Lesson 2: Master a Few Basic Skills

This is the second lesson in the Get It Done Now Series.

In the previous lesson, we learned that creating the right psychology and habits on your computer were crucial to making progress on your projects. Once you have these habits, there’s a few skills that are worth adding to your project repertoire. These may sound a little strange, but stay with me please.

By the end of this lesson, you should:

  • Understand the importance of your health in giving you energy and stamina to complete your projects.
  • Understand the importance of mastering your keyboard on your computer to quickly create the information you need.
  • Understand how quick reaction time in mathematics can correlate to rapid planning, creation, and completion of your projects.

Keep Yourself Healthy

It may seem like I’m just another voice out there saying you need to exercise and eat right because you will have more energy. That’s a generic cop-out statement. The real reason to keep yourself healthy is so you have the energy and stamina to work on your multiple projects. Without this energy and stamina, you’ll get crushed and overwhelmed. So how do you “keep yourself healthy?”

It’s pretty simple to me and we’ll follow the same pattern for creating a habit as the previous lesson. Just start 5 minutes a day and jog in place. Then stretch for a few minutes. Then do 5 push-ups, 5 sit-ups, 5 standing squats, and 1 pull-up (if you can do pull-ups, otherwise do push-ups with your arms far apart to work your back). Do this each day and just keep increasing the amounts for each. After a month, you’ll be amazed at what level of physical fitness you achieve.

Eating is another challenge. I love to eat chocolate, burgers, and fries. It’s all I’d eat if I could get away with it and not kill myself. However, I do have to exercise control. My philosophy for eating right is to simply weigh myself on the scale every morning. If I find my weight going up from my healthy weight, I cut back on eating that day. If it’s going down, I know I have a splurge day to use should I choose to.

To start eating fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean meats, apply the habit formula. Simply put a small portion of those on your plate for every meal, even if it’s just one small bite. Just get it on your plate and over time, it will become natural to put vegetables and fruits in your meals.

Bottom-line, create a habit of a few minutes of exercise each day – make it your default behavior when you get out of bed in the morning. Get up, drink a full glass of water, and begin the workout. Play some trance music, like “Walk the Edge” to get yourself in a state of action.

Dominate Your Keyboard

Dominate your keyboard? You might be wondering if I just have some bizarre fantasy with my keyboard. It’s true I’ll bang on my keyboard occasionally when I’m really frustrated, however, what I mean by dominate is know where your keys are and be able to type fast and accurate without looking. The more you can sound like a machine gun and accurately type the better. Here’s the simple guide to learning to type fast and accurate on your keyboard.

  • When you place your hands on the keyboard, the pointer finger of the left hand should touch the ‘F’, and the pointer finger of the right hand should touch the ‘J’
  • Find the marks on the F and J keys that stick out of the key slightly. This is kind of like braille (markings for the blind) that helps you know which keys you are on without looking.
  • Left middle finger is on D; Left ring finger is on S; Left pinky finger is on A.
  • Right middle finger is on K; Right ring finger is on L; Right pinky finger is on ;.
  • This is your default position to master your keys on the keyboard. After this, it’s a matter of practice. See below for the practice.

Learn To Type Fast Without Looking

There’s a game on Facebook called “Typing Maniac.” Yes, I’m actually encouraging you to play a game. If you can make it to level 10 or higher in this game and type without looking, you’re typing speed is decent enough to work quickly. Here’s me typing on Typing Maniac:

Click the image of Typing Maniac below to get started. Just spend 5 minutes a day on this and type without looking. Your fingers should only have to jump a short distance to touch each letter. Yes, this requires you knowing where each letter is on the keyboard…

Typing Maniac

Improve Your Reaction Time

You’re fit, have energy, and can type like the wind. The last skill that will help you finish your projects is your ability to react and come up with answers quickly. One of the challenges of completing a project is wondering what to do next. When your mind becomes accustomed to quick thinking, it won’t take long for you to come to conclusions and come up with solutions. The simplest way to do this is practicing things that measure quick reaction time, like math.

I wrote an article way back when about how mathematics can make you powerful. I stand by this claim. More specifically, the ability to recall correct answers to math equations from your memory creates a link in your mind of rapid recall and creation. This will help you squash your projects like your child stomping on a colony of ants.

Here is what is required:

  • Memorization of the times table up to the number 12.
  • Memorization of all addition and subtraction equations up to the number 12.
  • Memorization of all whole number division up to the number 12. 3 / 2 does not count, but 4 / 2 does.

When you can hear any math problem, say 7 x 9, and immediately know the answer is 63 without having to count on your fingers or in your mind, you’ve created rapid recall.

This has worked for me in my life as a web developer and scrum master (sort of like a project manager who has to make sure things get done for a software team). There’s not very much down time for me thinking about how to plan out what to do. It’s not because I am a genius either. It’s because I was fortunate as a young boy to have an affinity for rapid recall of math equations and learning my times tables.

I’ve included multiplication tables you can print out and practice with:

Multiplication tables

Times table with values

Blank times table

Recap

This lesson covered the following:

  • The importance of your health in giving you energy and stamina to complete your projects.
  • The importance of mastering your keyboard on your computer to quickly create the information you need.
  • How quick reaction time in mathematics can correlate to rapid planning, creation, and completion of your projects.

Insert into your schedule time to improve your physical health, keyboard mastery, and reaction time. This will aid you as you seek to plan out and complete your projects.

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4 thoughts on “Lesson 2: Master a Few Basic Skills

  1. As I get old(er), I realize health is very important. I maintain a healthy lifestyle for years. I think it helps me stay younger and fit compared to my peers.

  2. I used to be terrific at multiplication tables but obviously if you don’t use it, you lose it!

    The biggest thing I have a problem with is exercising, more specifically running. I hate running with a passion and I used to say that I don’t run from anything but danger. I prefer cycling, BUT running is the cheapest and easiest way to get exercise. I think it is a valuable tool to have under your belt when you don’t have a bicycle or gym equipment.

    However, I do enjoy speed walking and it doesn’t feel like a chore — not to mention it is easier on your joints. So I started doing this, slowly increasing my speed every time. When I first started (earlier this month) I was doing a 20-minute mile. Now I am down to a 15-minute mile and I feel a lot more comfortable doing some jogging in there too. I’d like to get it down to a 10-minute mile in 2-3 weeks. :)

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