Jay's Journey


Wasting time, big time Image credit: Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

I don't know why I keep thinking that anything I do to try to save time, that involves other people, is actually going to work. I've written about this before in my post We Really Are Our Own Worst Enemies, and even recently, I've experienced even more evidence that this is the case.

And, as I get older and more jaded, I'm also pretty sure it doesn't have to do with people intentionally being time wasters, it's that most people simply lack the ability to think in such a manner that will actually save them (or others) time.

Now, this has nothing to do with an unrealistic expectation on my part that everyone be perfect just to please me. However, it makes me sad to think that so few people are capable of saving themselves or others any time at all by doing something, anything, more efficiently.

Every now and then I do come across someone that maybe will say, “how about if we save ourselves a bit of time and do it this way?”, to which I metaphorically fall to my knees in gratitude, ready to cry tears of joy. That's how rare it is.

And perhaps it's not a matter of competence at all. Perhaps the people doing these jobs that require me to interact with them are simply miserable. So miserable that they have no incentive, inclination, or desire to want to do anything to make someone else's life easier. So miserable and mundane that they're just simply aloof, if not completely apathetic.

So, whenever I make any extra effort to try to answer questions before they're asked, instead of someone simply reading the answer right in front of them, they'll just ask it anyway. Whenever I try to “get ahead of the game” by adding extra information to an email, instead of reading the email, I'll get asked about the very thing I already wrote.

When someone says they'll do something by a certain date, instead of actually doing it ON or BEFORE that date, I have to be the one to chase them down to ask where the thing they promised is... or schedule the meeting/appointment because, even though they promised to call me back to do it, it's now my problem to have to solve by dropping what I'm doing to have to call them instead.

I just wish that dealing with people and the systems (business or service workflows) under which they're forced to operate were not such a huge waste of time. Just because most people don't value their time doesn't mean I should have to waste mine to pull them along to where they should already be as grown-ass adults.

tags: #rants #opinion

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This post was originally posted on my previous blog site called Jay's Journal on April 5th, 2018.

Looking at you, Medium!

A fellow blogger here at Listed has hit the nail right on the head with their latest post regarding Medium.

I'm a fan of Medium, and I find myself reading tons of articles from there. Heck, I've even posted a few myself. But over at Catch and Release, the poster really nails it.

The name of the post is My Favorite Medium Articles, and it's just fantastic. It's a humorous posting (I think), but as with all comedy, the laughs are usually wrapped in a fair amount of truth.

And, hey Medium... if you can't laugh at it, too, then...

SGT Hulka says...

tags: #opinion

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This post was originally posted on my previous blog site called Jay's Journal on April 3rd, 2018.

Simple is Good!

If you're somehow finding this post as a result of a search engine query (which I doubt, because I totally suck at SEO), you might not know what Standard Notes or Listed actually is.

For those of you that do know, you can skip ahead to why I love Listed. For those that don't, you're welcome to keep reading...

Standard Notes is in my opinion, the best note taking app I've ever come across. It's basic, yet can be as complex as you want it to be.

The free version is pretty no-frills. The paid version allows you to customize your note taking workspace to your liking. You can change the color of your writing screen, use markdown if you like, have split pane writing to see what your copy looks like as a real time preview, and tons of other goodies.

And really, what I like most is that because I can set up my SN workspace to my liking, I can write and annotate in a way that's very natural to me.

I use it now for my writing, as well as capturing thoughts and website URLs I want to remember for later. And, for me, the best part is that the Standard Notes team is focused on privacy.

They encrypt your notes right out of the gates, and you can set up multiple layers of security to get to your Notes. And, they have mobile apps, too, which is great for writing on my iPad.

The web version is the most functional at this point, as that's where you can use all the customizations you've set for yourself, but using the mobile app is great for outlining, writing a first draft, and just capturing what you don't want to forget.

The paid version doesn’t cost all that much, and not only do you get some great customization features, you'd also be supporting a great app with a cause. Privacy.

Apps like Evernote and OneNote are great, and really super functional, but they're just not private. Not only that, for me, as someone who likes to write, I found that both Evernote and OneNote are pretty clunky for writers.

Sure, they capture everything else, but for distraction-free writing, they're not the best tools for that. For me, Standard Notes hits a bullseye.

I've been looking forever for the perfect writing tool for me. A place that is natural to go to and use everyday, and easy for me to put thoughts into words without fussing about formatting or code.

And because it's so easy, and now so natural, I find myself blogging more than I ever have, and really enjoying it. Mostly because I don't feel like I'm actually “blogging”, because in a way I'm not.

I'm getting my thoughts down on Standard Notes, in the method I like to do so. Then, when I'm done, I can publish my post with one click to Listed, which is the blog companion to Standard Notes.

If you skipped ahead, you can land here:

All my published posts show up in Listed, under my handle.

And, because I'm so smitten with writing with Markdown, my posts are easy to format, because I can format as I write. That's what makes it no-fuss.

So, blogging is for me, what it was probably meant to be from the beginning when blogs were first created. A quick and easy way to get your thoughts out to the world.

But, with commercialization and monetization came complication. And yet, with Listed as my blogging platform, I can potentially monetize my posts or accept tips for my work... and without complicating the crap out of doing so.

Perhaps as I get older, I've really come to appreciate simple, easy, and uncomplicated. Maybe that's why I now use an iPhone and iPad after being an Android guy for many years. It checks all those boxes, too.

I still use a Windows laptop, but I've got my reasons for that. However, I've even gone to work on making that as simple and uncomplicated so that Windows feels comfortable, at least for me.

And, when I do want complicated, I have my Linux machines that I can tinker with and learn new stuff. And, when I'm done with complicated, I go back to Standard Notes, Listed, my iPhone, iPad, and optimized Windows laptop.

They all sync together, they all work together, and in the end, it enables me to enjoy the ritual of writing once again.

Thank you Standard Notes team!

tags: #opinion #technology

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This post was originally posted on my previous blog site called Jay's Journal on March 31st, 2018.

Don't You See It?

When I look around, I see an unending amount of examples of people just simply getting in their own way. I’m sure I do this as well, but it’s easier to look outward rather than inward sometimes.

Mainly because I strive to be efficient and save time, without sacrificing quality, every chance I get.

For me, time is more valuable than money. For as long as I can remember, I’ve looked at time in this way. I value it, I hate to waste it, and I resent others who just piss it away freely and without a second thought.

Time is the probably the ONE thing you can’t get back, make more of, stop, or even slow down. And, so, for me, time is a precious unit that I can’t bear to waste.

But, aside from a few exceptions, most people just don’t care how much time they waste. It gets rather frustrating.

Sometimes I feel like I’m alone in a sea of people who all do things in the worst way possible, wasting so much time without giving it a thought, and I’m the one guy who really tries to get it done faster, easier, and with much less stress.

Today is a great example. A week ago, I sent an email to someone detailing exactly what I was needing from them and why. My thought was that if I explain this ONCE, I won’t have to answer questions piece-meal, one email question followed by one email answer at a time.

The alternative would be to drag out a simple 5 minute request to instead be spread across several days, with multiple emails for the one simple request (borrow 2 company laptops for testing software).

In other words, I was trying to be efficient by getting it all done in one shot. I know, silly me, what was I thinking?

My email goes a week unanswered. Sigh. So now, I have to send another email to follow up to the one I already sent, basically re-requesting what I already spent time requesting the first time.

The good news is, the second email worked. The question for me is: Why did it take TWO emails to get ONE response?

Ok, so, in this person’s reply, he adds another person to the CC, and says that he’s directing my request to her and that I can work with her to get what I’m requesting.

Great... another person to have to work through to possibly NOT get what could be given in 5 minutes.

And, so I send the obligatory reply, thanking Mr. One Week for his reply, and then have to acknowledge the new person on the email, offering to work with her and help her in any way necessary to complete my request. (It’s TWO laptops to test some software on, that’s it!)

Which in turn begins another loud-sigh moment. She replied, and adds YET ANOTHER person onto the email, saying that I’ll need to set up some time to discuss my “needs” with her and this new person.

All when the original request is typed out TWICE in the email thread below her message.

So, now I have to set up a meeting to request two laptops that were already requested twice before, so they can understand what I’m asking with at best a 50% chance that they can actually fulfill my request, or instead, and more likely, send me over to someone else.

And I know what you’re thinking, because it’s exactly what I’m thinking. Just write back and reference the other emails below and save the time in the meeting.

And you’re thinking that, and I’m thinking that, because it would be efficient, and the fastest, even easiest way to get things done.

HOWEVER, we’re dealing with people who just couldn’t care about doing anything the easy way. And so, my daily uphill battle in Corporate America continues, just as it always has, and always will... with no improvement in sight.


tags: #observations #rants #thoughts #opinion

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This post was originally posted on my previous blog site called Jay's Journal on February 14th, 2018.

Hey! Not Fair!

While at a Super Bowl party a couple Sundays ago, I overheard two guys talking while I was grabbing my Buffalo wings. These guys, who were each wearing their favorite football team's jerseys, with neither of their teams actually in the game, were sharing why they “hate” Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

“It's like, this guy [Tom Brady] is in the Super Bowl every single year”, one of them said. And then the other one continued, “Yeah, and the Patriots? Really? Couldn't some other team get a chance to play for once?”

What I Was Thinking

Thankfully my back was turned to them, because it took all I had to keep from laughing. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots team and staff are definitely the stuff of legends. Love them or hate them, they've built a dynasty that belongs in any conversation that includes Dallas, San Francisco, Green Bay, even Pittsburgh.

Did any team that has won a Super Bowl, whether it's once, or multiple times in their franchise's history, ever just show up off the street for the Super Bowl and was instantly awesome?

The answer is NO. The Super Bowl is the pinnacle game that determines the one true champion of the sport for that year. To get there, you have to endure a regular season of at least ten bone-crushing games. Then, if you've got enough wins, you get to go to the playoffs. That's several more bone-crushing weeks.

Then, only after you've eliminated all comers in your conference, you get to face off with another team that defeated all who dared in their conference.

Then, and only then, do the two best teams, one from each conference, get to duke it out for the right to claim “World Champion” until the next year.

When the new season starts, it's a clean slate for all teams, and every team has the same chance to progress through the gauntlet that eventually sees the two best teams face off for the title for another year.

So, the teams that get there fought hard, each and every game. The teams that didn't win, didn't necessarily fight any less hard, although some actually didn't fight as hard. And some teams couldn't last as long on the field. And other teams made bad decisions, or made enough mistakes to cost them the game.

In a nutshell, it's a COMPETITION.

So what these two guys were bellyaching about, wishing another team had “a chance” to play in the Super Bowl other than the perennial Patriots, is to me all about the concept of what's fair.

These guys didn't think it was fair, that the same team would keep going back to the Super Bowl. Nor did they think that it was fair that one quarterback should have so many appearances in this one championship game, seemingly year after year.

But yet, at least one other team has more Super Bowl wins than New England, and that's the Pittsburgh Steelers. Has anyone griped about wishing another team had a chance to play in the Super Bowl during any of their multiple appearances and subsequent wins?

Doubt it.

Fair’s Fair, or All’s Fair?

I see this a lot in children's competitions now. Everyone gets a trophy for participation for just about any sport now. Even some 5K runs in town now offer ribbons to all who run the race.

One NFL player landed in hot water a few years back for giving his kid's Participation trophy back to the sport's organizers, saying that the only trophy his kid will receive will be the one for actually winning.

So, with all that... is working your ass off, preparing day and night, never stopping or quitting until you reach your goal, only to finally reach it, “fair”?

Or, is “fair” allowing other teams and players that didn't spend as much time on the things needed to make the best of the best to play in the biggest football game of the year, so that the joy and reward is spread around evenly?

So, what is the concept of “fair”?

In my mind, there is no such thing as “fair”. Period.

There's being the best, and then there's everyone else. In sports, in career, in life.

The best prepare. The best take the challenge and make the sacrifices needed to be the best. The best make opportunities to succeed even when there don't appear to be any. The best will find a way to win, to achieve, to overcome, to finish what seems impossible to sometimes even start.

Not just in a game, but in every situation in life.

And when you give it your all, your heart and soul, in the preparation, the sacrifice, and physical and emotional pain it takes to elevate yourself to the next level, and still lose, it hurts!

It sucks. It feels futile. It makes you question everything. It can even make you give up.

But, those that don't give up only get stronger. They only get better. They figure out what went right and what didn't, and improve what went right, and fix what went wrong.

In other words, figure out a way to win. It may not be that game, or that job you wanted, or the promotion you thought for sure was yours. But, if you keep going, keep working, keep improving, it could be the next one. Or, it may be the one after that.

And the one you finally win could be even better, even sweeter, even more amazing than the ones you lost.

My First Experience With Competition

My first taste of winning came when I was 9 years old. I was in a kid's bowling league, and my mom would take my brother and I to the bowling alley every Friday night to practice, then every Saturday morning to bowl in our children's league. I'd even beg my mom to take us several nights during the week so I could practice even more.

I took to bowling pretty well. I seemed to have the hand-eye coordination needed, and I was able to take coaching from older mentors really well.

That season, I won a record 8 trophies, and, was the only minor that was invited to bowl in an adult tournament, and actually kept up!

Up to that point, I'd never won anything that I could remember. And so, I can imagine what it would feel like if that despite my hard work and preparation for each game, combined with the focus and concentration and the will to win each game, despite setbacks, those trophies were given to other kids that didn't win.

It would suck more than losing! Not because I was stingy and didn't want to share with others. It was because I was able to put the right things into place at exactly the right time to win those games. Maybe another bowler even spent more time than me preparing. But, in the end, I did what was needed to win.

If that would have been negated because someone else felt bad, and needed some kind of validation that even though they lost, they still won something... what motivation would that kid have to ever push themselves for anything?

In my years, I've played sports, went for jobs, was put in for promotions, even tried to get the girl that was out of my league.

Sometimes I won, other times I lost (many times, actually), but in the end, I have a job I love, in a career that I've been doing forever, still working to be the best every day, and yes, I even got the girl of my dreams.

So, no, I don't believe in fair where everyone gets a trophy for playing. I believe in the reward going to the person that put in the most work, to get the result needed to win the game (or job, or promotion, etc.).

That's what I call “fair”.

tags: #thoughts #opinion

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Do the opposite of what they say! Image credit: cottonbro studio at Pexels

Now here's some advice I wish I could tell my grown boys. They surely don't want to hear about this sort of stuff from their old man, but maybe you do.

And, even as you're reading this, your knee-jerk reaction might be to be somewhat indignant, if you're a woman. Or, maybe, as a woman, you'll chuckle and agree. But see, this advice really isn't for women, it's for guys.

Women already have tons of resources both online and in the real world on how to land a man. So, here's a little advice for the dudes. Although, if you're a woman and want to read this as well, I welcome you, too.

Now, this comes from experience, and from a bit of self-improvement that I took on between my first and second marriages. After my divorce, I really took on a journey of self-re-discovery. I lost a bunch of weight, worked out, read a lot, and decided to learn how to better carry myself when it came to attracting the opposite sex.

And, I dated A LOT

What I learned from all those experiences in improving myself was that women will very rarely tell you anything up front. Well, anything up front as far as men understand it. In the fair language of “Womanese”, women think they're being very candid and up front with you, but to men, all we hear are veiled answers and cryptic riddles.

And, to be even more frank, women will answer your questions with what they believe to be true, even it's not exactly factually true. And, it's often when we as men call out the disparity between her fiction she believes to be true and the actual fact-based truth, that sparks often start to fly.

So, what does that all mean when I advise you to never ask a woman advice about other women? It means that they'll typically tell you what they think they should want, instead of what they really want, or rather, what they really respond to.

Allow me to illustrate. Say you ask a female friend that you're truly just friends with what you should do to win over a lady you've had your eye on. She may answer with any or all of the following:

  • You should buy her flowers!
  • You should treat her to dinner and a movie!
  • You should loudly profess your love to her in a very public and romantic way!
  • You should do nice things for her for no reason! That'll get her to realize what a nice guy you are!
  • Just be there for her, and she'll eventually come around to realize you're the perfect guy for her!
  • Buy her a really nice (translated as 'expensive') gift to “woo” her!
  • (If you've been dating her already) You should sweep her off her feet and take her on a romantic weekend getaway!

So, why is this bad advice, aside from the fact every scenario sounds like it came from a drippy romantic comedy? Because all that nice guy stuff doesn't get you the girl. If anything, it gets you “friend-zoned” with the girl.

Why? Because women think, or better yet, tell themselves they should want the nice guy. Instead, you know what they actually respond to?

Yup, the bad boy. Think about it. Any time you liked a girl, and she didn't come straight out with it that she wasn't into you, but always talked about “Trevor” or “Brad”, she was hoping you'd take the hint.

Yet, the girl you had your eye on could't stop talking about that other guy who wouldn't give her the time of day – and when he did, it was to basically blow her off.

And you knew that Trevor or Brad treated her like shit, didn't you? Couldn't give her the time of day, but she couldn't stop talking about him constantly, even fantasizing about the day she captures his attention and his heart.

It's because women respond to a guy who's hard to get, doesn't care about her feelings, and is his own man. In other words, not a sap.

The guys who gush over the girl, buy her things, put her on a pedestal and would never dare to call her out on her crazy notions usually get friend-zoned. Billy Bad Boy gets to make out with her, while you're standing outside her house in the rain wishing she'd notice you.

Sounds harsh, I know, but it's true. It's happened to me more times than I care to remember. But, once I realized that I needed to treat a girl differently, I started to win in the game of love.

I'm not saying to treat women like shit to get what you want. I'm just saying, treat them like you can take them or leave them, combined with the ability to make them laugh. If you can master the art of being aloof, and being able to bust her chops in a funny way, you'll be the one she can't stop talking about with her new friend-zone buddy.

Believe me, don't believe, doesn't matter to me. What I do know is that I've got the girl of my dreams, and we've been together for 20 years now.

And, I still let her think I can take her or leave her, while also leaving her in stitches every chance I can. Don't get me wrong, I tell her I love her and that she's the most important person in my life, but I keep her on her toes.

Every 10th or so time she tells me she loves me, I'll short circuit her wiring by saying, “That's nice. Thanks.” Or, I won't say anything and let her cry out loud, “You didn't say it back!” To which I reply, “I'm with you ain't I?”

Each one elicits a response that resembles her stomping one foot on the ground and loudly exclaiming, “HONEY!!” But, see, it keeps her on her toes. And while she acts indignant, she knows I'm my own man, and that as my own man, I love her very much.

But, that doesn't mean I'm willing to put up with an unlimited amount of crap, either. However, the teasing, the hard to get, and the barbs are all of what keep things fresh and exciting, even after 20 years.

And before you go saying, “Sure, that works on her, but there ain't no other woman out there willing to put up with your B.S.!” I'd say that you would be wrong. See, I was doing stuff like this even before I met my wife, and there were several women who wanted to land me as their catch.

And it wasn't until I met my now wife, that I refused to be caught. See, this enabled me to pick her as much as she picked me.

The old saying is that women is want someone that they can feel safe with, who'll protect them, yet make them laugh.

Basically, a clown ninja.

In the meantime, stop asking women advice about other women, or you'll get every way possible on how to lose her, instead of how to truly win her over. This time, try a different approach and see if that can keep you out of the friend-zone.

tags: #opinion #relationships

If you like my work and you received value from this post, please consider buying me a coffee: Like my work? Please consider buying me a coffee.

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That's a lot of sweat Photo Credit: Nick Fewings on Unsplash

When I was researching which virtual donation service to use, BuyMeACoffee.com or Ko-Fi, I came across a YouTube video that reminded me of how hard it is to build a business offering your services on Fiverr.

I'd started a side hustle business a couple of years ago, and my thought was to sell my services on Fiverr. I'd done a few Fiverr gigs even a few more years farther back, so I thought I'd go bigger and use Fiverr as a platform to sell my virtual services.

I thought the premise was pretty sound: offer my services on Fiverr, and let Fiverr do my marketing for me. I'd show up on searches for Fiverr services, and I could let Fiverr handle the payments and transactions.

I'd never have to chase a client for payment, and the mechanisms for delivery were already built into Fiverr. There was a messaging system, and an automated way in which to obtain anything needed from the customer in order to fulfill an order for my services.

Something the video I referenced before touches on, that I also realized, was that when it comes to delivery of your service, there are no days off.


No weekends, no holidays, no personal days, no sick days. No. Days. Off.

The way Fiverr is set up is that when you purchase a “gig”, that gig is agreed to be delivered in a certain number of days. Not weekdays, calendar days. So, if you purchase a gig and it's agreed that the gig will be delivered in 4 days, if that 4th day is on a Saturday, you better deliver on the Saturday it's due.

If on that Saturday, the customer's order is due at 2am, because they ordered it 4 days ago at 2am, it had better be ready by then, or you're toast.

If it's not, you get penalized, and the customer gets mad – likely resulting in a refund, meaning you essentially worked for free. If you have a successful enough Fiverr profile, you'll be delivering your finished product 7 days a week.

So, you might be saying to yourself, “So? Just manage your time so that you get everything done earlier than expected so you can enjoy your weekends and evenings.”

And, in theory, that would be correct. However, in order to facilitate that, you're rushing orders to get them off your plate. That can invite inaccuracy, and other mistakes. As well, Fiverr lets you charge an additional fee for “Rush” jobs, but only if the customer wants their order done in a rush and they opt for it.

So, if you're hurrying to deliver an order by the end of your day on Friday, so you can get away for the weekend, but it's not due until Sunday, a customer just got a free rush on their order.

What's more, is that if a prospective customer messages you, day or night, you're expected to respond within an hour. If you don't, you won't get fired from Fiverr, but you will get penalized. Your profile won't show as high up in search results for freelancers with your same skillset.

The ones that answer faster get placed toward the top. And, as a general rule, that makes sense, right? Reward the ones that are on the ball and respond quickly to their prospective and existing customer's messages.

But, the fact that the system actively penalizes you for taking time during a 24 hour day for rest and recovery, or even personal appointments, etc., is akin to working in a sweatshop.

I mean, Fiverr isn't saying don't do those things. They're not saying don't take days off, or an hour or two for yourself, or even not to observe holidays. But, if you do, you fall behind in getting your profile featured in search results. So, it's almost just as bad.

The good thing about Fiverr is that now you can charge well over $5 for the services you offer. In the early days, it was $5 and only $5, but you could find creative ways to get more than just $5 for a single “gig”. If you added extras and rush fees, etc.

But now, there's a lot more flexibility in how much you can charge. Now, if only that same flexibility carried over into managing delivery dates and message response times. Until then, I assert, Fiverr is basically a virtual sweat shop.

And, for some, that's ok. For others, like me, no thanks, I'll figure it out some other way.

tags: #opinion

If you like my work and you received value from this post, please consider buying me a coffee: Like my work? Please consider buying me a coffee.

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Since the Write.As platform is a minimalist blogging/writing service, there's not a lot by way of sidebars and frilly site navigation. I love that.

It's clean and, well, minimalist, which makes in uncluttered. However, I'd like to give you a way to see all the groupings of blog posts by their tags, so here we are. The tags page.

Simply click on a hashtag and all posts that share that hashtag will appear for you to see all on a single page. Enjoy!

#updates #thoughts #opinion #reflections #diet #rants #observations #productivity #technology #privacy #security