How to Keep Your Cool Behind the Wheel

I have a short commute, and I still pass hundreds of cars on my way to and from work. Let’s say it’s a thousand. Statistically, 50–70 of those thousand drivers are experiencing some degree of road rage. Sometimes, I’ll admit, I’m one of them.

There is a Jekyll and Hyde transformation that can take place when we get behind the wheel. It doesn’t happen every time, and some people transform more readily than others. It’s prevalent enough that Disney documented the behavior in the 1950 Goofy cartoon “Motor Mania”, where mild-mannered Mr. Walker transforms into the raging motorist Mr. Wheeler.

Here are some tips and things to think about so that you are more Walker than Wheeler.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockPhoto/Carlos_bcn

Photo courtesy of ©iStockPhoto/Carlos_bcn

Why You Need a Weekly Review

Any navigation system is based on two pieces of information: a correct understanding of where you are, and a clear vision of where you’re going. The tools have varied over the years—compass, astrolabe, sextant, GPS—but the tools are just a means of executing on the plan: get from point A to point B.

Once you know where you are and where you’re going, you can put together a plan to get there. This is true for navigation, getting out of debt, getting into shape, and getting things done.

The week is a very natural unit to plan around. It provides a good bridge between daily planning and your long-term goals. With a weekly review as part of your planning process, you’ll keep track of the commitments you’ve made, make consistent progress towards achieving your goals, and be more relaxed along the way.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/CCat82

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/CCat82

7 TextExpander Macros to Increase Your Typing Efficiency

The most important thing you can do to increase your productivity at the computer is to learn the keyboard shortcuts for the apps you use. Seriously. Common operations all have keyboard equivalents so you can perform that action without having to move your hand away from the home row.

Close behind that are using accelerator apps like LaunchBar and TextExpander. LaunchBar (and the like) lets you launch apps, invoke scripts, and do a whole bunch of cool things without using the mouse. It’s one of the first third-party apps I install when setting up a new computer.

TextExpander watches what you’re typing, and when it sees you type in an abbreviation you’ve set up ahead of time, it will replace the abbreviation with an expanded piece of text. These can be substitutions that never change (“omw” becomes “I’m on my way.”), or they can run scripts and include the output in what you’re typing. It’s a great way to increase your efficiency when typing.

Here are the seven TextExpander macros I use the most.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/Nastco

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/Nastco

Take the Stairs One at a Time

I used to work with a guy who was always calm and in control. You couldn’t rattle him, no matter what happened. His relaxed demeanor would in turn help me to relax. I eventually added his unflappability to my 3×5 card of qualities I wanted to develop.

I asked him about it one day. “No matter what we’re doing, how much of a hurry we’re in, or how bad the day is going, you’re always relaxed. You don’t let it get to you. How do you do it?”

He smiled and gave me a piece of advice I’ve never forgotten:

“Take the stairs one at a time.”

Photo courtesy of ©iStockPhoto/pcruciatti

Photo courtesy of ©iStockPhoto/pcruciatti