For Teh Lulz (Email Communication)

I know. You’re sick of explaining to your clients what your performance rates are… I mean how many times is going to take for them to realize you are creative professional and that you won’t work for anything less then the cost of the labour and materials?!?

And THAT is for charity work.

If we’re talking about a professional show or a corporate portrait, you gotta get paid, dear readers!

Earlier this month, I committed to the idea that basic communication is essential in all interactions; if you don’t have good communication skills, you are going to struggle with all of the ups and downs of life, from the small to the large ones. Ultimately this means you are moving against the flow of life OR being led by the flow, but never setting up your own course of navigation.

Why Don’t You Write A Book About It?

All great navigators know how to control the movement of their vessel from one place to another, and while navigation is defined by land, sea, air, and space, communication is divided up into 4 main forms – written, oral, non-verbal (gestures, words, facial expressions, body language), and interpersonal (personal relationships). And I’ve chosen to start this topic off right or rather write, with written communication.

But why writing timotheories?

Because writing is the form that I am interacting with you in this specific moment, dear readers. You creative cuties!

After all, true writing (read: contextual and encoded writing) has been with us since the bronze age of history, with proto-writing likely preceding 2000 BC, but definitely in that ballpark of time. Though to be clear, this was not a sudden change throughout the world, but a slow one, which developed from symbols and tablets.

History lesson aside, what that means is that written communication is here to stay, and we better figure out how best to interpret it, less we become even more delayed in our growth. Which would suck.

PC Load Letter, What The F Does That Mean?

Speaking of suckage, have you ever seen the Mike Judge classic Office Space? I’m not going to go into a bunch of detail on the movie, instead, you should wait for our upcoming Watch Culture on it, but I will share this little clip and some wisdom.

Life is already difficult as it is, so leave the jargon at the door! You’ve got memos, reports, bulletins, email, text messaging, and a host of other types of written communication to juggle on a daily basis, and thanks to smart phones, these things pile on quick.

It’s not so difficult to manage though, if you rely on a checklist of etiquette and follow through with it, of course. Let’s use the ever-so-popular email format as a basis in demonstrating the  7 C’s of communication (clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete, and courteous). And clean language too if you want to emphasise courtesy, unlike what Mr. Bolton just did.

  1. Respond to emails promptly. This is one I personally struggle with, as I want to be attentive in my responses, but responding within 24 hours is ideal, within 8 even more preferable, and within 1 if you want to be a rock star.
  2. Proofread your work, and think twice before sending. It should go without saying, but leaving your emotions out of a response can be extremely difficult, and written communication is so easy to do, you can articulate your thoughts and rearrange them. Also, spend some time reading over your work, typos are the worst.
  3. Know your audience. In case it isn’t obvious, don’t blind copy everyone in a response either. Knowing your audience in every instance is difficult to be perfectly honest, but if you pay close attention, you CAN learn others motivations and keep projects moving forward amicably.
  4. Also, please stop forwarding your junk onto others. For example, if you like sharks, and want to let the world about shark week, but your work buddy lost his family in freak shark tank incident, he probably doesn’t want to deal with your email.
  5. Brevity is king. Keep emails brief. People hate reading long boring things. See?

It’s up to you obviously in how you go about enabling these new habits, but at the very least, you now have some basic tools of written communication that will help you better convey your ideas to others. And just like that printer that Michael hated, people can give messages which just don’t make sense… Frustrating for sure.

 

theories Summarized

You don’t want to be like that printer folks. That printer eventually got taken out to pasture and bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat and a few swift kicks to the paper tray. And yes, maybe that’s an extreme example of the risks of bad communication, but worse things have happened in real life. And unlike a theory, I’ll share some examples in the next post of this series to prove it.

Tim!

Jumping Jehoshaphat! (timotheories June 2017)

June always reminds me of my grandpa.

This is because when I was very little we would always get together as a big family and celebrate Father’s Day with all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins on my dads side of the tree. Speaking of trees, whenever I think of my grandpa I think of Disney and in particular the films of the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s.

I may have mentioned previously that I love movies? Like, a lot? Well what I may have neglected to mention was that not only did my dad and I bond over movies when I was growing up, but that my grandpa had a sizeable movie collection of his own, and he almost religiously recorded movies on the regular. It amazed and inspired me from a very young, and impressionable age.

This is back when VHS tapes were a thing. If you don’t know what VHS tapes are my many millennials, look them up, because the first time I watched Disney’s animated classic, The Sword in the Stone, it was on VHS.

That’s where I got the Jehoshaphat reference from. Also June bugs. But enough of that, let’s get to the June calendar.

*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.

timotheories summarized – June

Stimulating Sundays – (06/04) Colin MacIntrye preview interview, (06/11) Colin MacIntrye interview, (06/18) Cross Talk Ep. 27, (06/25) Cross Talk Ep. 28
Melodic Mondays – (06/05) Paramore, (06/12) alt-J, (06/19) Sufjan Stevens, (06/26) Royal Blood
Theatrical Tuesdays – (06/06) Wonder Woman (2009), (06/13) Beauty and the Beast, (06/20) John Wick: Chapter 2 (06/27) The LEGO Batman Movie
Wisdom Wednesdays – (06/07) Communication Basics, (06/14) Email Communication, (06/21) Verbal Communication, (06/28) Meeting Communication
Timely Thursday – (06/01) timotheories June, (06/08) Siblings, (06/15) Watch Culture Ep. 1, (06/22) First Day of Summer, (06/29) Weddings

This is going to be a month of firsts – it’s the first time I release an episode of Watch Culture, and the first time the world get’s to meet Colin MacIntrye’s Beeverine. Colin is an Edmonton based illustrator, and my featured interview for June.

Also, we have some fun Cross Talk episodes coming out – but I’m not going to share too much more about them, because I don’t even know what the topics will be, yet. But I do know that our first ever female guest will be featured on the show. Her stage name is Alice Creed, and she’s intensely interesting.

But you want to know more.

Okay, well I’m focusing a lot of attention on communication with the Wisdom Wednesday posts, and heck, I have some timely thoughts on siblings, summer, and weddings. You’ll see what I mean soon enough.

theories Summarized

June should be a great month to continue this years theme of campfire stories. Especially those upcoming posts on communication. And pay close attention to that first episode of Watch Culture, you aren’t gonna believe what I decided to start the series of with. Well, I have theory you won’t. In fact, I’ll bet a quarter mile at a time that you can’t guess what it is.

Tim!

Art Tricks, Money Traps (Work-Life Balance)

We did it dear readers. We finally got through it.

We made it to the end of my series on the Wellness Factors of Life, AKA addressing the OECD index, or if you prefer, the Postconsumers series. What started out as a wild bid on my part in considering how to live a life with less and yet fuller than you could ever imagine, is now closing out with a topic more then fitting – work-life balance. The last factor that can directly effect your over-all state of being in this world of ours.

Because let’s face it, the average global citizen doesn’t even realize they have a creative component of who they are. Creativity that should be nurtured like all of the other things.

Your creative spark absolutely needs to be considered, and it connects quite well with areas of health, spirit, work, family/friends, environment, and personal fulfilment. When all of these things come together, your life will sing with excellence. Or maybe it’ll all fall apart if you ignore any one of those things for too long.

Yikes, that is a depressing thought to fathom. But I’ve been there creative cuties, and yes I may share that story in full one day. The story which led to one of my greatest theories on the importance of pursuing your purpose, it could be a campfire theory even, but not today is not that day friends.

I’ve got a different kind of wisdom to impart.

But first, let’s put a cap on that pen, and bring out the fundamental of life once more.

The Bare Knuckle Necessities

I’m going to make a bold statement.

You cannot achieve the perfect balance of life:
career (work),
spirituality (spirit, creativity),
space (home, studio, environment),
relationships (romantic, family, friends),
health (exercise, meditation, reading),
and fulfillment (hobbies, recreation)

All of these are noble pursuits, and completely attainable, but most definitely not all at once, and never more then two or three at a time. I know you’ve tried to accomplish this on your own, and you may have even fought against the theory because you wanted to disprove it. But like many idioms, adages, and metaphors of life, life hits back, over and over.

It’s not about besting life friends, it’s about taking it all in, giving it your best shot at a few areas at a time, and then continuing onward.

So for you that might mean getting a grip on health, and career for quite a while. At least until you’ve seen some positive gains and have set up some new healthy habits for yourself. I’m not going to devolve this post into going over theories I’ve discussed before on health, productivity and habit setting, but those topics do exist on timotheories.com. This is about you being okay with striving for progress in certain areas, and then moving into progress in other areas.

Automation Station

Effectively you are creating rhythms and routines for yourself that your body, mind, and soul will be grateful for. Think about it for a minute, we are so comfortable falling into the same shitty habits every day after work? Ever wonder why we do that? Hint: it’s not because we want to.

Instead of beating yourself up because you didn’t do everything on your list today, focus on a few things to accomplish each day and follow through on them. Once the systems are in place to make those good decisions a reality every day (usually after a 90 day commitment), you will eventually create your own ideal, and balance will now have a new meaning.

It becomes less about having everything in equal measure, and more about shifting attentions on these areas of wellness as needed. So put the time in, build your lists, schedule tasks, and make one concrete action towards your area of focus each day. As Rocky says, that’s how winning’s done.

For me, what that means right now is making art every week, and marketing my business. Those are two simple things, but I’ve been neglecting them for relationships, work, and health. It’s time to focus back on the art and my own purpose.

theories Summarized

Artists of all stripes have to face the same pressures of work-life balance as do those that ignore the creative path. There is nothing wrong with going one way or the other, but when you make art, never assume your failings at balance are due to the pursuit of creativity – we all struggle with this. Skill, determination and a commitment to improvement are essential in moving towards success within the arts, as is true of any field.

The difference is that your path is not set in stone, therefore the risks and rewards are much greater. But I have a theory that you already know what you need to chase.

Tim!

A Day To Celebrate Queens (Victoria Day)

This post is filler. I didn’t know what to write about on Thursday, so I decided to do some research and learn about a Canadian national holiday – Victoria Day.

It’s a statutory holiday for us Canucks, but not too many of us know what it’s about. So here is a list of twelve things I bet you didn’t know about Victoria Day, and then a brief summary on what I plan to do about it myself. Savvy? And here we go.

Victoria Day Fun Facts

I’m going to keep these facts, short, topical and entertaining, but if you think of any better ones, be sure to let us know, after all, we try to keep it classy here at timotheories.

  1. Victoria Day is a Canadian holiday celebrated on the last Monday preceding May 25, in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday. As such, it is the Monday between the 18th to the 24th inclusive, and thus is always the second to last Monday of May.
  2. The date is simultaneously that on which the current royal Queen’s official birthday is recognized (for instance Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday is April 21st). We also sometimes consider this an informal start to summer season in Canada.
  3. Queen Victoria was one of the longest sitting monarchs in all of British history, and inspired an entire era to be named after her…
  4. Canadians have been celebrating the date of her birthday since we became a country in 1845, and it legally became a day off when she died in 1901.
  5. Victoria Day is most definitely a Canadian festivity and is not widely celebrated in the British Isles, though the Scottish and some English do partake.
  6. For one reason or another, likely old hurts, the Quebecois do not celebrate Victoria Day, and for years chose to celebrate Fete de Dollard, after the French hero Adam Dollard des Ormeaux who won a battle with French soldiers against Iroquois in 1660. Now they celebrate National Patriots Day instead.
  7. The original celebrations of the holiday took place annually on May 24th, no matter what day of the week that was, excepting Sunday. In which case the holiday was moved to the 25th of May. And this changed to the current structure in 1952.
  8. Political figures and hip hop artists of today could take some queues from Victoria as she was able to stave off more than six assassination attempts on her life.
  9. Famous for wearing black before Johnny Cash. Victoria went into seclusion in 1961 after her husband Albert died, and was in mourning for a very long time, not getting back into the public until the early 1870s. There has been great speculation that she later privately married her Scottish butler John Brown.
  10. Before they were abolished in 1968, 21 gun salutes were commonly fired in Ottawa and the provincial capitals on Victoria Day AND and a number of other important Queen days – actual birthday, accession day, and coronation day, for instance.
  11. An important mark in fashion, summer clothing is traditionally worn from Victoria Day through until Labour Day… Hence the expression, don’t wear white after Labour Day.
  12. Canadian band Rush, British band The Kinks, and British musician Paul McCartney of Beatles fame have all written songs about the queen Victoria. Which hasn’t been done officially since that time.

theories Summarized

A day for all Canadians, Victoria Day is often celebrated as May Long in the common vernacular, and that’s okay in my books. But we should of course be aware of our history, and do our best to consider it as we each move forward in our own endeavours.

I, for instance, will be spending the May long weekend working on interviews, editing episodes of Cross Talk, Watch Culture and Just n Time Games, watching movies, and making art.

And so should you creative cuties, and so should you. Thank Victoria for the true north, strong and free, because she was instrumental in helping to shape this great nation of ours, at least that’s my theory.

Tim!

I’ll Be Back, and Arms, and Legs (Arnold, Successful Body Building)

This is a story in progress.

It’s not finished yet because… well, I’m not dead.

That’s what I said the first time around, when I wrote the that initial entry on one of my personal heroes, Arnold Schwarzenegger. And I have gotten better since December, I’ve slowly but surely increased my capacity for greatness – through writing, reading, disciplined meditation, clean living, and creative pursuits. And especially through exercise.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a great example of someone who goes after what he wants. I’m paraphrasing but here are some examples of things Arnold has said.

I want to be the greatest bodybuilder in the world. Done. And he went through the rungs to get there. Then he decided, I want to be one of the great movie stars of his time. Done. Thank you Arnie for being The Terminator, and all of the other action hero roles you’ve taken on. And also, he decided, I want to be the governor of California… Guess what? Boom. Done.

Arnold demonstrates that with hard work and following key rules, you can have success. As he famously said in his six rules to success speech,

none of these rules work unless you do. Just remember, you can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets.

 

 

6 Rules of Success

But what are the six rules of success? Well of course, let me lay them down for you, real simple like.

  1. Trust yourself – Many young people are getting so much advice from their parents and teachers and everyone. But what is most important is that you have to dig deep down, dig deep down and ask yourself, who do you want to be? Not what, but who. Figure out for yourself what makes you happy, no matter how crazy it may sound to other people.
  2. Break the rules – Not the law, but break the rules. It is impossible to be a maverick or a true original if you’re too well behaved and don’t want to break the rules. You have to think outside the box. That’s what I believe. After all, what is the point of being on this earth if all you want to do is be liked by everyone and avoid trouble?
  3. Don’t be afraid to fail – Anything I’ve ever attempted, I was always willing to fail. You can’t always win, but don’t be afraid of making decisions. You can’t be paralyzed by fear of failure or you will never push yourself. You keep pushing because you believe in yourself and in your vision and you know that it is the right thing to do, and success will come. So don’t be afraid to fail.
  4. Don’t Listen to the Naysayers – How many times have you heard that you can’t do this and you can’t do that and it’s never been done before? I love it when someone says that no one has ever done this before, because then when I do it, that means that I’m the first one that has done it. So pay no attention to the people that say it can’t be done. I always listen to myself and say, “Yes, you can.”
  5. Work Your Butt Off – Leave no stone unturned. Mohammed Ali, one of my great heroes, had a great line in the ’70s when he was asked, “How many sit-ups do you do?” He said, “I don’t count my sit-ups. I only start counting when it hurts. When I feel pain, that’s when I start counting, because that’s when it really counts.” That’s what makes you a champion.It’s important to have fun in life, but when you’re out there partying, horsing around, someone out there is working hard. Someone is getting smarter and someone is winning. Just remember that. But if you want to win, there is absolutely no way around hard, hard work. None of these rules work unless you do. Just remember, you can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets.
  6. Give Something Back – Whatever path you take in your life, you must always find time to give something back, to your community, your state or to your country. Reaching out and helping people will give you more satisfaction than anything you’ve ever done.

     

But he only developed these rules by standing on the shoulders of his own giants, and let me just say, one of Arnie’s heroes should be yours too. Ever heard of Reg Park? The original italian stallion? Except he was actually British.

The Original Hercules

There have been a number of films representing the greek god Hercules, but the one that caught the attention of a young Schwarzenegger was Hercules and the Conquest of Atlantis (1961), starring Reg Park in his film debut.

Reg Park was an English bodybuilder, businessman and actor. He inspired Schwarzenegger to become a bodybuilder, so if his regimen for beginners can work for Arnold, then it’ll work for us too.

You see dear readers, I’ve been exercising for almost a year straight, alternating between strength and core training (M/W/F) & cardio and meditation (Tu/Th). And while I don’t want to make this post about exercise, because I easily could break down the exercises portion of The Education of a Bodybuilder, instead, I’ll leave this here for those of you so inclined to read it. The writer is on point, and breaks down the exercises of the book really well.

theories Summarized

 

On this wisdom of Wednesday I leave you with something to ponder, what’s stopping you from committing to exercise time? I have this theory that health, wealth, and happiness are within reach creative cuties, but like Arnold says, remember the six rules.

You can do it. I believe in you, for you too are destined for great things.

Tim!