Washing Machines & Time Management

I never thought I’d write a blog post about a washing machine.

But then … I guess I never thought I’d find myself living in Alice Springs, either.

Ok. After 19 years of reliable service, my Simpson washing machine stopped washing dark loads with its usual finesse. Instead, it started leaving grubby, undissolved powder stains all over them (much to Rhiannon’s absolute disgust). Also, for many years, it had been the world’s noisiest washing machine: standing in the laundry whilst it was going was risking industrial deafness.

So this week I bought a new front loader washing machine (or as I called it yesterday ‘a front-end loader’, much to Gadgetman’s amusement). It’s super energy & water efficient, uses much less power etc. etc, is very pretty to look at, has lots of buttons and dials and gadgetty doovers. It even has a little sing-song when you turn it on, and another when it’s finished.

My only problem with it:

It is so complex and does so many things, I have no idea where to start… and the manual is NOT user friendly. It’s like my mobile phone – so many features that I’ll never use (no, I do not want to surf the internet on my mobile phone, or read emails, or use it as an Mp3!).

I’m washing sheets right now on a random ‘eco’ cycle that I picked as an experiment. I have no idea if I’ve done the right thing or not, which is why I’ve put in some sheets that are years old as a trial.
Hmm…. Stay tuned for an update on whether I mangle my sheets or not…


Time Management Tips from Hip Tranquil Chick

Hip Tranquil Chick (HTC) is an awesome website. If you check our blog role, you’ll see a site that says ‘go here if you’ve had a crap day’. Check it out, and check out Kimberly Wilson’s blogs and podcasts.

Kimberly Wilson is an ordinary HTC/yogini doing her best to live a yoga life style. She’s not perfect and isn’t ashamed to admit it. One of her fave things (like mine) is self-help books, particularly time management self-help books. I thoroughly recommend her podcasts: download and listen whilst you’re walking or running.

One of my favourite podcasts is all about time management. So I’ve summarised her tips and recommended reading below. I’ve listed the author’s name in bold with the title of the book in brackets.


Getting Organized: Notes from Kimberly Wilson’s Hip Tranquil Chick podcast #36.

A key question to begin with:

What is the most valuable use of my time?

Start the day with this question.

Notable quote:

The things that matter most must never be at the mercy of the things that matter least.”

Kimberly summarizes tips she’s found useful from a number of books. I’ve summarized what she say in her podcast.

Jack Canfield (The Success Principles)     

Which is all about the importance of, and how to create, goals.

  • Think of how much and by when – put down a quantity and write your goals out in detail. As if you’re writing a work order exactly in detail.
  • Re-read your goals three times per day
  • Make a goals book – write the goal at the top of the page and illustrate with pictures & words as if your goal is already achieved.
  • Review the pages of your goals book every day

Practice the Rule of 5:

  • everyday do 5 specific things that will move you towards your goal

Brian Tracy (Million Dollar Habits)

It’s important to do something every day towards your important goals. Plan this when you get up every day. This creates momentum and activates the law of attraction: doing something moves you faster and faster towards goal & goal moves faster and faster towards you.
Richard Coch (The 80/20 Principle)

80% of results, outputs etc are derived from only 20% of efforts.

Do the following to apply the 80/20 Rule:

  • look for the short cuts
  • exercise control over our lives with the least possible effort
  • be selective not exhaustive
  • strive for excellence in a few things not good results in many
  • delegate or outsource as many things as possible in our daily lives
  • choose careers & employers with extraordinary care
  • only do the thing we are best at doing and enjoy most
  • calm down, work less and target a number of very valuable goals rather than pursuing every available opportunity

Two strategies to be happier:

  • identify the times you’re happiest and expand them as much as possible
  • identify the times when you’re least happy and reduce them as much as possible

Seven Daily Happiness Habits (these are Richard Coch’s personal examples):

  • exercise
  • mental stimulation
  • spiritual/artistic stimulation & meditation
  • doing a good turn
  • take a pleasure break with a friend
  • giving yourself a treat
  • congratulating yourself

Medium-term Strategies for Happiness:

  • maximize you control
  • set attainable goals
  • be flexible
  • have a close relationship with your partner
  • have a few happy friends
  • have a few close, professional alliances
  • evolve your ideal lifestyle


David Allen (Getting Things Done)

Try the “Mind like water principle” from martial arts: a pebble dropped into a pond produces an action equivalent to and no greater than the force that produced it.”

This is a useful metaphor for responding to situations, people, emails etc with appropriate reactions – not over or under-reacting.

David Allen stresses the importance of getting things out of your head and onto paper. Use a trusted and logical system to get things (big things, little things, long term, short term) out of your head and into the ‘bucket’ where you can review it soon. For example, Kimberly uses an ‘ideas notebook’ that she carries everywhere as her ‘bucket’ to capture things that need doing/ideas/issues. She also uses post-it notes as reminders that she sticks by her bed.

Think of the biggest problem/issue on your mind at the moment and write it down.
Once you’ve done that, think of the very next thing you could do to move that situation along and write it down. Then make a decision: Do it, Delegate it, or Defer it.
David’s Rules for dealing with the Unplanned Things That Come Up During the Day:

  • Do it if it will take less than two minutes to do
  • Delegate it if (after conscious reflection) you aren’t the right person to do this

Defer it if you are the right person to do it, but the action will take longer than two minutes – track it on one or more ‘to do lists’ that you keep in your system.

Julie Morganstern (Never Check Your Email in the Morning)

(Bugger, no Amazon photo)

Do your most important task first (whenever you start your work day) rather than easy to do to quick things: “Choose the important over the quick, the tough over the easy, no matter how intimidating the project might be.”

Capture all your ‘to-dos’ in one place.Try not to multi-task – this reduces your brainpower and ultimately affects the quality of your final product.Julie’s Three Questions You Should Ask Yourself When Choosing Your Most Important Tasks:

  1. How long will it take?
  2. What is the return on investment?
  3. What is the deadline?

Think of texturing your day in a series of dashes and dots. Dashes are things that require an hour or more of quiet time, like writing, design or analytic work. Dots are quick phone calls, emails, signing cheques, approving invoices etc.”

But Julie’s biggest message to boost productivity is: Avoid email for the first hour of the day!!! Devote that hour of the day to your most critical task.

This is a bold statement that starts with you in charge of your work rather than the other way round. This tells you and the world that you can take control, pull away from the frenetic pace and take the time for quiet work when you need it. If you don’t consciously create the time for the dashes, you won’t get it done.”

I hope this is helpful to someone (most of all me!). Please check out Kimberly’s HTC website for more.

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