8/14/18

The Beauty of Art 17

When I saw a picture of the United Nation's headquarters as a child, I was very disappointed. I had expected a colourful, beautiful building, Maybe a building with lots of peace doves painted all over it. And all I saw was - a building.



Recently I was looking through a magazine, and I was happy to see that I am not the only one who thinks the United Nations should have an extraordinary building, a building that shows that those working there work for peace and friendship.






  • Who is the artist who has created this sculpture?
  • What is the name of the sculpture?
  • And - most importantly - how does it make you feel?


Please let me know what you think.
The answers will come in the next blog post.

8/7/18

Stop eating old bread - pay yourself first. In time.

"I come home with fresh, wonderful bread. Just when I am about to slice it up, my girlfriend says -'No, we still have bread . Eat that first.' So you know what I end up doing? I buy fresh bread  and I eat old bread."



When I heard the Dutch stand-up comedian say this, it struck a chord. We buy fresh bread but eat old bread. Why? Because we should. We mustn't waste the old bread. Like we mustn't do things that are fun until we have done what we should. Right?

Work hard and then rest. Duties first, vacation later.

And what if we do this all the time?

We end up only doing the things we think we should, never getting to do what we really want. We buy and dream of fresh bread, but we only eat old bread.

It is time for a new approach. Let's learn from the finance world and Pay ourselves first.

From Investopedia:

"Pay yourself first" is a phrase popular in personal finance and retirement-planning literature that means automatically routing your specified savings contribution from each paycheck at the time it is received."

From now on; Pay yourself first with your time. 
For each new week, reserve time for just you. For something you enjoy. Something that gives you energy, something you really want to do. Make sure you eat at least one slice of fresh bread.

Over time, this will give you more energy. With more energy you can use the time you have more efficiently. And then you can have even more time for you.

Enjoy the fresh bread.

7/24/18

How to become the Master of your time

My father in law is trying to turn on the lamp above the stove. When he finally sees the switch, he sees it's broken. We haven't turned on the lamp for weeks.
He turns to my husband and exclaims:
Maar, dat kun je zo doen - het is en klusje van niks!
You can fix that easily - it is a mini task!
My husband and I look at each other.  We are sitting at the kitchen table with our three kids running around the house, playing. We both work full time and live in a house that is more than 100 years old. A house that needs some tender love and care. My husband turns to his father as he wearily says:
Dat weet ik. Het problem is dat er zijn honderden klusjes van niks. 
I know, the problem is that there are hundreds of mini tasks. 

I am sure you have them too. The small tasks that need to be done. Fix that broken lamp, sew that button that fell off, glue the toy your kid just broke, exchange the battery in the watch, put that framed photo on the wall...



Hundreds of mini tasks that take no time at all to do. Or at least, that's what we think. Until we start fixing the lamp and notice that we need tools to take off the lamp shade. And since we have not used these tools for some time we need to go and find them. And then we notice that we do not have a spare bulb of that type at home. And when we go shopping we forget to buy one. And then we forget it again. The third time we remember to buy a bulb and it turns out to be the wrong kind.
Suddenly the mini task is no longer mini.

Our first way of managing the hundred mini tasks, was by creating a "klusjes van niks list". In the beginning this helped us. Instead of remembering all these small things we wanted to fix, we had them on the list. Whenever we fixed one or two of them we would tick them off and be happy about it.



But after a while we saw that even if we ticked things off, new entries came into the list all the time. It was growing rather than shrinking.

So we decided to make another change. We introduced "klusjes van niks dagen". Days when we fix all these small little things. During these fixing days, we take care of all small things at once. Putting up 3 framed photos on the wall in one go, goes a lot faster than doing them one by one. The same goes for repairing clothes or lamps and most other things. And now that we have a system in place, we never feel the pressure of having a lot of things "we should fix". We know that we will fix whatever needs fixing, within a month.

So - did I just give you the secret to mastering your time? Doing things in batches and plan time do do them?

Sorry, it takes more than that to be a Master of your time.

Some things are great to do in batches.
Some are not.

Some things are great to do daily, others are better to do weekly.
Some things are well suited to be done monthly, others quarterly.

And a whole lot of things should simply be done NOW.

So how do you know which is the best way for what task?

By trying it out.

Experimenting, failing, learning and doing it again. Until you find your way. 

That's how you become a Master of your time.

7/17/18

It's almost never now or never

Elvis was my first idol. He was from my parents' generation rather than my own, but the music got a hold of me from the start. And his looks!


You have most likely heard him sing: 

It's now or never,
Come hold me tight
Kiss me my darling,
Be mine tonight

Romantic, isn't it?

Now or never can also be dramatic. Just listen to sports commentators.
 It's now or never, if she doesn't score now the team will be out of the tournament!
If he misses this penalty he will regret it for the rest of his life, it is now or never! 

And of course.

Marketing.

In marketing the pressure to act immediately is used all the time:
This is your last chance, the offer ends today!
It works. We react. We get stressed and take actions and decisions without spending much time thinking about alternatives or consequences.

Hans Rosling describes this well in his book Factfulness. 

"I Nacala 1981 ägnade jag flera dagar åt att noggrant undersöka sjukdomen, men mindre än en minut att fundera över konsekvenserna av att spärra av vägen. [...] I brådskan att "göra någonting" gjorde jag något förfärligt."

My translation:

"In Nacala 1981 I spent several days carefully examining the disease, but less than a minute to think about the consequences of closing the road. [...] In the rush to "do something" I did something terrible."


Do you do things, because you are in a hurry and believe "doing anything" is better than thinking a while before taking action? 
If you do, you are not alone. Do you recognize any of these scenarios?
The project is late, we should order overtime for everyone starting now!
Our costs keep going up. We must outsource X and Y to low cost countries! 
Such actions are just "paper actions". They look good on paper but more often than not they cause more damage than the problem they are meant to solve.

In the book Factfulness, Hans Rosling calls this rushed behaviour Akutinstinkten, the emergency instinct. This instinct was very important many generations back. The ones who stopped to think when the sabertoothed tiger came running, did not become our ancestors. They became tiger food. Our ancestors reacted fast and got out of the way. So yes, once upon a time our ability to react quickly, saved our lives. Nowadays the same behaviour gets us in trouble.
The problems we face today are often less urgent but more complex. They are better handled by thinking before acting. 
This does not mean we should over-analyze. Often it is enough to stop and think just a short while before we take action. Making sure we have understood what problem we are solving, before we choose the solution.

Resist the urge to act before you think.
There is enough time to think before acting. As you take time to think, you will notice that you end up with more time since your actions will be more efficient. 
Or, as Wallace D Wattles  put it in the book The science of getting rich:
Go as fast as you can, but never hurry.

7/10/18

Turn off the auto pilot and start living

"I'm sorry, I'm just so tired."
In Anna Gavalda's lovely book: Ensemble c'est tout (In English Hunting and Gathering, in Swedish Tillsammans är man mindre ensam), "I'm tired" is one of Frank Lestafier's most common lines. He is angry and snaps at people, using "I am tired" as an excuse for his behaviour.



Why is he so tired and angry?

He blames work. Working long days / nights as a chef is demanding, especially since Franck always buys more than he can afford (motorcycles, I can relate to that) so he works extra to pay the loans.

As readers we soon find out the reason for his tiredness sits much deeper. It has to do with his relationships - or the lack of them - with people dear to him.

Camilla Fauque also works hard. For her, the mindless work as a femme de menage (a cleaning lady) gives her an excuse not to think, not to live.

The love story is fantastic, as are the stories about friendship in the book. And as always with really good books there are things we can learn.

Franck needs to deal with his relationships before he can turn off the auto pilot and get out of the trap of work - spending money without it giving him joy - anger - work again.

Camille needs to get back to her passion - drawing - before she can turn off her auto pilot and start loving and living again.

Are you in auto pilot mode, scared to turn it off since it may change your life too drastically? Do it anyway. The alternative; turning into a robotic version of yourself, is worse.

Take care of your relationships, your passions and turn off the auto pilot. The world is waiting for you to come back into it and enjoy all it has to offer.


7/3/18

You decide when it's time

What do you think about, when you think about Time Management?

  • To do lists
  • Planning
  • Doing two things at the same time, like listening to a pod cast or learn another language while you go for a jog?

With these types of tools you can manage your time. But to master your time you need more. 

When you are a Master of your time, you live your life the way you want to. 

I recently read the book Gezien de feiten (a translation could be: Given the circumstances) by the Belgian author Griet Op de Beek. It is a good reminder of the importance of living our lives the way we want to.




Olivia is 71 years old when her husband, Ludo, dies. And she is relieved. The relief makes her feel guilty. She should not feel that way, she must not feel that way. 
Olivia hides her feelings as much as she can, but we all know that does not work. Feelings always seep through. Her daughter Roos wants her mother to grieve, to feel as bad as she does. So when Olivia goes to a poor country as a volunteer Roos does what she can to make her mother feel bad. She wants her to feel guilty. Roos gets even more upset when Olivia leaves anyway and meets the widower Daniel. 

When Olivia is away, she skypes with her daughter. Daniel happily waves to Roos when he sees her on the screen, carelessly kisses Olivia's neck and explains to Roos that all the children adore her mother. 
Roos is not happy, not happy at all and Olivia feels bad. 

After the call Daniel talks to Olivia (The book mixes Dutch and English, since Daniel does not speak Dutch).

"You don't look too happy."
"My daughter wasn't too happy."
"Why?" Zijn stem ging de hoogte in van verwondering.
"She doesn't like it when men kiss me who aren't me husband."
"Your husband?" Hij keek verbaasd. "Who died?"
Olivia haalder haar schouders op. 
"And she called that a kiss?"

[...]

Then Daniel says: 
"Maybe it's time to have the courage to believe that your life is yours"

Do you have the courage to to believe and act as if life is yours? 
Even if it means doing things others may consider wrong? 
Even if you decide it is time to stop grieving and start loving again, a lot sooner than others think you should? 


A little later in the book, Olivia is back in Belgium and she is skypeing with Daniel who is still in his home country. She explains how she is trying to forget Daniel, trying to let him go. He is hurt, he asks her why and she refers to her dead husband.  Daniel interrupts her: 
"Reminds us that life is short, no?"

Life is short. And long. But above all, it is yours. Yours to live. 

The book almost ends well. Except for the last paragraph. So I did what I often do: I decided what the end of the book was to me. That is one of the reasons I like writing stories. I get to decide what happens.

You get to decide what happens in your life. 

Master your time - Master your life.  Let me know if you want my support in that.

6/19/18

Successful launch in 90 days - how did it go?

If you set your goal too far into the future, it is easy to think:
I will start tomorrow.
New year resolutions are good examples of this.  What normally happens to your new year resolutions?

 I thought so :).

On the other hand, If you set goals too close into the future, the goals are likely to be small and your way there will be more like ticking off a to-do list than trying out new creative ways.

That's why there are 90 day challenges. They are neither too far awar, nor too soon.

Some of you have followed my 90 day challenges, the latest one being:


The launch was planned to include both a book release and an on-line course.

Last weekend my book about holistic time management was released at the event Visst har du tid. A combined book release, art exhibition and lecture.  The event became just as fun and inspiring as I had imagined it to be. :)



The other part of the challenge was to launch an online course. During the 90 days I reconsidered. Maybe an online course was not what I wanted to offer after all? I heard about people who had bought several online courses but then never opened them.

So I decided to go for a program instead. A Holistic Time Management Program with some components of an online course, but complemented with real "classes" online. During the meetings all participants and myself will talk about our learnings and insights and we will help each other.

I will enjoy the afterglow of the great event for a while and I will give myself a break from challenges to celebrate midsummer and enjoy some vacation.

When I am ready to start my next 90 day challenge I will tell you all about it.


What will your next 90 day challenge be? 



6/12/18

Hur kom konsten in i ditt liv Anki Knuts?

I min föreläsning Gör det du vill - inte det du hinner pratar jag om Spilltid. Den där tiden som bara försvinner, för att vi inte har ork att använda den till det vi vill. Speciellt inte till sådant som kräver kreativitet.

Det finns de som prioriterar sin kreativitet och som ser till att använda sin tid till det. Anki Knuts är en av dem.

I det här inlägget frågar jag Anki Knuts, som ställer ut sin konst på Visst har du tid evenemanget på lördag 16 juni, hur konsten kom in i hennes liv och hur hon gjorde plats för den.


Hur kom kontsnärskapet in i ditt liv? 

Jag har nog skapat ända från 10-12 årsåldern då jag först började sy egna kläder. Senare fick jag mitt första staffli och mina första målardukar.

Anki har studerat konst både på på hel- och deltid på Domens konstskola, KVs konstskola och Högskolan för Design och Konsthantverk, HDK.

Anki är också utbildad Fritidspedagog och har kombinerat sitt konstnärskap med att arbeta som bildlärare och konstpedagog. Nu arbetar Anki på kulturskolan i Lerum där hon startade upp en konstverkstad för barn och ungdomar för 17 år sedan.

Vad är din passion?

Jag brinner för att inspirera barn, ungdomar och vuxna i konstnärlig verksamhet! Jag har haft utställningar under åren och jag är med i Södra Bohusläns konstvandring under fyra dagar varje påsk.  Att möta besökare under de dagarna ger mig inspiration för fortsatt konstnärligt arbete.

Vad är det som lockar dig med de konstformer du arbetar med?

Jag är utbildad textilkonstnär så jag jobbar mest med akvarell, collage och fritt broderi på sidentyg som jag målar på. 

Akvarellens direkthet och skira poetiska uttryck vill jag också förmedla i mina textilbilder.
Jag målar på sidentyg och använder sedan nålen, tråden och stygnen för att förstärka färgen och formerna. Jag arbetar också med mönster på bilderna.
När jag arbetar med collage använder jag mig av bland annat papper, tyg, trådar, guld och silver. Det kan ibland ge ett tredimensionellt uttryck som tilltalar mig.

Hur hittar du tid i din vardag till att både arbeta, vara mamma och skapa konst? 

Jag tror att jag är ganska bra på att göra det jag vill och inte det jag måste. Har under många år jobbat deltid som konstpedagog och sedan med mitt konstnärliga arbete. Framförallt de sista fem åren då jag jobbar 40% på kulturskolan och resten hemma i min ateljé.

Att skapa är ju mitt främsta intresse så på något sätt har det gått hand i hand med mitt fasta arbete och familjens behov. Jag har nog under hela mitt liv varit bra på att prioritera det som är lustfyllt så mycket som möjligt! Det roliga segrar oftast över det tråkiga.

(Det senare märks väl när man träffar Anki - skrattet bubblar hela tiden fram!)

Kan du berätta något om någon av dina tavlor?

Mina tre senaste utställningar representerar mitt konstnärliga arbete:

”Drömmen om det stora i det lilla”
"Öppna ditt vackra hjärta” och
"Mina drönska tankar"

Här är en detalj från en större bild som heter just Mina drömska tankar. Det är en tavla med sidenmåleri och fritt broderi.


På lördag 16 juni har du möjlighet att träffa Anki Knuts på Kvarnen i Kungälv på evenemanget Visst har du tid!

5/22/18

Make sure you only die once

When I take care of the laundry I always check that there is no cat in the machine. I check not only once or twice, often I check three times.

Why?

Because I read about one person who accidentally killed his beloved cat by turning on the laundry machine without  noticing the cat had crawled into it. That is a terrible and tragic story, I am sorry that I am putting it into your head, but I do it to make a point.

Before I heard about this I never double checked. I just closed the machine and started it. Has the probability of one our cats crawling into the laundry machine increased since I heard the story? Of course not. My worry has.

What do you do in your life because you worry about something, because you want to prevent something terrible to happen? Does it make you waste time? Waste energy?



Feelings, Pixabay

In my survey about time, one of the challenges you brought up was:

"I spend more time thinking/planning/worrying for something I need to do instead of actually doing it."

I have personally spent a lot of time and energy on what my husband calls "catastrophy thinking". I called it being prepared, I called it being pro-active. Until I listened to a speech by Sandra Bullock.
"I used to worry about a lot of things that never happened. Other things, things I did not worry about, happened instead."
To me this was an eye opener. No matter how much I worry or prepare, I cannot protect myself or my family from everything that might happen. So I can just as well stop worrying.

Or as only Shakespeare can put it:
"Cowards die many times before their deaths.
The valiant never taste of death but once."
Don't imagine all the things that can go wrong, all the things that might kill or hurt you and others. Make sure you only die once.

5/15/18

We've managed scarcity. Now let's manage abundance

Yesterday and today, we created 90% of the data that is available today.

Let me say that again, since it is easy to just let figures fly by without reflecting about what they mean.

The last two days we have created almost all the data that exists in the world, meaning that all data we have produced for thousands of years before, is less than we produce daily today.

Data Never Sleeps 5.0 by Domo

A lot of this data may seem useless, like tweets and instagram photos, but the trend is similar for books. Before Gutenberg invented the printing press and before e-books, we had a lot fewer books available than we do today. As you can see in this graph, Europeans read less than half a book a year per person 1775.


Visualization  by Max Roser

There is an abundance of information available to us, every day, every minute. This is great! Or is it stressing? Or both?
In the survey I conducted about time, some of you mentioned information overload as a stress factor.
"I should read more..."
"I should be more up to date..."
"I should be more knowledgeable... "
As if it is an obligation to stay up to date, now that information is so easily available. 

But just because something is available, doesn't mean we have to use it. It's the same with food.

There is an abundance of food available for most of us. But you don't have to buy a lot of food just because there is plenty in the shop. You don't have to continue eating when you are full, just because there is food on your plate.

It is up to you.

Just because there is news available 24/7 you don't have to stay up to date every second. Remember, you are already more well read than the most well read person in the world 1775!

We humans have overcome scarcity in many areas. Our challenge now is to learn how to live well with the abundance we have created.

Don't let abundance get the better of you. Make yourself better by using it to your advantage. Remember, you don't have to do anything. You can choose to do whatever you want.

My book about managing time and expectations will be released June 16. My book release will include a lecture and an art exhibition. I hope many will join and talk to me about time, scarcity and abundance. Maybe I will have a chance to meet you?

Get your ticket here
The event takes place in Kungälv and will be in Swedish. 



5/8/18

Take control of your time

I was just about to ring the doorbell to the dagmamma (childminder) of my youngest son when my work phone rang. I could not see who was calling. I did not want to answer it - after all I had left work early to pick up the kids. Now my youngest was waiting for mummy on the other side of the door and the other two were waiting in their day care.

And still I did it. I answered the phone. As soon as I did, I regretted it. It was one of my colleagues from the US. One of the demanding ones, one of those working directly with the customer and therefore always eager to give the customer not only what they want, but as soon as they ask for it.

It became a short and rushed phone call which ended with me promising to look into his request later in the evening. When I finally rang the door bell I didn't feel at all as present as I want to be when I meet my kids after a work day.

Photo from Pexels


Other times colleagues called me in the evening. It could still be office hours for them, but for me it could be "putting my children to bed and reading them a story" time.

When I talked to my mentor about how to handle this, she gave the obvious answer:

"Don't answer when it is not suitable for you."

Now I can look back at this and wonder why I didn´t figure that out sooner. That I cannot rely on others taking my needs into consideration.

Looking after me is my job. It cannot be delegated.

This is many years ago by now, but I came to think about it when I read your answers to my survey about time. These are some of your answers to the question:

When it comes to managing your time, what is the single biggest challenge that you've been struggling with?
  • When my time gets booked by others
  • Not planned tasks and expectations coming from others to my life
  • Say no to others
  • To not say "no" sometimes
  • Say no
  • My own ambition
  • Some times my professional work makes it difficult to do other activities, either from not having the hours, not being in the right place or just being so demanding that there isn't enough energy for other things.
  • Prioritizing my own needs like I prioritize responsibilities towards others

Today I have a lot of ways to deal with expectations and demands, both from others and from myself. And so do you! Here are some of your answers to the question: 

When it comes to managing your time, what is your best tip?
  • Set your own expectations and targets. Do not let pride or principles or others do that for you. Make sure you yourself can answer the question Why.
  • Proritize the things that you want to do. Wait with the have-to's, they will still be there anyway.
  • Fråga mig själv: Vad är det värsta som kan hända om jag inte gör detta? = Ask myself: What is the worst that can happen if I do not do this?
  • Go offline from work
  • Remember at the end, nothing matters.
  • Say no
  • Don't care what everyone else thinks, it's your life we are talking about.
If you want to hear more about "Holistic Time Management" I am happy to inform you that I will give a seminar on June 16 in Kungälv. Mark the date in your calendar - I hope to see you there!

The seminar - and my coming book - will be in Swedish. If you would like to learn more about Holistic Time Management in English, please let me know.

5/1/18

Is there enough time in your life? Outcome of the survey

Thank you all who participated in my survey about time management :).

In this post I share the outcome of the survey and information about what comes next.

Diagram över formulärsvar. Namn på fråga: Do you have enough time in your life to do what you want?. Antal svar: 35 svar.

About half of those who responded feel that they have enough time for the bare minimun, while one fifth find that they do not have even close to enough time. 


Diagram över formulärsvar. Namn på fråga: Do you feel guilty and stressed about not doing more than you do?. Antal svar: 35 svar.
About a qyarter feel guilty and stressed almost all the time and more than half feel that way now and then. Only less than a quarter are without guilt and stress.



With so many feeling guilty and stressed, what is their outlook? Do they think there is a way out? The answers to the following question shows that two thirds are interested in finding out if there can be enough time.

Diagram över formulärsvar. Namn på fråga: If someone would tell you that there is enough time in your life for everything that is important to you, how would you respond?. Antal svar: 35 svar.

All participants in the survey were generous enough to share their biggest challenges and their tips for managing their time. I will share these challenges and tips in coming blog posts.

You also let me know how you would like to learn more about what I call holistic time management;  time management for your whole life, not just for increased efficiency at work.

Diagram över formulärsvar. Namn på fråga: If you could learn more about how to manage your time in a holistic way, how would you like to do that?. Antal svar: 35 svar.


I am happy to inform you that my book about this topic will be released June 16 - and I will combine the book release with a seminar, providing guidance in a way that 50% of you are looking for. 

I hope to see as many as possible of you then. Stay tuned for more information by following this blog, my Facebook page and/or signing up for my newsletter.

There is enough time in life for everything that is important for you. Let me help you find that time in your life.