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The Fake Saint

I talked the other day with an old friend. We talked on messenger because he didn’t find the time to see each other in the real world. His job assignments become too time consuming and his schedule quite hectic. I know how it is. Been there, done that, had to manage my own company for 10 years… But he wasn’t like this before. When I used to have too many tasks and a rather hectic schedule he enjoyed quite a bohemian period. Time took a turn and now the situation is somehow reversed. But I remember with a lot of deep joy those times, 4-5 years ago when we spent nights and weeks on a rather hippie timeline.

During that period he had a lot of talking. About our goal in this life, about astrology and about healthy food. I must admit that I owe him some of my current passions like astrology, or some of my health habits like raw food and the road I’m walking right now was first pointed during those times. But now things have changed for him and he started to feel a little embarrassed with what I write on this blog. To make a long story short, he thinks I’m cheating. In his own words: “I’m posing as a fake saint”.

I thought a lot in the last few days about that. I really did. Also, during the last few days I had some turmoil into my personal life. I won’t go into details but there is a wind of change in some other areas of my life. Something must be destroyed to let other stuff growing. Don’t know what exactly started to go down and when it will completely disappear, but I know for sure it’s happening right now. Things have come to a point when friends are asking me: why don’t you apply what you write on your blog in your life too? And I thought about that question also…

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Getting The Best Out Of Twitter – Introducing MrTweet

My Twitter mood is continuing these days. After a general post about twittering heights and a more technical one about hashtags in Twitter, today I’ll write a short review of one of the most useful applications you can try to enhance your Twitter experience.

The application is web-based and you can find it at mrtweet.net. MrTweet offers two simple, yet powerful features so far – the app is very young, 4 weeks at the date of this post, if I’m not wrong – and those are

  • listings of your followers that you should follow back
  • listings of the key influencers in your network

In order to measure the quality of the followers you should follow back and to define the “influencer” MrTweet uses a few ad-hoc metrics.  Based on what you already have in your network of followers, MrTweet will harvest a report, in fact, just a simple list. The report shows near each person their ratio of following / frollower, the number of tweets per day and the recipricity: how that person replies or not to non-follows. On top of that, it shows a list of the persons in your network who are already following that person, and, if you really want to know more, it also shows you the latest tweets of that person in your browser. And of course, if you like the guy, you can follow him on Twitter from within MrTweet website.

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Twittering Heights

It’s not a secret that Twitter, the 140 characters blogging service has become mainstream. For those of you living on planet Mars, who haven’t yet heard about it, Twitter is a place where you can communicate in a very short way -  140 characters maximum – the answer to a very simple question: “What are you doing?”. Other people may follow you, meaning they will actually see what are you doing / writing. And you can follow other people too, meaning that you can see what they are doing. Simplicity at its best.

But out of simplicity the best things in our life came. And out of simplicity you can create some of the most interesting and challenging things in your life. In today’s post I’ll try to share my opinions on using Twitter in the last few months. I’m approaching my 1000th update on Twitter and that will be one important milestone in my Twitterer career. Joking, of course.

All About Me Versus Sharing Others

Being on Twitter and being engaged in social interactions on this media is a surprisingly interesting activity. Most of the time you’ll be inclined to respond to that fundamental question: “What are you doing?” and unveil your life and day to day activities in short, yet compelling pieces of informations.

But after a while and after reading other people’s timelines you’ll find the need to share some pieces of other people’s life. You’ll start to re-tweet (quote) other people ideas, links, quotes or findings. You’ll start to be a broadcaster for others. In fact, you’ll soon find that one of the key metrics in being a successful twitterer is the “me versus other” ratio. And by “successful twitterer” I don’t mean a popular one, but a person who extracts the best value out of this.

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Starting To Coach

Yesterday I had my first session as a coach. It started at 10:00 AM in the morning and lasted about 70 minutes. I just felt great during the whole session and from the feed-back I got from the person being coached, the feeling was shared. What is this coaching about? And why and how am I doing it? Well, let’s take it one step at a time…

After several weeks of discussions and alternative scenarios, Diana and I decided it’s time to slow down the move to New Zealand for a few months. It doesn’t make any sense to pursue it on this economical context. The destination is still the same, but we delayed the date of departure. It’s the same thing as looking through the mirror and decide to postpone your hiking because it is so raining outside. We both agreed this is the best move we can make now.

So, after waking up with a buffer of few more months ahead me I had to face a challenge. What am I going to do? A part from this blogging on eDragonu, of course. While being a very fulfilling activity for myself, this blog – and the business behind it – doesn’t necessarily have to be the only activity. I had to do a short analyze and sketch the short term schedule for the next period.

It took no more than a few days and I came up with two main goals: teaching and coaching. The teaching will involve live training sessions on topics that I’ve been writing about in the last few years, like time management, personal development, productivity and effectiveness, and, of course, GTD. Coaching will have the same underlying fundament, it will only have a different, one to one approach.

Why Am I Coaching?

The short answer is: because somebody asked me to. The long answer has some more subtle reasons, of course.

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Micro-blogging, tumbling and blogging

I’m sure many of you have read the post about Journaling versus Blogging, it was featured on a number of websites, including the German productivity blog imgriff. Somehow related to that post, I have to confess that recently I came across a number of similar patterns I tend to develop when it comes to blogging, and those patterns are grouping into new and interesting activities. In fact, there is much more than blogging, as the title of this post already told you. It seems that blogging as a process reached a certain level of maturity, which will naturally be followed by some sort of splitting into much more specialized activities.

Blogging in (r)evolution

Several years ago having a blog was a monolithic activity. Blogging in itself seemed like a one time / one player activity. You pick a topic, establish a posting routine, start writing and there you are, the next big thing of the blogosphere.

In the last two years this has dramatically changed. With the proliferation of social networking tools and with some very simple yet innovative services like twitter, tumblr or, in a different league, friend feed, the situation is completely different than 2 years ago. Blog networks written by armies of bloggers, solitary twitter heroes and companion tumblrs for every successful mainstream blog, all of these are just common sense nowadays.

What made this possible? And what seems to be the underlying reason for this?

Well, first of all, the expressivity of blogging in itself has reached the ceiling. There is some deep need for something different. The audience has been exposed enough time to this type of creativity. We all know now what a post is, what can you do in a comment, and how pingbacking works… It seems that the message is forced to change the medium here, trying to subtly evolve into new patterns and structures.

Second, it seems that blogging in itself has reached a certain level of formalism which made simpler for services like tumblr to streamline the blog to a thinner experience. You don’t need a truck to go from point A to point B, or, in terms of blogging, you don’t need a full blown blog to express yourself. All you need is the ability to post a picture, a quote, a sentence, or a link. You might think that this simplistic approach will not make history, but the web is just telling the other way around.

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Power Blogging With Mac Journal – GTD Style

I started to use Mac Journal 2 years ago. Initially I was using it only for my journaling activities. I needed something a little more versatile than my plain text file structure, and with some searching facilities integrated. Fortunately, Mac Journal proved to have all this, and even more. I soon discovered that I can remotely publish to my blogs from within Journal, download posts into it (for backup or just convenience) and brainstorm my future posts.

During the past few months, since I decided to make from blogging my main activity – after selling my online publishing business – I started to use Journal intensively. In this post I’ll share how I use Mac Journal for blogging, how I set up my blogging environment and how I applied, using Mac Journal’s powerful “smart journals” feature, a GTD-like blogging scaffold.

Setting Up A Remote Blog From Within Mac Journal

This is not a mandatory step, as you can always use your online blogging admin interface, but it might be of interest. You can add a blog to your journal by selecting the option “Edit blog server” from the “Journal” menu. A pop-up with some simple options will appear. If you’re on a wordpress set up, as most of the people, you should check the “Movable Type” type of your publishing method. A good idea is to add “xmlrpc.php” to your post URL and the admin username. That’s it, you’re now connected to your blog and can start publish remotely. You can even download the entries from your blog into Mac Journal, by choosing “Download entires from blog…” from the same “Journal” menu. Of course, you can have more than one blog set up, if you have more than one.

Establish Your Blogging Habits

Mac Journal lets you apply some sort of meta data to your posts. That will not be transferred to your blog, but it’s a convenient way to organize your blogging habits. Some of that meta data is: status, priority and ranking. There are also others like: tags, annotations or even colored label, if you want, which can be used for some neat visual effects. Let’s see how we can use this meta data in order to set up a more productive blogging environment.

First of all, you need a congruent blog routine for this to work. If you’re going to use this on a daily basis, you have to establish some rules for your idea brainstorming or future posts. My data input set up is like this: whenever I add an idea for a post, I also add the status, which is most of the time “Not Started”, for ideas that are just popping out of my head, the priority, which can be any number from 1 to 5, and a rating and color label (this is only for internal auditing purposes).

The priority number is used for slipping up posts into “Next Posts” and “Someday / Maybe” posts and it uses a 3/4 threshold. Meaning any priority between 1 and 3 (inclusive) will go on the “Someday / Maybe” posts, and any priority between 4 (inclusive) and 5 will go into “Next Posts”. “Someday /Maybe” and “Next Posts” are smart journals. And they can get really smart, you’ll see. The rating and label are just metrics for auditing my blog activity. With a color label I can see at a glance how many working post I have, how many published, and so on.

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New blog theme, alltop featured and more

Well, it’s been a busy week-end for some of us, and yes my friend, that includes me. There were some important changes on this blog, some of them quite visible, some of them just starting to bloom. But the bottom line is that we are moving in the right direction.

First of all, as you may already noticed, there is a new layout for eDragonu.ro. I felt that it was the moment to make the step toward a professional implementation of a wordpress template. After searching the net several days, I finally decided to stay with thesis, a highly customizable, yet surprisingly stable wordpress theme. Installing it was a little bit time consuming, but in the end it really paid the time. I am satisfied with the new look, and, as I already told you, you are only seeing the top of the iceberg. There are more subtle options that I really like at this theme, and I plan to write a more detailed description of them in a couple of days. Oh, and when I said “professional”, I said also “commercial”, thesis is a paid theme and it is on the highest scale amongst the paid template systems.

OK, so now you wonder why I paid for a wordpress theme. The answer is really simple: because I want to focus on writing, not on customizing my blog theme every week. And because with this one I have more than a theme, I really have like a small publishing system. For instance, the picture you see on the right of the page, well, that multimedia box is a highly customizable content placeholder. I can assign to it a fixed image, a video box or custom code (like advertising, of course), and I can do that globally, for each post, or for each page. I already assigned to the pages top posts and downloads special images, just do a quick click to test. And I can do all of this from within wordpress dashboard, without digging through code, how about that?

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Raw Food Diet Update: Two Months After

It’s been almost two months since I started the raw food diet and I thought it would be a good time to share some of the effects this diet had so far. For those of you unfamiliar with this type of eating I’ll just say that raw food means eating uncooked and unprocessed food, exclusively fruits, vegetables and seeds. I’ve been on this type of diet before, but now I do it much more strictly, while monitoring its effects more closely. First and foremost, I have to say that there were several exceptions from this diet, all of them because the events were out of my control.

It’s about the trip to New Zealand, which in itself counted as almost 4 days from the total amount of the last month. And two of these days were literally on air, the flight from Bucharest to Auckland is more than 22+ hours. So, on the plane I had to eat some cooked food, but I limited myself only to some bread now and then, some cheese, and the rest of the meals were just the salads, fruits or juice. The stewards were most of the time puzzled by my choice – and I have to admit that I could organize the trip a little better, by informing the airline company in advance about my culinary preferences – but they did their best to accommodate my appetite. So, with a little compromise from my part, I managed not to starve on the 4 transcontinental flights, and still keep the cooked food at a minimal level.

Another exception was an experiment. After reading a lot about B12 vitamin deficiency I decided to incorporate some B12 fortified food in my eating routine. I experimented with some cheese and then settled for B12 fortified cereals. I intend to eat twice a week a plate of B12 fortified cereals with plain water. It’s a compromise I need to make until I have a better understanding of this situation. The vast majority of raw food gurus seems to agree on the B12 necessity, while some other part claims that B12 can be found in seeds, especially sesame seeds. Will see more about that…

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