“To-Do” Lists- The Right and Wrong Ways to Make a List



For me, having a plan has always helped, and every good plan comes with a list. A to-do list of things you hope to accomplish, or a list of work that needs to get done.


There is a right way and a wrong way to make a to-do list according to Forbes. They will tell you that a big mistake is making the list of poor quality. Afterall, if you get everything done, even if menial, you have accomplished something. Many times the harder chores are at the bottom of the list and we add things to the top just to avoid that longer and longer. Forbes’s suggestion is to find a way to eliminate many of the little tasks by combining them. When that happens, a person will feel more accomplished and will ultimately become more successful over time when it comes to completing tasks.


Another problem is the list is torturous. That means the list is long and mostly never ends and we become stressed in life and believe we are not accomplishing anything. Focus on the task at hand and quit all the worrying about the end result of accomplishment. By doing this, the probability is higher that the tasks will get done, and you will be more productive when completing the tasks.


I searched around for secrets to creating a successful list and didn’t find anything very concrete. Forbes suggest to keep the list small with maybe no more than three things on it. Do a “mind dump” and write down everything you need to do to clear your head but don’t create the list just yet. Now divide them into separate lists that may be done by days of the week to keep from overwhelming yourself. One thing to remember is to also create a schedule of when things are due in order to make your to-do include items in order of the highest priority level to the lowest.


Another idea is to make the list just prior to when you plan to work on it. Maybe just the night before. Then when you get up and are ready the items are fresh in your mind and you have a plan to get things done. Then you can spend your time getting the tasks done instead of wasting time and energy of thinking about what tasks need to be completed.

The first thing you should do in the morning is to tackle the first item on your list. The morning is the time of the day when you are the most fresh, so having a harder task at the top of your list is a benefit not only to you, but also to the item that you need to accomplish.

Ok, that about covers it. Now I am going to make a to-do blog list of upcoming blogs.


I might wait until tomorrow. Ah, procrastination might be good topic.

Politeness Shouldn’t be Selective


Manners are something that just comes natural with some people. Sometimes it amazes me to see it in some people and not others in the same family. I was expected to be nice and say no sir and no ma’am and thank you along with excuse me. I always said please and thank you, and didn’t find it odd that these simple adages were expected of me; it was part of how I was raised, and it went a long way to showing mutual respect for another person by being polite to them.

The amazing part is some people are downright offensive to you using manners. They freak out, they cuss you out, they demean you for doing something your parents told you was the right thing to do. Elderly ladies don’t like to be call ma’am for many reasons and one of them it makes them sound old. Hmm. Politeness shouldn’t be selective, it should be given to everybody regardless of age, position in society or skin color. It shows you want to show respect.


I just don’t understand the reasoning behind becoming offended by, or being opposed to, being called ma’am or sir. I understand that in our society, which constantly struggles for progress, some people may see it as archaic in nature, an unnecessary representation of inferiority to another person or some other such intellectual nonsense that makes everybody’s head hurt. However, it’s insulting that the respect you show somebody is thrown right back at you, like he or she rejects your show of politeness just because his or her idea of what being polite means differs from yours. You’re left wondering how to respond to them while foregoing everything you have been taught to do when addressing another person. It’s offensive to be told that your show of respect isn’t accepted, and makes you feel as if it isn’t returned, either.

I once opened the door for two ladies going into a department store and one of them stopped and told me she could open her own d___ door. I just looked and her and said, ” I’m sorry for trying to be polite.” She didn’t respond.

I’m not going to stop practicing politeness because people may no longer expect it.

Weather Reporting Should Not be a Ratings Grab



Sensationalism. IS that what it truly has become? Such a simple thing a few years ago as people want to know the weather forecast so they can make plans. Now it has become an event. It really isn’t the fact that the storms are more violent or more frequent.

It seems that, much like the rest of the news and media, that weather has become as sensationalized as anything else. And it’s really becoming pretty annoying, and I think could have a detrimental effect on how people perceive the warnings given out by weather outlets.


You’ve heard it. It isn’t the weather report, it is STORM TRACKER NEWS.  Doesn’t matter whether the sun is out or not. Think about this. Go online or the television weather and they are touting a strong storm for Saturday and it is Wednesday. Really is that necessary?


According to the National Weather service, forecasters have reduced the tornado death rate by 95 percent, almost completely reduced plane crashes caused by micro-burst downdrafts and have saved ten of thousands of lives from hurricanes. All thanks to technology. Without the Doppler radar we couldn’t see what was going on inside the thunderstorm. Before the invention of the Doppler radar people only had between five and 10 minutes to prepare for approaching severe weather.

I get that, I really do.

Look back at recent forecasts and now the tornado tracking has appeared to basically eliminate the tornado watches and they use the tornado warning so much more. They are relying on storm chasers that see some rotation and it is report first here at the station. They want to be first.

Of course I think that people need to be warned of bad weather coming…it’s the only reason the death rate from severe storms has dropped so much in the last century. But if you keep making apocalyptic claims for every storm that blows through, people will stop listening after a while. And then we are right back where we started.


Weather reporting should not be a ratings grab.


This blog is the opinion of Tom Knuppel

Why is Buying a Car a Horrible Experience?



Why is Buying a Car A Horrible Experience?


Let me get one thing out first. Not everyone has a bad experience. But research states that buying a car is one of the top horrible experiences that happen to people. Even worse than cellphone companies.


We are deluged with car ads on TV and in the print media. They show people walking up to a car and saying things like “I’ll take it.” Seriously? Nobody does that. But let’s go back a bit and try to fix the car buying experience instead of the bombardment of advertising. Fix it.


Researchers have stated that according to advertising dollars in the U.S., there will be over $20 billion spent on ads for vehicles.


Dealerships need to adhere to the old adage that you only get one chance to make a first impression. Use it, don’t abuse it. Oh and a side note, if you find tackier chairs and furniture somewhere other than a dealership, you have made a discovery.


When you walk into a dealership it is an unfriendly looking place. Most the salespeople we encountered were sitting around looking dour when we arrived and, I’m sad to say, our arrival didn’t seem to cheer them up. One’s enthusiasm soon falls by the wayside in the presence of people with low energy, negative affect, and few conversational skills.

I have a thought for the sales department. Why not treat customers with respect and it wouldn’t hurt to flatter their intelligence instead of telling them what they don’t know or care about. While you are at it, let’s get new sales techniques.


Why do they have to make the visit longer. They prolong it by asking un-needed questions and look at things were are not interested in. According to research, if we are there a longer period of time we are more likely to buy from the dealer as we have invested time and they are escalating our commitment and now we feel vested to buy there. This is known as “establishing control”.

Hello. Customers tend to rebel against this attempt to limit their behavior. It is a real battle and the dealerships are digging in.

Simple fat….the more the salespeople tried to get us to do what they wanted, the more we got irritated and started to leave.


According to an article written in CBS News:

A better approach would be to use the influence tactics of liking and reciprocity, nicely described in social psychologist Robert Cialdini’s book on Influence. Reciprocity entails doing a favor for someone so they will reciprocate — which, in the car buying experience, involves more than just offering coffee or water, but also trying to accommodate customers’ schedules and requests. People are more likely to comply with requests from someone they like, and people tend to like people who flatter them, smile, and are pleasant — not people who try to bully and intimidate.


Car dealers do seem to have one thing going for them — in our many visits to dealers of various makes and models, we had virtually uniformly horrible experiences. I guess the companies figure if you’re going to buy a car and the dealers are all equally bad, one of them will get your business.


It would be interesting to know if a better car buying experience might help perk up car sales. Meanwhile, fixing these problems wouldn’t take much. And it would be a lot less expensive than the massive advertising designed to get you to go to a car dealer only to soon wish you hadn’t.


Let me share a few of mine over the years.


Many years ago I went to a dealer without my wife as an exploratory mission to look for a new vehicle. I was going to rule out certain makes and models which included their price tag. A salesman dogged me around the lot trying to get information from me as to “what is your price?” and how many miles and things like that… and of course my address and phone number.

Then I found a car I was interested in and asked him for a price. He was stunned. He gave me a ballpark figure and I asked for something concrete. He stammered and asked me “who else has to share in this decision?”. I told him it would be my wife and I and the price would be discussed by both of us. He shook his head and said that he couldn’t give me a price without my wife. Then I told him she was busy and couldn’t he proceeded in re-stating he wouldn’t give me a price in that case. I countered with just give me a price. His line was “I won’t give you a price without your wife seeing it” to which I replied she can’t. He just shook his head and said”she has to see it and be here with you.” Then I dropped the false line that ws said in a raised voice…..  “look buddy, she can’t see it. My wife is blind.” My brother was with me and he just about lost it as the salesperson said… “Oh.”

I walked out.


Another time my wife and I were together and found one we liked and inquired to price. Here is what the salesman said, “ Just sign these papers and I will bring back the best price I can.” Uh, no.


I have heard of salesmen getting your keys to drive your trade in and then refusing to give them back until they have had you there for hours in an attempt to sell a car.


Just a few weeks ago I drove through a car lot real slow looking at pickups and lo and behold a sales guy steps out in the center of the lane with both hands up to stop me. I thought about not seeing him but I stopped and he asked me questions and wanted my phone number. No thanks.


Why can’t this experience get better?

This blog written by Tom Knuppel

Do Political Candidates Just Flat-Out Lie?



Truth. Some people think that the truth can be hidden with a little cover-up and decoration. But as time goes by, what is true is revealed, and what is fake fades away.

When an election is here, the truth becomes elusive.

There are some places you can look at that checks the facts but more on that later. When a political campaign is in full swing, candidates begin stretching their thoughts which in turn stretches the facts and distorts things. Numbers seem to grow or shrink depending on if it makes the person look good.

Don’t you just love political mailers? We, the voters, get way too many things in the mail about their views or even a chance to write negative things about their opponents. It is a fact that you can believe what you want in the political year as psychologists have research that shows people tend to have a strong connection to accepting anything near what they believe without question. In other words, if it is close to their views, they accept it as fact and the line is not blurred. It confirms their position.


Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long, has been concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong. ~Richard Armour


Where can you find unbiased political information? Here are some sites that check the facts. They vet the information.


  • FactCheck.org – This is from the University of Pennsylvania and they use former journalists to research and offer analysis on the things being said and written by candidates. Recent articles included a look at Republican claims that the new healthcare law is a job-killer, as well as an analysis of President Obama’s accuracy in the State of the Union address. The site addresses individual claims, searching for original source material and relying on statistics from reputable entities, such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • PolitiFacts.org – they have a truth-o-meter and rate claims made and track whether campaign promises are fulfilled. This site has 35 editors and reporters devoting time to the cause. It was founded by the Tampa Bay Times.
  • The Fact Checker – this offers analysis of political claims and is the brainchild of The Washington Post and Glenn Kessler.
  • VoteSmart.org – This site offers checking in six area which include financing, voting records and position on issues among other things. They don’t look into promises or statements.


Some things you can do to understand the process is to ask questions. When you go to a website look at it and read who is actually producing it. This will help you decide if they lean in one direction or the other. Sometimes claims of nonpartisan-ism is not valid. Another thing is to follow the money involved and evaluate who is funding this endeavor. Then analyze the site. Is it leaning too far one way or another and what sort of balance to they bring to the political process.


Doing your own due diligence will help you make a more informed decision when you step into a polling place.


Has Sports Become Too Big?


“Over the past two weeks, two of the most historically successful [college basketball] programs have been in the news for all the wrong reasons.” – Bill Littlefield


Let’s consider the impact sports has on the average American family. This time of year kids and their families are spending 4-6 nights per week on the ball diamonds or soccer fields and to some extent summer basketball and camps galore. There is a cost to all of this but I am not really talking about the financial cost but the wear-and-tear it has on the kids and the families. It is tremendous how many parents “get into” the game and look for chances to make their child better and better. The financial cost is no object. After all, is he/she makes it big into professional sports they are set, as in the moms and dads involved, for the rest of their life.

But the whole moral compass to keep athletics on the straight and narrow is going down the tubes. It is a dog-eat-dog world that will stop at nothing to succeed in sports. Look around, look at the news makers in sports in the past year or so.

I am not saying anyone is guilty here, I am saying it made news.

In the high school and junior high ranks we find coaches attempting to put together summer teams, like AAU basketball, in hopes they can influence college coaches and garner money for the kids that they may share with their old AAU coach and he can buy more influence. Many times they are not doing it for the “love of the kids” but for the love of notoriety for themselves and influence pedaling.

In college, UNC and Texas, we have allegations that they have participated in academic cheating. Why would they do that, aren’t they a place of higher learning? Yes they are but that is not what people are interested in. It is having the local college succeed in athletics. It makes the university a lot of money and the athletes get noticed from the levels higher and money flows. Make the athletes eligible at any cost. They must play. As for the coaches, their salaries are in the millions of dollars to coach for one year. They are signing 5-10 year multi-million dollar contracts because they are successful. It behooves them to win.

The pros have issues too. We have the football scandals that involves finding a way to help your team win. It is all about the money now and in the future. The deflate-gate is spot on for that. Right now, the Cardinals are being investigated for computer hacking into the database of another team. Maybe to gain a competitive advantage? We shall see how that turns out.

Players are using performance enhancing drugs to help them have great seasons. The list is far from exhaustive.

Look at the World Cup resignations this past month. That was about pay-offs for countries to host the Cup and bring in large sums of millions.


What can we do? It has gotten so large it will be hard to ever return to ground zero. It only is going to grow and have more and more and larger and larger issues with athletics. This is a sad time.


Any thoughts?