Behind The Theories (timotheories June 2016)

Well we finally made it! We’re now into the 6th month of the year and I’ve got another fantastic monthly update for you, dear readers!

Yes, it’s time to unveil the show and give you a sneak peek of things to come in the month of June. We’ve already started things off right with a post about the importance of plans, and I think it’s a great indicator of the continued quality we are able to offer at timotheories.

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Before we get into the schedule though, I need to share my disclaimer with you. It’s old hat but always important as I don’t want to disappoint.

*Disclaimer* As always, every week I purchase an album and movie one week ahead of the actual review release and while I have the best intentions, I don’t always get what I want… so if you follow me on instagram (@timotheories) you can actually see what’s coming.

Great! Now we can get into the thick of it. And of course I’ve included the week of May 29-June 4 as a reference point, though you’ve already read my review on Eric Clapton’s new record and we’re in the midst of today’s post:

Stimulating Sundays – (06/05) David Wiens interview, (06/12) Cross Talk Ep.6, (06/19) Formalist Art, (06/26) Just In Time Games
Melodic Mondays – (06/06) Holy Fuck, (06/13) Paul Simon, (06/20) The Veronicas, (06/27) Radiohead
Theatrical Tuesdays – (06/07) Love In The Time of Monsters, (06/14) Zootopia, (06/21) 10 Cloverfield Lane, (06/28) Midnight Special
Wisdom Wednesdays – (06/01) Plan to Make Plans, (06/08) Multi-Tasking, (06/15) George Orwell, (06/22) Why You Must Keep A Journal, (06/29) Snopes
Timely Thursday – (06/02) timotheories June, (06/09) Nextfest, (06/16) Father’s Day, (06/23) The Works, (06/30) The Fast & The Furious

The year of all killer, no filler continues friends! Now I should warn you, I do have something extra special planned with the interviews going forward, and because we feature interviews on Sundays, I may or may not be pushing a few things around in the Sunday and Thursday posts to accommodate the influx of international artist Q&A opportunities, but more on that when it comes up.

This month’s Cross Talk is going to be an interesting one as Chris and I talk about how fandom can impact film and influence studio direction, sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad.

You won’t want to miss it.
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And of course the David Wiens interview is forthcoming; now that will be a fantastic entry into the fold of existing timotheories interviews. It’s my most precise and informative interview yet, and with a sculptor of light, no less.

And now we’ve covered it all, my friends. Or have we?

I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but seriously been working the format over on the tabletop gaming series and I now have a serious partner to host with, and an excellent local location to shoot the videos, and it’s just in time.

And those are all of the theories I can come up with for now friends.

Please leave some comments, to let us know what you want to see in coming months and subscribe to the blog too!

Tim!

The Best Laid Plants (Plan To Make Plans)

Remember a week ago when I said we were done with the preliminary series of Life Hacks AKA Skills To Invest In?

Well while that was true, I wasn’t telling you that we were done altogether, only that we were done with the basic concepts.  This is because we did touch on each concept in one way or another dear readers, but we didn’t spend dedicated time on 2 topics in particular, and I want to get to them this month.

Which is why today we’re going to focus the first topic – Planning To Make Plans. Before we dig into it, let’s take a peek at the skill summary:

Plan regularly! Build routines to start your day AND end your day. You are going to have to organize throughout the day too, so make an outline to insure you aren’t starting from scratch over and over. Please also set deadlines for major projects by planning ahead. You’ll benefit from organizing your desk/workspace, minutes save hours, believe me.

We will definitely hit all four of those highlighted points dear readers, but if you’re patient with me, you just might foresee the great plan being laid out.

1. I don’t care who you are or what stage of life you are at, it’s important to have a daily routine and to schedule your days in a way so that they always start & end the same. How do you accomplish this you ask? Try theming your days

Monday – production and creating
Tuesday – management, company identity, and running your business
Wednesday – production and creating
Thursday – marketing, communications, and partnerships
Friday – production and creating
Saturday – FUN, aka relaxation
Sunday – reflection, feedback, strategy for the upcoming week

2. Organizing throughout the day can be daunting, especially with all the various forms of distraction we have so handy in our lives. But if focus on what exactly you want to accomplish that day, or to put it another way, what positive influence do you need to make on the world and that follows your passions for life, you can then set up an outline that will cover your needs. Especially with so many internal or external distractions, model your days (on Sunday) so that you hit four or five points throughout the day each day of the week

WORK – 2-3 tasks you need accomplished that day
PLAY – dedicated time for fun and recharging activities
FOOD – both prep and eating should be identified
HEALTH – to slot in exercise and self-care
MIND – for reading, learning, and simple reflections

3. Deadlines always seem scary, but guess what? You’ve already started to lay the groundwork to fit them into your routine. By coming up with a weekly and daily schedule, you can very easily develop a monthly schedule too. This is where deadlines can be helpful – You should never set deadlines for the non-creative work, as a creative professional, but you should set deadlines for projects, within reason. Where the reason comes in is somewhat subjective, but essentially you don’t want the deadline to be so far out that it loses meaning, or so close that it overwhelms, you need to find that 2-4 week sweet spot.

4. Organizing your desk and/or work space: Or how to keep your creative space inspirational. No matter what kind of creative person you are, you must know that your environment effects your creativity. But the question remains, how do you make your space both visually interesting & comfortable to work in?

– Have beautiful objects around you and music that motivates
– Organize based on your personal aesthetic and make it functional, -with stocked supplies
– You need to control the light – have access to daylight, but be able to to dim for abstract thought
– Comfort is crucial – your seat, your clothes, your shoes, the temperature… all important
– Remove distractions (phone, social media, TV, children) and troublesome clutter

This might seem like news to you, common sense or somewhere in between, but no matter what stage of planning your life is in, we all benefit from these types of theories because our current technologies are incredibly efficient at depriving us from focus – Dangerously so. But that’s just a theory after all.

I’m out of theories for now, but be sure to check back tomorrow when I examine something timely and lay out the monthly schedule.

Tim!

10 Tips For A Good Time (Concert Etiquette)

As is the fashion with Timely Thursdays, dear readers, today is going to be a shorter post.

This might be a little selfish on my part, but the reason I’m doing this is because I’m watching The Offspring and guests perform live at The Shaw Conference Centre this evening. In fact, while you are reading this post, and through the power of mobile phone technology, I am already at the building and in line buying my merchandise.

You see, I’ve loved The Offspring for many, many years, and their music is the kind of music which I can really appreciate – it has a combination of satire and sincerity, something which I’m sure we can all agree is difficult to pull off, whether in music or other art forms.

If you want a little back story on the lead up to tonight’s events, I’ve got the link right here for you.

And so today I wanted to write about what it’s like to go to a concert, for those who don’t attend them regularly or maybe don’t know realize what you can do at a concert.

I’ve come up with a short list of things you can do to ensure you see you favourite musical acts for a reasonable price AND have a good time.

  1. Signing up for online newsletters and Facebook pages of bands and local venues gets you mobile updates on concert dates and related info.
  2. Encourage friends to come along and buy from reliable sources (the venue, the band or an authorized ticket website). It’s safer and more fun.
  3. Select a method of delivery that makes sense (etickets, will call, hard copies) and avoid auctions to avoid fake tickets and high prices.
  4. Plan ahead – Check the weather forecast. Get a good nights sleep the night before. Organize your departure time with your friends to save gas, avoid traffic, and find parking.
  5. Only bring the appropriate supplies (tickets, ID, money, phone) and dress for the occasion (warm if outside, light if inside)
  6. Expect to be checked by security. Smaller bags are better for the process (and lighter over the course of the night) and no outside food or drinks. You’ll be asked to throw them away anyway.
  7. Exceptions – some bands prohibit phones (pictures), and smoking is usually prohibited. Observe the rules and listen to the security and staff on hand.
  8. Show up early if you want to buy merchandise and/or see the opening acts. This gives you the most options of merchandise too, buying late in the night probably won’t work, and the booths make close before the show ends.
  9. Enjoy the show, but understand your exit strategy. Some people leave early to avoid the crowds at the end of the night. It’s better to plan ahead and see it all IMHO.
  10. Finally, proceed from the venue carefully and consciously. Depending where you are the local police and security may have adjusted the traffic patterns.

And that’s all the theories I’ve got tonight friends! I’m gonna put my earplugs in, but I’ll catch you in a couple of days, with something rather stimulating.

Tim!

Here For A Good Time, Not A Long Time (Pomodoro Technique)

Wednesday is very easily becoming my favourite day of the week, dear readers! I get to share with you resources to better yourselves, ways work on your skill set, inspiring figures to keep you motivated, and all the while provide you with a framework to build your art around so that you are creating work that you care about.

No easy task, for sure. But damn if it isn’t a fun challenge for me!

Today’s post is no different as I have another great element of the skills to invest in series that I want to spend some more time on.

Get it, because we are going to focus a bit more on Time Management. That’s right, time management, the area of life that we all feel a lack of control over. I may have been inspired by Daylight Savings Time or it may have been conveniently timed, but time is precious, and there are a number of people that would tell you “time is money,” which is the equivalent of saying, use up your time and get value out of life.

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I would argue the opposite way on this topic. Time is precious, money comes and goes, so don’t trade your time for money. Instead learn to work with time and be conscious of it, so that you can respect it properly. Time wont wait for you – much like common sense, everyone has a different perception of the concept, and reality is far different than what we usually think.

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So what does that mean for us, timotheories? How do we become better at respecting time and understanding the value of it?

Well, I am glad you asked friends, because this week’s post is all about one of my favourite time management tools. It’s incredibly easy to pick up, improves your results quickly, and is a decent amount of fun. Which is hard to believe, I know.

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I read about it on Reddit of all places a few years ago. Shocker, I know. It’s called the Pomodoro technique, and according to their official website more than 2 million people have already read and benefited from its teachings.

It really is an interesting process and I would be doing the process a disservice by detailing it myself, so I’ve decided to use Wikipedia’s break down for you, exactly as how it works.

 

There are six stages in the technique:

  1. Decide on the task to be done.

2. Set the pomodoro timer to n minutes (traditionally n=25)

3. Work on the task until the timer rings. If a distraction pops into your head, write it down, but immediately get back on task.

4. After the timer rings, put a checkmark on a piece of paper.

5. If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a short break (3-5 minutes), then go to step 1.

6. Else (i.e. after four pomodoros) take a longer break (15-30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go to step 1.

But that’s not the only important part of the technique – the elements of planning and tracking are key to making it work too.

You have to put your tasks for the day into a “to-do” list and estimate time needed for each task. As you complete your pomodoros, you add checkmarks, icons, or whatever visual symbol you like to each task. This is to identify how long the task truly takes as well as provide yourself with positive feelings about your commitment to working in this way. If you complete a task inside of a pomodoro, you spend the remaining time overlearning the task, to help aid in automation of the task and further reinforcement of the technique.

The breaks also help to maintain focus during the periods of work and keep your mind and body active throughout the work period, avoiding burnout and managing distractions better.

I think the coolest aspect of the Pomodoro technique though is that you are learning to work with time, rather than finding it as an adversary. And if you are stuck for ideas of how to spend your short breaks, you can do some simple desk exercises, organizational chores, short self-administered hand or neck massages, or getting a light snack in.

But what do you think?

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Please leave some comments, subscribe to the blog if you haven’t yet, and if you want to get social, please like my Facebook page, follow my Instagram, and follow my Twitter too! See you tomorrow with something timely my friends.

Tim!

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Work Smarter (Life Hacks)

Another week! Another Wednesday! Another opportunity to share some wisdom with you dear readers! Today’s topic – how YOU can make art and also balance the other areas of your life simultaneously!

Think about it for a minute, what’s the most fascinating subject in this life to dedicate years of your life studying? The answer is none other than yourself, dear reader(s)!

I know it sounds selfish, but is there really a better use of your time then working on yourself? Let’s be serious, we all do need to ask the question – what’s in it for me? If you can’t answer that, you can’t begin to contribute in this world.

Okay, with that aside, I don’t truly have a life-changing list of top 10 ways to improve yourself, make life easier and get your art out there (it’s a lifelong commitment), but I definitely do have a resource to get you started and at the very least start working on basic areas of your life that are universal and can be refined to your specific purpose.

Lists or no, I honestly think the reasons are innumerable for why you should streamline your internal process, so timotheories came up with a curated strategy of things we all need to work on in order get our rear in gear, and remove that fear!

First lets get in the right mindset.

You can’t outsource being CEO of your own life.

– Leo Gura, Actualized.org

No one knows your life purpose better than you, and no one is going to hold you up and guide you directly towards your goals, but if you focus on these habits below, you’ll realize that life becomes just a bit easier, and you have more energy for the things important to you.

I visited a number of sources in order to come up with this list – from Inc., to Readers Digest, WikiHow, Buzzfeed, a blog called BufferSocial, Time, and finally Life Hack.

So what did I determine from the swath of tips?

 

Here are my top 10 skills to invest in, in no particular order.
  1. Time management – Improve your time management skills by looking at your results regularly to see if you are on track or wasting time – Set up your calendar and having dedicated concentration time on specific tasks. Through time management systems, and recognizing that there is a difference between being quick versus in a hurry, you’ll improve here for sure.
  2. Learning to love learning – You need to learn new things in order to keep up with the fast pace of digital tech. That means using keyboard shortcuts, improving your typing speed, and your reading speed, for starters. If you can figure out MACROS on your spreadsheets you’ll be surprised how much automation you can get out of menial tasks.
  3. Communication is key – In a time when texting, email, and social media are the new favourites, try to use the phone more often. It saves on countless back and forth. And speaking of back and forth, be concise in your emails. Respond to calls and emails as quickly as you can, and when you can’t do that, set up a regular time to respond to your contacts.
  4. Multi-task misery – Learn to multi-task the right way, by cutting it out of your life. If you keep a million tabs open on your browser, you’re gonna have a bad time. Please remove distractions while you work and spend time with others. Turn off your phone, close your tablet, and focus on the task at hand.
  5. To-Do list – The ever popular to-do list is perfect for organizing your day into bite-size chunks. Make a daily one to automate certain processes, and really focus on the unique difficult tasks first. As the saying goes, eat that frog. If you want even more reinforcements, create a “to-don’t” list, of things you’ll never do, and stick to it!
  6. Attitude is everything – Expect failure and fight paranoia in life – Failure is common when you are exploring. But not failing is never okay. Keep positive and realize it won’t always be this bad, but it won’t stay easy either. If you ask lots of questions, aren’t afraid to do menial work, and spend 10 minutes a day laughing out loud, when Sunday night appears, you’ll be excited for Monday.
  7. Evaluate life – Make major decisions in the morning and divvy up your day based on your productivity habits. Assess your passions at the end of each year, each month, each week, and before you go to bed. If you can do that you’ll focus and delegate out the unnecessary. Flexibility is important too, but if you get stuck try this – pretend you are away from work and/or home for a week, and you only have a few hours to accomplish your tasks.
  8. Plan to make plans – Plan regularly! Build routines to start your day AND end your day. You are going to have to organize throughout the day too, so make an outline to insure you aren’t starting from scratch over and over. Please also set deadlines for major projects by planning ahead. You’ll benefit from organizing your desk/workspace, minutes saves hours, believe me.
  9. Community of colleagues  – Please be social at work, so that you have a support base and network to lean on in your endeavours, and don’t be afraid to say no to anyone. If you can learn to do that AND under-promise while over-delivering, you’ll definitely find the time to finesse your brand pitch about you and gain some fans in the process.
  10. Health matters – Your greatest resource is you. So build good habits to help you stop working and walk away after a certain point. Working smart doesn’t mean you also work hard. Health is important and managing stress, anxiety and depression are part of it. Try a standing desk for posture and circulation, get up every 45 minutes and move around too. Finally, pick a “Sabbath” day to refresh your soul, body, and mind.

 

So there you have it, I took all of the most brilliant advice on life hacks, and summarized it even further. No easy task, but worthwhile!

And that’s all the theories I’ve got for today! Are any of you already doing some of these things? All of them? Leave questions or comments, or send me an email! Subscribe if you liked this post and want to see more.

Otherwise, come back tomorrow for some love tips or something mushy related to it, at the very least.

Tim!