Life is a lot better if you get to follow your passions

I have been lucky to have a life that let me follow what I believe.  Making positive changes in the world and others’ lives is important to me.  #technology #canada #crystalcoast #angus http://ow.ly/oO7KQ  Click the link or the picture for more.

The Waves at Third Street Beach, Emerald Isle, NC
The Waves at Third Street Beach, Emerald Isle, NC

How to work hard, have fun, and enjoy life

Working at home doesn’t not mean that you cannot escape work.  You enjoy life in a beautiful place on the water if you know the tricks and live in the right spot  #crystalcoast http://ow.ly/oCHfJ For more info, click the link or the picture.

Fog On The White Oak River
Fog On The White Oak River

My work life has changed dramatically

Where I work and I how I worked have evolved over the years. I like the way it is now best. http://ow.ly/ozLkm

Click the link or the picture for more information.

Tok and Fund With Fall Onions On Our Farm in Nova Scotia
Tok and Fund With Fall Onions On Our Farm in Nova Scotia

Getting beyond an email’s title

Beaufort Boats

When I worked for Apple Computer, I would get hundreds of emails a day.  It was a challenge to get through them.  Of the course of twenty years I am sure a few fell through the cracks, but mostly I was able to keep up with them.

I never succumbed to the read the first line and call it quits method of email management.  I did answer many questions from people who had not bothered to the read the whole email in the first place.

Depending on how I felt at a given time, I might copy and paste the originial email with the answers highlighted.  However, I did find that the worst offenders never noticed.

Lately I have seen an even more serious email management disease.  These folks read the title of an email and assume they know what it says.

That is not only highly risky but certainly not very productive.  A couple of responses that I have gotten from people trying this are beyond worthless.

I guess it is function of the desire to get ever more done with little focus on actually be productive.

I would rather do less and make certain that I get right whatever I do.

Technology needs common sense also

In a fog
In a fog

I found technology has enabled me to do many things in my life that I might never have done otherwise.

Sometimes technology gets in the way of doing things, but often people get in the way of technology.

it isn’t unusual for people to lose the advantage that technology can bring becuase they cannot break old habits or refuse to see how technology can help

This proper seems to span all ages.

I work in real estate, and we try to go on a weekly caravan to see the newly listed properties.

An email gets sent out the day before the caravan begging for all the new listings. Eventually we get a Word document with directions to all the places and the order in which we will visit them.

The next morning 15-20 of us meet at one of our offices and prepare to drive around the properties in three or four cars.

Almost always someone will add a property at the last minute or decide that we need to visit a particular house third instead of last.

Instead of taking two minutes to edit the document and reprint it for everyone, someone will announce the changes and hope that enough of the fifteen people and three to four drivers will catch the changes.

While everyone within ear shot tries to scribble down the changes, it is rare that we don’t have problems on the caravan.   It is ironic that the building where we meet before we get on the road probably has six or seven computers in it at all time, and at least as many printers.

I have made the suggestion a number of times that we print corrected sheets, but apparently folks would rather operate under false instructions instead of waiting a couple of minutes for a new document.

Every trip someone misses a house or gets them in the wrong order.

It’s almost like the document once it is sent out by email cannot be touched.

Today I decided to skip the chaos.  It is hard to watch group think make things more difficult.

Just a little common sense would dictate that we try to have the document we take with us in our autos be as accurate as possible.

One of our printers could spit that out in less than a minute, but we never take the time to do it.

There’s nothing like subscribing to a theory that makes things harder.

Beach shoe leather

beach shoe leatherThere was a time when sitting down on the beach would have been impossible for me.

I did not think that I had time to waste on a beach.

Today I believe that I am working harder than ever, yet I manage to take the time to relax by the water.

I think it has something to do with learning that how much you work has little to do with what you actually accomplish.

Relaxing by the water helps me clear my head these days.  I make time for it and for kayaking which works just as well.

In spite of all our technological advances most people have trouble figuring out what they need to do.

I recently got to watch an example. Someone made a mistake a few years ago that resulted in a problem recently.

Not surprisingly a lot of time was spent trying to figure out where to place the blame.

That is actually the most unproductive activity that you can have in a company.

What does it matter if everyone has Blackberry phones if they have a problem and spend four days assigning blame before it occurs to them to solve the problem?

Long ago I learned that mistakes happen. People rarely mean for them to happen. The best thing is to treat a mistake as a learning experience and immediately focus on solving the problem.

Because if you don’t solve the problem immediately, it will likely get worse.  By the time you turn your attention to it, the problem might not be fixable.

One of the main rules in our Apple federal group was that if you found a problem, what I expected was a solution not a post mortem on the situation.

All the technology in the world won’t replace common sense. And that is the way I see it from the beaches of North Carolina.

If a beach walk like this slide show can’t help you clear your head, then you are headed for trouble.

Catching what drifts by us

Oysters on the beachIt occurred to me this morning that can getting our news and information these days can be a little like being an oyster on the beach.

There is the overwhelming amount of information out there. It is almost a Tsunami of content.

Sometimes it means you get covered with green slime.

You can use something like Google reader and the shared items of friends.

Blogs offer another alternative. Unfortunately like mine, they are all over the place.

You can try to find websites that are about areas that interest you. You can look into forums where people are known by their handles and their online expertise, but they have their own set of problems.

My best advice is to make sure you temper what you read with some of your own research and thought.

The problem is that doing that is easier said than done. It is hard to detach yourself and your interests from the bigger picture.

Sometimes the information we are hearing from all the sources is so overwhelming that people end up paralyzed. That is close to what has happened to the real estate market today.

There is so much negative press and discussion out there, that people are afraid to act or think in their own best interest. I have more people looking for property than I have seen in a long time, but last month Carteret County, NC MLS had a record low number of transactions. This February may be worse.

People seem to be waiting for a signal. I am not sure what the signal is, but I doubt we will know until we are well past it, and prices have started to rise.

As I mentioned in a post on my Reston blog, the huge price gains of the last few years have disappeared. We have more affordable housing at the coast than many urban areas.

I remember when people first start buying computers, you often heard the idea that it was better to wait until prices quit going down. It would have been a long wait.

Of course I didn’t wait. I got my first Apple II+ in August 1982. I ended up working for Apple for nearly twenty years.

Had I waited, I might never have had that opportunity.

Another example is the purchase of coastal property that my wife and I in September 2006. We bought near Cape Carteret, NC at not far from the top of the real estate market. I knew it was close to the top of the market, but we had been looking for three years so we bought, and I even went a step further.

I ended up being so impressed with the real estate firm that I decided to become a Realtor®.

Eighteen months later I have just received a reward from my firm, Bluewater GMAC Real Estate, as the “Up and Coming Star” for 2007.

While real estate is a challenging profession right now, I think it will be a good fit for my third career.

On top of that I have looked at about 250 homes since we bought ours. I still have not found one that I like more or one with the same features at a better price than ours in Bluewater Cove.

If we had waited to buy, I might not be in real estate. I certainly would not be ready for the good times when they eventually get here. There probably won’t be enough real estate agents when the market turns because many are quitting now.

I would have also missed some the great weather and beach living here in Carteret County.

I feel fortunate to have not let myself get caught in the green slime that drifts by these days.

Sometimes you just have to find your own current instead of staying on the beach and taking what drifts by you.