The 2K11 24/7 XXXVI: What’s in YOUR toolbox??

Quick wins. Long-term strategy. Re-prioritization. These are words that you often hear in planning meetings where your boss is trying to figure out the 5 w’s and the h (who, what, where, why, when, how) of the next initiative coming out — but that’s not what I’m referring to right now. I’m talking about your life. In order to get the most out of our lives, how should we live? Do we live in a reactive state, always taking care of what comes across our plate day-to-day? Do we meticulously plan, trying to take every potential outcome into consideration before making the decisions in our lives? Is there a right way? A wrong way? Should we be living more like someone else in particular?

If all of these questions are flying through your head right now, I’m here to tell you one thing — you’re overthinking it.
Everyone’s different. This is a fact that we’re all told time and time again. You and I are vastly different from one another. So why do we expect that one method of living life will work best for us above another one? That a self-help book will guide us down the correct path to where we need to be? Or that if someone figures out a way to become a multi-millionaire, and we read a book on the method they used to do so, that we instantly have the tools and skills we’ll need in order to do the same? Are you kidding me? That’s a load of crock. It’s like I told you before — you’re going to have to put in the work in order to get wherever it is you want to be. But if that’s the case, then what’s the point of reading books, going to seminars — if someone’s advertising something that will improve your life, and we’re so individual that no one method will work exactly the same for everyone, then why should we even bother?
Because you’re building your toolbox.

  • You can’t build a house without a hammer.
  • You can’t paint a portrait without a brush.
  • You can’t resolve the issues in your life if you’re not adequately equipped with approaches and techniques that will nip them in the bud.


As far as I’m concerned, that’s the secret to success right there, folks — learning enough in order to properly assess and tackle whatever life has to throw at you. Think of it this way — you can never know with 100% certainty what’s coming for you around the corner. But which of these is a better scenario?
  • Running into a mugger with your empty hands, leaving yourself as an open target; or
  • Running into a mugger with something in your hands that you can use to strike back if need be
Whatever you choose to include in your toolkit will be yours to use for life. I’m going to talk about a bit about some of the methods I use, and hey, if they work for you, awesome! I think they’re highly useful and they make life a little easier for me 🙂 If you need to augment them or if they don’t work for you, don’t despair. There’s a lot of techniques out there, and there’s still a lot of the year for me to share things with you!
So without further ado, some techniques I use:
Quick Wins
In business, a quick win is something you can get out of the way quickly that will be beneficial to the company. In life, I do this all the time. If there’s something that I’m working on that’s taking forever and a day to get done, sometimes my eyes will dart around after a bit to see what I can quickly accomplish and say that I’ve done. Not only does it make you feel like you’ve done something, but the positive energy from that might make the original thing you were working on go faster than it had been originally 🙂 For example, while I’m writing this blog post, I’m also:
  • Scanning the heck out of any piece of paper unfortunate enough to cross my path, recycling them as I go so I can clean my life up
  • Whenever I need a break, I get up and clean up one area of the house, gradually making things a bit neater
  • I’ll take out the recycling and garbage pretty often, so that the house is neat and I don’t need to be asked to do so
You know. Little things like that. There’s no need to laze about and not get things done — taking care of little things will only make you want to press forward and accomplish even more, I promise you!
Long-term strategic planning
In my world, it’s usually not good enough to live day to day. I used to be at a point where I was living cheque to cheque and it really sucked. I’ve learned a lot since then, and I apply many of the same rules to my life. I devise goals, I figure out what I want to accomplish and approximately how long it will take, and then just go for it. My life is a slew of to-do lists, Google Calendar appointments and cross-referencing on my BlackBerry. At any given moment, I’m likely trying to look for overlaps in my overzealous life to simplify things, seeing where I can kill two birds with one stone (poor birds!). But if you fail to plan, you plan to fail, and for me that’s simply not an option. I’ll revisit this later when I write a future blog post on to-do lists, strategic planning and defining the path we want to take in our lives!
The way I go about this could be seen as completely idiotic, as I don’t consciously do it. This is definitely reactive. If I have a number of projects or things to do going on at the same time, I’ll just start working on one. Time will pass, and as I continue to work, my mind will usually do pretty well at reminding me if there’s something more immediate to take care of that I may have forgotten about. When this happens — do not just drop what you’re doing!!! This is HIGHLY important! By just dropping what you’re doing, it’s usually near IMPOSSIBLE to pick up your train of thought when you’re in the MIDDLE of a thought. Whenever you have to move from one thing to another, as often as possible, try to end off whatever you were doing at a definite point, so that you can pick it back up without too much of an issue.
  • If you’re designing a web layout, make sure to finish working on the item you’re tweaking before finishing — image, background, widget, whatever
  • If you’re writing a story, finish writing out the thought that’s currently in your head. If you had more thoughts after but have no time to fully write them out, make sure to make some jot notes to jog your memory later
  • If you’re doing a workout, finish your rep and take note of how much you have yet to do so you can make up for it at another time
So I hope this helps to get you thinking about ideas you can use in order to better equip yourselves to be whoever it is you’d like to be 🙂 Here’s a question for you: what’s in your toolbox? I’ll probably put this out there to the Formspring universe and see what kind of responses I get back — I’ll compile some of the best responses and put it in a future post. (If I get any responses, that is!)
But like Kevin alluded to, there’s a surprise coming your way on Monday 🙂 I hope it’ll help some of you out — but you’ll have to wait to see what it is!
Righto, time to get some more of this work done. Constant hustle, my friends! Hope everyone’s having an amazing weekend!
Until next time (tomorrow, duh),
–case p.

Author: Casey E. Palmer

Calling the Great White North his home, Casey‘s spent the last few decades in pursuit of creating killer content. From novels as a kid, comics as a teen, to blogs and photos once he could grow a beard, he’ll use whatever’s around him to create amazing stuff. When he’s not creating, he’s parenting, exploring and trying to make life as awesome as possible for everyone around him. Because a boring life’s not a life worth living!

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