naps. And naps are not productive. They feel great! But, they don’t really do much to further you along your path.
I use Google Calendar. I have my iPhone calendar set up so that I can see my Google Calendar in the iPhone’s Calendar app. It was a pain to set up, but it’s worth it. Super streamlined and accessible everywhere.
If you have any questions or suggestions, leave a comment and I’ll respond! I like talking with people. It let’s me know someone actually reads these things.
Long days and pleasant nights,
Taking Back Control
Sometimes you have to make the tough decision of putting yourself or others first. Before you make your decision you need to look at the entire situation. Does what you want to do interfere with what you should do or is it something that you want to do to make others happy? That’s the big question right there. Is this something that makes you happy or someone else happy? You need to remember that this is your life, not someone else’s that you are living. If someone wants you to do something (move to a new area, get a different job, change your hairstyle, your fashion style, anything) and you don’t want to do it you need to ask yourself if this is part of your plan or is this simply a distraction? Sometimes it can be hard telling someone you are close to that you are going to do something against their wishes.
If you have been putting yourself second to others it may be time for a change. You only get one trip on this world so you need to make the most of it. If someone tells you that you need to do something to make them happy but in the process you lose part of who you are I wouldn’t do it. It’s hard to change your lifestyle and even harder to go against others wishes. You need to do whatever makes you happy. If you’d rather take a job that pays less, but you have more free time to live your life why not take that chance? What if you pass that by and the opportunity doesn’t come back again? Sometimes you need to take a leap of faith and stick to your guns.
When it comes to making decisions you are the only one who decides the outcome. Start putting yourself first. It’s your life so why not take control of it. Everyone has the power to lead. If you can’t lead your own life how are you going to reach your personal legend? We are not children anymore. We are the future and the future is here so let’s make a stand for what we want and what is right!
Yearly Bucket List
Let’s recap: We have learned about the Weekly and Monthly Bucket Lists. These lists are helping us to be more active and bring more excitement into our lives. The planning of these events is half of the fun. When trying to come up with something to do each month that goes above and beyond your normal activity level you look deep into yourself and decide what you can and might not be able to do. Take those might nots and go for it.
Once you decide what is going on your lists the planning starts. Figure out exactly when you are going to do these events and with whom you plan to do them with. Is it a solo run or a group one? What’s the agenda? If you are traveling, where are you staying? What else can you do on this trip? Planning a bucket list event is half of the fun. You psych yourself up so much for it that you are basically living it while you plan. You’ll see when you begin to work on the next list.
The last list that you will need will be your Yearly Bucket List. This is the list that will most closely resemble a “typical” bucket list. This is where you put the big boys.
- Sky Diving
- Free Diving
- Go to a different country
- Go to a different continent
- Go see my sports team play on the opposite coast.
You know what the big ones are and what you want to do. This is where you put them. You will want to make this list for you. If you cannot afford to travel; don’t. You can come up with cheap/free things to do for a Yearly Bucket List. If you like to camp you can try extreme survival camping. Go out with only a tarp and some string (food too, you don’t want to go outside your skill level). Take something you like to a higher level. That’s the point of this list: To take what you’ve been doing with your other lists to the extreme.
Remember. Don’t make a “standard” bucket list. A bucket list is a list of dreams with an untangible deadline (no pun intended). When you make a list of things to do before you die, you can slip into the mindset of, ‘Well…I would like to do this, but I still have time…’ When in reality, you don’t know if you are going to see tomorrow let alone next year. It’s a sad fact but that’s why I’m sharing this with you. Live your life to the fullest. Make everyday an adventure and have fun! This is your life. You only get one chance so why waste it doing shit you don’t like?
Long days and pleasant nights,
Monthly Bucket List
After you have started working on your Weekly Bucket List it is now time to move into something a little more involve. This would be the Monthly Bucket List. Your Monthly Bucket List is reserved for things that are more intense and time consuming. Items would be put on this list to get you out even more than your Weekly Bucket List. Some ideas would include:
Go see a musical.
- Or a concert. Something that gives you enjoyment and gets you out of the house. In the summer you can find a lot of free outdoor events. Just find the website for your cities events and go from there
- Go somewhere different. Maybe there is a cool state park nearby that you can go to for a day or two
- Is there a festival happening nearby
- Heritage (Scottish, Irish, German, Hellenic, etc.)
- Town Festivals
- County and State Fairs?
- Go see them!
- I live near Niagara Falls but I don’t go there at all. I’ve been in Buffalo for 6 years and have seen the falls 4 times
- Science Museums
- Art Galleries
- Having the chance to yell at the people in real life that you normally yell at on TV feels great.
Your Monthly Bucket List should be 1-2 items that you will cross off your list each month. Try not to count the same event multiple months in a row. If you are an avid sports fan and go to a professional game every month that doesn’t count for your Monthly Bucket List. The idea here is to get you out and doing something more intense than your weekly lists. Do you see the pattern yet?
Good luck working on your Monthly Bucket Lists. Let me know what type of things you are putting on your list for December.
Long days and pleasant nights,
Weekly Bucket Lists
Your life is yours to live however you want so why not live one to the fullest?
Consider making yourself a weekly bucket list, a monthly bucket list, and a yearly bucket list. They don’t need to be a long list of ridiculous things, but realistic things that will make your life more exciting. I don’t like the idea of a bucket list because you never know when your time is up. If you keep putting something off long enough, you will kick the bucket before you have taken the chance to do it.
The weekly bucket list is a list of silly things. This is the list for things that aren’t really life changing but can make you a better-rounded person. Things that would typically be on this are:
- Watch a movie you normally wouldn’t watch.
- If you like chick-flicks, watch an action movie.
- If you like horror movies, try a comedy.
- If you’re into drama, try a musical.
- Take a walk to your local library.
- You don’t need to rent anything, but if you would go to Barnes and Noble to look around, why not go to your local library and support them! Most libraries let you rent books to your Kindle too!
- Play on a playground.
- I know, you’re too old for a playground aren’t you? I don’t, I go to my local playground all the time. It’s a great place to work out and relive your childhood. Being outdoors is amazing and it feels great to get off the couch and away from the TV for a while.
- Have coffee with a friend you haven’t seen in a while.
- If you have lost touch with a friend who still lives nearby, why not call them up and see if they want to grab a cup of coffee or maybe even hit up happy hour? There’s no reason to lose a friend because you don’t have “time”
- Join a book club.
- If you like to read, why not share that hobby with a group of people. Not only are you doing something that you enjoy, you may also make some new friends in the process.
- It doesn’t need to be a book club; a lot of bars have a beer club.
- If you are really enthusiastic, you could try helping out your local scouting organization. They are always looking for more people to help out with events and meetings. Even if you don’t have a kid, you may still be able to be a part of these groups; as long as you have a scouting background (i.e. Eagle Scout, your kid was a scout but moved away. You tried scouts when you were a kid and now you want to get back into it.) Just talk to these groups and see if they could use the extra help.
- Come up with something of your own. What do you want to try sometime? A new restaurant? A new recipe? Did you find out about a board game that looks awesome but haven’t had a chance to play? The possibilities are endless.
Your Weekly Bucket List should be 1-3 things that you would like to try out. These should be nothing too serious, but things that make you be more active and that’s the point. This will help you ease out of your sedentary lifestyle and move into an adventurous one.
Leave a comment with some more ideas for a Weekly Bucket List so we can see what you all are doing!
Long days and pleasant nights,
Am I Dreaming? It doesn’t matter…
How nice is it to have a great dream? Not a “I Have A Dream!” dream but the unconscious, sleeping dream. I love dreaming. I love having the freedom to do whatever I want to whenever I want to. In a dream you can talk to anyone you want to. In a dream, you are the one in control. If you can do the elusive Lucid Dreaming, you have even more control. A lucid dream is basically a dream that you don’t wake up from when you know that you are dreaming. If you can figure out that you are in a dream you now have complete power over that it.
Here is an example of a lucid dream. It starts off with you working in a busy downtown office building. You don’t really like your job and want to be away from the office as much as possible. It’s almost your lunch time and your boss comes bumbling in. “I’m going to need you to work late today.” You look at the clock and you can’t seem to read it.* Needed to step away before you go off the handle and quit, you take your lunch break. Since your office is just a short walk to this really nice cafe you decide to go there and grab a cup of coffee. You walk past shop windows and then you see something that catches your eye. All of a sudden….WamBO!! ‘I am in a dream…I can do whatever I want!’ (And you really can! In a dream you can fulfill all of your wildest fantasies and even the most modest desires.) At this point you start tinkering with your dream. The stop lights all change in your favor, people aren’t bothering you and then…there’s that person you’ve been wanting to talk to for weeks but haven’t had the guts to do it until now (in the safety of your dream). You and your crush stop to chat about this and that, and then you ask if they want to go grab a cup of coffee. Of course they say yes, (it’s your dream) and when you finally make it to that coffee shop and sit down you wake up, you remember that it was a dream and nothing more. Your crush didn’t really want to go have coffee with you…or do they?
Why can’t we live our lives like we are in a dream? Why do we need to be so scared of rejection? How do you know that the person you like doesn’t like you back? Have you asked them? I challenge you to start living your life as if you are dreaming. Take chances you normally wouldn’t. DON’T BE STUPID! You can’t fly so don’t go jumping off of roofs, you are not Aquaman so don’t go trying to hold your breath for 20 mins under water. Keep things safe. Don’t go out and harm yourself or others. If your dream is to kill someone then you are at the wrong website. I don’t condone harmful actions or support those who do harm others. Do only good and only good will come to you. So, treat your life as if you are dreaming. If you see someone you would like to talk to, go do it! Don’t be afraid of consequences. A “NO” will hurt, I know it will, but how much more would it hurt if you didn’t make that first move and you find out years down the road that it would have been a “yes”???
*When in a dream, clocks and mirrors will have blurry images. This is a trick to recognizing that you are in a dream.
Long days and pleasant nights
Image from: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/meyer769/myblog/writing-2/2011/10/
Weighing Your Options
When you are faced with a new opportunity you may need to weigh your options. The classic list of pros and cons comes to mind here. Let’s say you are in a job that doesn’t treat you the best, but pays fairly well. Now, you are offered a new job that will pay less but be much less stress. What do you do?
You will need to think about how much your happiness is worth. If you will be happier in a different job, should you take it even though you’ll be making less money? Do you need to be making as much as you do now to be happy? There isn’t a cut and dry way to make these decisions. The one question you really need to ask yourself is, “Does this path lead me closer to my personal legend?” If it does…then the answer may already have been made for you.
This is a short post, but time is short these days. I would expect the longer posts to return within the next week or two. Don’t forget to live each day to its fullest and enjoy what you do!
Long days and pleasant nights,
Stuck in a Rut? Break the Cycle.
It’s like being stuck in a sailboat without a breeze; like wandering through a maze that has no exit. Living your life in a repetitive cycle is not enjoyable. I myself feel like I am “stuck” in my current position in life. I have had the same job for over 3 years now and not much has changed in my life during that time. Instead of just sitting around and waiting for something to happen I am being active in my own life. I am writing for Barefoot Buffalo, I have gotten my old band back together and we are playing shows again. I am doing things that make me happy and trying to find my own personal legend. I think it may be either writing a book, or it may be playing in the band. Only time will tell.
For those who do not know yet, I am taking Barefoot Buffalo and turning it into a book for the National Novel Writing Month competition. I will hopefully get the book done by December!
My plan for my hectic life right now is to take a step back and evaluate everything that’s going on. When one thing starts taking off, it may be time to put the others on the backburner. This brings me to my point this week. When you feel like the world is falling apart around you and you can do nothing to change it, take a step back and think. Your bills are piling up, your job keeps getting crappier, and you find yourself over-stressed and losing control. All these things are temporary. These problems have solutions. I know that they don’t feel like they can be fixed, but they can.
I know from experience. I was so far in debt that I was contemplating bankruptcy. I got through it. I’m not out of the hole yet, but I’m a lot farther along than I was 2 years ago. With a little patience and hard work I have made it easier to breath. Right now my job treats me like garbage and my stress levels are through the roof. I’m trying to ride out the current wave of B.S. that’s coming my way. I know that what is being done to me at work is the result of a major change taking place. This I can’t do anything about, but as for the stress? That has always been there, and I finally realized that I need to make a change. I’m working toward that change right now.
It’s been a stressful week so far and I’m started to feel a little overwhelmed. It looks like my personal legend is trying to tell me something. I need to take breath and listen to it. That is how you get through these stressful times; taking that breath and finding your options, figuring your way out of the situation.
You need to step out of your comfort zone once in a while to get comfortable in situations.
You need to step away from the cycle to break it.
Be adventurous to break up monotony.
Be who you want to be, not what others tell you to be.
Recognizing The Signs of Your Personal Legend
Your personal legend. Your true calling. Your ultimate passion. It doesn’t matter what you call it, it will find you and make itself known. Whether it’s a subtle nudge in the right direction or a giant slap in the face, if you know what to look for you will discover what your are destined to do. It may not be clear at first, but it you take that seed of hope and nurture it; it will blossom into a beautiful flower of happiness and content.
People don’t have one calling their entire lives. You’ll have many different paths to take that will lead to happiness. As you grow and change your tastes differ, what you enjoy differs and who you are differs. So if you are ignorant to the signs of one path, hopefully you will pick up on the directions for the next one. Life isn’t about one straight line; it’s about taking chances, finding a trail that branches off your current path and taking advantage of the lessons learned while exploring new directions. Whether positive or negative, if it is your personal legend you will benefit. Society tells us that we are set up to fail, we need to follow certain rules, act a certain way and be a certain person. But we are not like that. Humanity needs diversity. Without it we would live in a boring world. We need different to be happy. A bad experience is simply a guide to how to try it next time. It’s like the old adage says, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
One of my missed paths was the Alto Saxophone. In high school I was an above average sax player. I could bend my notes a whole step down, play an improvised jazz solo using only three notes (and it sounded amazing) and I could be as technically correct as the next person. I could do all of this without practicing. The only practice I had was during the school day at band practice. I never practiced at home. My senior year, when preparing for Solo-Fest, all I did was read the music. I didn’t play it, only read it. I thought to myself, ‘Well, the beginning is pretty easy, the end is alright…man, this section here is going to be trouble. Yup, that’s a tough part right there…’ but I didn’t practice. I decided to just “wing-it”. And wing-it I did. It was one of the hardest solo pieces performed at this competition and out of 100 I earned a surprising 93. I did better than most people without even playing the piece before that day. No, for those of you who don’t know about solo-fests, you go into a room with a judge and you perform scales, the piece you (hopefully) prepared for, and a sight-reading section. My piece was a 7-8 minute song and there wasn’t enough time to play the whole thing. I started playing, nailed the beginning and when I got to the first hard section the judge told me to stop and start towards the end of the piece. JACKPOT! I nailed it. Did great and had a great day.
That is one missed opportunity I wish I could have back. If I wasn’t a dumbass, I would have realized that this was a sign. I had so much talent and caught so many breaks. The universe was telling me, THIS! THIS IS IT! THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED TO BE DOING TO BE HAPPY! But I didn’t do it. Since graduating in 2004 I have barely touched the thing. I do pick it up every now and then, but it’s nothing like it used to be.
You need to take advantage of those signs. You need to be active in understanding how the universe works. The universe wants you to be happy, it wants to push you in the right direction. Have you heard of Beginners Luck? That’s the universe saying, “Hey! You’ve found something that you will enjoy! Congratulations, here is a few wins to get you started.” I had a friend who had never thrown a Frisbee before in his life, then he plays Kan Jam for the first time and gets the instant win slot. If that’s not beginners luck, I don’t know what is. My major slap in the face was that solo-fest. I should have taken my saxophone talent more seriously and perused it with fervor. My life could have been so much different. I could be a famous musician or a movie composer rivaled only John Williams (google him). But I didn’t do it. I ignored the universe and now I’m here, living this life, in this present day and that’s alright with me.
Long days and pleasant nights,
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Working on Leaving the Living
That wonderful day I graduated from Genesee Valley Central School I had this amazing picture of how my life was going to play out. I was going to go to Daemen College, have fun, and earn a degree in “Women and Beer”. After college I was going to be a big shot making that paper (and a lot of it). But, here I am. In that future, and it looks nothing like I expected. The college part was great. I had a ton of fun, met a lot of great people and couldn’t have asked for more. When I was a senior and about to graduate I thought about how much time I “wasted” doing fun things. I thought of all the things I didn’t get to do, then I realized that there wasn’t time to do those things because my time was spent on grand adventures and overall great times. I am not upset with the way I lived my life in college, what I am upset over is the debt I accrued while there. Credit cards are the devil. I wasn’t that far in debt (only around $5,000) but when you miss a few payments here and there, your interest rates go sky-high and then, BOOM, out of no where your 5 grand just turned into 8. Tack on the student loans and you have a horrible situation.
I currently work full-time at a health insurance company and part-time at the College. The money I make pays the bills, not it’s nowhere near what I thought I would be making at this stage of my life. I had to get rid of my car because the insurance and cost of gas were getting to be too much for me. I’ve had to make many more cuts, including not having cable for over a year. The point I’m trying to make here is that I really don’t like how my life is going. If I could take on more responsiblity at my job at the college and work full-time, cut my job at the health insurance company to part-time, I would be a lot happier. I really enjoy what I do at Daemen. The environment there is top-notch, the people are the best you’ll ever find.
The ultimate goal for me is to not work at all. I’m not saying that I want to be a bum, live in my parents house and mooch all my life. I just want to live. Work shouldn’t be work. You should do what you enjoy and enjoy what you do. So, I’m working on leaving the living. I’m working on finding my “personal legend” my “true passion”. That’s where this website comes in. The things I enjoy and the things I’m good at all involve the outdoors. I love being outside, walking through grass barefoot, building shelters out of nothing and staying the night in them. Camping, hiking, music, story-telling; that’s me. Turning that into a job is my personal legend. Owning a campground and running an outdoor gym are a couple of things that come to mind. It takes time and faith to find and follow your true calling. You have to power through and trust in yourself. You need to start making moves towards doing what you love.
Changing up my current situation from full-time claims analyst and part-time Daemen staff to full-time Daemen and part-time claims would be an amazing leap in the right direction. Running this website, talking about the outdoor, being barefoot, camping, survival skills and live is a step in the right direction for me. Making YouTube videos to correspond with the website is a step in the right direction. All I have to do is focus!
Focusing is hard. It takes a lot of energy to focus on something that seems destined to fail. But I’m giving it a chance. I’m throwing off the chains of self-doubt that society has placed on me and going for it. Thank you for being a part of it. The more you comment on my posts, the more suggestions you have and the more faith you all have in me, the more focus I can have, the more drive and determination to succeed I will have.
Thank you all again.
Long days and pleasant nights,