2 Ways To Start Taking Back Your Life

RR Crane

Technology improvements are hitting us at a pace unseen in human history, and with these changes, technology-based noise and disruption have increased from a trickle to a steady stream.

Big screen TVs tuned to multiple channels in restaurants, people at concerts glued to their mobile devices, Grandma Sue at the dinner table looking at Facebook, Uncle Jeff driving his car texting, Cousin Vinnie walking down the street using WhatsApp, and the examples are neverending,

Reports indicate that the attention of a human is now less than the attention of a goldfish. Much of this change is related to technological advances in the twenty-first century.

The terrible thing about disruption and noise is that if you are interrupted by a text, email, etc., it can take fifteen to twenty minutes to refocus on your work. The ultimate squirrel chase or journey down a rabbit hole.

Think about the possible time wasted each day based on an interruption, and what is increasing your productivity worth based on these issues?

If you are interrupted once an hour, you lose a minimum of 25% of your productive time, and these are interruptions that you are aware of if you pay attention. Considering the interruptions, you are responsible for, you are experiencing significantly reduced productivity levels.

If you wonder why it feels like you never accomplish anything, perhaps you should try a few things to take your life back from the technology thief. It’s your choice, but why not give it a shot?

I am tired of the technology hamster wheel we are on, and I have made and will continue to make significant and minor changes to take my life back. All it takes is baby steps in the right direction to change that overwhelmed feeling.

Enough background, now I will provide examples of technology disruption and noise and how I started to take my life back. Using this information is your choice, but these methods have worked for me.

Example #1 – SInce I was a child, I have followed NFL Football like a religion. I watched as many games as possible each week, researched stats, and participated in football picks and pools. As if that was not enough, once I was involved in fantasy football, a whole new world was upon me.

In my mind, I was only doing this during my leisure hours, but once I started tracking my activity, it became clear that it was bleeding over into my professional life. How? Instant notifications by my apps of player injuries and other concerns, and when that happened, I would lose somewhere between fifteen and twenty minutes until I regained my focus.

Change #1 – To increase my productivity in this area, I initially shut off notifications for all apps that provided updates on players, teams, etc., and I limited my research until after work and lunch. This little tweak gave me at least one hour of focused time per day, resulting in a 12.5% increase in focus time during football season.

I have since gone further on eliminating noise from technology supporting NFL Football, but this small step gave me back 12.5% of my work life.

Example #2 – How often do you look at your text messages, whether you receive a notification or not? Did I get a new text and miss it would run through my mind if I did not verify at least every half hour, and once I looked at my phone, I had other notifications, so guess what? I was chasing a squirrel or going down a rabbit hole.

I thought I was being proactive by verifying if one of my hundreds of personnel or thousands of customers texted me with an issue, and once I tracked how many times I did this each day (upward of 50), I realized I had a problem.

Change #2 – I informed the world that I check my text messages once an hour unless I am driving, and if driving, I check them when I stop. If there was an immediate need, I directed them to call me. To further prevent me from looking, I silence my phone and place it out of arm’s reach as required.

I have taken additional steps to eliminate noise from text messages, but this small step gave me back at least 20% of my work life.

We live in a new world that inundates with more information updates than ever before. It is our choice whether we control the updates or if the updates control us.

I, for one, am taking my life back and would love to help others take their lives back. The list is endless, and I will provide more ways to start taking your life back in future posts.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

What have you done to take your life back?

Have a great day, J.

The New Norm Is Not The New Nice

I am a Sixties child who grew up in the Seventies and spread my wings in the Eighties, so I have a level of optimism formed by these formative years.

Between Star Trek, Star Wars, Mission Impossible, Apollo Moon Launches, Soyez, Disney World, Twin Towers, and other positive messages about the future, you could not help but believe we could achieve anything.

The Sixties and Seventies were also the time of Vietnam, Watergate, Oil Embargos, Race Riots, Stagflation, Cold War Escalation, and several other negative messages about the past, but optimism outweighed the adverse events.

Downtown Aurora

Once the Cold War ended, it looked like we would experience many of our futuristic dreams since our investment in the military-industrial complex decreased.

I was in the submarine service when significant military downsizing occurred, with budget reductions reflecting the United States as the only superpower.

The military operation tempo increased due to more issues and fewer resources. Still, our budgets decreased, so I retired based on the challenges one would experience in a smaller Navy, and I wanted to be involved in my young family.

We had a positive outlook on the world and our future through the Nineties until the Dot-Com Bubble burst in 2000-2001. The first of many manufactured economic challenges we would experience from 2000 through 2022.

In 2001, we experienced 911. This event brought our nation closer than it had been since World War II due to patriotism, which was quite an accomplishment based on how split the country had become. Little did I know.

The military-industrial complex ramped up to combat the War On Terrorism, and as a people, we supported the war based on shock about the attack on the United States. During this timeframe, our economy reeled from the unknown.

While fighting the War On Terrorism, we experienced much erosion of the freedoms guaranteed through our constitution, and there was limited pushback since we needed to be safe. The thought was that the government would roll back the changes in time. Wrong again.

In the 21st Century, we have also experienced a new level of ugly politics and how far people are willing to go to retain power, which is on both sides of the aisle. Many of us ask, what have we done?

In late 2007, uncontrolled spending coupled with politically instigated pitfalls resulted in the Great Recession that destroyed much of our economy. Pessimism towards the new Century continued to grow.

The United States recovered once again, although the Dollar was devalued significantly through Quantitative Easing, so Middle and Lower Class earners continued to work harder for less.

Life moved on, and we experienced no recessions during the 2010s decade. Instead, during this decade, riots and protests supporting civil unrest doubled worldwide, and the United States was not immune to this.

I believe the politician Rham Emanuel once said, “you never let a serious crisis go to waste,” so I read that as stoke the fire to achieve what you want. Perhaps, I am reading this wrong, but I am concerned about our inability to work together.

Every day, hour, and minute, we are bombarded with negative news surrounding civil unrest and the reasons for civil unrest. Why is this? Perhaps because negative news sells, and if we push the narrative further, there will be even more negative news.

Is there a reason for civil unrest? According to Census Data, most minorities have seen a decrease in poverty between 1980 and 2020, with white poverty increasing during this same time frame. The problem is that minority poverty continues to be significantly higher than white poverty.

Do other factors play into this unrest? Yes, they do, but as a nation, equality has increased, but not fast enough. I believe stoked issues are responsible for much of the unrest we experience. Valid but amplified.

We move on, in my opinion, to the most significant artificial recessions in history. These include the COVID-19 2020 recession and the current recession we are experiencing in 2022.

I find it hard to believe that anyone would be shocked by these recessions since we have printed more money, stopped business operations, made strategic swings based on politics, and wrote more government checks to change the perception.

Remember what Rham Emanuel said, “you never let a serious crisis go to waste,” If you couple this statement with a toxic news-driven work populace, you are in trouble.

Both parties are responsible for the mess. We must return to a more optimistic and frugal time where future generations can not only dream but achieve those dreams.

Politicians from Greatest Generation helped put us in the position we are in today. Still, Baby Boomer politicians have cast cement shoes for future generations as perhaps a last hurrah to the Sixties and Seventies.

I am still optimistic about future generations cleaning up this mess, but I believe there will be much more pain in the future based on the early 21st Century.

For this reason, I pray for a turnaround in humanity, equality, and prosperity every day.

What is your opinion about the situation we are in today?

What are your solutions to resolve this?

Wishing you a great day. J


The Great Hunt 2022

In late 2021, I left my last employer after the owner sold the company; the new owners brought in their management team, relegating me to taking care of facilities, fleets, special projects, etc. It was probably a pride thing for me, and if I had thought it out differently, I probably would have stayed more than a year with the new company owners.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was my assignment to the ERP upgrade team, and I had no interest in being tied up for an extended period on one specific project. I left the company in December hot on the trail of two (2) excellent opportunities that I was perfect for, and all indications led me to believe I had a job by early January 2022.

Shocker, neither opportunity panned out, and I received my first exposure to the new world of applicant ghosting by businesses, non-profits, and private and government job placement agencies. Wow, all you could hear was crickets when you tried to get an update, and if you did get an update, it was limited. Oh well, a record number of companies need employees’ so no big deal. Yeah, right.

I applied to hundreds of companies, worked with numerous career, and recruiting agencies, and worked on self-employment options, including restarting my consulting business and starting a coaching or service delivery business. I spent a few dollars, learned a few lessons, and walked away with no specific solution to my employment dilemma.

I did have opportunities that I explored with a consultative attitude to determine if the company was the right fit for me. To my dismay, one was greasy, one had no differentiation from the competition, and one was toxic when I walked in the door. We live and learn, and I must have the right fit at this point in life.

I did find one good fit working with one of my old CEOs, but the position is commission only, so a challenge for my bride of 35 years. I am still working on this angle but believe my bride will win.

It is August 2022, and I am still not actively employed, but I am hot on the trail of a couple of opportunities that may produce fruit and have over 50 applications submitted. I am still good because I have probably achieved something that no job ever provided to me. What is that?

I became more spiritual in 2022 than at any time other than when I was a child. We joined a church; we are involved in a Youth Group, teach Children Sunday School, and volunteer for situations of need. I also have the Credentials of Ministry for the Universal Life Church to officiate weddings and other events.

I peeled back the onion for myself, getting a clearer picture of who I am and why I tick. I have participated in several self-help events and read inspiring books to assist in my personal development. In addition to training, I have taken development courses on becoming a coach. I may be an old dog, but I am learning new tricks.

Investment in my family life and hobbies after traveling nearly 50% of the time has always been secondary to my career. I learned that I have much to make up for in the family and myself. I also promised my grandson, who is ten months old, that I would be here for him. My desire to not travel domestically or globally to be here for the family is a challenge in my job hunt, but that’s okay.

There are many moving parts to my being, and how they mesh is critical to how I approach each day. I am working on numerous areas to become a better person for my family, friends, co-workers, etc. My long-term goal is to become a Spiritual Life Coach to help people regain control of their lives. Until I am there, I will work a regular job that my bride agrees with to bridge the gap.

I am still not actively employed as I write this, but I know my spiritual power (God) wants me to use my superpowers for the right opportunity once identified. I have learned that I must close many doors from the past once I accept them and move on to the future, and once more, my spiritual power will lead the way.

Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen is challenging when looking for a job, but it is possible. At Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen, finding yourself and what you need to become is just as crucial as finding a job, so wish me luck.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Do you have doors to the past you need to accept and close? What are your dreams at Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen?

Have a great day!! J


The World Turned Upside Down


If I had fallen into a coma in late 2019 and woke up today, I would not believe the changes that have occurred in our great nation and the world in less than three years, and I have bottled up much in the last four years.

I remember snickering in the airport in 2019 and earlier about foreign visitors wearing facemasks to prevent illness based on my Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) warfare training. Yes, it was some time ago, but a cloth mask only guards against large particles, so this is perceived protection.

Today, I still run into people at Walmart wearing these same masks with beards hanging out, or pulled under their noses, so I scratch my head. It is their choice, so be you but don’t force it on me.

During the Cold War, our selling points against the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries were shortages of everyday items and health care. Again, it was some time ago, but the United States and free countries were the lands of plenty.

Today, we have formula shortages, gas prices were recently at an all-time high, and our health system, supply chain, and logistics systems have not yet recovered from the pandemic. Who would have dreamed that you could not find toilet paper to wipe your butt or would need to wait months for a medical appointment? It makes me think about the movie Soylent Green.

In 2020, we had an election that would have reminded you of Banana Republics based on the intimidation of legal voters, disregard for qualifying ballots, spineless politicians, and overbearing court systems.

We have since seen a recovering economy driven into the dirt and experiencing inflation comparable to stagflation in the 70s and 80s. It is funny what happens when one party owns the Senate, Congress, and White House. I like gridlock.

The great resignation occurred after the pandemic shutdowns, and with that, all we have heard is that companies cannot find employees to work for them, and compensation has spiked. Additionally, workers figured out they were more productive working from home, so why return?

With these issues, we have seen unprecedented ghosting by potential employees and employers, so it shouldn’t be a shock that confidence in the workplace has dropped. Furthermore, this problem will continue with employers calling employees back to the workplace.

I could go on, but I believe I have made my point about the differences between the world of 2019 and 2022. I apologize to the future generations impacted by the mess that all current workforce ages have caused.

If you complain about something, you must provide solutions, and my answers are straightforward.

– Get out of my bedroom.

– Get out of my workplace.

– Get out of my life.

Government has its place, but we have allowed elected and unelected officials a level of power that has never been allowed in this country. We need to select individuals not in it for control, hold them accountable, and rein in all areas of elected and unelected government.

Just my opinion and I would love to hear yours.

Yes, at one point, we could have differing opinions and get along, but with our current divisiveness, it is a challenge.

Wishing you a great day and a great life. J

Straddling The Fence

It has been some time since I last blogged, and I apologize. I believe I have been in the wilderness for some time, going from job to job after my mother passed, but I am finding myself five (5) years later.

Much has happened in the world since I last blogged, the pandemic, the 2020 election, inflation levels not seen in decades, and for the first time in my life, I have been unemployed by choice and by uncontrolled events.

For the past eight (8) months, I have been learning who Jay, this Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen person, was and who I want to be. In 2021, my grandson blessed me with his arrival, and I promised him I would be here for him.

What is straddling the fence? Well, straddling the fence is when you can go in either direction on a subject, and the issue I have been wrestling with is to I work for someone in a contemporary eight (8) to five (5) job, which is never that simple or do I work for myself having numerous clients.

The simple answer is that I want to work for myself, but I have a bride of 35 years and a daughter that want me to work a contemporary eight (8) to five (5) job and not care. You know the type of job, punch in, punch out, and get by. Unluckily, I cannot operate that way, and I will probably never be able to.

So, my direction with my son’s support is to work for myself, and to prepare for this direction, I have invested in training and coaching. Now I straddle the fence on which direction to support my 80/20 efforts.

From December 2021 through July 2022, I have attempted to find a contemporary eight (8) to five (5) job but based on my past work experience, and I cannot start a position and walk the required line.

Yes, I have done this numerous times, but my most recent experience during the pandemic was life-changing, as I am sure many of you have experienced. So, this life-changing experience changed how I look at an opportunity or business when interviewing in the following ways.

When I interview for an opportunity, I ask numerous questions about the potential opportunity and business that intimidates those interviewing me, which does not help me in my goal for a contemporary eight (8) to five (5) job.

When the interview goes well, and I accept, I look for red flags when I start the job, and if the business is toxic, the owner has lied, or similar situations occur, I am out of there so quick your hat spins.

So, when an opportunity allows for an interview or results in a job, I am no longer flexible to crap I believe is unacceptable.

If that is not enough of a challenge, I have applied for hundreds of opportunities of interest. If I hear back, I do not meet the profile they are looking for, I did not indicate if I was coachable, I am overqualified, and the list goes on. Most times, I hear nothing back even after interviews. Go figure!

God has a plan for me, and it looks like even though I have straddled the fence trying to make everyone happy, I am at a point where I am transitioning to my genuine desire to work for myself.

What are my visions of working for myself?

My goal is to elevate people through spiritual coaching sessions to help them take back their lives from the disruption of technology and provide guidance on how they can regain excitement at work through increased productivity. I have significant experience in this area, working with thousands of personnel during my career.

Another goal is to help businesses multiply their bottom line through consulting services that utilize my experience concentrating on the 80/20, developing compelling offers, multiplying average order value by transaction, and investing in the right talent or hybrid solutions. I have been a leader in similar improvement achievements at several businesses I have touched.

My transition is one of the reasons I have started to post on Linked In and blog again. Although I still have feelers out for a contemporary eight (8) to five (5) job, I believe I need to nudge myself over the fence to move toward working for myself. I would do this because I have much to offer individuals and businesses needing assistance.

Of course, if a contemporary eight (8) to five (5) opportunity of interest came along to help supplement my income, I would also need to consider doing this. Many believe you don’t have a plan B, but I have always believed in multiple scenarios.

What are your thoughts about straddling the fence and having multiple plans?

Are you fighting with fence straddling? If so, explain what and why.

Have A Great One!!


#engage #encourage #empathize #empower #coach