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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Facebook free, three days and counting

Posted by Dawn-Ann on May 20, 2010

First cup o' coffee

Well, I did it. I joined the Facebook protesters who are leaving in droves, peeved at the blatant disregard FB has for our privacy and security. It actually feels pretty good to be free!

I agonized over it for awhile, don’t get me wrong. It was rather convenient to have all my friends and family in one place, after all. But Zuck’s adolescent antics had done their work. The bad taste that was left in my mouth by this whole affair made gorgonzola cheese taste like nectar of the gods. I had been soured on Facebook but good.

Day one was a little tough. There was a mild sense of withdrawal and thinking “what have I done?” But day two and three were already much better. Instead of stalking my friends, I have been spending time on my own things – some of my projects, volunteer work, and even (gasp) relaxing with Tom. It’s actually been quite nice.

And I can still contact any of my friends any time I want to – just by other means. Some of us are playing around with alternatives, to get a feel for what’s out there, but the bottom line is that we want to take control of information that’s available about us in cyberspace.

I may have to enlist a friend’s help in finding out what, if any, of my profile still remains. Facebook makes it tremendously difficult to delete your account and says it won’t happen for 14 days (I’m rolling my eyes here). Until that time, people can still tag me in photos and see my previous posts. You can just bet Facebook does that hoping I’ll change my mind.

But I won’t.

If you need help finding the delete button, here’s an article on the subject.

Take back the ‘Net, take back your privacy

Posted by Dawn-Ann on May 12, 2010

I’ll be leaving Facebook soon, so am looking around for fun alternatives. After all, I kinda like staying in touch with everyone. I’m playing around with Google’s Orkut, but not too many of my friends are there yet.

In my searching, I came across Diaspora. A group of four enterprising young men have come up with the brilliant idea of creating a collaboration of resources to host your data, so you can display what you want when you want.

The world must be ready for them. Their goal was to raise $10,000 and as of this writing they have already raised six times that. Go Diaspora guys!

My 6 steps to gittin’ ‘er done

Posted by Dawn-Ann on November 11, 2009

Ancient mode of communication

A repost from an old blog of mine that still has a lot of valuable advice in it. I should follow my own advice! ;)

I am sitting here in my office, feeling only slightly less overwhelmed than I did yesterday. I feel scattered, with several things I want to study up on, emails I need to write, websites I need to work on, marketing I need to begin, a manual I need to complete – well, you get the picture.

Starting a new venture is exciting and fun, but a little scary, too. Time to dust off some tried and true coping strategies I have used over the years to stay organized and prioritized. Maybe some of these will help you.

  1. Create that To Do List: This really is the number one life saving tip of the day, simple as it sounds. Not only does it help you prioritize, it also “clears your head.” Write down every, single thing you can think of, from developing a marketing plan to watering the plants. For huge tasks, break them down into manageable steps. Then number them from most to least important.
  2. Act on the To Do List: While purging your mind and organizing all your items on paper is a great psychological boost, it’s only ink on paper until you actually start working it. Start with No. 1 and work your way down. You will not get everything done on day one, but even if you only get the top three items completed you will have made great progress. That’s the three most important things that needed attention now out of the way! The To Do List is a morphing thing, growing, shrinking and changing shape as your days progress. Tomorrow you’ll add new tasks, re-prioritize, then start marching right on down that list again. What a sense of accomplishment that gives at the end of the day!
  3. Bust that Procrastination Habit: Fear and old baggage and all kinds of nasty things can sabotage us, causing us to procrastinate. Feeling overwhelmed can also stop us from moving forward (that’s where the To Do List comes in handy). I used to be the Queen of Procrastination and only with a lot of diligence and hard work have I been able to overcome it. I still struggle with it at times, but I’ve come a long way. Some things that help me are:
    1. Reverse engineer your goals: Take stock of where you are now and where you want to be in a year, five years and ten years. Dream big and don’t worry about how you’re going to get there just yet. Then start breaking your goals down into sub-goals, then sub-sub-goals. Decide what you can begin working on TODAY and add it to your To Do List. Even the tiniest move forward on a long-term goal can be very inspiring. Write the outline of your book or sign up for that class you need TODAY.
    2. Don’t try to do it all at once. As they said on What About Bob? , “Baby steps. Baby steps.” This goes with No. 1 above. Keep your general focus on the end result, but your day-to-day focus on the incremental steps needed to achieve it. Treat it like a job and try to do at least one thing per day that takes you closer to your goal.
    3. Reward yourself: Aside from the great sense of accomplishment you will feel from advancing toward your dreams, an occasional treat to celebrate your progress will also provide a psychological boost. Go get an ice cream cone or spend a lazy afternoon with a book at your favorite coffee shop.
  4. Surround Yourself With Good people: There will always be nay sayers and jealous folks in your life who will try to keep dragging yourself back to where they are, but you don’t need to let them. Seek out the friends who make you feel good about yourself and who can offer good advice or even just act as sounding boards. Entrepreneurial people will be able to brainstorm with you, strong and positive people can be your pillars of strength when you are feeling overwhelmed. Likewise, you can offer support to them!
  5. Keep Balanced: A new venture is like a new lover; you want to spend all your time with it, to the exclusion of everything else. Force yourself to keep a reasonably balanced approach to everything. Make time for family and friends, your spiritual needs, recreation and renewal – even if you have to schedule them into your calendar or add them to your To Do List. This will help avert hurt feelings and stress on you. A balanced life is a far more rewarding one, don’t you agree?
  6. Be Gentle With Yourself: Sure, you may need to boot yourself in the butt now and then to get motivated. What I am talking about here, though, is to not beat yourself up if you fail to do what you expect yourself to do. We all occasionally fail at something, some of us more often than others. Be gentle with yourself and forgive yourself. Give yourself permission to get up, dust yourself off and try again.

I am sure there are many more ways people keep themselves organized and focused, but these are my basics. I’d be interested in hearing any ideas others come up with.

There now. I can scratch “Write Blog Entry” from my To Do List!

It’s official: multitasking will muddle your brain

Posted by Dawn-Ann on August 27, 2009

Here’s some more on the multitasking front, proving that once again, I’m right. (When will you people LEARN?) This new article talks about tests someone did on students who multitask the most and those who multitask the least.

In every test, students who spent less time simultaneously reading e-mail, surfing the web, talking on the phone and watching TV performed best.

I have always kind of suspected that all the sensory input we receive in a normal day of TV, texting, email and video affected our thought structures and memory, but this seems to be proof. However, the six-dollar question is: do people who multitask more become more scattered or are more scattered people more likely to thrive on multitasking? That remains to be seen.

Read: Multitasking Muddles Brains, Even When the Computer is Off

This is cute: “Romancing your blog”

Posted by Dawn-Ann on July 26, 2009

I don’t know a lot of people who maintain blogs (although, I think the number may be higher than I am aware of), but some of my friends and passers by may get something out of this. It’s a cute article called Romancing your blog and it’s packed with a lot of great suggestions for how to improve your blog work. Suggestions like: Look At Your Blog As A Long-Term Commitment; Trying To Juggle More Than One Blog Is Dangerous; and, Share What’s Great About Your Blog With The World.

Worth a look, I’d say!

Dion’s first impressions of Google’s Wave

Posted by Dawn-Ann on July 25, 2009

Google’s new Wave, coming soon, has had me intrigued from the first time I saw the video. I plan to be one of the first in line to try it out and just can’t wait for the day.

So I was gratified to read Dion Hinchcliffe’s article on his first experiences with Wave. Although Dion is looking at the product from a business perspective (as an enterprise solution) and I am looking at it from a social perspective (to replace Facebook), he has some valuable insights to share.

Have a read. Bottom line – I’m even more excited than I was before!

It’s my health, it’s your health

Posted by Dawn-Ann on June 5, 2009

My friend Colleen has started a health consulting business and I thought I’d pass it on. Colleen is a caring and compassionate individual who lives to help people live better lives through proper nourishment. She says:

I’m inviting you to visit my web site (, review the information that I’m gathering and posting there, join my membership, and share my site and the information with your friends and family.

Also, if you or someone you know are experiencing health challenges or just want to make sure you are on-track and living a healthy life-style, I’d be happy to do a consultation with you. This can be done by using the forms on my site or arranging an in-person consultation. It would be my pleasure to be your “health coach” and be at your side while you correct or fine-tune your diet and lifestyle.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Colleen Kirtzinger – - Health tips & Consultations – - Note cards, decor prints, stock shots

Author says challenging simple concepts can save planet

Posted by Dawn-Ann on May 29, 2009

Going green doesn’t have to mean using less power or slower economic growth

    OTTAWA, May 29 /CNW Telbec/ – Author and democracy activist Frances Moore Lappé says we already know how to solve the pressing issues of our time, such as climate change and world hunger.
    But she says our own pre-conceived ideas about how things should work – our mental map of the world – is actually preventing us from taking action.
    In a speech at Ottawa’s Carleton University as part of the 78th Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Lappé called for a wholesale revamping of the way we view government, the economy and democracy. If we manage to do it, she says, we can save ourselves from our own demise.
    Lappé, made famous in the 1970s by her bestselling vegetarian cookbook Diet for a Small Planet, is an activist, author and co-founder with her daughter Anna Lappé of The Small Planet Institute. She says many people today are frightened by the potential for disaster, ecological and otherwise, and fearful that nothing can be done to prevent it. Lappé says we can do something – if we challenge five assumptions about the way the world works.
    The first is that going green means “powering down,” or reducing our consumption of energy. Lappé says all we have to do is stop getting energy from fossil fuels and start getting it from renewable sources like the sun.
    “Every day the sun supplies us with 15,000 times the amount of energy we’re now using in fossil fuels,” she says. If everyone had a solar panel or windmill on their roof, we wouldn’t be dependent on oil companies – and as
individuals we’d feel more in control of our own destiny.
    The second idea to dispense with, she says, is that going green means an end to economic growth. What we have to do, she says, is change our idea of what growth is. Right now, she says, the Walton family – owners of Wal-Mart -
controls as much wealth as the bottom 40 per cent of the U.S. population. Is it growth if the wealthy families just get wealthier?
    There’s plenty of room for growth, she says, if we learn to do things more efficiently. For example, she says various estimates show that between 25 and 50 per cent of all food produced in the United States is wasted. And that every year, Americans throw out some 300 pounds of packaging material.
    The third idea she wants to challenge is the notion that humans are by nature greedy, self-centred and materialistic. Under certain conditions, she said, we can be monsters. But there wouldn’t be 6.8 billion of us on the planet today if we didn’t also have positive qualities such as empathy, cooperation and fairness. As a society, she said we should simply try to make sure our rules try to bring out the best, not the worst in us.
    The fourth idea she disputes is that we dislike rules. She says humans crave structure, particularly rules that make sense to us as individuals and which foster a sense of inclusion. We will accept the right rules, she says, citing as an example a German law that enables individual citizens to sell power they produce at home, through renewable sources such windmills or solar panels for example, to utilities at a guaranteed price. People there have embraced the idea, she says.
    The final concept she wants to challenge is the idea that our problems are so pressing there’s no time for democracy, and only an authoritarian regime can save us. She believes the only hope for the planet is to trust in people and set rules that bring out the best in us.
    “The mother of all issues is who makes the decisions,” she says, adding that if decisions are taken by people with the most money, we all suffer.
    Lappé says she’s not against a market economy – just the idea that there’s only one way to run the economy.
    She also wants to challenge the idea, she says, that change is impossible. Recent history has shown that seemingly insoluble problems have in fact been solved. “It’s not possible to know what’s possible.”

    Organized by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Congress 2009 brings together over 8,000 researchers from Canada and around the world.

Pay attention: multitasking is highly overrated

Posted by Dawn-Ann on January 6, 2009

I used to have a young, upwardly-mobile coworker who took great pride in her “multitasking” abilities. She would type while she was talking on the phone, at the same time keeping an eye on her instant messaging and what was going on in the office around her. Whenever I talked to her I got the distinct impression she was not really hearing me (how could she be?) and everything she did was halfway, filled with errors and omissions. Let’s just say attention to detail was not her strong point.

I, on the other hand, take pride in my precision. It may take me a little longer to get a job done, but it is done really well when I do. This saves a lot of time in the long run because when a task is done right the first time, it can be put aside and not revisited. My young coworker was constantly having to go back and fix what she’d missed or messed up on.

Therefore, I was extremely gratified to see Mike Elgan’s recent article entitled Work Ethic 2.0: Attention Control. I hate to say I told you so, but – yeah… Mike says:

A person who works six hours a day but with total focus has an enormous advantage over a 12-hour-per-day workaholic who’s “multi-tasking” all day, answering every phone call, constantly checking Facebook and Twitter, and indulging every interruption. Read the rest here.

Try though we might, we can really only focus properly on one thing at a time. Doing too many things at once causes them all to suffer. If you give your undivided attention to the task at hand and get it done right the first time, it will save you a ton of time, frustration and embarrassment in the long run.

Sir Richard’s thoughts on success

Posted by Dawn-Ann on December 2, 2008

Sometimes you just can’t think of something to write, right?  So I dug up an old post from last year.  Enjoy!

Originally posted March 2007:

Sir Richard Branson is someone I admire for his daringness, adventurousness and smarts. I devoured his biography last year (it reads like an adventure novel) and just finished his latest book called Screw It, Let’s Do It, a small book of life lessons. Here are a couple of quotes I like that illustrate the kind of guy Sir Richard is.

“I was brought up to think we could all change the world. I believed that it was our duty to help others and to do good when we could. I’m sure my headmaster was stunned when I wrote a long report about how he could run the school better. I ended grandly with the words, ‘I would be very interested in your views on this, and any money saved could be put towards my next plan…’

“He didn’t laugh, or even cane me for my cheek. He handed back my report and said dryly, ‘Very good, Branson. Put it in the school magazine.’

“Instead, I left school and started my own magazine.”


“You don’t have to fill your time rushing about in order to use your time wisely… Bill Gates – the world’s top charity donor – said his staff could spend two hours gazing into space, as long as their minds were working, and Albert Einstein came up with the theory of relativity in his head without paper or pen.”