Posture for the Modern Person

The modern person, spends most of their day in front of a screen, most probably hunching towards the screen. When we start with this behavior, we don’t feel any negative so we tend not to change it until we start experiencing aches or if someone else points it out.

Having a good posture is good for you. There is nothing negative about good posture, it makes you look better, your clothes fits better, it makes you feel better and improves your well being.

The following are some quick tips for you to improve on your posture:

Exercise – While I’m trying to focus on quick tips, an essential advice is to have a proper exercise routine. You want your body to be active and healthy.

7 Minute Workout – If you have a busy day, I recommend this exercise routine. Like it says, it just takes 7 seven minutes of your day. It is recommended to be a high intensity workout for full effects. My personal advice after doing it for many months now, is to do it at your own pace, and increase the intensity the more you do it. There are many apps and websites that will help you keep track of the time and the exercise that you need to be performing.

Exercise to improve posture – The following video explains a quick and simple exercise that you do twice a day. After a month of doing the exercise, you should start seeing improvement in your posture.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4DFgoJ1p1o

Thoracic Bridge stretch – This is a stretch that just takes 30 seconds to do. It stretches your back and hips.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rm9L0RIhR3s

Sit down at a 135º angle – Proper posture for long periods of time is at a 135º angle. This is leaning back and giving the impression that you are slacking off. Most chairs recline to this angle.

Walk every 20 minutes – This can be a hard one to do, because we need long periods of focus through out the day. You should try and walk, this improves your blood circulation, your digestive system and doesn’t give your body the opportunity to say that is ok to be sitting down for long periods of time.

Intelliskin – The Intelliskin is an undershirt that you wear during the day. They can be a bit expensive but it’s worth it. I’ve been using it for the past 2 months and I immediately felt positive results. It can be painful at the beginning, which what is happening is that is making your muscles be at the correct posture and aligning or reprogramming them to be at the correct posture.

There are other many great tips and advices that you can do to improve your posture and reduce aches because of bad posture. I encourage you to find what works for you or if you have any tips that you would like to share, please do so.

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The Stubborn and the Smart Ass

Before the start of every project we work on, we have two mini versions of our developer selves in our shoulders. On one shoulder, we have the stubborn developer, on the other we have the smart ass developer, each of them trying to lure the unsettled developer that is you. Let me describe the little voices in your shoulders:

The smart ass developer: This developer is the one that is aware of the tools available in the open source community. He/she lives and breathes GitHub, and swears that there is a tool available for anything that we need to accomplish, without writing a line of code. He/she knows how to get away with using an existing framework without doing much modification to the look and functionality of the framework. See: All the Twitter Bootstrap looking websites.

The stubborn developer: The stubborn one is the one that knows that he can do what he needs to from scratch, without the help of any available framework because he believes that all frameworks are bloated. He eventually may secretly have Stack Overflow as the initial homepage on his/her browser. See: all the sites that do something less optimal from what you have seen done before.

Let me emphasize that there is no right or wrong mindset to follow. Both can be equally good and evil. The true evil is the time deciding which little developer to listen and comply. This can consume a developers (developer) soul at times. The battle that you will orchestrate as an individual, is deciding what’s best for the project and a self evaluation of the potential as a developer on what he/she can accomplish.

The course to battle these 2 states is to recognize the best of both and use them as it fits specifically to you and your project. This is the road for the Smart Developer.

For individuals, you will need to do a self evaluation of your skill sets and level of expertise. You need start from a stubborn standpoint and adopt smart ass. For the developer that do this exercise correctly, it can be a humbling experience. You may realize that they can do it from scratch, but it will make their lives easier if they adopt something that is already built and that as a plus, it closely matches the developers style.

Don’t be afraid to be stubborn or a smart ass, thrive to be smarter by amalgamating both attitudes. You will learn the tricks from other smarter developers and you will improve when you apply your own flavor on what you learned.

Footnote: I’m aware that other many factors come into consideration while choosing which path to follow(time, money, the client, etc). I purposely left them out on this post as they are external factors.

Digital Agencies as Sports Leagues

This is an idea (and somewhat a metaphor) that I’ve had for a bit. **The writing is a bit unpolished but the idea is still there.*

Imagine that a group of digital agency shop owners get together and form the National Digital Agency Association (NDAA). Agencies draft or scout the best talent from the World to join the league and their team.

The Agency builds their team as they need. One agency can have the best programmers but not the best designers or vice versa, and winning certain business. The agency with the best talents overall, wins the most businesses.

The talents (designer, programmer or producer) progress and achievements are kept as individual stats that will provide value to the talent. At the end of the “season” (year), the league grants achievements for the top performers or different categories. The talent receives a trophy, a bonus and the respect and recognition. Talents will be treated as Superstars.

When the talents contract is up, they enter “free agency”. The talent be picked up by another agency to become part of their team. The talent can negotiate based on their talents and achievements.

Trades are a crucial element of the league. An agency is willing to give away one of their top designers (top scorers) for a better programmer (top defender) based on what they will need.

“The games” can be products or digital advertising campaigns.

The metaphor is not entirely innovative but I believe having a league that has the best of the best, and they are not tied to a single agency unless they want to is not a bad approach to modern product development. Obviously, the quality of work produced will be the best produced.

Farewell to Facebook

After many years on Facebook, I decided to leave. I should’ve done it sooner. Facebook has become of no value to me.

The content on the network was not of my interest. People would gossip about what others would post, be judged by the ‘Likes’ you performed and your opinion losing its meaning along the way. Basically my ‘Friends’ were not providing content that I can relate to participate. Probably you’re saying that I need better friends, but I will disagree on that. My theory is that most users are also tired of Facebook and lack the motivation to provide content that is relatable to me.

I appreciate the effort by Facebook to tighten up their privacy settings. For the last 2 months, I was able to provide a great level of privacy to my profile. What I don’t appreciate from Facebook is their ads. They display an obscene amount of ads to users that it makes it look worse than MySpace on their old days. Lastly, I feel uneasy that their true worth is on my data. Sure, I appreciate transparency, but I don’t appreciate making a profit on what I decide to publish that makes my persona.

Nowadays I spend my time on my News Reader, Google+ Reddit (on a very selective homepage), Quora and Twitter. If you ever want to add me as a friend on any of the networks mentioned, please do so!

Thirty

Reaching 30 years old is a big milestone to me. It’s an age that you are not referred anymore as “yo” or “hey” but more like “Sir” or “Ma’am”. It’s an age that you are not considered young or juvenile. At 30, you start decaying physically and your mind starts maturing. Thirty is a pivot point in your life, it’s a good point that you can clearly see you were, who you are and who you will be. I want to share my point of view where I stand, with the support of the knowledge that I have acquired, how I see myself based from the experiences lived and the future image of what I want to become.

I want to point out that the following bullets are from my point of view. I don’t expect the points being applicable to everyone, but I hope some of it will be valuable.

The Past

Learn from your mistakes

This is the most important advice I can give to anyone.You need to experience mistakes in your life. Unfortunately we are not perfect and mistakes happen. Once you experienced mistakes, you are more cautious and less likely you will do the same mistake again. You need to see where you went wrong and how you can learn from it.

Don’t live with regrets of the things that you have done but…

… it’s acceptable to regret the things that you didn’t do. Only you can regret them because you missed on the experience. It’s not acceptable regretting experiences. You can find the humor on those events that seem silly in retrospect.

Choose a career and not a job

You will spend close to half of the hours available of the day working. This is a huge amount of time considering that you need at least 6 hours of sleeping, leaving you with roughly 6 hours for yourself (not including commute). Of those 6 free hours, your only choice might to work some more. On your 20’s work will be your life. Make sure you are in a field that you love. You can get really miserable very fast when you realize how you potentially can use all this time to do other activities that you love, make sure you love what you, make sure you chose a career.

A career is that profession that you see yourself doing in your foreseen future. A career is when you look forward for the next day, because you know there are many challenges awaiting you. A career might even be taking risks because you love doing it.

Don’t work a job, please. A job is when you don’t want to wake up in the morning. A job is when you can’t wait to leave to go home. A job is when you just want a paycheck. Your energies can be spent on what you heart loves, not on what you are forced to do.

If in doubt, time is more valuable than money, don’t waste it.

Social Skills

Social skills is a survival skill, similar to find shelter or hunt a bear. I hate making this subject sound dry and methodical because is the total opposite, but I want to emphasize how important it is.

In your twenties, many doors open to meet people in many social platforms. I’m not talking about Facebook or Twitter, but real life settings. I’m not discrediting the ability to open a conversation on the Internet, but traversing that conversation to a face to face dialog. Some of these people will become your friends and best friends. Making and having friends is an invaluable asset of anyones lives. Friends and people you know, will help you muster the courage and motivation to keep growing as a person.

The Present

Keep doing hobbies

I recommend getting an outdoor hobby, mine is scuba and basketball, and an indoor hobby, coin magic and video games. Every now and then you need to break routines and engage on enjoyable activities. Explore the outdoor, explore what intrigues and provides endless hours of entertainment.

Keeping the Brain healthy

Keep yourself sane. This can sound silly, but the brain is a muscle that you need to condition and train. Find mind stimulating activities to spend your time on.

There are consumables that keep your brain healthy and active. I recommend consuming Triple Omega, playing puzzle, number and language games daily. Coincidently, Art Of Manliness posted a good article regarding this point.

There is always room for improvement

This is a fact: you will be better at what you do today, than what you were yesterday. Today you acknowledge this insight, you will be up to the challenges, because you know you will be better tomorrow.

The Future

The Uncertainty

The future is uncertain when you try to fantasize about it. Hopefully you have discovered the traits that form who you are, your strengths and weaknesses and that you can define a explicit path that can maximize on what you character is made of.

For 30 years you have acquired skills that will help you for the challenges is thrown at you. You will be ready for them, you will step out of your comfort zone and you will be able to tackle them. You will be startled, but you will recoup and take control.

Be a Father (or any new challenge)

I’m not afraid of being a father. Of all the experiences that I can imagine, this is the most certain that I am about. With any daring challenge that you foresee, don’t fear what comes along with what it brings.

Retire Young

We all wish to make big money the easy way and retire. Unfortunately for most of us that won’t happen.

Make sure where you are saving money for your retirement. Some employers offer a retirement plan. You should take it, it’s basically free money! Try to save as much as you can. I don’t understand most of the terminology, but I know that money is being saved for when I retire.

(Continue to) travel the World

The World is full of jaw-dropping sights and great human beings. Experiencing the World first hand is very fulfilling for the soul. The future should be filled with soul replenishment. It has been a life long dream to be able to travel and see the World. Last December I went to Mexico, and I explored the Yucatan peninsula. The sights that I witnessed and the people that I met, it filled a part of my soul that hasn’t been filled before. I plan to continue to travel the World. If you can, you should do it.

My advise to do it, is to save a money based on a goal. A goal will be determined by your calculation on how much you need. I will write solely on how to do this later on. Once you have your goal and a deadline, you embark into traveling to somewhere that you haven’t been. If you are in the United States, start by traveling to destinations within the United States. This country is beautiful, and it deserves to be explored.

Finishing thoughts

Today (February 7, 2013) I turn 30 years old. I have done a lot of thinking to understand where I am now. My present is the byproduct of solely my decisions. I feel that I have learned a lot, and I know I will learn more.

If you are younger than me and read this, I wish you find anything insightful and have given you a different perspective on how it is to grow up and shape your persona.

If you are older than me, you are allowed to laugh for the thoughts written above. If you have a piece of advise that you would consider essential, please reach out to me. Listening to people with more life experiences is when I get the “insider secrets to knowledge”.

In 10 years, I will read this and I may laugh or I may cry, but I know I will be better. You can be too.

Make writing everyday an habit.

Reading this right now, you may not believe me that I write almost everyday or probably, you won’t follow my advice. But trust me on this one, this is something that I would like more people to do.

Make a habit of writing every day. We always have thoughts in our minds that need to be released from our minds and into a piece or paper or kilobyte. Writing it down, it may clear the pathways to expand on the single thought and then on the many thoughts that are in your mind.

Another great subject to write about is your day. Your day may seem hectic, full of stress, but when you remember your day and write it down, you see the greatness between all the chaos.

Where to write

Moleskines

There is nothing wrong with having many Moleskines, but be sure to have a pocket-size, flexible Moleskine always with you. Have another hardcover Moleskine on your desk.

Day One
Day One is a beautifully designed Journal app for Mac and iOS. You can set it up to remind you to write and it can live in your toolbar, always accessible for when you have something to write. It syncs with iCloud or Dropbox so you have all your entries in all of your devices. My personal use for Day One is for more complete thoughts.

ByWord
ByWord is a simple writing app for Mac and iOS. It’s a basic text and Markdown writing app. I use ByWord for single thoughts. Simple thoughts usually are the best fire starters.

WordPress
Personally, I have a lot of half-baked thoughts that are not worthy of sharing in this blog, but blogging is a great way of sharing your writing, if you want to share what’s on your mind without weighting in all the possible critical judgement.

When To Write

Write whenever you can write. At the middle of work, at lunch, at the train, before you go to bed, or right after you wake up. Don’t create invisible constraints on when to write, because you won’t be able to write anything. It has to happen freely and unforced.

Reading your writing in the future will open doors that haven’t been opened in a long time. Open doors to your mind and thoughts, for others or for yourself to take a look into. This may help you to understand yourself and what you may have become.

Just remember, those who write, are the ones that people remember, you should be motivated to do the same.

Time is More Valuable Than Money…

“Time is more Valuable than Money, Because You Can’t Get It Back.”

I’m asking for a small bit of your time, I promise it won’t be much. We value money, because it is tangible. The more we have, the more we can put in a bank account and spend. But what about time? What about this precise moment… it just went away. You just this precise second and you are not getting it back.

We all have a set of time, it can be decades, years, months, days, hours, minutes or seconds. We really don’t know how much time exactly we have. The worth of time is usually the opposite of money, the less time we have, the more we value it. We need to live every moment like it’s worth immensely.

Spend your time in what is worth. It can be in your family or your friends. In an activity that brings you joy or happiness. It can be traveling to new places and meeting new people. Work is usually the activity that you will consume a lot of your time, make sure you are passionate and love what you do, in what you work. I cannot tell you, in what specifically you should spend your time, you will have to determine that, follow your instinct and make sure you get the most out of your time.

The return investment of time is experiences. We are born in dust, we die in dust. We cannot take our money with us to our grave, but we can take a soul full of experiences and joy when we bring experiences from a time well spent.