Blogging.

Blogging is hot. Internet is available to a lot of people and they tend to use it. Not only for social media or playing online games. For many people out there, the internet is used to share their story with the rest of the world. Blogging.

Blogging is popular, many people write blogposts and even more read them. It’s not only because of the internet, that would be to easy. The internet makes it more easy to reach a lot of people with just one click. But the main reason that blogs are rising, is that people love to describe their thoughts and ideas and share them with the world.

Writing is a good way to express yourself. Ofcourse it’s not like talking but when you write with passion, you will notice that people will understand you. Maybe even better than when you talk to someone. Writing has the advantage that you don’t have to repeat yourself everytime. You can write down your idea and share it as many times as you want.

For some people it’s easier to share their ideas from behind their computer. Presenting it on a podium during a TEDx Conference is not for everyone :).

I like to blog. I don’t really know if many people are reading my posts but the comments I get are always positive. You don’t have to share my ideas. You can read them and have your own opinion. That’s the nice thing about blogging. It’s free and everyone can do with it what they want. No obligations and no limits. I wish everything would be like that. Our life would be much simpler.

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Start reading.

Everyone has read a book or an article. When you are young you did because your teacher told you. But have you started reading a book since then?

I guess there are a lot of people who have not read a book since they left school. Maybe they did pick up a studybook when they started in their new job because they needed to follow another course. When they had the chance, they will never buy a book. Reading is boring, I’d rather watch television. That is a fair opinion, watching television can be interesting. But I don’t believe that you can find really interesting programs all day long :).

read-books

A couple of months ago I wrote about discovering my old love, reading books. I have read a lot of books when I was younger, mostly adventure books. But as with many people, you get busy and reading becomes like a difficult assignment. You need to make time for it and it seems to take ages to finish the book you’re reading. I think the power is to find the books you really like. For some it can be fantasy, others like to read biographies. I prefer books that tell the story about our lives and work. Books that encourage you to think about your own life and how you are living it. That doesn’t mean I don’t like fantasy books, it’s just a long time since I’ve last read one.

It’s not that I’m reading all day long. I’m still looking for a good balance. I noticed that it’s difficult for me to read in the evening. I’m tired when I get home and it’s easy to get distracted doing something else. That’s why I decided to get up early in the morning at 5:30 AM. I take a shower and start reading while I eat breakfast. Depending on the book that I’m reading, it happens I arrive later at work because my book is so interesting. ”The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing: A Spiritual Memoir” by Jeff Goins is such a book. This is really a quick read that you should definitely check out.

If reading a book takes too much time for your busy schedule, there are a lot of interesting blogs out there. A blogpost is easy to read and only takes a couple of minutes. In fact I call books slow information because it can take quite some time to read them. Blogs are much quicker to read and can also provide great lessons.

Summer is near, a lot of television programs are at the end of their season so now is the time to start reading. Ask your friends what they are reading and if you find a book that attracts you, just buy it. You wont’t regret!

Podcasts all over the place.

I think it must be one year ago I discovered podcasts. I read something about it on Lifehacker and wanted to try some out. Now I’m subscribed to almost sixty podcasts and it’s my main source of knowledge.

What makes podcasts so attractive?

Well, they are mostly free, easy to follow and exist in all sort of topics. The main reason for me to like podcasts is that I can listen to them while driving to my work or when I bring my birds to the various tournaments in Belgium. They’re also handy while I’m feeding my birds. I can’t read a book or watch television when I’m busy, but my ears are always free. When I take everything into account, I listen at least 15 hours of podcasts every week. That is 15 hours of valuable information to gather while traveling or doing something else. There are worser things in life ;).

How did I found so many podcasts?

It’s like reading blogs. You read a post that links to a related post and the train has left the station. Before you know, you can’t keep up anymore. Every day, new podcast episodes are waiting for me to be listened.

How to keep track of all those episodes?

Most of the time, I listen to a podcast episode via my iPhone which I always have with me. I started with the Podcasts app from Apple itself. This app was another trigger for me to start listening podcasts. Early on, I discovered that the Podcasts app from Apple could not fullfill all my wishes when I started subscribing more podcasts. I wanted an app that could download new episodes automatically, create playlists and rank them by priority. Based on reviews and recomendations in the podcasts, I chose Downcast which I shortly discussed in a previous blogpost. Up until now, I’m really pleased with my choice. I use the app on my iPhone, iPad and now a couple of weeks on my MacBook Air. It costs some money, but you get bang for the buck. Everything is synced on all my devices via iCloud. Allthough I sometimes have a problem an my iPad or MacBook Air since I don’t open the app that much on those devices.

Which podcast do I listen to?

My alltime favorite is Mac Power Users, hosted by Katie Floyd and David Sparks. As the title says, it’s all about Mac and iOS and they has cost me quite some money ;). I love the tips and tricks they share and I’m pretty sure they’ve saved me a lot of hours by automating as much as possible.

This Is Your Life with Michael Hyatt is the podcast that inspires me the most. It is great to learn from someone with his experience. I’m able to lift both my personal as my work life to a higher level by applying his lessons.

The iMore show is my way to keep track of all new things in techworld. They cover mostly Apple devices but always with a blink to the other players in this market. Quite often, they’ve also lead me to a solution for something that went wrong with my Apple device. Thanks for that!

There are a lot more podcasts but there is one I want to mention as an extra: Entrepreneur On Fire with John Lee Dumas. I don’t listen to every episode but his enthusiasm is inspiring. It’s a daily podcast where John interviews an entrepreneur everyday. A great quote or a good book is always nearby.

That’s it, time to listen some podcasts!

Concentration, concentration, concentration.

How many times it happens you are reading something and after a couple of minutes you’re wondering what you were reading? I guess it won’t only happen when reading but also while talking to someone and even when driving your car!

I have to be honest that it happens a lot to me. Sometimes I have to re-read the same sentence twice because my mind was taking me to another place. It is strange, like my mind wants to go one and I am not ready for it. After a while, you notice that you are in another atmosphere and forgot everything of the last couple of minutes. I’m often wondering whether I am the only one who has this ‘experience’? When I am talking to someone, is he or she also getting lost in thinking about other things or is it just me? It is not that I do not respect what the other person is saying, but my mind wants to take the next step. Even if I am not ready for it. Before moving on, I want to make one thing clear. There is an important difference between losing your concentration in a discussion and just not being interested. When someone is not interested, that person doesn’t even start listening. When you are interested, you listen but your mind does not take note of what is being said. Maybe the other person has said something so important that your brain already starts processing ideas about this topic.

Most of the time, you are not concentrated because you did not empty your brain before starting a new task. Your brain is made for creativity and not for remembering stuff. If you try to remember all sorts of stuff, you’ve got a higher chance of being less concentrated. That is why I jot down my ideas as fast as I can in services like Evernote and Omnifocus. When I think of a topic for a blogpost, I store it in Omnifocus. By doing so, my mind is free to discover other interesting topics and to live with more focus. Need to call a friend when arriving at home, store it in Omnifocus and let it remind you at home. Simple things with an amazing impact! But after all, give your mind a break. In the rushing time we live in, you need to make time to take a break.

What can you do about it?

  • Take a break whenever you can.

  • Read about concentration and focussing on what you are doing at this moment. I recommend blogs like Time Management Ninja by Craig Jarrow and Productivityist by Mike Vardy. Or read the book from David Allen about GTD, this goes beyond our topic but will help you in being more focussed.

  • Do the things you like and enjoy. Passion leads to focus.