Hacks and Life-hacks.

By David Joel Miller.

The meaning of “Hack” has changed.

taxi or hack?

Hacks?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

One of my younger colleagues was talking to me about the desirability of “hacks.” This word like so many others has changed its meaning, not because the dictionaries had it wrong, but because people started using the word differently and then the dictionaries are having to change their definitions to keep up with the way people use the word.

As an old guy, this changing my vocabulary and changing my metaphors so as to be understandable to the younger generation is a challenge. Mentions of Milton Berle get mostly dumb stares these days. The word hack, for me, is especially challenging.

I am familiar with Lifehacking sites, I even subscribe to their email. It is just that I had no idea how many other areas of life were getting hacked these days.

Hack used to be something else.

Hacks used to be cabs you called to take you somewhere. In that sense, I can see the use of the term life hack. These little tips are meant to help you get from where you are to somewhere else, quickly or more easily.

A “Hack” also used to be someone who did things in an unprofessional or half-hearted way. Calling a journalist a “hack” as in writing an uninformed or factually incorrect story was one of the worst things you could say about a member of the third estate. Hack writers were thought of as being unoriginal and mediocre. In that sense, I would not want a hack writing my life hacks.

There is also hacking into computers, as in unauthorized entry and hacking things up with an ax, neither of which seems to be related to those other definitions of hack.

Today Hacks, life or otherwise, have become accepted as short, useful ways to do things better, faster and more easily. In an era when there is far more skimming than reading going on via the internet, using hacks makes sense. Skimming used to be a bad thing as in taking money out of the till which involved stealing or cheating on your taxes, but today skimming is grabbing the cream off the top of the article without reading every word. See the old guy is catching on.

Henceforth counselorssoapbox.com will be embracing Hacks, – sometimes.

As we look more at how to improve life, wellness, and recovery, and less at diseases and disorders, looks like Hacks have their place. It also appears that a number of the posts on counselorssoapbox.com in the past were in fact “hacks.” How to improve your memory, how to be happy, and so on.  I would also include recovery tips in this category. So life hacks will now get their own category.

What about relationship hacks?

Not sure. Some of you youngsters need to let me know how far this hack thing should extend. Do we need friend hacks, memory hacks, etc or can we just lump them all together as life hacks? For now, just an added link to the posts that feature hacks and you can sort through them or look in the other categories for hacks.

Here is the link to the counselorssoapbox.com life hacks.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

10 School of life lessons you need to learn.

By David Joel Miller.

The School of life is still in session. You can’t stop learning when you leave school.

Classroom

Classroom of life.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

In many places here in the northern hemisphere, school is back in session or soon will be. Regardless of whether you are a student or a teacher the lessons don’t stop when school lets out. The most important lessons are often the ones we learn in the process of living. No matter how young or old you are it is never too early or too late to learn the lessons life is trying to teach you. Here are some of the lessons you should be learning from your life experiences.

Learn the difference between tools, crutches, and burdens.

When you feel tested or weak, when you struggle with a problem, tools can be helpful.  Friends can help you move forward or hold you back. Substances, drugs, and alcohol, creep into lives disguised as crutches. They tell you that you need a drink to cope. Truth is that those crutches, substances, and behaviors start out looking like crutches to help you get through difficult times. They end up being heavy burdens to overcome.

Whether it is “retail therapy,” shopping just for the sake of shopping, or hanging out with negative friends, using crutches to get through life’s difficulties comes at a huge price. That unhelpful habit may move from being a crutch to being a heavy lifelong burden when you have to clean up the messes.

You find the things, good or bad, you look for.

Are you looking for more anxiety or more calm? Some people are well acquainted with anxiety. He is their best friend. Having some anxiety around can help you if you are in danger. But if every morning you set off on a quest to find more things to be afraid of, anxiety is no longer protecting you, he is holding you captive.

The negative things in life scream out for attention. The quieter things, happiness, and joy take an effort to notice. Calmness sits silently by, waiting to be noticed. If you look only for the negative you will get more negativity in your life.

Learn to find the positive in the difficult situation. Detect the calm in the center of every storm of life. Look for the good if you want a good life.

Watch out for “agains.”

Humans make mistakes. The more you do in life the more possible mistakes and errors you will find. Try to learn from these less than ideal outcomes. Avoid having to say, I made that mistake again. I have the same problems again.

Learn life’s lessons and then move on. Failure to learn the lessons at one point in your life dooms you to repeat these same errors over and over “again.”

Do not wear yourself out pushing on walls.

Many obstacles in life will not be moved by the use of brute force. Even a small barrier can wear you out if you insist on trying to force that difficulty out of your way. Look for the gates. Think about ways to make that obstacle a path you need to follow to find the way around.

We can often take one big challenge well enough. It is the constant fighting of the same battles, never learning how to work smarter that eventually will do you in.

Good relationships are more important than being right.

Avoid wasting time and friendships on fighting over who is right and who is wrong. People resent having to deal with a right-fighter. Certainly, you can and should have your beliefs and values. It is not required that you change their minds.

Treasure your friendships and close relationships. Think before you argue. Will I really be happier if I win this argument but lose this friend? Allow your friends to be wrong sometimes. Give yourself that same opportunity.

If you want something you need to ask. Did you ask?

Don’t go through life wishing that others would see your needs and fulfill them. If you are wishing for something, have you expressed that wish to the person who could make this happen? It is easy to blame others for the things we lack. They seem obvious to you. But if you never ask do not fall into the trap of thinking that others should recognize your needs before you speak them.

A great pitfall in relationships is expecting the other person to read your mind and then act on your desire in the way you would want them to. Unless you partner or friend earns their living reading minds do not expect others in your life to spontaneously develop that skill.

Are you building things up or tearing them down.

Don’t tear everything down unless you are ready to rebuild afterward. It is easy to complain. You can find faults in most any situation. But when something gets torn down, for a time there is nothing left there. Eventually, some person sees the empty space created by the destruction and begins to rebuild.

An important life lesson is to learn how to make things better. Building meets people’s needs, destroying things does not. Become the architect of a bright future, not the demolisher of what is.

Look for the similarities.

People mostly have the same needs. Situations tend to have similarities. Do not think that the way you do things is the only possible alternative. Many problems have common solutions. Applying knowledge from one experience to another reduces the need to be reinventing behaviors.

It is easy to think that others are somehow very different from you. Underneath all the differences are those common needs and desires.

Be aware of the differences.

Differences are neither good nor bad in and of themselves. Recognize how others could look at things and see a different meaning. Consider that old saw that if the only tool you have is a hammer you will see everything as a nail. Different problems in life need different tools.  Around every bend in the road of life, there will be something. Look for the novel and look for the similar, expect neither.

It is always today.

We plan for tomorrow, we remember the past but we always live in today.  Learn to keep those distinctions clear. It is always today. You may repeat yesterday’s actions or you may choose to do, say and think something different. Change in life comes from getting up each day and living that day as fully as possible.

Are there other life lessons you have learned? Consider sharing what the school of life has taught you. You can leave a comment below or send a note directly to me by using the contact me form. I will do my best to get back to all of you who contact or email me.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

5 Easy ways to get better grades.

By David Joel Miller.

Learn the secrets of the A students.

Get an A

Ways to get better grades.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

If you have struggled in school you may have concluded that getting good grades was beyond your reach. Today more than ever education is important. A two-year college degree today qualifies you for jobs that once only required an 8th-grade education. Whether this is your first go around or you are returning to school after many years knowing the secrets of the “A” students can make the road easier.

Sleep more for better grades.

During sleep, memory is consolidated. Want to be able to find that fact you studied during the exam? Make sure you show up for the exam well-rested. Pulling an “all-nighter” just before the final exam will not make up for all the study time you should have put in beforehand. Study early and often and avoid the last-minute rush.

Life happens. There are all kinds of things to do and distractions that can keep you up late. The most productive people in life and the best students in school budget some hours for sleep and show up rested and ready to take the test.

Drink less alcohol to up your GPA.

One study reported that “D” students drank twice as much alcohol as “A” students. The more you party, the more you abuse drugs and alcohol the less energy you have for study and school.

Alcohol is the granddaddy of grade killers but he has a junior cousin that has been messing up student’s grade recently. Marijuana may seem all good, some people even think it has medicinal properties. Getting good grades is not one of the benefits of lighting that joint up.

Smoking Marijuana scrambles the information going into your brain if you smoke when studying. Smoking before the test scrambles the information as you try to retrieve it. Smoke both times and you start marking test answers that would never make sense if you were clean. Marijuana, specifically THC the active ingredient, stays in your bloodstream a lot longer than other drugs. So Marijuana’s memory altering effects can last long after your last smoke.

Go to class if you want better grades.

Some people do not see the benefit of the class they are taking. They think they can just show up for the final and that will get them by. You may be able to pass the test that way, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

I am surprised at the students who pay tuition, sometimes lots of it, and then skip class. This is like buying a ticket for the concert and then showing up for the last encore. You may think you are such a great athlete you can skip practice and still play in the big game. But in the academic game if you are not there for practice you will not know the moves to pick the right test answer.

The more often you go to class the better your chances of absorbing the answer you will need for the test.

Read the book if you want to pass.

There is a reason that classes require books and it is usually not because the bookstore needs to make money on them. The things that the instructor thinks are important are probably in the book. If there are things that are important and not in the book, guess what, the teacher will tell you those things in class. You got the last point on going to class right?

Take notes for better memory.

I see students recording the lecture on their communicator devices. If you are an auditory learner this may help. But think for a moment, you were in class and heard it once already, right? Will you really re-listen to all those recordings?

Technology is nice. I see people taking pictures of the powerpoint slides. For visual learners this may help also. So will typing the notes out on your laptop. I do not recommend texting your notes. The test will not be given in text language.

What is very helpful for many students is to take notes the old fashion way. This is not because the old way is necessarily the best way. I am a big fan of indoor plumbing and running water.  What actually does work though is to write out the notes during class.

Writing notes helps keep you on track and concentrating. I tend to think that one reason we have more attention problems these days is because people are sitting still more and moving less. Writing the notes out helps store the information in the part of the brain that controls those movements. Any surprise, you will need to write them out for the test. You may picture the slide you saved from the power point but you will need to write down the things you saw. Try practicing writing and see if your grades and your memory don’t improve.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Make your space your own

By David Joel Miller.

Make the place you spend your time a happy place.

View from window

Make it your place
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

We live most of our lives in spaces. Spaces protect us from the elements when it is hot and when it rains.

Some of these spaces are of our choosing, but many more are spaces created by others. If you want to feel more comfortable with your life find ways to make the spaces you inhabit more of your own.

Below are some suggestions to transform places you are stuck with into places you want to be.

A view or pictures create personal space.

Windows open to views. You may have little control over what is outside that window but you can impact the views inside your space.

Consider planting a bush or flower outside your window when possible. Place something on that window sill. A plant, real or artificial can make that bare window sill feel more like your windowsill.

Put up some pictures. Create an environment that says this is my place. Pictures of what matters to you, of places you have been or want to go can all help to dedicate that space to your life.

Personal mementos or keepsakes make you feel at home.

Even on shared desks, people find ways to place their family picture or moments. Bring a rock or souvenir from your life and set it by that monitor to feel like this is your space, at least for now.

Just remember to pick it up and take it with you clearing the way for the next person at the desk to make it theirs while they are there.

Your music takes you home.

Having your tunes on helps make this place you are confined to your own. If you can play your tunes do so. Especially at home have that option. Are there others in your environment that do not like your music? No need to squabble. Get a set of headphones or earbuds and turn up the sounds.

Notice how music connects with your brain on a deep level. Change the music with the task and you will see how music sets the mood. Too much stress in your life, look for relaxing tunes to tame the chaos.

Have restful colors where you spend your life.

Color affects our moods. Green and Blue, the colors of Mother Nature, are restful to many people. Bright colors can spark your creativity. Decorate what you can in helpful colors.

Make things comfortable in your space.

A few minutes spent adjusting the chair, the footrest and the other things around you can make your time in any setting more positive. Can you move an end table or add one to make things within your reach? Maybe you need to move things so they are out of your way. Some of us need to get things out of our productive spaces and clear a path to use the space we claim as our own.

Plan for maximum safety.

Know how to get out of your space when needed. Make sure you have safety equipment, fire extinguishers and the like available. What changes in your room will make you feel more secure? Safety means different things to different people. Find the things that turn your space into a sanctuary of safety.

Pets and plants say this is my space.

Having a pet or plant in your living area makes it so much more your own. Can’t have a dog or cat? Consider a goldfish or a potted plant. It is so much nicer to return home and find something alive there.

Leave room to move and stand.

Avoid environments that keep you restricted to one place to sit and another to stand. Create the option to stand and move about. Frequent changes of posture can relieve stress and tension. Include those options to the best of your abilities in your environment. Having created that space to move make use of it. Frequent breaks, even small changes of position can reduce fatigue.

Those are some of the ways that occur to me that might help you to create a place that feels like home. Feeling that this is your place, that you belong here, helps in creating that happy life that we all deserve.

Any other thoughts about how you have made where you stay your home?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

7 Thoughts create success.

By David Joel Miller.

Think these 7 thoughts to have a successful life.

Success and Failure

Thoughts for success
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

What you think tends to come true. You can’t accomplish things if you do not believe they are possible. Successful people do more positive thinking. Highly successful people make these 7 thoughts a part of their thought habits. To be really successful practice these thoughts every day until they become your default way of thinking.

1. Where I came from does not determine where I am going.

Your past may have put you where you where you are but you have choices on where you go from here. Having things in your past may limit some options but there are always more possibilities out there than most of us see.

Look for those options. Had a lousy childhood? Become your own parent and learn those lessons you should have gotten early on.

No education? Get back into school. There are a great many older students in college these days. Everyone needs to keep learning to keep up. Things change. Many of the students in the college evening classes I have thought were surprised to find they had far more ability than they thought.

Watch for an upcoming post on making learning fun and being successful at learning as an adult.

2. You only need to get up once more than you get knocked down.

Successful people keep getting back up. Life knocked you down? Get back up. Do learn from the things that happen to you. Change your game plan, your study routines or get more help. The truth is that most “naturals” became naturals by practicing over and over. You make the most progress at things by working on your weak spots not by limiting what you do to the things that come easy.

3. What you think about things is more important than what they were.

If you focus on what happened, why did that have to happen and why you, you can get stuck in the past. Learn from these experiences. I get that some experiences can be extremely painful, but if you want to have the rest of your life you need to see how you could do things that can make your life better.

Look at the future as another chance and good things just might happen for you. Find it hard to believe? Short on hope? Work on developing a group of supporters that can see the possibilities ahead even when you find them hard to see.

4. This is not fear – I am on the jazz.

Change, new experiences, can provoke anxiety. Some people, they look for all the things that could go wrong and the result is they stay stuck. Really successful people reframe those butterflies in their stomach as excitement. New experiences become their friends.

What possibilities could you get excited about? What novel situations could give you the chance to shine?

5. The best one to create my life is me.

Successful people think that they are the one to make things happen in their life. Getting the breaks and having a successful person recommend you or offer you opportunities is great, but sitting back thinking I can never do it unless someone else does things for me is a sure recipe for failure. Want to create your dream? Go out and do the work. Practice and learn. Once you become good at things others will notice. Most of those big breaks come after years of practice and study.

6. You need to make mistakes to learn.

Mistakes need not be catastrophic. Highly successful people make lots of mistakes. They learn from those errors. Do lots of things, some work some do not. Stop doing the things that do not work out for you. Put in more effort on the things you see that need improvement and see just how far you will go.

7. Aim high if you want to achieve worthwhile things.

Aim low and that is what you will hit. Aim high and even if you do not go all the way you will still end up a lot further along. Have high aims and aspirations while accepting that if you are hitting every target the first time you are still not aiming high enough. Not missing the mark a lot? You are underestimating yourself and playing it too safe to ever go as far as you are capable.

There are seven principles of success that have shown up repeatedly in the literature on success and have been born out in the lives of those who achieve great things. Have you discovered other principles that you would like to share?

For more on this topic see these other posts on counselorssoapbox.com

Success

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

15 Life Lessons you need to learn

By David Joel Miller.

What life lessons do you still need to learn?

Life Lessons

Life Lessons,
Photo courtesy of Flickr (rseidel3)

There are certain life lessons you will need to learn soon or later. If you were taught them when you were young then you got off to a good start in life.

If no one taught you these things you will need to go looking for teachers that can help you learn these lessons and develop these skills. Which of these 15 life lessons do you still need to work on?

1. Learn all you can about yourself.

You will spend your whole life with you. Others will come in and out of your life. Some will leave. You will always be there. Learn what makes you happy and what makes you sad. Learn about your values and goals.

2. How to be genuinely happy.

You need to learn how to make yourself happy. No other person can make you happy. You may be happier with someone than without them but that should be a choice, not a necessity.

Things will not make you happy. It may be easier to be happy when you have the basic necessities of life but more is not always better. Learn to be happy with what you have and then more is more but less is not an end to your happiness.

3. Learn to believe in yourself.

You need to be your own cheerleader. Believe in yourself. Be the best you can be and accept that if you please you then that is more than enough.

Believe that if you set your mind to doing something then you will do it. That does not mean you will win every prize or conquer every battle. You will learn that if you set out on a task you will give it your best and that if you do not get to the top it will not be for a lack of effort.

4. Develop the skill of loving yourself.

If you do not love yourself you make it hard for others to love you. Work on genuinely being the best you there is. Love yourself unconditionally. You are worthy of love whether you win or lose. If you love yourself you will never be a loser. There will just be a time you finished in a different place.

5. Accept that it is OK to fail.

You do not hit the target every time. No one makes the basket on every throw. Cut yourself some slack and accept that the cost of accomplishing things includes the times you will miss the mark.

6. The buck stops with you.

The buck stops with you. You are in control of your life. There may be times you have limited control. In any circumstance, you can choose your attitude. As long as you stay mentally on track, you are in charge. Make the best choices you can in the circumstances you find yourself and then give yourself credit for trying.

7. You need positive friends.

You will live up to your friends or you will live down to them. Look at your friends. That is who you are about to become. Pick friends wisely.

Friends will support you in trying and succeeding. Fake friends will work to see that you fail. If you want to be a winner hang with the winners. Being a winner is not about the things you accomplish it is about the attitude you have towards what you do. Pick friends with positive attitudes.

8. Help others and accept their help.

Do not be one-sided. Help others, it makes you feel good. Let others help you. Accepting help is not a sign of weakness. We all need some help and encouragement from time to time.

Let others have the experience of feeling good when they help you.

9. Communication is about understanding others.

Communication is not about making sure others understand and agree with what you are saying. Good communication is about understanding what others are saying.

Lots of heated arguments happen when people think the other person is saying one thing and in fact, both people really agree on the subject they just use different words to describe it.

10. Feelings are your friends, not your foes.

Lots of people were taught to have bad relationships with feelings. They try not to feel. For them, sadness is a weakness.

To feel happiness, you need to be able to feel sadness. Feelings are not your enemies. More than half of the brain is outside your head. Those feelings in your gut or that pain in your neck, those are feelings your nervous system is sending. Listen to the messages, the feelings parts of your body sends you. You will be better informed and a better person if you make peace with your feelings and get them on your side.

11. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Take the things you do seriously. Take the big things that matter seriously. Do not take yourself too seriously. We all make mistakes. No one is perfect and those blooper reels can make for some hilarious viewing. Learn to enjoy your own blooper show.

12. Love and laugh.

Learn to live and learn to laugh. Love is not about owning or possessing. Love is a feeling we have when we cherish something. Do not try to hold on too tightly to love or you can squeeze it to death.

13. Believe in something or someone besides yourself.

It is good to believe in yourself. It is better to believe in something more than you. Believe in right and wrong. Believe in a higher power. Believe in truth and justice. Do not believe that you and you alone have the ultimate definitions of all these things.

14. Learn how to set goals.

Learn how to set goals and you will avoid long periods of your life when you drifted aimlessly. If your goal is to drift along and enjoy the scenery for a while do it consciously as part of a plan and hold tight to all the experiences you have and all the things you learn.

15. Learn how to play.

Life is not all seriousness. No one gets out alive anyway. Learn to play and learn to have fun. If you have to take the trip enjoy the ride.

Work to teach yourself these life lessons. What other life lessons have you learned? What lessons do you still need to learn?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

How to be on time.

By David Joel Miller.

How do those consistently punctual people do it?

Clock keeps you on time

Being on time
Photo courtesy

Some people are always, almost pathologically, on time. Others are chronically late. Our western society is run on time. Things start at a particular time and then we are off to the next thing which also has a time. It can feel like we are being controlled by the clock.

The twentieth century was heralded as the century of labor-saving devices. With all that time we saved you would think no one would ever be hurried again. The result has not been an increase in available time but more working overtime to pay for all these labor and time-saving devices.

Even with all those technological advancements, some people are always on time and some are always late. Without getting into a discussion of the psychological factors that affect punctuality, and there are many psychological reasons people are on time or late arrivals, let’s look at how the Punctual People do things.

1. Punctual People get to bed on time.

If you think your day starts when you get up in the morning you would be way off. Getting plenty of sleep increases punctuality in the same way it increases productivity.

If you stay up late you will pay for it the whole next day. Tired people drag and then have to rush from thing to thing all day long.

2. Punctual People start their day early.

Late risers are already behind schedule when their feet hit the floor. They feel rushed and harried from start to finish. Let one thing go wrong and the rest of their day is off kilter.

Burn breakfast and there is no time to make a new one. The kids or you go hungry.

Plenty of road rage is caused by people who start out late and then need to “make up time” on the roadway. This rushing is bad for your driving and is bad for your health.

Start your day early and there is time if something goes wrong.

3. Punctual People allow enough time.

You know that your morning drive takes thirty minutes but you hang around reading your email and drinking coffee till quarter till. The result you have to rush and you are still late.

The worst papers come in from the students who wait until the night before and then try to write a paper in a few hours that they should have been working on all semester.

Bosses can easily tell when someone only allows an hour for an activity that should take four. The result is hurried, partially done and almost always late if it is done at all.

Give yourself plenty of time for each thing you do and you will be more creative, do a better job and still get it in on time.

Be realistic about how long things will take and you will run on time a lot more.

4. Productive People do not schedule themselves 100% of their time.

Early in the industrial age factory owners learned that you can’t schedule factories at 100% of capacity. Try to get above a certain productivity and something is bound to go wrong. A machine breaks or jams and then shuts down the whole line, the result is that productivity falls drastically,

People need downtime for rest, relaxation and repair in the same way machines need maintenance if we are to avoid a major emergency.

Punctual people do not schedule themselves nonstop. They allow small gaps throughout their day so that if one activity runs long they do not throw their whole day out of whack.

5. Punctual People prefer waiting to being late.

Punctual People enjoy those relaxing moments when they get somewhere before the event starts. They do not mind waiting for others. A few minutes to relax between things is both healthy and it keeps you on schedule the rest of the day.

6. Punctual People start tasks early.

If you begin your work on that report or paper early there is little need to rush and you are more likely to be done on time.

Getting off the procrastination ride and doing the hard things first assures they will get done on time. Waiting till the last-minute sets you up to run overtime and be off schedule from then on.

7. Punctual People use their calendar.

Punctual people plan ahead. The plan on doing things on schedule and that means leaving enough time on their calendar for getting something done. It also means not scheduling things too close together so that getting from one thing to the next throws them off schedule.

8. Punctual people feel disrespected when you are late.

Punctual people manage their stress by staying organized and planning ahead. They do not feel stressed because they started way before this meeting with you.

They may have gone to bed early, gotten up early and left home for your meeting early all to avoid rushing and arriving stressed. It is also likely that they have planned some flex time between seeing you and the next thing they need to do.

When you are late you take away that tranquility they have created and dump your stress directly in their lap.

When you are late there is less time to spend with you, less gets done, meetings are abrupt or hurried and if they run over time, you have just stolen some time that they had planned to spend with someone else.

There are some things in life where you do not need to observe a strict start and stop time. But most of life is run by the clock. Show up late for court and you may lose your case. Be late for a job interview and you reduced the chances of getting hired.

People who are on time are seen as dependable, they do what they say they will. So if you want to join the on-time club, consider adopting some of the characteristics of Punctual People and see if this does not reduce your stress in the process of making you a more Punctual Person.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.