The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system I instantly fell in love with. Its creator Francesco Cirillo is an Italian from Italy.

Pomodoro is Italian for tomato. The Pomodoro Technique sounds so much better than The Tomato Technique.

The author was a student studying for an exam in 1987 when he first used a kitchen timer like the tomato design one on the book cover.

You time-box the tasks you have to complete each day into multiple “Pomodoros.”

Set the kitchen timer for 25 minutes to allot for one task. At the sound of the timer going off at 25 minutes take a five-minute break.

Schedule each Pomodoro in 25-minute intervals.

This is a genius time management system. Up soon I plan to buy a kitchen timer for this purpose.

The timer will tick while you’re working and that’s okay if you are the only one in the room. Or if you work in an office where you can close the door.

In the book Cirillo gives tactics for using team Pomodoros.

25-minute intervals are the perfect length of the Pomodoros.

There’s no reason to warm a chair 10 hours a day at your desk at work. The trick is that you should be productive within a normal seven-hour workday.

The Pomodoro Technique is perfetto as Italians would say.

It’s the perfect solution to getting things done with more focus power and energy.

Dream first Details Later

Ellen Bennett wrote Dream First Details Later:

Her memoir and how-to-succeed in business guide.

The founder and owner of Hedley and Bennett she sells cook’s aprons (for chefs and at-home cooks).

The higher quality aprons cost $85 to $125.

A chef at Providence in Los Angeles she was frustrated with the ill-fitting poor-quality aprons the restaurant owner was going to buy.

“I have an apron company. I’ll sell you better aprons,” Bennett told him.

That was the right-then start of her own apron business.

She chronicles the evolution of Hedley and Bennett from first thought to ultimate sucess.

The trick is that most start-up businesses fail because the products being sold no one wants to buy. To become a Next Millionaire Next Door, you should be able to see a need in the market and capitalize on filling the need.

Today according to Sam Conniff Allende in Be More Pirate creating a business plan is Out. Drafting a Pirate’s Code is In.

A one-page business plan is all you might need. See the book The One Page Proposal by Patrick G. Riley for details. I’ve used this book to create a one-page sales pitch.

See the lovely Hedley and Bennett aprons for sale.

Coming up a review of another great book. It didn’t get listed in the book directory in the forthcoming print copy of Working Assets. Owing to the fact that the career book was already in production.

Click on the Career Resources header at the top of this blog for an updated list of books that are in the forefront.

Be More Pirate

The book below was a game-changer for me:

It’s shelved in the business section at the library. I recommend buying a copy and marking it up. Though I have a photographic memory so remembered the key integral points the author talked about.

Be More Pirate is the guide for taking on the world and winning. There’s no other book like it.

At the end of the book, I created my own Pirate’s Code using three of the author’s articles first and four of my own at the end. Each article contains one or two sentences that reinforce the ethic of that article.

My Pirate’s Code has these 7 Articles:

  1. Take Happiness Seriously.
  2. Embrace Diversity to Raise Your Game.
  3. Make the Citizen Shift.
  4. Celebrate Individuality.
  5. Commit to Truth-Telling.
  6. Use Storytelling to Create Empathy.
  7. Break Bread Together.

Toward the end of Be More Pirate the author told the story of a Black musician circa 1982 who started to have dinner with Klansmen. The three men gave the musician their white robes. Interacting with the Black man they realized the folly of their hate and no longer wanted to be a part of the Klan.

Whether predictably or not the NAACP castigated the Black musician for breaking bread with the enemy.

The fact is not all of us will have 1Million Instagram followers willing to do our bidding and buy the products we’re selling or the propaganda we’re peddling.

One person who is able to change the lives of only 1,000 individuals or 100 or even only 10 is making a veritable difference in the scheme of things.

I will end here with the 5 rules of How to Be More Pirate to encourage you to buy the book:

Pirates draw strength from standing up to the status quo.

Pirates bend, break, and ultimately rewrite the rules.

Pirates collaborate to achieve scale rather than growth.

Pirates fight for fairness and make enemies of exploitation.

Pirates weaponize stories then tell the hell out of them.

The One Day One Job Approach

Five months ago, I read The Pretty One by Keah Brown. Her first-person account of living with cerebral palsy. How because she couldn’t walk fast crossing the street drivers in cars honked their horns at her.

One part of the memoir stood out to me. Kean Brown exposed the insanity of how able-bodied people rush-rush-rush places every day filling their lives with nonstop activities.

This week I decided to conserve my energy for doing only the things essential to maintaining my well-being.

This daily living habit I term the “one day one job” approach.

Even when I’m not at my job I consider the tasks I need to do “jobs.”

My one job might be posting this blog entry. Or doing the workout routine.

I’ve learned this life lesson about not taking on herculean tasks that derail my focus and energy.

It’s precisely because living with a disability gives us challenges that we are uniquely qualified to “opt out” of the busywork insanity.

Without feeling shame or regret for not living up to these impossible demands that the majority of Americans make on themselves.

I say let people who have a vested interest in living under the cover of what’s “normal” burn themselves out running around without stopping every day.

Easily 12 years ago I read a book by Leo Babauta. In it he talked about limiting the focus of your life to your “5 Commitments.”

My 5 passions are art music fashion books and exercise.

One other tactic I adopted is to KISS–Keep It Simple Sweetheart.

In 2003 I wrote in an online article: “If it doesn’t fit, I won’t commit.”

We have all the time we need to get done everything we need to do.

Taking the time to do what’s integral to our health and happiness. Discarding the things that numb us or distract us or divert our attention from our 5 commitments.

This is something to think about:

Daring to let go of the busywork.

Risking “missing out” when attending those events would not add benefit to our life.

Taking joy in being present and centered on the things we choose to do.

The Bullet Journal Method

Today I’ll talk about how a nifty little product saved my life: The Bullet Journal.

The creator of the Bullet Journal Ryder Carroll had multiple learning disabilities. His invention was born out of his need to manage his workload.

A fellow Visionary Carroll sought to control his life and overcome the obstacles he faced.

The detail about Ryder Carroll having learning disabilities impressed me the most. He “turned his trials into triumphs”–the topic of a book I’ll review shortly.

I tell you: “No you can’t” is not an acceptable answer. In the first place why should we place the direction and outcome of our lives in another person’s hands or control?

Ryder Carroll invented a product to help himself. Then he crowdfunded the journal to sell it to others.

It cost me $31 total to buy the official hardbound Edition 2 of the Bullet Journal with the blush-color cover.

Every year or when the stock runs out a new color is introduced for the cover.

Keeping the Bullet Journal saved my life. I had checked out of the library the Ryder Carroll companion book The Bullet Journal: Track the Past Order the Present Design the Future.

The purpose of keeping and using the Bullet Journal is to align your actions with your values. It’s “A mindfulness practice disguised as a productivity system.”

The Bullet Journal Method book is available in over 20 languages. If you sign up for the Bullet Journal emails you get 15% off your first journal order.

There’s true empowerment to be had in this story.

I’ll end here with what resonates with me the most:

Ryder Carroll was not afraid to risk acting on his vision to help others by selling a product he invented first to help himself.

Executing a plan despite fearing what others will think of your vision is the only way to live.

It’s not easy to dream of doing something that you’re told can’t or shouldn’t be done. Having the courage to follow through with doing this thing is vital to your happiness.

T.S. Eliot is quoted: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

The older I get the more determined I am to go after my goals with gusto.

Using the Bullet Journal, I think I can achieve what I set out to.

See these links:

Bullet Journal Website

Plans vs Goals vs Resolutions vs Intentions

Identity Compass

One for All – All for One

I reviewed the book Betting on You in here before. In this book the author talks about the right way to be a “slacker” on your job.

Elsewhere I’ve read that there cannot be justice for one person without justice for everyone.

Banding together in the workplace to exercise your rights is called for.

Have any of you like I have had your physical health savaged working 5 days a week at a job during the pandemic?

Entering the 3rd year of the COVID outbreak is no joke.

In a coming blog entry I will talk about the life lessons we can learn from surviving on our jobs without getting economic reparations for risking our health.

This ties into what I’m writing in a book about money health for peers.

So much of what sparks joy in our lives doesn’t come from a Prada purse or Jimmy Choo shoes.

Working to spend money on things isn’t the way to live. Living to spend time with those we love is.

At the start of 2022 in this blog I will also talk about doing Spring Cleaning in January to clear the cobwebs of thoughts out of our heads.

As well as how editing the contents of our closets can not only spark joy.

Weeding the old and outdated the outgrown and no longer useful elements of life will pave the road forward for success in 2022.

Disability Visibility

This book I checked out of the library. The Amazon.com book description testified that the first-person accounts were told “with love and hope.”

A lot of the stories in this collection feature events that dehumanized the disabled person.

The word is Crip to talk about this movement of disability justice. Other people can use the word Crip because I won’t.

Elsewhere in an internet article a person living with a disability compared the pros and cons of viewing your first-person experience through a lens of Positivity or Negativity.

In this Forbes.com essay the author signaled that the distinction between the two views often comes down to your socioeconomic standing in society.

If you live in poverty and have a disability this could alter your frame of reference. Dealing with daily struggles you might focus on the negative parts of your life.

If you are better-off and your finances don’t limit you it might be easier to have a sunny-side up view of your disability.

What do I think? I’ve been in a frenzy of reading Disability and Social Justice first-person accounts. The next book that’s coming my way is Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice.

The drawback to the Positivity crew’s stance according to the Forbes article is that it can be seen as being critical of disabled individuals who don’t make it the way others do who have disabilities.

My own compassion is rare. My literary agent told me once: “It’s remarkable. You pulled yourself up by your own bootstraps. Yet you have compassion for people who are unable to do that.”

The bootstrap myth is just that–a myth. “It Takes a Village” to live with a disability every day. Those of us who struggle deserve to be given help and compassion. On our terms. Not the terms of the do-gooder who decides they want to help us or thinks that we need their help.

At my job whenever I see someone come in a wheelchair I don’t ever ask: “Do you need help?” The distinction is that I ask them: “Would you like help?” This signals that I understand they are not so disabled that they can’t do things on their own if that is their choice.

As regards focusing on the Positive instead of dwelling on the Negative I’m guilty of this. Not telling anyone how hard my life is. Not expecting outsiders to understand what it’s like to have a disability.

I’m an Optimist. That is my nature. I’ve had to be an optimist, or I wouldn’t have survived what I went through.

In my life I soak up like a sponge what has come to be called “inspiration porn.”

Give me joy and cheer and hope.

The reality is that not all disabilities are equal in severity. This doesn’t matter. Whatever your disability is it’s plenty hard enough for you.

So–I wouldn’t be quick to minimize or discount what a person goes through when they are in remission or have a less chronic illness.

In the coming blog entry I want to start to talk about a topic I’ve become inflamed about: worker’s rights. I’m going to use this blog to expand in detail on what I wrote about in the Working Assets book.

It’s a fine line: who to trust to tell the personal information about your disability.

A book like Disability Visibility is necessary to bring to light the distinctive perspectives personalities and experiences of those of us who have a disability.

Getting in Indie Gear

The career guide in the photo above is the best quick read on how to create an independent income for yourself.

In my view it’s the best book in this category. I plan on buying a copy to read over and over.

In tandem with this practical business book I recommend one other book wherever I go and in whatever I write:

Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions.

Ben Arment the author of Dream Year reinforced what I’ve always realized: Those of us who choose a different path in life or a unique career can become riddled with self-doubt.

Strive to conquer the self-doubt which is a natural feeling to have when you’re an Artist/Creative or other maker or person in business for yourself.

Use the self-doubt as the catalyst for examining how to overcome this fear. In Dream Year you will be given the confidence to “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams / live the life you imagined” as the famous quote implores.

I’m getting ready to publish Working Assets the book in print and e-book format. My goal is to have the book go on sale in the early spring.

I checked Dream Year out of the library which you can try to do if you don’t want to buy it.

Dream Year is a sharp, succinct, and cohesive collection of action steps to take.

Acting with Radiant Defiance

Today I value as I did when I was a disc jockey in the 1980s having the radiant defiance to be unusual.

I’ve read the book The Next Millionaire Next Door shown above. Those of us who are financially well-off have what’s called “social indifference.”

I’ve coined the term “radiant defiance.”

Individuals who have social indifference to the trappings of acting rich become millionaires.

“Keeping up with the Joneses” is the route to a miserable life of mounting debt.

The millionaires next door become well-off through hard work, discipline, conscientiousness, and integrity.

They don’t live in luxury homes in upscale neighborhoods. They don’t drive a Mercedes Benz.

These millionaires are frugal as a rule.

Why am I writing about this? It’s to get readers to value doing your own thing, not what others are doing.

Millionaires don’t follow the crowd. They don’t (and I don’t either) spend time on social media or watching TV. They don’t spend hours getting worked up over political issues.

In short, the millionaires next door act differently from how most people live.

The point is that I urge readers to reject having what constitutes success in America–the mindset of earning more and more money to be able to buy material goods that make you appear rich.

Real millionaires don’t succumb to “affluenza” the disease of consumerism.

Nor does where you start out in life determine how far you can go. It’s the habits you adopt along the way that determine whether you succeed or fail.

In the book shown above the authors corroborated that individuals who have disabilities often go into business for themselves and do quite well at this.

To wit: your SAT score and college GPA don’t correlate with whether you’ll be successful later in life. See under my Book Reviews category my review of Late Bloomers, which also denounced the early “conveyor belt” of SAT scores and elite colleges as being predictors of future achievement.

It’s commonly called social indifference. I call having the guts to act true to yourself radiant defiance.

Being normal isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. What makes you different gives you an advantage.

I’ll end here with one thing the millionaires next door share:

They chose a career that is the right fit with their personality. They saw a need in the market and capitalized on filling that need.

Coming up in the next blog entry I’ll talk about my own work history to give readers insight into how acting with radiant defiance can help you succeed in any goal..

Motivational Book

Former New York governor David A. Paterson published his memoir Black, Blind, and in Charge: A Story of Visionary Leadership and Overcoming Adversity. His first-person account has no trace of pity, bitterness, or regret.

On page twenty-eight Paterson asserted that the root of his adversity was not the disability itself only his reaction to it. He offered a fiery condemnation of not owning every facet of your identity. That your disability makes you who you are has been a war cry I haven’t wanted to utter.

Why do I fear telling others that I have a disability? Ironically in my first book I limned this “secret sauce” that compelled me to become an Advocate. Left of the Dial was a graphic pager-turner that detailed my early recovery.

Only Governor Paterson said it better than I could’ve when he wrote:

“This may sound strange, but whoever you are, whatever you are, you should be proud of it. If you’re proud to be black, if you’re proud to be a woman, if you’re proud to be American, if you’re proud to be a New Yorker, you should be proud to be blind.

Even though it causes you problems, it’s who you are. It’s what you are. The question is, ‘What will you be?’ And you’ll never be anything until you resolve the fact that God created you the way you are and even if there are imperfections, this is who you are.”

Always I have thought that I succeeded because of having an illness not despite living with a disorder. Shunted into the mental health system I fought to get a job and live in my own apartment. Two things people with normal lives take for granted that they can have.

By dressing in my “Greenwich Village” garb I sent a clear message to anyone who saw me: I’m not giving up until I get what I want. My clothes were as radical as I was–free-form like my thinking. A Visionary, I thought recovery was possible even in 1987 when I was told it wasn’t.

“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go” was T.S. Eliot’s famous quote. Often, I credit my sartorial risk-taking as being the genesis of my take-no-prisoners approach to achieving my goals.

According to Black, Blind, and in Charge, there’s a sixty-eight percent unemployment rate for blind people in this country. That David A. Paterson obtained a J.D. and rose to become a governor says it all–the fight is worth taking on.

Though this 55th governor of New York didn’t have a mental illness I recommend everyone read his book. In July I cohosted with Max Guttman L.C.S.W the Zoom workshop Editorializing Lived Experiences: Creating an Authentic Voice and Impactful Message in Professional Writing. At this event I told the attendees: “Don’t give up the fight.”

The reality is that fighting for our rights as individuals with disabilities has always been necessary. Stereotypes abound when you have schizophrenia or another mental illness. All too often mental health staff themselves persist in thinking that recovery isn’t possible.

Who are you going to believe–a person who tells you there’s no hope or someone like me that understands that recovery comes to each of us in different guises? Everyone’s recovery is as individual as our thumbprint. Bake a cake. Sing in a choir. Ride a skateboard. It’s all great whatever you choose to do.

If you ask me the bar has been set too high by outsiders as to what constitutes the definition of “recovery.” The average Joe or Josephine on the street doesn’t get half as much scrutiny as mental health peers do in terms of what we’re able to do.

For over five years in my blogs I’ve sung the praises of Rite Aid cashiers.. A lot of them have been ringing up customers’ orders for five six or seven years. Doing it with a smile every day. No one gives them grief for holding a minimum wage job.

Yet when a person with schizophrenia works behind a Rite Aid counter, suddenly they’re viewed with pity if not outright contempt. While a person like me endures an obstructive chorus telling me that I’m “the exception to the rule” because I was diagnosed with schizophrenia and have a Masters’ degree and work as a professional librarian.

You got a problem with a person with a disability who demands equity in society in whatever form their participation takes? That’s what I want to ask outsiders who don’t have lived experience with an illness who dare claim to predict our destiny in life.

David A. Paterson beat the odds that were against him. His book should be required reading. Whatever kind of disability you have, I recommend you think for yourself about what’s possible for you to achieve.