Charlie's Blog: Tips


These are various tips for living better. They are in no particular order. They work for me, and I hope they work for you.--C.

1. Always be doing.

The chief reason people don't get things done is because of idleness. Aim to never be idle. Use every waking minute of every day. You will fail on this, but you will still get a lot of stuff off of your To Do list.

2. Have a Plan of Life.

This comes from the teachings of St. Josemaria Escriva and the practice of Opus Dei. You can adjust it for your individual circumstances, but it is what you do in terms of devotion on a daily basis. Here are the ones I find helpful:

-Morning Offering
-Morning Prayers
-Readings from the Scriptures
-Daily Mass (if you can swing it)
-Angelus around noontime
-Readings from saints and other Catholic books
-Evening prayer
-Examination of Conscience with Act of Contrition

The main thing with this practice is to find a plan that you can do on the daily with all the other demands of life.

The Rosary is the weapon for these times. ~ St. Padre Pio

3. Use commute time.

People spend a lot of time behind the wheels of their cars. It can be a curse, or it can be a blessing. I recommend praying the Rosary, mental prayer, and listening to profitable podcasts during this time. At the least, tune in NPR or your local Christian station.

4. Send back junk mail.

The US Postal Service is now a trash delivery service with all of the bulk mail in your inbox. But if you look in the junk mail, you will find postage paid return envelopes, so you can send in your info. I fold my junk mail into those envelopes and send it back to the senders on their dime. If everyone in this country did this, junk mail would cease to be.

5. Use bar soap and a washcloth.

Bodywash is mostly water and a waste of your hard earned money. Three bars of Ivory cost a dollar.

Scrunchies are for losers.

6. Eschew trash TV and other media.

The definition of trash is that it leaves you worse off than better off. These are those times when you say, "That is an hour of my life that I'm never getting back." Make better media choices that let you relax but also leave you better at the end than at the beginning.

7. Eschew debt.

The best financial move you can make is to get out of debt and stay out of debt. Cut up those credit cards and pay off those loans and mortgages. If you want something, save for it or do without. In time, you will be richer instead of poorer.

8. Use a safety razor, shave soap, and a brush.

Cartridge shaving and canned shaving cream are rip offs.

All you need for a great wet shave.

9. Buy tinted safety glasses for sunglasses.

Brand name sunglasses are expensive rip offs from the Luxottica Company. Cheap convenience store sunglasses last a week or less. Buy a pair of tinted safety glasses from the hardware store or home improvement center. They are both cheap and extremely durable with 100% UV protection and designed/rated/tested to deflect flying metal debris from your eyeballs. That is quality, folks.

Who needs $200+ Oakley sunglasses?

10. Quit Facebook.

End your envy. Take back your privacy. Take back your time. Have a real life instead of pretending to have a life for the sake of friends and family.

11. Go vegan.

The low fat vegan diet is the optimal diet. Everyone knows it, but not everyone likes it. Any move in this direction will see an improvement in health and energy and a loss of weight.

12. Embrace minimalist fitness.

Don't buy an expensive gym membership. Don't buy that $3000 tri-bike. Don't buy that expensive treadmill or home gym thingamajiggy. Don't even buy that $50 fitness DVD. Just do the exercises you learned in high school PE or the military and go for walks and runs. This stuff works. And if you don't do the simple stuff, at least you saved the money you would have wasted sitting on the couch not using the expensive stuff.

PUSH UPS: Still free.
13. Shun bad people.

You should never be mean to people or mistreat them, but that doesn't mean you have to stand there and let them mistreat you. When people mistreat you, give them an opportunity to repent and mend the tear in the relationship. Since most people can't do this, drop them out of your life. Delete them from your cellphone contacts. Block them online. Do not speak to them. Have nothing else to do with them. This is in the Bible.

 If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. --MATTHEW 18:15-17 NAS

Since most people don't fear God or go to church, you can skip ahead to the shunning part.

14. Never buy Apple products.

Apple makes expensive junk. If you doubt this, buy an Apple product, wait two years, and toss it out as obsolete as Apple forces you to upgrade to their newest gadget usually when the latest OS comes out. Apple is like the Church of Scientology for computer/smartphone users.

This cheap mp3 player will still be playing your old music files when your iPod/iPhone becomes obsolete.

15. Use a calendar and a To Do list.

There are numerous time management products on the market from folder systems to electronic devices to apps for your smartphone, but they usually take too much time to use. Pen and paper are the way to go for speed and convenience.

Getting things done the old fashioned way since forever.

16. Get a multitool and a flashlight for your keychain.

They come in handy more than you realize, and they don't take up that much space in your pocket or purse.

Go with the Maglite Solitaire and Gerber/Leatherman. Not necessarily purple.

17. Cure hoarding with arson.

OK, this is probably a bad tip because arson is highly illegal, and people get hurt and die. Plus, you won't be getting the deposit back if you are renting. But many hoarders end up with their stuff catching on fire like my neighbor did. If you know a hoarder, call the fire marshal. If you are a hoarder, the fire marshal can help you before it's too late.

FIERY CONFLAGRATION: Great for decluttering.

18. Buy Japanese cars.

American car makers decided long ago that the way to make Americans buy their cars was to make their cars cheaper and less durable making it necessary to buy a new car every few years. Americans responded by buying Japanese cars instead.

'79 COROLLA: Will still be on the road when your new Buick hits the junkyard.

19. Shave your head.

This is for the guys who are watching their hair disappear. Rogaine is expensive and has side effects. The combover and the toupee reek of desperation. Transplants are often painful and pathetic. And rocking the old man horseshoe will make you as uncool as Captain Stubing from The Love Boat. Defoliate that pate! Then, fuhgeddaboutit!

Who loves ya, baby?
20. Use a flip phone.

A flip phone is cheap. The battery lasts for days. It fits in your pocket. You can drop it on pavement, and it won't be broken. You can use it with one hand. If you lose it or wash it in the laundry, you won't cry. And your monthly cellphone bill won't be triple digits. Plus, you will be able to interact with people and establish eye contact at social gatherings. And, yes, they still make flip phones because businesses aren't going to buy pricey smartphones for their blue collar workers to smash on the job or to waste time playing Flappy Bird.

FLIP PHONE: The choice of hipsters and grandmothers everywhere.
21. Use a box of fabric softener sheets as an air freshener for your car.

Just buy a box of fabric softener sheets that has the right scent for you. Open the box and put it under a seat in the car. If the top sheet scents out, peel it out, wipe some dust off the dashboard and console, and let the next sheet in the box take over the air freshening duties. This should work way better than those green pine tree fresheners you hang from the mirror.

22. Eat jelly beans for quick energy.

Various companies make sport products from goo to gels to sports drinks to sport jelly beans. Their secret ingredient? Sugar. The only difference is that they charge a bunch of money for the sporty marketing. Just get a dollar bag of jelly beans for those times when you feel like you are going to pass out from heavy duty physical activity.

They've got electrolytes! And vitamins!
23. Get a cheap plastic sports watch.

Watchmakers spent centuries perfecting their precision crafted instruments to give you the most accurate time that a $20,000 mechanical instrument can provide which is still less precise than a $20 digital watch.

TIMEX: The one thing Clinton got exactly right.

24. Turn off those comboxes.

This advice is for fellow bloggers. Most people are idiots. This is the only thing you learn from comboxes. They are not worth the hassle.

25. Pursue multiple projects simultaneously.

This is an aid for depression and discouragement. You may suffer a setback on one project, but the sting will be mitigated by success in another project. Conversely, the setbacks in projects will keep you grounded and humble when you experience success in one project.

26. Eat tart cherries and drink tart cherry juice.

Your inflamed joints will thank you.

Check back for updates.--C.