[Advice] Priority Management vs. Time Management

You can’t get more hours in the day.

I can’t get more hours in the day.

Neither can anybody that you know.

But have you looked at your priorities lately? Have you examined the choices that you make that reveal the priorities that you have?

Your priorities matter more than how you spend your time. But this is tricky because, while it may be obvious to us (and everybody else) what our priorities are when we choose what to have at lunch between a roast beef sandwich or a vegetable dish, it’s only obvious to us (and not so much to anybody else) what our priorities are when we choose between being engaged or disengaged in a conflict.

Priority management reveals our deepest choices, desires, and motivations around, under, and above, the thing we talk about valuing the most—our time. Talking about the choices that undergird our priorities is not sexy or exciting. It’s sharp, cutting, and sometimes embarrassing. Which is why it’s easier to write about being productive, or “managing” time, rather than training adults in how to prioritize their lives by examining the stories they have chosen to create around their lives, and the lives of others.

Like many things in our lives, the thing that matters even more than our priorities (which are revealed after we make a decision) is the narrative we tell ourselves about our priorities before (and after) we make the decision to act on them. Or not.

To go back to the previous example: You may choose the roast beef sandwich because you think that meat tastes better because you were raised in a household where meat was eaten 3 times a day. Another person may choose the veggie dish because they think that the roast beef is too fatty and salty, and they’re trying to lose weight and eat better because they want to sit on the beach without embarrassment in August.

So, one makes roast beef, or veggies, the priority, then they order lunch in a blink, and they don’t beat themselves up over it.

But the story changes when the stakes are higher, like in the story we tell ourselves about what we do at work, the work that we have chosen to do, or the tasks we are asked to do at work. The story changes when we have to choose between priorities at home, and priorities in the community.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Contributor] Convenient Culture

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Contributor – Alexander Gault
Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexanderBGault

Is convenience going to be the downfall of self-sufficiency?

Perhaps this question is getting a little old, but it warrants a great deal of conversation.

The loudest dialogue in pop culture that I clearly remember, that touched on what is most likely to happen, was around the time of the release of the Pixar film, Wall-E. Despite touching on environmental issues and the dangers of unlimited consumerism, Wall-E touched on the topic of technology overtaking humanities ability to do things for itself. Some might say that The Matrix was an earlier example of this in popular film culture, but while in The Matrix, humanity was enslaved against their will, in Wall-E, humanity accepted their condition, and actively entrenched themselves in it.

The future of convenience is starting now, with innovations like the Amazon Prime button and services that will deliver food from non-delivery restaurants for a nominal fee, and those are just what has made it into the market so far. Before 2010, Toyota Motors began developing a “transforming all-electric vehicle”, called the i-Real. The concept was similar to an electric wheelchair, but the device could transform into a high-speed, possibly street-legal vehicle with the press of a button. If that doesn’t remind you of Wall-E then you should probably watch the movie again.i-Real Concept Vehicle

With the possibility of a chair that can go from the grocery store to the living room without you ever getting out of it, the possibilities for human laziness compound astronomically. While it indisputably would be a great boon to those of us who cannot physically walk, that wouldn’t be the only group of consumers.

While its unlikely something like the i-Real will reach shelves or show-rooms in the near-future, there are products that are out there already: The Amazon Prime button, food delivery services for rib-eye steaks, streaming services. All these services and devices, while convenient, have definitely served to make humans lazier. Now, when you run out of dish detergent or toilet paper, you simply press a button, rather than drive to the store. When you want to watch the latest movie, rather than going to the Blockbuster as you would have in the past, you open your laptop, or even more simply, tap a few points on your phone to stream it to your wide-screen television.

Not only is leisure getting lazier, work is to. Most office workers today can work, for at least a portion of their job, from home. And that trend is only going to increase. Wired suggested in 2013 that 43% of the US workforce would be working out of the office by this year. As the Internet simplifies how humans engage, from human interaction to commerce, the overarching result will be that more people will be spending time in their homes, instead of in the public sphere.

Alexander Gault-Plate is an aspiring journalist and writer, currently in the 12th grade. He has worked with his schools newspapers and maintained a blog for his previous school.

In the future, he hopes to write for a new-media news company.

You can follow Alexander on Twitter here https://twitter.com/AlexanderBGault.


[Contributor] Connecting the Internet of Things

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Contributor – Alexander Gault
Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexanderBGault

It’s no surprise as time marches forward and technology does the same, that the infrastructure which supports that technology reaches its carrying capacity. This became apparent, on an Internet level, in the 1990s, with the creation of IPv6. It was discovered that any future Internet-based growth would need support from an expansion of capacity now.

Technology has a tendency to advance at a rate far faster than most people expect.

The result of this is the terrible tendency for technology to rub up against the cap of its basic supporting structures, resulting in a stagnation of growth that can be difficult to remedy. Only a constant forward-thinking ecosystem of developers, companies, and providers can generate the environment necessary for uninhibited technological growth.

The coming Internet of Things, where any one house may have hundreds of connected items, all relying on that houses Internet connection to operate as expected, will require a drastic change in the capacity of Wi-Fi or wired routers and the connections that link those routers and modems out to the rest of the Internet.

While there is no recognized limit to the number of devices that can connect to any one Wi-Fi hotspot, there may soon be a limit on how much one can use their Internet connection.

It’s no secret that the big cable corporations of the United States, and perhaps the rest of the 1st world, all have one thing in common.

They’re terrible.

They charge too much for subpar service, they never send service people out when they say they will, and they throttle your internet connection down when you use it too much. Of course, those same companies are looking for other ways to protect their profit margins, especially with the entrance of Google Fiber to the scene. This new Google service provides fairly inexpensive fiber-optic Internet to its available neighborhoods, and for those who can’t afford or don’t need those speeds, Fiber offers a free standard-speed connection, with only a construction fee of $300.

Cable companies have been buying out areas where the only connections available are DSL and their own services, and working to box the companies we thought were the future of Internet connections (Verizon and AT&T with their respective fiber-optic networks) out of future expansion. Now, Frontier owns a chunk of Verizon’s previous FiOS and copper networks.

The second phase of cable’s limiting of fiber optic systems in the United States is their introduction of usage-based billing.

That’s right, your home Internet connection may become just as limited as your mobile Internet connection.

Cable companies hope to achieve a one-two punch on the expansion of the Internet infrastructure, by limiting most Americans to their services and then to limit those people again to metering out their Internet connections to avoid overage fees. After the FCC ruled in favor of net neutrality (where one connection cannot be favored over another one based on subscription level), the cable companies are searching for another way to reap as much as they can from their Internet subscribers.

Now, while this may all seem like a non-issue right now, as most people only have and need a standard Internet connection, this will not always be true. In the near future, the number of Internet-connected devices in an average home may double or even triple, and the data they send through that home’s Internet connection will become more and more specific and data-heavy.

Imagine if your fridge were to send you your grocery list every week, complete with images and amounts, and even nutrition information. The data for that message alone could equal one hour browsing the web. Combine that with your stove sending you minute-by-minute updates on the status of your soufflé, your car notifying you that its rear passenger side tire is leaking air, and your spouse and kids streaming their respective entertainment, a usage-billed, standard speed Internet connection would be like plumbing a whole modern city with one Roman aqueduct.

Simply not up to the task.

For the Internet of Things to be an attainable reality in the near future, things like usage-based Internet billing, copper-cable based infrastructure, and boxing-in of consumers between two sub-par methods of connection, must be avoided at all costs.

HSCT #Communication Blog Contributor, Alexander Gault-Plate is an aspiring journalist and writer, currently in the 12th grade. He has worked with his schools newspapers and maintained a blog for his previous school. In the future, he hopes to write for a new-media news company.

You can follow Alexander on Twitter here https://twitter.com/AlexanderBGault

[Contributor] Repairing the Internet of Things

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Contributor – Alexander Gault
Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexanderBGault

The connected TVs, refrigerators, microwaves, electrical outlets, cars, and so on have made their foray into the market, and into our homes. But with these new innovations comes a cost, and that cost is one of the most basic of any appliances.


When you have a broken refrigerator, chances are you can call a repairman or the family handyman to fix it. When your refrigerator no longer can stream Netflix, though, it’s less likely that you can call your family handyman, or even some repairmen. And it’s unlikely that the local computer repair shop will know what to do with your appliance either, as they are not typically run on a normal operating system.

The clearest example of the difficulty of repair presented by the connected world is in the car industry.

Since the late 1990s, cars have had increasingly computerized components used in them. Modern cars have MPG calculators, WiFi hotspots, computerized speedometers, thermostat units, and all other manner of computerized units to make it comfortable and convenient for its owners. Even car doors are more complicated than before, with auto-opening features on sliding doors and trunks that can disable a door with the slightest mechanical error.

A few months ago, I was watching a mechanic explain the systems of an Audi. He explained that often, when a car comes in with a service light on, it can be attributed to a simple sensor error, or even a trivial issue that can be resolved without the help of a mechanic. For example, most German luxury cars, including this Audi, have a slew of sensors in their electrical systems, that can detect even a blown trunk light. When the car came in for its routine servicing, the tool to detect error codes turned up multiple errors for cabin and trunk lights, all contributing to error codes on the information panel that worried the customer.

Car mechanics have, therefore, been required to update their methods, and sink much more time and education into their profession than they expected. For those who cannot or will not train, they quickly lose their relevancy.

This is the future for all handymen, those who make it their profession to repair things. In 10 years, your refrigerator will be automated, telling you when you’re almost out of food. And when it continually shows “Out of Milk”, or even worse, orders more each time it queries the sensors, you’ll have to find a mechanic relevant to the current decade.

Alexander Gault-Plate is an aspiring journalist and writer, currently in the 12th grade. He has worked with his school’s newspapers and maintained a blog for his previous school. In the future, he hopes to write for a new-media news company.

You can follow Alexander on Twitter here https://twitter.com/AlexanderBGault



[Contributor] New Content: The Future of the Internet


Contributor – Alexander Plate
Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexanderBGault

It’s no surprise that the internet has drastically increased the amount of content, of any kind, that people with access to it consume.

In the past 2 years, 90% of the worlds’ content has been created and shared via Internet based platforms. That means that every book, movie, and television show from the nascence of humanity to 2013 accounts for only 10% of the worlds’ content today.

Who is taking in all of this content?

Where is all of this going?

There are many platforms, and nobody can really know what they all are. New platforms are created and revised almost daily, and so many come and go without a real following that they’re only a memory in someone’s server banks by the end of their first month.

Here, we will talk about 3 main platforms: YouTube, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Youtube is a Google-owned video sharing website, where people upload self-made videos to their “channel”, or profile, and gain “subscribers”, or people who will get updated on the videos posted. YouTube has proven to be one of the most important platform for internet content ever created, and this is shown by how much content is uploaded to it.

There are 300 hours of video content posted to YouTube, on average, per minute. That content comes in the form of vlogs (video blogs), original music, short films, and personality-driven videos and channels. YouTube has become, to the new generation, what television was to the older generations.

Now, instead of sitting down to one 45-minute show with four commercial breaks, people sit down to multiple 6-8 minute videos with only one ad per video. This actually has increased the visibility of advertisements to these watchers, as now, instead of only four or five commercial breaks where people lose their focus after the second ad, if that, now people are seeing a shorter, more interesting, advertisement, and there is only one per video, two or three for the longer 40-50 minute videos that sometimes appear.

YouTube’s gives viewers a sense of connection with the content creators, because in most circumstances, the video was written, filmed, edited, and advertised by the person performing in it. There are very few channels with multiple people, and those that do have multiple people generally have all of them in front of the camera lens as well, giving a sense of familiarity between the viewers and the creators.

The next big platform we’ll talk about is Twitter. Twitter is referred to as a micro-blogging platform, in which people create text or image based content and share it to an ecosystem of other people doing the same exact thing. Twitter has power by virtue of its simplicity. You don’t have to create and design a personalized homepage, there is only one design that everyone, from the most followed person on the platform to the newest person to make an account.

Twitter allows posts of at most 140 characters, including spaces and punctuation, so most posts, or “tweets” are somewhere between one and two short sentences. The image side is relatively similar, and the max amount of photos you can post is four. The platform has power as a connection agent between a creator and their audience, and is used by every popular YouTube creator with an active account. Presidential candidates have been using it since, in the US, the 2012 election, and individuals use it to connect with their friends, but strangers as well.

While the older generation likes Facebook for its long form capabilities, and its basis on connecting people to their already-existing circle of friends and family, the younger generations enjoy Twitters openness, as anyone can see an account and its tweets, unless that account owner has set their account settings to private, and its short-form simplicity.

Finally, there is Tumblr, known as a social blogging site. Tumblr functions similarly to both Twitter in that it is a blog platform where those that follow you are not necessarily people who know you. Twitter rounds out the group of content types we have listed here. YouTube functions for video, Twitter for short text, and Tumblr works very well for images and longer text. Through a system of tagging posts, where you give a searchable subject to a post that anyone can find, and reblogging, where one blog decides to post your content (appropriately sourced) on their own with the click of a button.

Tumblr is not as popular as Twitter or YouTube, however, and in some ways is exclusionary. Many blogs on the platform are very progressive-thinking, and more traditional individuals occasionally find themselves as the target of abuse on the platform for fitting into the “patriarchy” or being “cis-normative”, or unaccepting of those individuals that to not identify as either male of female only. Despite the faults of a relatively small, but very vocal part of its user group, (which exists on both YouTube and Twitter, but with far less success), Tumblr is a powerful way to connect to your niche groups, and appropriately tagged posts on the platform can reach millions of eyes.

The internet of today offers more ways that one can count to give and receive content. Individuals can use it to boost their own careers and build a brand, and companies can use it to revolutionize their methods of advertising and reach a whole new audience. But to effectively use these tools, you must recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each platform, and optimize accordingly.

Alexander Gault-Plate is an aspiring journalist and writer, currently in the 12th grade. He has worked with his schools newspapers and maintained a blog for his previous school. In the future, he hopes to write for a new-media news company.

You can follow Alexander on Twitter here https://twitter.com/AlexanderBGault.


[Contributor] Indifferent Politics

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With the U.S. Presidential election fast approaching, it is time again for everyone of voting age in the US, and a few not yet of voting age as well, to sort out their political ideals and choose a candidate they feel will protect those ideals. And this year, as with every other year, a new crop of young voters is entering the pool.

And many of them don’t even know who’s running.

The young adults of this generation are less politically interested, at least in terms of big elections, than previous ones, and it’s not a new problem http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/dec/26/apathetic-disaffected-generation-may-never-vote

Many references to the political apathy of the new generation date back to 2013, and this specific one refers to the UK, but the problem is spread across many 1st World countries and has shown itself in the current voting generation and the one just arrived.

There are many ways this problem could have arisen. In the US specifically, it could stem from the blatantly ineffective Congress, the lack of focus on the “little guy” in federal and state government, or the widespread disregard of the younger generation by the older.

The younger generation sees no reason to vote for the people who on the street refer to even the best of them as “self-centred and narcissistic”.

The political apathy could also be a product of how politicians and hopefuls communicate with the younger voting audience. When someone lives a majority of their life without Twitter or any other social medias, they tend not to see its relevancy or importance, and therefore disregard it or use it as an afterthought. And the growth of social media has revolutionized how people get their information.

For much of the 20th century, people got their information, especially political information, from newspapers or television and radio. Rarely was the information straight from the politician or candidate themselves. However, today, the information in generally disregarded if it isn’t from the candidate or politician themselves. Twitter accounts run by “Mr. _______’s Management” are rarely given credence, and interviews with a big news corporation are outright ignored.

This new era of politics requires a more personal touch from the candidate, an interesting return to the roots of American politics that the big-business men of the 20th century are not accustomed to.

Alexander Gault-Plate is an aspiring journalist and writer, currently in the 12th grade. He has worked with his schools newspapers and maintained a blog for his previous school. In the future, he hopes to write for a new-media news company.

You can follow Alexander on Twitter here https://twitter.com/AlexanderBGault.


[Contributor] The Most Expensive Game of Follow the Leader


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Money is an inescapable part of life.

A currency’s ups and downs, regulate how the whole country under it operates, how its people live and work, and how that country operates in the international sphere. Money is one concern that both the rich and the poor have together. The poor are focused on making it and the rich are focused on keeping it.

In the past 60 years, technology has involved itself more and more with the monetary systems. First, it was the ability to withdraw cash from an ATM, first developed for the banking giant Barclays in the UK. Then it was the ability to swipe a credit or debit card electronically, instead of using those ungainly carbon-copiers that captured a paper copy of your card for later charging.



And recently, the smartphone had made a foray into the monetary system. With the advent of NFC technology, smartphones can now be used as credit cards. By linking your account to an app on your Android or Apple device, you can leave home with only your phone and ID and still make it to that shopping spree with Betty at 5.

  • But what does this mean for money?
  • Does this progression from the physical mean death for the dollar bill?
  • Or does this control of corporations over your money mean privatization of the monetary system?

While the future of the dollar, euro, ruble, yuan, or peso remains unclear, what does present itself in crystal clarity is that culture around money has changed. Instead of an inn-owner hiding his life savings in a lockbox in the attic, as was usual in the early 18th century, a business owner has all his income held in the First National Bank down in town.

Instead of people hiding how much money they had, expect in the case of the very rich, for fear of it being stolen, it’s common for people to flaunt their money. Everyone knows that one person who seems to find any reason to talk about their salary, or what’s in their bank account, or the square footage of their house. Money has become a bragging point, and this is most visible in the high-school generation of today.

Status symbols have become central to youth culture today.

From Beats headphones, to Jordan shoes, to BMW or Mercedes-Benz cars, the youth of today covet items more than ever before. In some ways, it could be the fault of the internet. Now, everyone follows their favorite celebrities and athletes on Twitter, and when that celebrity lets drop that they have the new ______, everyone following them suddenly wants that item.

It’s the world’s most expensive game of Follow the Leader.

Not helping the issue is the fact that now, it’s easier than ever to buy things.

Amazon is only a click away now, and if you’re one of the few who bought an Amazon device, it’s only a tap away, or even less. With the introduction of multi-site cookies that track your interests and purchases, the things being shown to you are so tantalizing to your personal tastes that it’s almost impossible to not take Amazons suggestions “based on your history”.

The combination of the intangibility of money, combined with the spread of consumerism and the prevalence of easy-buy items in today’s society makes for a lethal cocktail of irreverence for the stuff that was thought up to simply make trading easier, but has turned into the second-most important thing to air for much of the modern population.

Money was never mean to take us over. Its whole aim was to simplify the trade of goods.

But as we saw with the telephone, sometimes our ideas turn into something not necessarily equal to what we expected.

Alexander Gault-Plate is an aspiring journalist and writer, currently in the 12th grade. He has worked with his schools newspapers and maintained a blog for his previous school. In the future, he hopes to write for a new-media news company.

You can follow Alexander on Twitter here https://twitter.com/AlexanderBGault


[Contributor] Future Physibles


Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexanderBGault

Perhaps its bad form to use a word coined by a website dedicated to pirating digital products, but so far, physibles is the best way to describe the next wave of items that exist in the digital and physical worlds.

Physibles can best be described as objects created on a computer and formed in the physical world by computer equipment. While this may sound like another way to describe the production in any mechanized factory, physibles are more akin to a 3-dimensional printed object.

Physibles are the next big thing in consumer goods.

Through a combination of high end printers that more closely resemble the mechanized arms that assemble cars, and programs that feed the proper information to these printers, one can “print” out almost any item they would want. For the most part, this technology doesn’t exist in the public sphere, but it has achieved some major breakthroughs.

For example, the 3D printed car.

But the ability for one to forgo the mainstream manufacturing process entirely, and get the same goods they would have through such a channel, doesn’t bode well for the current economic configurations. Every economic idea that operates in the industrialized nations is created with the idea that people will have to get their goods from somewhere other than themselves. The distinct process of supply and demand governs almost every aspect of the economy, down to the resource-gathering sectors.

If one can shortcut around all of those, with only minor interaction with their computer, their printer, and the resources to create the items, then jobs and businesses will inevitably fail. And depending on the abilities that this technology may reach, perhaps even the resource-gatherers will find themselves out of a job.

Suddenly, at least 27% of the United States GDP is erased.

This lack of jobs, created and furthering the issue that nobody will be buying anything on the traditional market, will pose many issues. Productivity will drop in all sectors, because why would people be working if there’s no value in what they’re earning?

Infrastructure will fail all over the planet, resulting in the failure of almost every device that depends on the electric grid and Internet to create these goods. We’d be back to square one, and depending on the amount of people who decided to remain on and maintain the infrastructure, coupled with how long it will actually take between the start of this process and the failure of the electrical grid and Internet services, it may take years to reestablish ourselves to the previous state.

This being said, physibles becoming a reality isn’t all bad, and the dooms-day scenario previously described is very avoidable. Simply put, for a world were major manufacturing is no longer relevant and people can create all they need from their home, strict limits on home production must be maintained, and access to the forms for the home-printed goods must be put behind a pay-wall to maintain the relevancy of working.

This must remain so until maintenance and construction can be mechanized to such a degree that minimal human interaction is necessary.

As with all major changes to the way people interact with their goods and those who make them, a certain degree of caution and planning must be implanted to ensure that the change is smooth and does not result in any major catastrophes.

The future is bright, but humans must always tend that flame to ensure it doesn’t burn out of control.

Alexander Gault-Plate is an aspiring journalist and writer, currently in the 12th grade. He has worked with his schools newspapers and maintained a blog for his previous school. In the future, he hopes to write for a new-media news company.

You can follow Alexander on Twitter here https://twitter.com/AlexanderBGault.