The Recipe Against Worries

Take-the-stairsLooking into your future is there something that worries you? I am not talking about the zombie apocalypse or another more probable disaster. I am thinking about something that you know is coming, which is not really terrible, but gives you this queasiness in your stomach. Maybe a contract with an important client is ending, and you are not sure if he will renew it. Maybe a financial review of the project you are managing at the end of next month and you know it is not looking good.

Maybe you know you have to move out of the apartment in three months, but don’t want to think about it. Maybe you have a very important job interview next week that you are trying to get out of your head.
I have to give a talk in four weeks. It is not really important, but of course I don’t want to mess it up. I also don’t want to think about it; it makes me a bit nervous. Not that I mind public speaking, I actually enjoy it at lot, especially when I know the talk is good. But I also know that some of my talks have been not so great. I don’t want to say this ever again, regardless of the topic. I’d rather just forget it for now. (more…)

November 2nd, 2014|

Draw a Line


This is not the original post I wanted to publish today. I couldn’t stick with my plans because I got stuck writing the post I had planned. Well, that is not true, not at all. I couldn’t publish it because I sounded like a douchebag of the worst kind. I read what I wrote and hated myself. Then I wrote it again and deleted the whole thing. Then I started again. I couldn’t stop writing because I was unable to turn this mess around.

Do you know those moments when you know you should stop talking, but can’t? I’ve had these a lot. I believe it got better, but that may be wishful thinking on my side. I also write myself into dead ends a lot, which is fine. I Just start over and do it again. That is my idea of how to become better.
Eventually, I hope I’ll be able to always find the right words. Maybe that never happens, who knows. (more…)

October 26th, 2014|

Ever Been Hit by Citrus?

on-stageWhen life gives you lemons, you are supposed to make lemonade. If live handed me lemons, I’d be looking for salt and tequila, but the idea is the same. It doesn’t matter how you handle it when things don’t go as expected, as long as you make the best of it you’ll be fine. You have no chance, take it! Paths don’t just exist, they are made my walking them. There is light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to keep moving…

Enter: Pink invisible unicorns, Glitter, Butterflies, and David Hasselhoff…(*screeching sound of stopping tires*)

I know that is just too much to take. Have you ever realized that most motivational proverbs and quotes are useless? They make us feel good, but don’t really help? Another good one I just read is this one: “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Seriously? If you don’t have a door, where did you think it would knock at? Well, it sure does make me feel better that I am a step ahead at getting ignored by good fortune. How about leaving the house?

Whatever, clear is you cannot mourn over misfortune forever and of course do we all want to get better. We’d love to take the biggest mess with poise. But isn’t it often in business and in life such that one thing comes to another, and suddenly your entire situation has changed?

When all those minute plans are thrown overboard by one short series of unfortunate events. You can plan for power outtakes and get a generator, you can get a back-up pump, but things get dicey, when on top of it all, a no traffic day is announced and you have to walk (been there). When the deadline you cannot miss is today, right when the office is hit by a norovirus epidemic and you suddenly lost 85% of your workforce. When your WiFi fails and… (more…)

October 19th, 2014|

This is not a productivity blog.

no-productivityHere on Darn Office I have written a lot about productivity and still, yes, it is true: This is not a productivity blog. I don’t like categories to begin with, but productivity is for sure not why you should read this blog. Check one of these instead, these are all great blogs written by people I admire.

I don’t see much point in focusing on productivity. Let me tell you why.

A society that dumps tons of food every day, while elsewhere people starve, doesn’t have a productivity problem. You may call it a distribution problem. A distribution problem based on the lack of financial incentives to distribute otherwise that is. Incentives is the word to keep in mind.

I am pretty sure that you don’t feel as if the society you are living in had a productivity problem. You can likely get whatever you want shipped to you if you are willing to pay enough money for it. So then why is everyone talking about being more productive?

Because we as individuals want to be more productive. It sounds like a great premise: If I can accomplish tasks worth 40 hours in only 30, then  I have 10  hours for my disposal. Talking about incentives!
I actually just googled “being more productive” and this is what came up. Just click this link to do the same. (more…)

October 16th, 2014|

Say No and Move on

NopeHaven’t we been trained to take every opportunity that presents to us? So we say ‘yes’ way more often then ‘no’. And I think it is a great attitude to live by. A lot of yeses brought me great experiences and  even a few others that weren’t great to live through turned out to be great lessons. A ‘no’ wouldn’t have gotten me any of that. However, there are occasions when a yes doesn’t align with your goals. When you can see that a no is the best option. Time is limited and the more happens in your life, the more often you have to say no. So you have to pick your yeses and nos carefully.

In the moment a yes often seems easier, entails less effort, and is less uncomfortable, but only in the short term. With the decision to friendly decline the invitation, a new dilemma begins. How to say no?

I still spend ridiculous amounts of time  brooding over such emails in an effort to find good reasons for my rejection. The reasons I find are never entirely false, but usually, they are not 100% correct either.

“I am sorry, I cannot (want not) make it on Tuesday (or any other day). I have a doctor’s appointment (yes, but that’s in the morning and doesn’t keep me from anything). I am sorry ( I am), but I think you can have the meeting without me (always).”

Too often I would get a happy reply telling me how Bob decided to move the meeting to Thursday. And then I find myself either drafting another elaborate email or end up in a meeting I never wanted to attend. (more…)

October 12th, 2014|

Ten to Plan, Three to Act

103Hesitation is great when you are about to walk into a car, because it can obviously save your life. However, when you are about to write a post and you hesitate to write the next sentence, it kills you. Slowly and certainly. Wasted seconds of your life… well my life in that case. Hesitation, if it is short  aids you in maintaining your sprint. A pause for a millisecond lets you avoid the pothole, but if the hesitation endures for too long it brings you from running at full speed to a standstill. The longer you wait, the more energy it will take you to get back into action.

You are excited about this conference and enter this room just to realize you know nobody. Among all choices you have there are really only two that are most likely: A) You approach the next person you see and say hi or B) you hesitate a bit too long and screw up your chance. From here you may either pull out your phone and become one of these guys, you may circle the first group and maybe get another chance or you may end up as the person who feels all alone and awkward. How do you avoid B and get to A? The answer is three seconds. (more…)

October 5th, 2014|

Infinity is an Illusion

moebiusToday’s fact of the day is: Abundance is bad. It may seem counterintuitive, but everything becomes more attainable when you limit your resources. Rightly so, because infinity is an illusion.

Let’s say you were tasked to organize an office party and your boss says: “Money is no issue!”. Doesn’t make “Plan this party, make it great, but don’t spend over $5000.” your life much easier?

The greatest and the worst attribute of the internet is that it offers a virtually infinite amount of information. The difference between “Find all information on topic XYZ you can get” versus “find all information on topic XYZ you can find in the next three hours.” is significant. Right? Impossible becomes attainable.

There are likely unlimited ways to define a project, but my favorite definition is the following one: (more…)

September 28th, 2014|

Elephant Appreciation Day 2014 in Tweets

TT_002Since I keep mentioning how we are often too afraid or too ignorant to acknowledge the elephant in the room, there is no way for me to ignore what day it was yesterday: Elephant Appreciation Day!

Elephants are truly remarkable animals. They don’t run, recognize themselves in mirrors, and have six toes, just to name a few fun facts about them. Unfortunately, they are still being killed for their tusks or treated badly all over the world. So I decided to dedicate this Twitter review to the Elephant Appreciation Day. Let me start by expressing my support for PETA’s (@peta) message.


The Detroit Zoo (@detroitzoo) adds the sad fact that 96 elephants are killed every day by poachers. The link directs to I think today (like any other) is a good day to support their case. (more…)

September 23rd, 2014|

If You Tossed Your iPhone into the Toilette

underwaterIf you tossed your iPhone into the toilette, your next steps depend on what your motivation was to do so. Are you the owner of an iPhone 5 or 5S you may have done it out of temper, because you couldn’t fathom how to free these 4.6 GB needed for the update to iOS 8.

Or it happened by accident, which is a good reason to be upset. Freaking out, like the guy in the bathroom stall next to me this week. He seriously freaked out after I heard the solid “splash”. It almost happened to me twice, so I could feel with him. To his luck I knew just what to do in this situation. However, he added to his misfortune by running out without hearing me out. Or washing his hands, which may be even worse for that matter. I found him hours later on a bench outside our offices, his face buried in his hands…


September 21st, 2014|Tags: , |

How Great is Great Enough?


So often when I watch my five-year-old daughter, I wonder where she gets all the energy from. I mean, every morning she gets up like a spring and doesn’t stop moving for most of the day. Most importantly, she doesn’t stop being excited about her life. Everything is an exciting adventure. “Yippee, the dentist!” Yippee, grocery shopping!”, “Yippee, the mall!”, “Yippee, watching football!”.

Okay, I admit the last one was wishful thinking. She doesn’t fall for that anymore. But anyway. I wished I could tap into her energy, and feel this unconditional excitement again. Not that I am not excited about anything anymore, but…
… ah yes. There is always a “but” to literally everything. And there are “what ifs.” Then there is this fear that things may not be as great as we hope.

And then I wonder, how great is great enough? How much fun is enough fun? Is going to Six Flags great? Yes, but what if there are long lines, what if we get stuck in traffic, what if we spend a lot of money and time and end up not having enough fun?

And then we stay home. (more…)

September 18th, 2014|
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