The definitive guide for planning your day to maximize your potential and meet cute people

Day Planner for maximum potential

Ok, so the title was a bit misleading but if Google and I are still buds, I’m guessing you are here to meet cute people. It could happen by reading this post, but not likely. Pull up a chair anyway.

It has become fashionable among all the A-list blogger folk this time of year to tell you how to plan your day, focus this much time on that task, focus on that, blah, blah, blah. Take this from an old dog — they are all wrong.

The chart above is how I plan my day. Everything gets planned Before Walk (BW) or After Walk (AW) but the walk never, ever gets skipped. We are never too busy for the walk. The smaller bubbles attached to the walk bubble are really important too and will always get done when the opportunity presents itself. The smaller bubbles on the outside are things life makes us do.

A few years ago, the walk bubble was really small and all the other bubbles were larger. As time went by, many things that I thought were important just turned out not to be and became small bubbles. The walk bubble got larger. I also focused on making the walk bubble larger and hope one day to make my entire day the walk bubble.

Get it? Now since we’re dogs here, the walk bubble is a literal walk bubble. But in your life, it might just be a metaphor for what you want to do. If you are a potter, maybe you want to throw clay all day. If you are a writer, you may want to sling words. If you are a photographer, your walk bubble may be taking photos.

Define your central bubble and figure out how to make that the central part of your day. Then figure out how to expand it out until nothing else is more important than the central bubble. Minimize all the smaller bubbles and keep what makes the central bubble more intense and worth doing.

Pretty simple, eh? No charts, no keeping track of how much time you spend doing stuff. Just a laser-like focus on increasing the amount of time you spend doing what makes life worth living.

And you people who came in looking for cute people; if that is your central bubble, at least you are ahead of most people. You know what you want to do. We hope we expanded your bubble just a little bit more.

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You are bringing a soccer ball to a football game. Why blogs don’t matter.

Are blogs as important as bloggers think they are? The question itself is a bit of a stretch, but I think the shortest answer to it is one of the most American of all answers — the sports metaphor.

“Old media” — television, newspapers, magazines — are like Major League Baseball (MLB), National Football League (NFL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) with some more minor players like the National Hockey League (NHL). Blogging is like Major League Soccer (MLS).

Who?

Exactly.

Actually, the MLS really doesn’t matter all that much, even to soccer fans. It’s just kinda.. well.. there. What matters more are the many youth leagues, SAY, AYSO, ODP and regional travel leagues scattered around the country. If you did not recognize any of that, you’re not alone and it’s ok. Soccer doesn’t really matter.

In the United States, about 4-6 million kids play soccer, depending on whose numbers you believe. That is more kids than football and baseball combined. By the time they reach high school most of them have dropped out to play other sports like football or baseball. While their kid is playing soccer, parents are engaged, almost fanatically, but when their kid no longer plays soccer, the parents quit caring about the sport, dedicating their time now to an extra dose of football and baseball.

“It’s a good thing Johnny finally got into a real sport like football,” most dads think quietly to themselves with a sigh of relief.

Sportscasters openly mock soccer as not being a real sport much like television and newspaper journalists mock bloggers as not being real media people. Sports departments cover soccer only when they have to or when it fits a pre-determined narrative, like during the World Cup and then only begrudgingly. Mainstream advertisers won’t buy placement in soccer venues. Many have soccer initiatives only because they are looking to attract the soccer mom and many times only as an ancillary buy to a larger media placement. Soccer-only product enthusiasts find out quickly how shallow and cost-concious the market really is, many going out of business within a year after launching their product or service. The parallels to blogging v old media almost rise up and slap you in the face.

And how does soccer respond? Not by being itself but by trying to emulate the larger sports leagues. It organizes the sport into a large national league (MLS) instead of deeper, hyper-local clubs tied to the community. It encourages rule and play format changes to make the play more exciting to American audiences. More goals, more points per goal, more physical contact, shorter fields, fewer players on each side for more ball touches per player, more tournaments, more, more, more….

And even internally, soccer people turn on each other, gutting one league to form another, jealously guarding their own piece of turf or breaking off to form their own club or league when the director pisses them off. (Read points 2 & 3 at Brass Tack Thinking) Sound like a typical impromptu parent sideline meeting? Sure does.

In the end, it is blogging that will change to fit an old media model, not the other way around. Sure, there will be some hold-outs like we have grizzly soccer guys who collect in pubs to watch a Arsenal game and complain about how kids today don’t play futbold like they did back when they were young. And they will eventually die and take their fan loyalty with them.

In keeping the metaphor alive, millions of bloggers write a million and a half blog posts a day. More citizen journalism, opinion editorials, lifestyle, industry insights, restaurant product and movie reviews are published each day by bloggers than network journalists combined. And still we ask, does blogging matter?

Does soccer matter?

This blog post is part of a blog-off series with a group of bloggers from different professions and world views, each exploring a theme from his/her world view. This was about “Do blogs matter?” To explore how others handled the theme, check them out below. I will add links as they publish.

Steve Jobs is just making silver-painted Styrofoam police badges

The iPad has been out for a day now, so that should have been enough time for all the pundits and Apple-know-it-alls to gripe about what is missing from the iPad, what should have been done differently, etc, etc, etc. And they are all very wrong because Steve Jobs really doesn’t care what you think or want. I know that has also been said before but before you dismiss me as another me-too thinker, let me share a short story with you.

When I was a puppy, we used to play a lot of games like cops and robbers. My parents were good Catholics, so that meant there was a rather large litter of us, all pretty close in age. My dad didn’t make much money and my mom was a stay-at-home, always in the kitchen, don’t bother me kind of mom, so there wasn’t a lot of money for toys. We made a lot of necessary accessories like pistols and billy clubs out of tree branches and whatnots. (It was a long time ago; guns were ok toys back then, even pretend ones made out of twigs.)

When I was about nine or ten years old, we got a catalog in the mail that had a whole section of cop badges you could order. Suddenly, without question, our cops needed badges. I started making badges using the Styrofoam trays meat was packed in. Turns out, if you traced the outline of the badge from the catalog, cut it out and then traced the inside detail lightly with a dull pencil, it would make an embossed badge. Paint that with silver paint used for model cars, tape a safety pin on the back and you had yourself a slick looking police badge.

Then I got to thinking that if I thought this was a good idea, other people would to. I made a few more and sold them to other kids who played the cops in our games for I think $.25 or something like that. Nobody really needed the badges to play a cop in cops and robbers, but it sure made the game more fun. After a bit, nobody wanted to play a cop unless they had a badge.

But here’s the thing: I made the badges because I wanted to create a game where the police characters sported really cool badges. I didn’t much care if they had all the features that others wanted (like a multi-color seal or gold eagle and silver base) or even if they were necessary for the game. In my mind, a world that had cops without badges was just not going to be a world I wanted to be in, pretend cops or not. If other kids thought it was a cool idea and wanted to buy a badge, that was ok, but it wasn’t necessary for me to have a market for silver-painted styrofoam badges for me to make the badges.*

And that ultimately is how I think Steve Jobs sees his world. He created the Apple computer because he wanted a world where small, personal computer existed. He created the iPod because he wanted a small, portable music device that worked in a non-technical way. Same kind of thing for the iPhone and iPad. The fact that lots of other people want these kinds of things too is incidental.

Steve Jobs is just making silver-painted Styrofoam police badges.

*The product line branched out to cop hats (made out of blue construction paper, kinda cool really) and belts before I grew up, discovered girls and that was that.

Listen to the groundhog

Punxsutawney Phil being yanked from his comfy home by people who can't wait to know the future.
Punxsutawney Phil being yanked from his comfy home by people who can't wait to know the future.
I love Groundhog’s Day. It is a silly holiday that you can just hype up and people giggle at.

When reading a post from Chris Brogan today, along with my Wall Street Journal, The Waterboy and a healthy dose of Morning Joe, I’ve come to a conclusion about this economic mess. The economy prognosticators have it all right. And all wrong.

Here is why Punxsutawney Phil — that famous groundhog — is relevant to what is going on with this economy prognosticators right now and what we can take away from him. If Phil sees his shadow, gets scared and scurries back to his burrow, there are six, long weeks of Winter left. If he doesn’t see his shadow, there are only six weeks left of Winter. Yeah!

We can learn a lot from this annual holiday in Punxsutawney, PA, but accurately predicting the future is not one of them. The “Inner Circle” of Punxsutawney have figured out how to get thousands of people to visit their little town in a very cold part of the country in the dead of Winter and all the news media talking about them for a whole daily news cycle. They created a legend of a groundhog, dress up in top hats, hold this grand ceremony and declare the future of Old Man Winter!

That is all these economy pundits are doing. Nobody knows the future. The quality of the remaining six weeks of winter is not a function of a skittish groundhog or a proclamation made by a fraud in a top hat, but by the decisions you make with that time. Will you hibernate and wait out winter or go out and play with the snowflakes? The choice is yours. Choose wisely.

As I mentioned in my comment to Chris Brogan’s post:

My take on all this future stuff, however, is to look at future films of the past — even as recent as the 1980s. Nobody got the 16:9 television. Even when screens were larger, wall-sized, the 4:3 format still reigned.

For the astute reader, you may have seen the mention for the movie The Waterboy in my opening paragraph. At one point in the movie, (toward the end, you have to watch the whole thing) Coach Klein envisions his nemesis Coach Beaulieu with the head of a cute puppy, is no longer scared of him and adopts a new-found self-esteem.

The next time you watch Joe, Pat and all these other prognosticators on television predicting gloom and doom, envision them with the head of a groundhog.

Then, go make your own future. It will happen whether you wait it out or not.

How we are all connected

Today, I heard from a long-time reader who emailed me just to let me know she was still reading and that she had been enjoying the blog ever since she first saw it.

Wow! Whenever I get an email like this, it is truly a humbling experience. Even though the DogWalkBlog gets lots of traffic, when a reader takes a few moments out of the day just to say she enjoys reading it touches. That is what blogging and Twittering and all this stuff is about; one touch, one moment.

I’m writing this immediately after looking at the pictorial spread in the Wall Street Journal. In a sea of 1.5 million people, photojournalists are able to pick out one genuine smile, one face full of hope and one little girl who gives her dad a “thumbs up” with an orange glove.

I aspire to be that lens. Always.

You suck! Your comment sucks!

You write a blog post and post it. Someone comes onto your blog and has an alternative point of view. But, instead of engaging this commenter in a logical argument, you lash out at him, belittling his point of view and then using sarcastic remarks in subsequent comments. Is that smart?

This happened recently to me. (I won’t mention the blog because that would result in more traffic.) When I first read the author’s post, I thought it was insightful, but lacking in a couple of key areas. After reading the author’s immature response to my observations, I now think the author is a bit immature, perhaps even an idiot. I won’t be back to his blog — not because I got my feeling hurt — but because there is probably not much else I can learn from someone who does not have the skills to engage in an argument without resorting to ridicule and sarcasm.

Attacking a commenter might get you some momentary traffic, but is probably unwise in the long run. A blog works best when there are contributing points of view that are different from yours. If all you want is your friends and family agreeing with you, that is probably ok on a personal journal. But, I suspect many authors want their ideas challenged by the readers who find holes in their arguments.

Any dissenting opinions? If you agree with me, please don’t post a comment. But, if you have an alternative point of view, please share it.

Disappearing males?

This is an interesting video and it appears as if males are disappearing. The video concludes that that is is becasue of the chemicals we’re producing, but as a male of the canine species, I’d like to posit another theory:

Mommybloggers

Ok, not specifically mommybloggers, but everything they represent. The mommies have all bonded into this huge economic and marketing force that has diverted much of the scientific research dollars on disease and such to things like breasts cancer and away from colon cancer, protate cancer and various other things men die from.

Almost two full generations of men have been emasculated by this “mommyblogging” force into believing men are not really valuable unless they get in touch with their feminine side. Limiting sperm count in college-aged, sex-crazed boys has got to be a good thing, right? Men who have kids should celebrate the fact that they got a girl, and another and another.. even though they really wanted a boy. But, they will never say that for fear of losing the single testicle mommybloggers allow them to keep.

Women really no longer need that many men in society because they can store sperm for generations to use when they are ready. In fact, we can cut down men to half their current population and really not affect our viability as a species.

But, I’m just one puppy and my view of this issue may be colored just a little by my “procedure” that left me a little less manly.

Posted by email from rufus’s posterous

Truemors was being goofy.

So here are my comments to 

Palin Calls Bloggers “Kids in Pajamas…in Their Parents’ Home”

Here is the quote from the Fox News site:

–QUOTE–

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there anything else that has been raised or said about you in the media, either during the convention — I mean, during the campaign or since the campaign ended, that you think you need to address that has been, you know, an allegation about you?

 

PALIN: Well, unfortunately, early on, there are a tremendous number of examples that we can give regarding my record and things that could have, should have been so easily corrected if — if the media would have taken one step further and — and investigated a little bit, not just gone on some blogger probably sitting there in their parents’ basement, wearing their pajamas, blogging some kind of gossip or — or a lie regarding, for instance, the — the discussion about who was Trig’s real mom? You know, Was it one of her daughters or was she faking her pregnancy?

–UNQUOTE–

Yes, it is true that she does not say ALL bloggers blog in pajamas in their parents home, but she is stereotyping bloggers much like, oh, I dunno.. like what a GOP group did for Obama on what African-Americans eat, for example… 

http://www.dogwalkblog.com/2008/10/18/the-price-of-stupid-and-ignorance/  even though it may be true of SOME African-Americans… Couple that with the tone in her voice (check out YouTube) and her reference really is unmistakable.

Sarah Palin is just not that bright. My God, the sentence structure and subject-predicate agreement alone is horrifying! Lawyers would be endlessly employed trying to figure out which “is” meant “is” or “was” or what “is” really is. 

She is GREAT for energizing the DNC base to vote against her and non-stop entertainment for humans and canine alike, but presidential? Hmmm… no.

Posted by email from rufus’s posterous