How to find more time?

I must disappoint you: it is not possible. But read on.

There will never be more than 24 hours during one day. Actually, once a year it can be 25 (in some countries) and it happens on last Saturday of October. It may be not enough for big plans unless these big plans are limited to just this one special night.

Many of us complain that there’s not enough time for many things. I’m no better – I couldn’t find time to write this blog post for too long. There is some solution needed then. As it is not possible to add extra hours to our days, the only option is to make better use of what we have already. To achieve that, we can make improvement in two major areas:

  1. Focus and allocate time for what is really important.
  2. Reduce time wasted.

Let’s discuss first point first. To not reinvent wheel, we can use famous Eisenhower matrix to categorise our activities:

Eisenhower Matrix

  • First quadrant shows all emergencies as well as activities postponed so long, that we are now five minutes before deadline. Things that just have to be done now.
  • Second category occupy all important stuff defined as long term goals, plans for future, everything what matters but doesn’t need to be done now. What is missing in many publications is that it is usually good to have such activities planned for specific time frame, even if it could change later. Setting goals like buying house in ten year’s time is something we can relate to. If we say it will be done just “in the future”, there’s no way to evaluate progress, to prepare when time comes and to measure if we’re close to completion. Even if we miss predicted goal, we can take a lesson from that and make improvements for next goals. Have your goals always clearly specified. Adjust later if required.
  • Things not important but seen as urgent. There’s usually urgent for someone else, never important to you. Ignore them. Or delegate, if possible. Or reschedule. Find any excuse to not put your energy into them.
  • Last category belongs to all time wasters but it’s worth separate discussion.

File:The Persistence of Memory.jpg

Salvador Dali: The Persistence of Memory. Source: Wikipedia

Time wasters.

We’re getting to second point mentioned at the beginning. To properly identify time wasters, it is good to make journal for all activities we perform and how much time they take. Try to make notes for just one week – how much time you spend for planned and unplanned activities and what they are. You may be surprised. All of us can recall moments where we started to scroll through social media and few hours passed, or switched on TV for a few minutes but switched it off after no less than few hours.

This is actually this extra time we really need and we are always short of.

Another fact missing in publications – do not feel guilty if you perform activities commonly shown as examples of time wasters. We are not robots and we all need to take a rest and do something just for pleasure. Key factor is to do it consciously. If I decide to spend evening playing computer games or watching TV – that’s conscious and PLANNED. And if I feel that I really need it, it goes into category of IMPORTANT activities. But if I start watching one short film on YouTube and switch it off after a few hours, that’s different story. Not planned, not intended and probably not needed. Wasted.

Being aware of all actions we do is a key.

A few more practical tips for time management:

  • Be realistic allocating time for your activities. Don’t be over-optimistic, especially if you’re going to do something first time.
  • Allocate some extra time for unexpected issues related to your plans.
  • Never sacrifice your health to get more time – sleeping less or skipping meals is not the way to get extra time. You may lose it later in hospital.
  • Don’t focus on work only – there are other aspects of life as well. Find time for friends and family.
  • Allocate time for reading blogs.

Alternatively, if you desperately need more time – take a little bit from Pink Floyd:

My biggest challenge: communication

Fashion But How - Communication Challenge

The nature of all blogs is that they’re always more or less personal. Let me share something personal as well.

We all have some skills, some areas where we are simply excellent. I can learn new programming language in one evening and start using it on advanced level next day. I knew people could play guitar song after hearing it just a few times. They needed just one evening to learn a new song with complicated guitar solo included. Some people can gain 1000 blog followers within one month. Or week. Everyone has something.

On the other side there are our weaknesses – something we struggle with, activities we’re trying to avoid and areas of life which looks like shouting to us “STAY AWAY!”. These are sometimes just our fears, things we’re not going to try and explore just because we’re afraid of failure. Afraid of being exposed as those who failed.

Fashion But How - Fear

(Photograph: Sebastian Proch)

I’m afraid of my insufficient communication skills. Social awkwardness. Far from perfect writing style, not to mention public speeches.

I started my small business a few months ago being aware that the best business leaders in history were great speakers. Personalities of rock stars, business celebrities from front pages of magazines. Get Steve Jobs as example. I’m as close to this level as to shores of New Zealand.

Fashion But How - Distance to New Zealand

(Map by Google, artwork by me)

Having all odds against me, I decided to accept this challenge. The biggest challenge for me in recent years, difficult as hell, but I’m determined to succeed. And through this blog I did first step.

If you’re also the one who struggles with social situations, set some smaller goals for yourself, make some plan of actions and try. This smaller goals can be:

  • Write a blog post.
  • Share your thoughts commenting other blogs.
  • Post and comment anything on social media.
  • Make a phone call to sort out a problem (with customer service, supplier, manager in your job etc.).
  • Attend meeting. Share your opinions during this meeting.
  • Make some contacts online. Then offline.

If you fail with your attempts, try again. And again. You’ll finally make it. I will make it. One year from today I’ll write blog post to confirm it’s possible.

Be motivated be this song (or have some fun at least):

How I was censored by Facebook

I was looking for wisdom in the Internet. I do it sometimes, and if search for it carefully, a lot of good advice can be found. Wisdom about running Internet business says: advertise on social media. So I decided to give a try and to run advertisement on Facebook. Small campaign, one group of products, 10 pictures of different items (up to the limit). My big team of media experts, IT specialists, photographers, copywriters and other specialists consists of two people. This means a lot of work, but we love it. All was prepared, ad was send for approval – it’s just formality, which usually takes up to 10 minutes. Not bad, waiting… After a several minutes message arrived:

Disapproved.

Reason: Adult content.

Fine, I had one item described as:

Sexy Naked Lady Cotton Boxer Shorts

Fine, I removed “Naked” from the title and tried again. Still rejected. So I guessed they really didn’t like naked woman on this product:

Sebix - Sexy Naked Lady Cotton Boxer Shorts

It may be seen as sexy, funny or artistic but qualifying this as “adult content” is one step too far in my opinion. Provocative? Little bit. But call it “adult content”? Someone’s here is little bit oversensitive, I believe.

I started to look if I was the only victim of Facebook witch hunt and it looks like there was more stories like this, not always related to business. Some of the most famous were:

Blocking picture of 16th-century statue of Neptune (Piazza del Nettuno, Bologna, Italy).

800(Photograph: Paolo Carboni/Creative Commons)

Full article: Facebook blocks photo of Neptune statue for being ‘explicitly sexual’

It appears that for five centuries Italians didn’t realise they had such offensive sculpture it their city. Fortunately Facebook pointed this out and enlightened us, thank you Facebook! We’re probably need to destroy our European culture as it is not acceptable for social media!

Other example:

Removal of ‘offensive’ video made by Swedish Cancer Society. Video was about cancer awareness, but sensitive team of Mr. Zuckerberg again felt offended. Decision: removal.

facebook-censored-cartoon-breast-cancer-600x486

Source: Facebook censored a cartoon breast cancer awareness campaign

No boobs on Facebook, even cartoon ones, unless they’re square. That was organisation response to this censorshit. I guess this made entire FB team finally proud and happy.


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Source: Cancerfonden organisation website

If picture like this was banned, I realised what was the other problem in my collection:

Sebix - Funny Grandpa and Sexy Grandma Boxer Shorts

Source: Funny Grandpa and Sexy Grandma Boxer Shorts

I appealed FB decision, with no luck however. My hard decision: remove. Both.

One advice if you find yourself in similar situation – if you appeal, don’t expect being treated like human or have your questions and doubts answered. The only effort Customer Service made, was send me their policy (copy & paste exercise). And short information which could be understood as “we do what we please and we may remove what we like with no reason or explanation”.

No more funny stuff then, all was swapped for the only safe option:


Sebix - Classic Plain Boxer Shorts

Source: Classic Plain Boxer Shorts

I was also afraid about other items, as on other pictures I’ve got a kissing couple, provocative fruits and even spiders! Who knows, what else could be seen as unacceptable by Almighty Censors. I lost entire day but ad was finally approved.

There’s a lot more examples of people and organisation being banned for so-called “inappropriate” content. We live in society where freedom of speech (and any form of expression) is one of the highest values. Yet we’re being censored by big corporations which decide for us what is appropriate and what is not.

Have you ever experienced censorship in your life? Share your experience in comments, if you can spare few minutes.

A little bit related entertainment on the end – back in 1963, this was song which happened to be truly controversial. It was even banned in one state in that time!

How to gain 5 Facebook followers in just one month

Getting new followers on Facebook is not an easy task. But it’s possible. In this short blog article, I’m going to reveal best kept secret, how to draw attention to your blog. And how to gain not two or three but incredible amount of FIVE followers in just one month!
To achieve that, it is necessary to apply a few basic principles:

  1. Quality & Quantity
    • Make interesting content.
    • Make it regularly. I do it every month. Unless I’m on holiday, then I may need to postpone writing a little. But apart of that – no excuses!
    • Work on your writing style, progress will be visible with time. I know what I’m saying – it’s my 5th post, so I’m almost pro.
    • Make your content shareable. If you can share this post without issues, that proves it is. People may want to share your content but it needs to be technically possible.
    • Have quality pictures. Ideally, make them yourself. I did mine – aren’t they pretty?
  2. Interaction
    • Be responsive. Be active in all threads started on your page.
    • Answer any questions asked.
    • Do it personally, forget autoresponders and other forms of automation – people don’t want to be contacted by robots, unless these robots are R2D2 or C3PO.
    • Follow other blogs, they may follow you back (hey there, I’m still waiting!).
    • Contact influencers. If it fails, become one yourself – with 5 followers you’re one step closer to achieve that!
  3. Promotion
    • Invite your family and friends. Or skip this step – all them should see that you’ve got new FB page and will know what to do.
    • Put link to your FB on blog. It can be found usually on the bottom, but in case you miss it:

Great Facebook Page of my Blog

    • Invest in some advertisement. Unless your pretty sure you can get 5 followers on yourself, advertisement usually works. I invested some money in advertisement for my business and got 3 followers for business page. It works then but best blogs don’t need to pay for traffic.
    • Make blog article about your blog. Sure why not, there are films about films (e.g. “Tropic Thunder”), books featuring writers (most main characters in Stephen King books) and paintings featuring painters, example:

so blog about blogging seems to be right either.

Follow this strategy, and success is guaranteed.

For businesses: I can be hired to repeat this success for you company, as long as your budget is big and you’re not competing with my business. Contact me by Facebook.

And on the end traditionally, piece of beautiful music for you. As a fashion entrepreneur, I’m also really impressed by clothing style of these two ladies:

 

Fashion shop with just one item

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Clothes – we may be passionate about them or really don’t care. Would you believe that some people go step further and admit they hate shopping? Really, I know them. Some of them. Anyway, we need clothes, no matter if we like shopping or not. I was curious, what was the most important / most wanted fashion item for people – we all have our favourites but are they at least similar? So I simply decided to ask. The question was: “Imagine fashion shop with just one item, what would you like it to be?”

And these are some answers I received for my micro-survey:

  • “Combat trousers” – my choice. Practical, durable, convenient. My obsession.
  • “Black cotton summer dress” – answered fashion shop manager, highlighting importance of summer dress being made from cotton. Good point.
  • “T-shirt with train” – said my 3 years old adviser. Actually, first answer was just “with train”, so artwork is top priority here.
  • “Black hoodie” – choice of professional pizza driver. Classic street style. As good and popular as pizza.
  • “Black leggings” – for author of www.fashionandfrappes.com. Coffee lovers like me and didn’t choose combat trousers? I’m surprised! 🙂
  • “Definitely straight leg chinos. They’re so hard to find” – said another blogger. Looking for rarity proves to be original, good!
  • “Dresses with pockets. 100%” – wrote blogger. My favourite answer. Why? This could be both practical and look hot. Simply awesome idea.
  • “Oversized t-shirts!” – answered author of cocotravels.co.uk – she visited already entire world. She must know what’s comfortable. And such t-shirts are really good looking.
  • “Mmm!” – choice of 1.5 half year old fashion expert. I have to admit it is the best idea. Really, I have to! 🙂

It was simple question, but there are a few dimensions of survey outcome:

  1. Social
    • Level of response on different platforms:
      • Twitter – 0%. I guess all are on holiday now, I see no other reason.
      • FB – minimal. But some answer were there (thanks!). It proves to be good platform to share thoughts.
      • Asked directly – 100%. People still like to communicate directly – nice surprise in XXI century.
      • I’m aware my social skills are typical for IT engineer – but watch this space – it’s going to be your favourite blog within one year!
  2. Fashion
    • No common preference – all answers were different. If we combined some ideas, we could get:
      • Black cotton summer dress with pockets
      • Oversized t-shirt with train
    • Black was the only colour mentioned (twice).
  3. Business
    • Always listen to existing / new customers – their preferences may be different than combat trousers. Unbelievable!
    • More seriously, I value all your comments – I need your advice, as I’d love to have something you would love as well. Big thank you!
    • If I had £10 for investment, what would be the best option then? My bet right now is “Mmm!”, I’ve just started looking for supplier! 😀

With regards to visible preference for black colour, something extra for you:

10 points why fashion business is the way to go

  1. 100% of people in the UK wear clothes, did you know? Source: Research Department of Sebix Ltd. So success in this business is obvious, isn’t it? Just in case – let’s keep it secret.
  2. Fashion business is supported by government. Don’t you believe? Just try to go without clothes in public places, you’ll find out quickly what’s the law here. Like it or not, you must buy clothes. That’s the law.
  3. Fancy new dress/top/trousers? You always find place for new item in your wardrobe. Try the same trick squeezing new car next to old one in your garage. Don’t have garage? You’re always lucky to have wardrobe. Clothes win.
  4. Shopping cures depression. If I make you happy with new clothes, I’m almost like doctor then. Awesome. Some people believe ice creams work too. I won’t argue.
  5. If clothes are not selling as they are no fashionable any more, there’s no need to worry. They’ll be fashionable back in 25 years – hide it as a treasure. It won’t work with mobile phones or other technical gadgets.
  6. There’s no bad clothes. If you start to wear something odd, you may be accidentally pioneering new trend. Style of punks or hipsters used to be perceived as weird once.
  7. Clothes don’t last forever. And no one complains about it. Unbelievable.
  8. Some people are obsessed by fashion. By reading this, you’re proving that I’m right.
  9. Fashion bloggers look great. Technical bloggers look like me.
  10. People like trying new things. Like Goths always wearing black and then suddenly switching to purple.

True reason for starting business is…

…that I need to do something interesting in life but cannot be a pirate! “Being a pirate is really badass” 🙂 So the original plan was to become a pirate. I asked my 3 year’s old adviser about that and he fully approved that plan. He wants to be a pirate a well. So that sounds like we almost have a crew – good start then. We’ve got locally a friend from Caribbean so we could have a base to hide our treasure chests. And being located in Bristol, we couldn’t dream about better starting point for any high seas expeditions. The only missing bit is a ship – we desperately need one 😀 Unless we’ve got a ship, we’ll be sailing… I mean – selling clothes – there’s no other choice right now 🙂 Next time you’ll buy something from us, shout ‘Yo ho ho’! and smile – you’ll be contributing to future pirate expedition;)

And for every pirate music fan, something extra:

 

 

Gateway to fashion and gateway to the new World

Crazy idea appeared – let’s have our own business. Online business, to be more specific. Fashion business – to be much more specific. This idea was coming to us from time to time as a possible plan but for a distant future.

And one day I woke up and decided – yes, it’s time – we’ll do it. Today. Now.

And it happened. Up and running now – find it here:

Sebix – your gateway to online fashion

Then came idea for this blog, just to write down some ideas, have some fun, share some thought about running business and once again – have some fun. As I believe whatever we decide to do in life, we should have some fun out of it just because having fun makes us happy. Simple 🙂