3 Damn Good Reasons To Clear Out Your Clutter

Most creative people I know have a bit of clutter in their homes. Sometimes the more brilliant and innovative you are, the more you’ll struggle to keep the crap at bay. Some of us accept this as part of our natures. But there are lots of good reasons to clear out your clutter.

This is my garage. The picture will be a Rorschach test for you. If you’re neat and tidy you’ll cringe at the mess. If you’re messy you’ll think it’s pretty organized. If you’re my wife, you’ll run inside the house and yell, “How’d you get the car in there?”

12 years ago we turned the garage into a playroom for our kid. It was sweet and cozy. 3 years later we had to cram all our furniture in there during a remodel. The work took a matter of months, but the garage never recovered. It turned dank and hoardy. Continue reading 3 Damn Good Reasons To Clear Out Your Clutter

How To Profit FromThe Legacy of Richard Bolles

“The key to a happy and fulfilling future is knowing yourself. This self-knowledge is the most important component of finding the right career.”    

Richard Bolles was responsible for coaching laid-off ministers to find a new line of work. He was a minister ministering to ministers who could no longer minister. To help his clients, he wrote a little pamphlet with tips on how to move on to another calling.

The pamphlet had strategies that went against all conventional wisdom. It taught job seekers to stop relying on want ads (Craigslist postings for you Millennials), and network their way into jobs created just for them.

Instead of waiting to be interviewed by companies, Bolles coached people to go out and interview the companies they wanted to work for. Very disruptive strategies. Perfect for Manic Impressives. Continue reading How To Profit FromThe Legacy of Richard Bolles

How To Find Lost Things

How To Find Lost ThingsManic Impressives often struggle with things. Organizing them. Keeping track of them. And often, finding them. It is estimated that the average Manic Impressive will spend 7.2 years* of his or her life searching for lost things. (*Okay, I totally made this up.) Which is why we need to know how to find lost things.

The answer can be found in the second act of the cinematic gem, “Dude Where’s My Car?” Ashton Kutcher and Seann Willam Scott play stoner party boys that come out to the curb after a night of fierce partying to find their car is missing.

After Ashton delivers the movie’s title line, Seann gives him the solution that all of us need to use whenever we lose something:

“We need to get back into the state of mind we were in last night. That way we can retrace our steps. Sense memory, simulated perception, altered conscious memory retrieval. Discovery Channel.”

Yes, Discovery Channel indeed. Continue reading How To Find Lost Things

4 Smart & Lazy Methods of Tax Preparation

Smart & LazyTuesday’s the big day. The day all Americans face a hard deadline. You either get that midnight postmark or you pay penalties and interest. Procrastinate all you want, but when April 15th rolls around you’d better have your act together. But it’s okay to be smart & lazy about it.

I imagine you have some friends who filed their taxes months ago. They’re probably at the mall right now spending their refunds. But not you. You’re sweating that deadline like you do every year. And even though you should be working on your return right now, you’re doing everything in your power to distract yourself  and procrastinate (like reading this blog), instead of buckling down and getting your taxes done.

Your organized friends have never filed an extension. You try every year not to, but somehow this annual deadline creeps up and there you are, right up against it, debating whether or not to throw in the towel, file an extension, and put it all off until October.

Again. Continue reading 4 Smart & Lazy Methods of Tax Preparation

13 Surefire Tips To Kill It At Your Garage Sale

It’s springtime. Time to clear out your crap and turn it into cash. If you are like the rest of us, there’s a whole bunch of stuff you don’t use clogging up your house. It needs to go. But it won’t happen if you handle your sale like an amateur. Not to worry. I can help you. I’m a pro at this. Here are my 13 surefire tips to kill it at your garage sale.

1 ) Do It Like A Pro

This is a retail sales event, so do what good retail merchandisers do. Advertise, price, display, negotiate and service with a little style and panache. You need a certain amount of organization to attract people, and a strategy to entice and cajole your customers to pay you to cart off your crap.

A sloppy garage sale is less work on the front end, but it will net less cash and create more work on the back-end. Do the advance work. You really don’t want to be moving your crap back into the house at the end of a long day. Continue reading 13 Surefire Tips To Kill It At Your Garage Sale

The Lost Art of the April Fools’ Prank

April FoolNext to Halloween, I’ve always found April Fools’ Day to be the most delightful celebration. To pull a good, clean April Fools prank that doesn’t hurt anyone is high art. These days, a high, lost art.

So if I give you some ideas will you help me on this? Will you go out there and bring some fun to your little corner of the world? Manic Impressives everywhere are counting on you.

Shave Something

Self-deprecating pranks never hurt anyone else. If you do something goofy and get people laughing at you, you’ll be their hero for the day. And if we need more of anything in the world right now, it’s heroes.

So try doing something unexpected this April Fools’ Day. Shave something off. If you’re a dude, don’t be conventional. Don’t shave off your beard. Shave off half your beard. Continue reading The Lost Art of the April Fools’ Prank

If You Want to Work Hard, You Need to Play Hard

Play HardHere we are, one week shy of the end of the first quarter. How are you doing on your goals?  Still going great guns? A few dips here and there?  Any answer is okay at this point, as long as you’re still at it and working hard. Oh, that’s the bell, time for recess. Cuz after you Work Hard, it’s time to Play Hard.

Recess is important for school kids. It’s the reason they can sit still and work hard all day, five days a week. They need the break and the fun to so they can keep at it. The harder they play, the harder they can study.

Recess is just as important for us adults. Maybe even more important. We adults have so many responsibilities beyond work, that we sometimes go from task to task without recess. This is not good for anyone.

I Deserve It

I’ve made great progress on some of my goals for the quarter, and I’ve struggled with others. But regardless of my results, I need and deserve a recess.

So it was with great planning and precision that I took my recess last week. Okay, at about 9 Wednesday  morning I threw a bunch of stuff in the car and took off. Sometimes the best play is spontaneous.

While you were slogging through your hump day, I took off and hit the slopes. Hard. I bombed down the hill as hard and as long as I could. I needed to play hard.

You Need To Play Hard

We Manic Impressives need to play hard so we can work hard. Other types of people can work hard for the sake of working hard. But us creative types need our recess to recharge and remember why we’re working to be more than we are.

The notion of Work Ethic, the idea that people should be conditioned to keep their noses to the grindstone and never stop, is a good guiding principle for some. But it doesn’t work for me.

Now thanks to Forbes, I have the science to show I’m on the right track. Work Hard Play Hard is a lifestyle that works for playful folk that are passionate about doing good work.

The Science Behind Play Hard

Professor Lonnie Aarssen did a study that showed “a strong correlation between attraction to accomplishment and attraction to leisure.” The key factor was “mortality salience.” The more a person accepts they’re going to die one day, the more motivated they are to succeed in life.

An interesting note was the role of religion. Forbes concluded that religious people are less likely to Work Hard Play Hard. Perhaps that was because the study was of 1400 Canadian college students. Or perhaps it’s that going to church is bad for your fun life.

Either way, if you want to knock it out of the park, you need to remember that you’re playing a game.

Schedule It!

So make your Play Hard as important as your Work Hard. Set your goals, check your progress each day, and win or lose, schedule your play. It’s as important as your work.

Take a look at your progress for this quarter. Pat yourself on the back for your wins. Acknowledge your failings and vow to do better. Then get out there and have some fun. Play Hard!

And thanks for going to work last Wednesday so I could drive to Tahoe without traffic and ski without waiting in a single lift line. I really appreciate it.

Now it’s your turn.

3 Bits of Blarney About St. Patrick’s Day

Blarney About St. PatrickLike a lot of our holidays, St. Patrick’s Day is a real sham(rock). What’s going down today has no connection to St. Patrick, his body of work, or what he stood for. It’s all a bunch of Blarney.

How do I know this? Anyone with a dial-up modem can find this on Wikipedia in under 3 minutes. Today’s festivities started as a religious feast day to honor the patron saint of Ireland. St. Patrick (no last name), was a British missionary who became a bishop after being kidnapped and held by Irish raiders for six years.

But what’s about to go down today is total Blarney with a big side of Malarky. It’s got little to do with the life and work of a saint. Here are three bits of Blarney about St. Patrick we’ve been believing since Kindergarten.

St. Patrick Drove the Snakes Out of Ireland

No he didn’t. What are you, six? There were no snakes in Ireland! Dude was a missionary. He was one of those annoyingly earnest folks who go around evangelizing and “saving” pagans. He converted thousands to Christianity, so at best he drove the pagans out of Northern Ireland and into churches.

Snakes?! I think you’re confusing St. Patrick with The Pied Piper. He led the rats out of town. Then he led all the children out of town when he didn’t get paid for the rat job. More of a pissed-off musician turned kidnapper-for-ransom than a saint.

European fairy tales are totally effed up, aren’t they? Continue reading 3 Bits of Blarney About St. Patrick’s Day

Out Of Gas

\Out of Gas

Tell you a little story I will, and then I have an admission to make. I’ve been struggling a bit this week, and it reminded me of the time, one of many, when I ran out of gas.

My wife and I were driving back to the Bay Area from Fresno. Just my girlfriend back then, I’d taken her to meet some family.

She drove us in her fancy Cadillac Seville on the way down, so being a gentleman, I offered to drive on the way back. She accepted, handed me the keys, and off we went.

Here’s where we learned something important about ourselves. Since she wasn’t driving, my wife didn’t bother to tell me we were low on gas. She figured I’d check it myself. Since it wasn’t my car, I didn’t bother checking the gas gauge, since I figured she would have told me.

Both of us figured very, very wrong. Continue reading Out Of Gas

Why I Keep Hurting Myself

Hurting MyselfIn the Armenian language, the word “gamatz” means to go easy, be patient, take your time. It’s usually spoken by a wrinkly grandfather type in a sage sounding tone. “Gamatz, gamatz,” he’ll say, along with a calming hand gesture of some sort. If only I could listen to such great advice. Then maybe I wouldn’t keep hurting myself.

I understand the wisdom of this. But as a Manic Impressive, I have trouble taking the gamatz approach when it comes to my health.

I tend to barrel into things with great energy and enthusiasm, especially around exercise. That’s why I’ve had surgeries on my ankle, knee and rotator cuff in the past two years alone. Physical therapy clinics adore me. Continue reading Why I Keep Hurting Myself