Time Management for Everyone

One of the most fundamental skills a person needs to possess is time management. Being able to manage your time effectively will lead to success in reaching your goals, establishing a healthy sense of accomplishment, and reducing your levels of anxiety. (Here is some additional reading to help you “Stave off Anxiety,” should you be interested.) So, let’s get started with time management for everyone.

For those of you who desire additional information on the definition of time management, here is a good article from Wikipedia; however, for our general purposes, we’ll define time management as the ability to understand, plan, and adhere to time allocation. And trust me, the following list is truly time management for everyone.

1) Set and reach goals – If you’ve never been an individual who establishes goals, you need to begin today—this very moment (i.e., right now!). Goals are your targets, and without a target, how will you know where to aim? Moreover, how much time will you waste?

Now, if you’re unfamiliar with goal setting, “What is Goal Setting and How to Do it Well” is a great place to start. You’ll need to create long- and short-term goals, making sure to define the results you’re seeking. Remember, you need something (a goal) to direct your actions; otherwise, you’ll drift aimlessly through life without direction, which reduces your overall chances for success.

2) Create to-do lists – You should have a prioritized list of daily tasks that need to be accomplished, which you created the previous day. The agenda should also have specific times allotted for each item. As you’re drinking your morning coffee, you can peruse your to-do list and focus on that day’s activities. Of course, your list does not have to be complicated to be effective, but it should be established before you go to bed. Period.

3) Do the BIG stuff first – Once you have a prioritized to-do list, you should work on essential items early in the day, if at all possible, while you still have plenty of energy and enthusiasm in the tank. Also, if you accomplish the more significant and challenging tasks first, you’ll be more inclined to complete the list.

4) Develop good habits – Good habits go a long way towards helping to increase your time management skills. For example, if you develop the habit of creating a to-do list every day, pretty soon, you’ll feel awkward without a detailed plan for the day. That is a good thing.

Conversely, if you have bad habits that are hindering your success, you need to eliminate those harmful practices, replacing them with positive ones. And you’ll be surprised at how easy the entire process becomes once you’ve established good habits. But again, don’t berate yourself for falling short here and there; instead, keep moving forward, and you “will” develop better habits over time, regardless of what the voice in your head says.

5) Stay organized – Staying organized is imperative to your overall success, because, if you’re always disorganized, you’ll struggle to stay on task, to locate items, and to keep your stress levels under control. The organization will improve your efficiency, thereby eliminating wasted time and effort—both of which you have limited amounts.

6) Delegate tasks – You don’t have to do everything yourself. Instead of overwhelming yourself to the point of exhaustion, enlist the help of your children, spouse, or even a friend. There is absolutely nothing wrong with spending time together while simultaneously checking off items from your to-do list.

On more than one occasion, I have spent time with a friend, talking and sipping on an adult beverage, while working on my car, cleaning the house, making dinner, or decorating for a birthday party. The results were: I didn’t feel guilty, and we both had a marvelous time.

7) Stop trying to multitask – I’ve said this before, there is no such thing as multitasking because you can only give your full attention to one thing at a time. So, whatever you’re doing at the moment, give it your undivided attention. However, that means you need to diligently schedule a time for yourself to relax, watch a movie, or browse social media. Don’t be that guy or gal who’s talking to someone while also checking Facebook on your iPhone. Those people are rude and irritating—there, I said it with unabashed verve.

And there you have my seven suggestions for time management for everyone. If you practice these techniques until they become second nature, you’ll be amazed at the increase in productivity. I know you can do it. But don’t be discouraged if it takes some time—that’s okay because there is no rush. You “will” succeed if you’re “Thwarting Procrastination,” continuously improving, and making any necessary corrections to facilitate the process.

Locomotion Today

As always, if you have any questions or comments, you can reach us via e-mail at eric@locomotiontoday.com.

What Does It Mean to Live as a Christian?

Have you ever asked yourself the question: What Does It Mean to Live as a Christian? Well, if you “are” a born-again Christian, you’ve probably contemplated the answer to that question more times than you can remember. And if you’re not a follower of Christ, please, just keep reading because you’ll learn something useful in understanding your fellow human beings who are Christians.

Now, we could reference the “10 Guidelines for Christian Living” by Billy Graham for an excellent inventory of items we should be doing as Christians; however, I would like to assemble a simple list of what I believe are the fundamentals for living like a believer.

1) Trust in God

God is God and you are not. Period. Therefore, you should believe what He says (the Bible), don’t think you know better than He does (trust me—you do not!), and stop expecting God to work on your timetable or to meet your expectations.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones” (Proverbs 3:5-8, KJV).

2) Pray, pray, pray

Praying is not only an outstanding method for learning more about God, but also the perfect system for relieving anxiety, fear, and depression. Hence, take all your troubles and concerns to God in prayer; likewise, talk to Him about your needs and desires, too. Note: There is no right or wrong way to pray.

Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms” (James 5:13, KJV).

3) Imitate Christ

We should strive to emulate Jesus Christ in everything we do. No, we will never reach the level of Jesus in our thoughts and actions; nevertheless, as a Christian, imitating Jesus should be our constant goal. How did Jesus conduct Himself? I’m glad you asked that vital question. And the succinct answer is: Read your Bible and find out.

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:3-8, KJV).

4) Share the saving knowledge of the Gospel with others

As a Christian, you should be happy talking to others about Jesus—no excuses permitted. Do your family and friends know your feelings about the Savior? If the answer is no, then you should be telling them. Would your coworkers or fellow students know you were a Christian if they were asked? Again, if the answer is no, you need to contemplate why the reply would be no.

Talk about Christ continuously. Tell other people the good news of the Gospel and how they, too, can be saved. After all, how will they inherit everlasting life if nobody tells them about the good news?

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15, KJV).

So, there’s my input regarding the question of what does it mean to live as a Christian. And whether you agree, disagree, or land somewhere in the middle, the most crucial aspect is to ponder that question. Meditate on God’s Words. Perform some introspection. Read additional material regarding the topic. Learn to understand precisely what you believe and where you stand in relation to those beliefs. Then and only then will you unearth how to live like a Christian.

May God bless you all. Amen!

Locomotion Today

As always, if you have any questions or comments, you can reach us via e-mail at eric@locomotiontoday.com.

Stave off Anxiety

If you find yourself feeling more anxious than usual lately, you are certainly not alone in your struggles, it’s understandable for people to feel apprehensive about the uncertainty in the world today. And if you’re stuck at home (the kids, too!), that could exacerbate the problem because your routine is altered. Moreover, you may find yourself becoming bored, and if that’s the case, you should read our post “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” for twenty-five ideas to keep you and your children occupied. So, are you ready to learn how to stave off anxiety?

First, what exactly is the definition of anxiety? Well, in simple terms: anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress and/or the unknown. In this post, I’m referring to a general feeling of worry and not an acute clinical disorder. If you or someone you love is suffering from severe anxiety, please contact a professional for assistance. (Here is a link on the subject of anxiety disorders from the Mayo Clinic.)

Now that we have at least a rudimentary understanding of what anxiety is, we can discuss methods for staving off anxiety. Therefore, without further ado, here are some suggestions to help stave off anxiety.

Use deep-breathing – When you realize your beginning to stress, close your eyes, breathe in deeply through your nose, hold that breath for three seconds, and exhale slowly. Repeat this process until the feeling of anxiety has passed.

Embrace a healthier lifestyle – Your physical and mental health is directly correlated to your ability to handle stress; therefore, you should work diligently to maintain a healthy lifestyle. (1) Get adequate sleep, (2) eat a balanced diet predominately consisting of whole foods, (3) drink plenty of water, and (4) exercise regularly.

Question irrational thoughts – When you tell yourself unrealistic or judgmental statements, you will have illogical thought patterns. Accordingly, you’ll raise your level of anxiety by entertaining such erroneous declarations. So, learn to refute those ideas before they trigger feelings of worry.

  • Example of an irrational thought: I never do anything correctly because I’m worthless.
  • Example of combating that unsound thought: There are lots of things I do correctly. And, even if I do make a mistake (everybody commits errors), that doesn’t make me a worthless individual.

Be grateful always –Remember to Be Grateful” for everything you have because there is always someone else in a worse situation than you. And “Being replete with gratitude is the passport to contentment.” Subsequently, by practicing gratitude, you’ll look at circumstances differently; thus, you will be reducing anxiety, increasing happiness, and improving the lives of the people around you.

Talk with friends or family – Sometimes, all we need is a reality check, so keep in contact with people you trust to tell you the truth—not validate your irrational beliefs. And don’t be afraid to ask those individuals for help if necessary.

Practice self-care – Before you can adequately perform your obligations to others, you have to be healthy yourself; otherwise, your lack of self-care will engender unhealthy levels of stress, which isn’t advantageous to anyone. To prevent the accumulation of stress, pamper yourself by meditating, take a peaceful bath, get a massage, read a good book, treat yourself to a special dinner, or relax with a glass of wine and do nothing. You make a choice, but make sure to schedule downtime for yourself.

Ladies and gentlemen, you now have several methods to stave off anxiety, but you have to implement these strategies into your daily routine to ensure success. I cannot emphasize this concept enough: you have to work at reducing your levels of anxiety vigorously. Because . . . nothing in life worth accomplishing happens without some degree of effort.

Locomotion Today

As always, if you have any questions or comments, you can reach us via e-mail at eric@locomotiontoday.com.

Thwarting Procrastination

There is a sign displayed in my office that reads, “If you do the things you Need to do now, then someday, you can do the things you Want to do later.” And that sign started me contemplating the topic of procrastination, especially since inaction is not conducive to success. Now, when I say success, I’m not strictly referring to accomplishments in business; hence, you may desire victory in another area such as relationships, hobbies, or physical fitness. But the fundamental concept is the same regarding dilly-dallying: you need to labor earnestly at thwarting procrastination.

In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.

The first rung on the ladder of success is admitting you have an issue with procrastination without taking it personally (read “You Can Resolve Not to Be Offended”). It’s okay because most people procrastinate in some area of their life—so welcome to the club.

Without delay (see what I did there?!), let’s unearth the primary reasons for procrastination.

1) Fear of failure – Ponder this Socratic thought regarding the fear of failure, “If you don’t take action toward a goal, haven’t you already failed?” Or how about this one, “Don’t you acquire knowledge and develop skills from attempting and failing?”

2) The bugaboo of perfectionism – First, there is no such thing as perfection, so forget about visiting that fairytale land because it’s a destination that cannot be reached. Period. Second, learn the skill of knowing when okay is good enough. For example, if you’re cleaning your kitchen, you don’t need to scrub the floor with a toothbrush, just mop and move on to the countertops.

3) Lack of focus – You need to develop laser focus if you’re going to be successful. There is no room for distraction when it comes to avoiding procrastination; therefore, pay attention to the task at hand and don’t allow trivial activities (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, memes) derail your forward progress.

4) Enigmatic goals – Goals, goals, goals. Wait, let me say that again. Goals, goals, goals. If you do not have clear goals established and written down, you have zero chance of knowing if you’ve achieved those goals. Think about it; would you start running a race without knowing where the finish line is that determines the winner? (FYI: That was a rhetorical question.)

Moreover, goals are more about routines than habits, and some goals are more difficult to achieve. With that being said, here is an excellent article on those subjects: “This Is How to Make Yourself Do What You Need to Do.”

5) No energy – This is relatively easy to overcome: get adequate sleep, eat healthy, and exercise. I know what you’re thinking, but I have another Socratic question for you. “How determined are you to reach your goals and achieve success?” Enough said.

In closing, I encourage you to remove procrastination from every area of your life, taking the steps necessary to ensure daily progress. And remember, small improvements over time lead to BIG accomplishments; therefore, keep moving in a forward direction, and you will reach the finish line because it’s just a matter of time.

Afterthought: Once you have made committed to overcome procrastination, regularly ask yourself, “Do Your Actions Match Your Words?

Locomotion Today

As always, if you have any questions or comments, you can reach us via e-mail at eric@locomotiontoday.com.

Smartphone Addiction: What You Need to Know

Smartphones have become an indispensable part of people’s lives, utilized to increase productivity, stay connected with family or friends, and for entertainment or educational purposes. Unfortunately, excessive smartphone use can be harmful to both your physical and mental health. Therefore, it’s essential to understand smartphone addiction and the methods for reducing the negative impacts of using a mobile device. So, let’s get started with “Smartphone Addiction: What You Need to Know.”

Understanding smartphone addiction

Compulsive use of a smartphone is unhealthy and can interfere with work, school, and personal relationships. And while there is no official diagnosis for this fixation, the harmful effects of smartphone addiction (a.k.a. nomophobia) are real. Many professionals consider this smartphone dependency to be an impulse control disorder akin to pathological gambling or kleptomania; consequently, people who suffer from this problem have similar impairments in social and occupational functioning.

Moreover, smartphone addiction statistics show the majority of adults and fifty percent of teenagers believe they have an issue with smartphone usage. Often the first thing that these individuals touch in the morning and the last thing they see at night is a mobile device.

Signs you may have a smartphone addiction

Warning signs of smartphone addiction include an uncontrollable desire to use a mobile device; withdrawal symptoms, including irritability, anger, restlessness, etc., when the phone is not immediately available; a persistent fear of missing out (a.k.a. FOMO); concealing smartphone use from parents, significant other, or employer; lack of concentration; and loss of interest in physical activities.

Negative consequences of smartphone dependency

There are myriad effects, both psychological and physical, of smartphone addiction. Some of the adverse mental consequences are a disruption to sleep patterns, anxiety, depression, relational problems, and even OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). Physical effects include eye strain, headaches, neck issues, increases in sickness, male infertility, and potentially traffic accidents.

Developing healthy smartphone usage practices

There are three main techniques for ensuring responsible smartphone utilization: (1) education, (2) monitoring, and (3) establishing healthy limits.

First, enlighten yourself regarding the potential dangers of smartphone dependency because education is crucial for prevention. You can perform Internet research, communicate with friends, or reach out to a professional for assistance, but regardless of the method, make sure you understand the pitfalls of compulsive behavior regarding smartphones.

Second, you need to monitor your mobile device usage, either manually or by enlisting the help of an application. The reason being, if you don’t have valid screen time data and usage patterns, you cannot make a precise assessment as to the severity of the problem. Review your utilization habits weekly so that you can recognize detrimental habits and make adjustments.

Lastly, learn to establish healthy boundaries regarding smartphone usage; otherwise, you will continue to feed your compulsion. (Note: Setting healthy boundaries will make you significantly happier, too.) So, fabricate your own rules, such as daily limits for usage, disallowing the smartphone in the bedroom, not permitting mobile devices at the dinner table, keeping your device in your purse during face-to-face communications, and leaving your smartphone at home when going for a walk.

In summary, smartphones are a productivity tool that is becoming more ubiquitous by the moment. And since these devices are not going away, it’s incredibly advantageous to develop responsible usage habits to prevent smartphone addiction and the harmful consequences. Also, to learn more about smartphone addiction, you can read this Wikipedia page on problematic smartphone use.

Locomotion Today

As always, if you have any questions or comments, you can reach us via e-mail at eric@locomotiontoday.com.

Practical Apologetics: Be Prepared for Evangelism

Today I want to discuss what I call practical apologetics. Furthermore, how said apologetics applies to evangelism, from a Christian perspective. Now, as an aside, I’m referring to Christian apologetics, but if you’re from a different religious sect, the same principles apply. This post will not be exhaustive teaching on apologetics, more like a quick start guide. So, let’s begin with some practical apologetics so that, as a Christian, you will be equipped for evangelism whenever and wherever the opportunity presents itself.

What exactly is apologetics?

The simple definition of apologetics is the branch of theology that deals with defending religious doctrines through argumentation. Here is a Wikipedia link for detailed information on the word apologetics and history of its origin: Apologetics

Do I need to acquire buku amounts of information?

For practical apologetics, no, you only need to understand some basic principles and rudimentary information. With that being said, if you desire to learn more about using apologetics to defend your faith, here is a great place to start: CARM

Why should I learn apologetics?

The most relevant answer: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15, King James Version).

Can you explain what practical apologetics means?

I use the term practical apologetics to describe an uncomplicated yet effective method for evangelizing. Traditional apologetics can be complicated and consists of several categories like classical, evidential, and presuppositional. However, for our purposes, the goal is to keep everything simple and practical.

Practical Apologetics 101

Goal – The only aim of practical apologetics is to bring individuals to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Period. We cannot convert or save anyone because we don’t have that power.

Presuppositions – There is only one God, his son Jesus Christ (God incarnate) is the only way to salvation, and the Christian Bible (God’s words) is both true and accurate. Also, we are all sinners in need of God’s salvation because that salvation with save us from eternal damnation, allowing us to spend eternity in Heaven.

Required learning – As Christians, we should be reading our Biles and studying God’s Words regularly; nevertheless, below are seven key verses you need to understand and be able to locate.

Genesis 1:1 and 1:27 (In the beginning God created Heaven, earth, man, and woman.)

Exodus 20:3-17 (To provide a list of God’s standards that we cannot meet.)

Matthew 1:23 and John 10:30 (Jesus is God incarnate.)

John 14:6 (Jesus is the only way.)

Romans 10:13 (Everyone can receive salvation.)

Daily application – The method for using practical apologetics is easy; you speak about the things of God in your conversations with everyone you come in contact with—whether they are a Christian or not. Accordingly, either they will quiz you about religious matters, or you can initiate by asking questions.

Example 1: You are speaking with a coworker regarding the upcoming weekend.

Coworker: “I can’t wait for the weekend. I’m looking forward to getting some extra sleep.”

You: “Yeah, I’m looking forward to the weekend, too. I love going to church on Sunday.”

Coworker: “You go to church?”

You: “Yes, I love singing songs about Jesus. Hey, do you know who Jesus is?”

Example 2: An individual at the grocery store compliments you for helping an older adult.

Customer: “That was considerate of you to help him with his groceries.”

You: “Thank you! But it was nothing.”

Customer: “Well, most people wouldn’t have helped him.”

You: “I like helping others because it demonstrates the love of Jesus. By the way, do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?”

Now, after you get a conversation going, you use your knowledge of Scripture to answer questions and dispel erroneous beliefs. That’s all there is to it. Simple. You have created an opportunity to evangelize by talking about the things of God.

And there you have it. You are now sufficiently equipped to begin implementing apologetics when having an evangelical conversation with someone. Will you be nervous the first time you attempt to use this technique? Yes, but that’s okay because, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13, King James Version).

Locomotion Today

As always, if you have any questions or comments, you can reach us via e-mail at eric@locomotiontoday.com.