Why You Shouldn’t Play Golf.

There are obviously many reasons why you shouldn’t play golf. Here are a couple relevant ones for me:

1. It takes ages.
2. It’s ridiculously frustrating.
3. Other sports provide better exercise.

Now you, as the crazy golf enthusiast you are, think I’m stupid because I don’t understand the beauty of the game. But you’re wrong, because I do. Golf can be very relaxing, rewarding, exciting and challenging (in a good way). It’s a great setting to talk about business deals or life in general and it’s a wonderful feeling to have a beer on the “19th hole” after you’ve lugged yourself and your clubs around for 5 hours.

Golf can be great for lots of people, but for me, the frustration of being lousy (getting that frigging’ ball to go where I want it to) outweighs the fun. Probably because I suck, but maybe I suck because it’s simply not my thang.

So that’s why I don’t play golf anymore. But according to today’s article in New York Times, called “On Course, Low Stakes doesn’t Mean Less Anxiety“, there are other issues with the sport as well.

The article refers to PGA Tour player Charlie Beljan’s rough road to victory in his first ever PGA Tour title. Beljan suffered a panic attack and had to fight himself through a round where he was constantly worried he was going to have a heart attack. The strange thing was that he managed to control those evil feelings and go on and win the whole tournament(!).

Beljan commented on his victory, “I was just thinking about my health, one shot at a time, one hole at a time,” he said to New York Times in a telephone interview from his home in Mesa, Ariz. “And shoot, it worked out pretty well.”

Golf can be very stressful, and not only if you’re chasing results, as New York Times writes. But Beljan said he couldn’t only attribute golf to his condition:

“I don’t think it’s been the golf that’s done it at all,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of people try to diagnose me who have told me they’ve had the same problem, but I don’t think it’s the stress of the tour. It’s everything I’ve had going on this year.”

Beljan might be more susceptible than most to these kind of attacks, but golf still provides lots of unnecessary drama: “The average golfer can feel his hands tremble just standing over a 4-foot putt to win a weekend match, and for them, all that’s at stake is their ego,” said Joe Parent, a psychologist and the author of the best-seller “Zen Golf.”

Why put yourself under all this pressure? Take a walk instead, it’s relaxing, you’re still close to nature and you won’t run the risk of lightning striking when you’re holding your golf club to the sky in frustration.

Or a panic attack.

Or a broken club.

Or the #%!”# ball slicing out into the woods when it’s #!%# meant to go straight!

Is the Blackberry going down?

I read an interesting article in New York Times today called, Quick Hide the Blackberry or The Blackberry as the Black Sheep. The article tells the story about the once very popular and very cool phone Blackberry (pioneering e-mail sending over the phone), not being so very popular and cool anymore. Is the Blackberry heading towards certain death? I quote from the New York Times article:

The BlackBerry was once proudly carried by the high-powered and the elite, but those who still hold one today say the device has become a magnet for mockery and derision from those with iPhones and the latest Android phones.

The truth is simply that RIM, Research in Motion, haven’t been able to keep up with the development of smartphones and the clunky keyboard design and rather unsophisticated touch screen is not even close to as user-friendly as the iPhone and Android phones out on the market. In the United States the company has gone from 50 to 5 percent of the smartphone market in three years, a great example of how fast the mobile industry moves.

Now RIM’s future seems dependent on the launch of their much-delayed new mobile, but despite how good that might turn out to be, it’s highly doubtful that they can compete with Samsung Galaxy, iPhone 5 and other hugely successful phones.

There are still people who like it though, “I use my BlackBerry by choice,” said Lance Fenton, a 32-year-old investor who frequently travels and needs to send e-mails from the road. “I can’t type e-mails on touch-screen phones.”

But then you have people on the other end of the scale as well, “I want to take a bat to it,” a Ms. Crosby said, after waiting for her phone’s browser to load for the third minute, only to watch the battery die. “You can’t do anything with it. You’re supposed to, but it’s all a big lie.”

So what is the future for the once mighty and nifty Blackberry? With the speed of mobile development today, we should have the answer quite soon. It might be both a goldberry and a deadberry, but my guess is on the latter. There’s a time for everything and it seems like the time for Blackberries has passed.



How to increase your productivity


(Well you could probably do something more productive than reading this very long post so…)

Yeah, this is another installment in my humble advice series. I call it humble because I believe someone’s about to comment “who the fuck are you to give people advice about this and that, you don’t know jack shit!” but maybe that’s just some small spark of internet forum fear (people seem to find it easier to be rude on the internet than face to face, gee, I wonder why?).

Anyway, back to the subject which is productivity and if you read the kind of pointless first paragraph you might think I’ve already wasted my own and YOUR precious time so how can I REALLY give advice about productivity, but if you read on a little bit further I will tell you how.

I’m might as well just come out and say it: I’m a major procrastinator, maybe not so much anymore, but I used to horrible. I used to find one million things to do instead of doing what I actually HAD to do. Talk about not knowing your priorities.

If I was working in my home office I would rather clean the house OCD-style (I’m no clean freak to tell you the truth) and in the end almost alingning the pens with a ruler until I actually started working. Everything else came first all the time. And with the event of multi-tab browsers, multi-tasking computers, I went in over my head and my brain whirred through different tasks, starting many, finishing few.

I’m now typing this blog post on my iPad. It’s going fairly well and I’m about halfway through it. If I was on my Macbook Pro I would probably slide my fingers on that clever Mac trackpad thingy and open up Twitter, another tab, Outlook or something to detract attention from what I was doing and make me lose concentration completely. This is very dangerous behaviour. Maybe I would check my book-selling stats, start reading an article in the New York Times or check out a new gadget I want to buy on Amazon. I would always find a way to escape what I was currently doing.

Why did I do this? I don’t have ADHD or any other disorder that I’m aware of. I used to play chess on world junior level for chrissakes! If you can’t concentrate during a chess game and stick to doing one thing at at time, you’re pretty much screwed or at least lost (on the chess board).

Maybe the abundance of choice got me? When you’re on the web or just at a computer the possibilties are endless. The world is your oyster (too poetic maybe?) and there’s too many temptations to fight boredom. I think this will be a big problem for future generations. The need to have too much going on at the same time will put both the attention span and the boredom threshold on a minimum. You have Skype conversations, a few poker tables, a word document, an e-mail you started to compose and perhaps also something else, just a click away. It’s too easy to lose your concentration! Or maybe they will all be multi-tasking masterminds because the human race always evolves and adapts to the circumstances that they themselves create. We made technology and technology has changed us and will keep changing us.

But I’m off topic. Well, I’m still writing this blog, I haven’t even switched app once and I’m happy about that. Why I didn’t? Let me tell you.

1. I’ve made a promise to myself to do the most out of myself. I’ve made that promise to myself many times, but now I’m sticking to it. I hope.

2. I have a rule to always finish the task I’m about to start unless something non-boredom-related intervenes. Like someone calling you or telling you to do this instead

3. If something takes less than two minutes, just do it straight away. This is from David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” and it’s the real gem in that book (the rest is not bad but overly long).

4. Find peace and quiet and know where you work best. This is very personal. When I’m at my desk at work I get disturbed all the time. People sit down next to you when you’re in the middle of something and expects you to open the e-mail that they JUST sent. It doesn’t have to be urgent. I think this is inconsiderate. Why not just ask if I’m busy first? Or maybe they’re assuming I’m on Facebook or streaming a tennis match? Hard to tell. They need to practice patience skills though or I’m going to ask for a door.

What I can do to battle these ASAP-people is to book a conference room and close the door, put on the headphones and look very, very busy. I’ll also prefer to bring the laptop or the iPad to a restaurant or coffee shop. These places are crowded but if you’re disturbed it’s staff 90% of the time. Not co-workers with problems or questions.

5. If you can, I would greatly urge you to get an iPad. It’s excellent because it’s kind of distraction-free because there’s only one window/one app on your screen and it takes at least two clicks to get to another one.

6. Write things down. There’s a million of these productivity apps out there. Not all of them are good, but find a simple one you like and start writing stuff down (I like Things, but as I said there are countless good ones) Do you need to buy lightbulbs? Call the sales dude? Pick up the kids from soccer practice? Be specific and write it down. One place. Sync it between all your gadgets and devices and you’re set.

7. Organize your e-mail into folders like asap, ongoing, cc, etc. Put all the stuff you want done today in the asap. This is a must if you spend 70% of your workday in your Outlook. This sounds bloody depressive when I think of it, but I think it rings true for many office jobs these days.

8. If you lead a team or just work in one invest in a project management tool. I’ve tried many of them like Basecamp, ApolloHQ, Teamproject, but the one that fit my needs best was MyIntervals. It doesn’t looks so hot but does the trick and more.

9. FOCUS! Don’t try to learn scuba-diving, unicycling and horse-riding over the same period of time. Prioritize what you want and need to do the most and just DO IT. Nike got it right from the get-go. Just Do It. I just to waste time on a trillion hobbies but I’ve cut down. Priority 1: Family 2: My health (including exercise) 3: My Career 4: The rest.

10. Don’t stay the extra hour. Maybe if you’re young and you want to show your skills, but as soon as you know who you are, your colleagues will know too. You don’t show skills by working overtime.

11. Avoid meetings. Some of them you have to go to, but then set a goal for them, what do you want to achieve out of the meeting. Because they always seem to drag on and waste your precious time.

12. Turn off the wifi or unplug the internet cable. If you need to write this will minimize the number of distractions the internet provides!

I know this was long so thanks for listening!

One year of Obama been laid and?


Excuse the weird header. It is a play on names.

If you want to tell the world or at least New York Times how you feel after one year of Obama, then you should go times nifty polling application and choose one word. I don’t know what my word would be, first I thought indifferent, but I surely feel better than when W was in the White House so I think positive would fit better.

If you answer “I don’t care becasue I don’t live in the U.S.!”, you might be right as well. But on the other hand we are all affected by world politics so that wouldn’t be right either.