Friday, January 30, 2009


When I was a kid I always wanted a backho.I called them snorts (you get bonus points if you know where this is from) It seems like a really weird thing to think of now but I did, whenever I saw one in a construction yard I would picture myself as a backho operator, not as a job but just to have one.
I don't really want a backho now but it was an interesting thing to think about. I think that even now if I ever have the opportunity to operate one I think I would get a feeling of childhood glee like getting to ride in a fire engine and turn on the siren but instead I would be operating a snot. :)
Think about it, do you have anything that you were really interested in or happy about when you were a child that brings a smile to your face and a warm feeling now? Please comment.

Brian Darnell

Obsessive thoughts - an affirmation

Let it go, let it go, let it go, let it go, let it go, let it go, letting it go, it's gone.

p.s. when obsessing, try not to obsess over obsessing.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Giving the Glory Back to Him

Things are going great right now. I am managing my anxiety, I am doing well at work, I got back to school and should be getting my associates this year, I am active at the gym and in a martial arts class, and feel I am working towards being balanced, healthy, and living life on purpose.

Should I be proud of this? It certainly feels like it because I have been working very hard at personal growth. But I am forgetting I have been working hard a long time; when I was stressed, depressed, and anxious I was working hard and trying to get out of it. I was arrogant and believed that I could get out of that place on my own. I was acting as if I was god, acting as if I could fix, change or do anything without him and that is just not the case.

I couldn't give it back to God on my own so that is the first thing I asked for.

God, how do I give it back?

and I don't even believe that question came from me but from him. The answer I got was loud and clear.

You have to want to give it back.

I thought I did but the Lord was right; I didn't want to give it back, I wanted to try to do it on my own. So I asked God.

Please help me to want to give it back. Please help me to want to follow your will not mine.

From here it snowballed and there was a lot of in etween praying but here I am feeling great and I pray every moment to help keep me on track. I don't pretend that the rest of my life will be filled with things that are easy to take and without suffering just because I gave it back. But I know that if I give it up to God it is all good no matter what it is that is coming at me.

Let me end this post with a prayer.

Dear Lord,

Please help me to lead the kind of life you want me to lead. Please help to give up and live based on your will and help me to never give you up to never forget that I can always turn to you. I love you Lord and honor your holy name.


Brian Darnell

GTD at Starbucks

Saw this ad today and thought it was great.

Brian Darnell

He has a ski on both ends

From now on officially (as told by us geeky guys in the IT department) the last week of January is now National Polack Week. My good friend Troy was dubbed super Polack by (himself) and our good friend Brenda. Thanks Brenda! This is the most amazing thing given to anyone in the history of people giving other people stuff. (just so you know Troy has a really great sense of humor about himself and thought this was one of the funniest things he has ever seen). :)

Troy Skiboski Tyma - Accomplishments include Inventor of the Cry-Laugh and giving "Clam Clamder" it's name.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dealing with Mistakes

I googled dealing with mistakes this morning and found a lovely article by Rick Brenner at I did this as a next action to my project "Learn to accept my mistakes" and while reading came across a wonderful bit of wisdom:

Converting rules to more forgiving guidelines is very helpful. A more reasonable guideline might be something like "I do my best not to make mistakes, and I'm human."

And it helps to reframe mistakes. In many ways, mistakes can actually be gifts in disguise. Here are a few gifts that sometimes come along with mistakes:

  • If you realize that you've made a mistake, it wasn't fatal.
  • Every mistake is an opportunity to practice owning up to mistakes.
  • The earlier you find out about a mistake, the more time you have to do something about it.
  • Your mistakes are a service to your community — everyone around you feels better about their own fallibility.
  • What you were actually trying to do might have been even worse than the mistake you made.
I do My Best not to make mistakes and I am human! This is my affirmation for the day! I have been so burdened to try to be ok with mistakes but I don't necessarily have to be ok about them, just be ok with being someone who can make them. I was fighting the wrong monster!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bragging today. :)

A very exciting day this morning. One of my photos was put up on The photo is random so you might have to refresh the page a few times to see it.

Here is the original photo:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Grateful for Next actions

Here is an excerpt from my gratitude journal I just wrote:
18:50:52 Mon, Jan 26, 2009
I am waiting for my digital photography production class and I have to tell you; I am stoked! I came to the realization earlier that I am grateful for the next action way of thinking. If it wasn't for next actions I would never gotten my feet back on campus and gone back to school. I am grateful for that.

Brian Darnell

Do a Review, any review will do!

I look around at my desk today and think.

What is the best thing for me to be doing right now?

Which one of my big important projects do I work on? Do I take a break (because I am due)? Do I go get a drink of water or do I work on something else? Which item on my numerous lists do I work on? I can’t choose my highest priority project because I have no idea what that is, everything is screaming, do me now.

The message that this tells me is I am not clear, not current, and probably not creative because I have stray thoughts in my mind. Does this mean my system has completely gone to hell and I have lost track? No, I still have my lists in various contexts and Horizons of focus so I can still return to them but is it time to return to them? No.

It is time for a weekly review.

Resistance: A weekly review Brian?

12hourhalfday: Yes

Resistance: But you already did one of those last Friday and it is Monday now. It is a weekly review, not a whenever I feel like it review. That is lunacy. You should do busy work until your uncompleted commitments cause you great anxiety.

Does this inner conversation ever happen to you? I have it often. The term weekly review is a misnomer; it is more of a context and Horizon review (and a brain dump). I do a weekly review on Friday so I can enjoy my weekend and know that I don’t have to worry about work till Monday. But when I come back on Monday I have a morning meeting, 100 e-mails, and input from every employee in my company (this last item is an exaggeration but it feels like it sometimes) all before 9am completely throwing me back off the wagon and into mental chaos. So I do a quick Monday morning review.

What is the Monday morning review for me?

  1. An affirmation of how I will feel and what my day, and week will like at their ends.

  2. Process my inbox, e-mail, and help desk queue (30 minute limit, I use a 30 second rule rather than a 2 minute rule)

  3. A brain dump

  4. A review of my project list (no need to review Incubate (What I call someday/Maybe), I did that on Friday.)

  5. A break where I take pictures or juggle

  6. A creative review of my week.

Even David Allen does multiple reviews if he needs them. My advice: Pretend you have a meter floating above your head which rates your control and perspective for the day. That meter ever dings into the Victim role (no control, no perspective), do a review. You may have to review your NAs (next actions), your projects, Your roles, your responsibilities, your goals, or any larger outcomes but do a review, review it in some way. This may be what you need to get back on track.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A content affirmation

I have sat here through wonderful things and smile and thank the Lord, I love my life and am thankful for it. I love everything good and bad and am thankful for it because nothing is bad it is all good.

Monday, January 19, 2009

On the way to mastery 1 ball at a time

On top of my many other hats I am a juggler (one of the ways I maintain so many hats I guess). Juggling was one of those skills that as a small child I just had to have. When I was about 12 my grandmother bought me the klutz book of juggling. I spent about a day going over the basics and was able to juggle 3 balls by the next day. (This isn't natural talent, I have taught a lot of people how to juggle and the ones that are willing to practice it for a few hours will get the basic 3 ball pattern in about this long or less. Over the summer I visited my father in NY and kept practicing, the library helped me teach myself a few tricks. After that my practice pretty much stopped. I knew how to juggle, I was done.

Now, I am exploring juggling as a path to mastery, I practice a little bit each day, I also keep my juggling balls close so I can practice at work (1 hand catch while on the phone or filing, this amuses the heck out of my coworkers). I have watched a few youtube videos and am working on moving forward. I haven't found instruction yet but I am sure I will eventually.

My milestone this year is turn learn 4 ball technique. I know two more tricks since I started at the beginning of January but I am going to love the plateau with this one. The goal is to practice everyday. It takes professionals years upon years, building foundation up foundation to master this sport (Yes, juggling is a sport) and this is the attitude I will be approaching it from.

Brian Darnell

Why are you wearing a suit?

"Because I knew there was a chance I might see you today and I wanted to be presentable" is one of the lines I have been using at work when asked "Why are you wearing a suit?" Why?

Because I felt like looking professional today! Why is set such a social taboo to where a suit to work. it is not against dress code, we are not told we have to dress down to business casual, we are told as administrative staff to look the part and dress the part and I think in my case since I am being developed into management staff I am dressing the part of a manager and my desired outcome of being a manager is wearing a suit!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


My awesome friend Tara shared this on this on her blog and I enjoyed it so much I had to share it.

Friday, January 16, 2009


I can say with certainty that I don't think I could describe that word, certainty that is. Maybe I could describe it as being sure in a current reality or being in the ste of being able to present an assumed fact as true but this is where I get clugy in my mind on it. Since no one can possibly be sure we will be here tomorrow can we be certain anything is true? Is that a bad thing? I don't think so because it leads to living a life without expectations, living one where you can be certain that nothing is certain, I can say that with certainty.

Brian Darnell

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Revised Purpose Statement

I live a prayerful life; guided by God to use my free will to love as he loves, be friendly to those around me, doing what I can to help those less fortunate, learn and grow in everything I do, look for opportunities to spread God's word living in the moment past expectations good and bad. I live letting God guide my choices, accepting failure as part of the learning process and rejoicing in those failures.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A lesson from my martial arts class that gives perspective on learning difficult skills

I started my new martial arts class last Monday 1/5 and am already walking out with gems of knowledge. Last night our professor described fighting moves as words and learning them as building a vocabulary. He explained that anyone who can learn anything as complex as communication can also learn martial arts.

First we learn basic words, then we learn how to put them together into sentences, then we build our vocabulary and build that into sophisticated statements.

It is the same way with martial arts. Basic strikes which become more sophisticated with practice. Once a basic set of skills are so ingrained that they are habitual then more complicated skills can be placed on top of them to create a deeper skill set. This gave me faith for any complicated skill that seems difficult at first. I will think of it from the point of view that if I learned how to talk without thinking about it, I can learn how to do anything.

GTD and my relationship with God.

Here is an excerpt from my Daily Devotion which I noticed helps connect my GTD practice to my relationship with God. It relates how quieting the mind helps us listen to God's messages to us in our lives. (An extra note, I find that I can only truly quiet my mind when I ask God to do it for me)

A Little Quiet All Around

The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools.
(Ecclesiastes 9:17 RSV)

It has been noted that occasionally when someone speaks English to a person who does not understand the language, the speaker raises his or her voice. The implication is that shouting may help the listener comprehend the message.

We tend to be addicted to noise. We are impressed by the loud mouth and intimidated by the sharp tongue. Our text, however, reminds us that those who are truly wise speak softly and listen quietly. Foolish thoughts rattling around in our heads can create such a racket that we cannot hear the quiet voice of God.

God regularly speaks to us in the still small voice of His Word and works. There was the quiet of His Son’s unspectacular birth. His resurrection was witnessed by no human eye. His ascension was accomplished without the fiery roar of a liftoff. In it all, God quietly says yes to us: "Yes, I have forgiven your sin. Yes, I know about your unfortunate lapses, and I invite you to repent and live on in forgiveness." All God’s promises find their yes in Christ, our Savior.

Lamb of God, You did not open Your mouth but went quietly to the cross.

Author: H. Armin Moellering/Oct. 24, 1980

Devotions from A year in the Word © 1999 CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House.
For ordering information, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at

An excerpt from my meaning journal - Prayfullness and Meaning

12:31 1/13/2009
Lately when I enter this journal I have been starting to think, why is this important? Why is it important to journal about meaning? As I journal this I realize this is resistance (my inner crtic) talking. Contemplating meaning is important. Right now the most meaningful thing I am doing is trying to live a prayerful life; a prayerful life isn't exactly a clear concept.

As far as I understand it it means to live constantly in prayer, to surrender to God's will and to take action based on what he wants for me? God has a relationship with me so he wants to know what I want as well so asking for things is also prayerful. Since God loves me he wants me to talk to him about my hopes, fears, and wants and as promised he will always have an answer.

Since God promises an answer to all of my prayers; living a prayerful life is definitely the most meaningful thing I can do.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Working on a purpose statement

One of my daily projects is to brainstorm my purpose statement (A statement to help continually drive and guide my actions and choose my priorities). For the GTD minded this is the 50,000 foot level.


My process started with the natural planning model and works it's way to a draft statement:

 05:36 1/12/2009

I am guided by God to use my free will to make healthy choices in activity and diet, be friendly to those around me and be loving, learn continually, and look for opportunities to spread God's word, I live in the moment past expectations good and bad. I live prayfully letting God guide my choices. I accept failure as success in the learning process.

 It is still a work in progress; below is the process reading from most recent to first entry so if you want to get an idea of the process, start from the bottom and end with the entry above.

 11:49:33 Sun, Jan 11, 2009

I am sitting in the lunch area at the orange county swap meet and am pondering my purpose. I have stated some principles and am working on a purpose statement from them.
Here is a good foundation:
I am guided by God
I can add to this:
With the free will given to me by God I choose to make healthy choices in activity and diet, be friendly to those around me, be loving, learn continually, and look for opportunities to spread God's word. I live in the moment past expectations good or bad.

1/6/08 8:26

A life purpose should be based on principles

  • What are my principles?

  • Do good

  • Being nice to people is good

  • Be nice to people

  • Spread God's word

  • Live in the moment

  • never stop learning

  • act the beginner

  • be relaxed

  • control your emotions

  • Take care of your body

  • Live prayfully

  • Keep your mind like water

  • Keep your commitments to yourself as well as others

  • Don't buy anything you won't use and when you use it, use the hell out of it.

  • Anything can be learned from a book.

For next time; how do I present these principles as a purpose?

06:29 12/30/2008

I just wrote up a few notes in my "notebook" but it wasn't flowing so now I am typing.

Brainstorming my life purpose

I have a lot of anxiety about this project. Why? Because it is big; this is my life purpose we are talking about.

  • What if I eff it up?

  • What if I make a mistake here? There is a frase, "my life is ruined" and it never really is but let's say you pick the wrong life purpose then your life really is ruined.

  • Ok, slow down and breathe. Let's explore what is causing the anxiety. Worry that you will ruin your life.

  • How is my life so far?

  • Scale of 1-10 - 10 My life is good, I am working in the job I want and have always wanted and I m with a girlfriend that loves me and I love her That is more then I need so life is good, I have a home with little expense and have a very loving family.

So how can I build on that?


  • Iaido

  • Taught the class

  • Gained back weight lost last year

  • Started counseling again

  • started blog

  • started photography page

  • Got new SLR

  • Decided Photography is a priority

  • Formed a romantic relationship with Sarah

  • Sarah moved in

  • Went to Texas

  • Studied traditional Iaido
    Formed a friendship and mutual mentorship with Tara

  • Continued with the GTD study group

  • Started checking the checkbook every day on a consistent basis

  • Formed a daily checklist

  • Signed up Sarah with the Gym

  • Got a bus pass


  • I am starting a martial arts class next week

  • I could get my bike fixed and start riding regularly

  • I could start mountain climbing and hiking

  • I am continuing to expand my photography gear

  • Work on previous vision - Japan, add to it, photographer, student

  • Add health goals to vision- How do I see my body in the future?

  • Form better eating habits


What am I?

A learner, a Christian, a martial artist, a writer, an artist, a photographer, an athlete

17:32 12/28/2008

Life Purpose

What is my life purpose? I am trying to come up with something and looking for guidance in other places but what do I really want from life or more appropriately what does God want for me?

I have already established that it is not arrogance to think about my life purpose because God wants to have a relationship with me and he wants my participation in this.

So what do I love, what do I want, and what does God want for me?

What do I love?

What is love to me, a feeling of intense joy that results from the practice?

I love photography.

A life purpose - Photographing the world

That is a good one but a hard one to dedicate one's life too

Curing Breast cancer

I loved working on the Komen charity and facilitating the charity at work.

To live moment by delicious moment

To act with intention and not habit

What do I want to be able to do?>

I want to be more loving; I want to want to be more loving. I want to enjoy hard work and welcome it with open arms. I want to be independent and not afraid of hard work and hard times.

I want to be free of the crutch of comfort.

I like comfort though; do I really want to be free of it? Do I really want to be free of comfort?



Thursday, January 8, 2009

May be hot sip with care

This is my philosophy for the day, I am going to go slow and mindful throughout the day. David Allen once said, "I am trading crazy busy for slow and strategic". I think my coffee cup was just the reminder I needed.

Brian Darnell

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A little bit about me and this blog

My name is 12hourhalfday (AKA Brian Darnell) and I live in the small city of Hemet California. I am in my 18th year in Hemet and I love it, I am surrounded by beautiful mountains and am able to enjoy the sites and sounds of the city and the surrounding natural world every day.

I am an artist who specializes mostly in photography and writing (as represented here). I am also an I.T. Specialist for a call center for a major hotel chain. I have loved computers since I was small and working here is an indulgence for me.

I spend my free time spending time with the ultimate inspiration for me - my girlfriend Sarah, taking pictures, writing, going to the movies, practicing martial arts, reading (mostly nonfiction), practicing GTD, working out, pushing my cooking skills to the artistic limits of flavor and texture (Clam clamder and garlic fever pasta (2 heads of garlic, not for the feint of heart)), and lot's of other stuff (I don't really like to limit experience and I am sure I am leaving a lot out).

On this blog I write about photography, GTD, and Managing Anxiety (which I have to do on a daily basis in art and life). I also share affirmations, aspirations, goals, random intentions and observations, photos I notice in our world and whatever else spills out of my head.

My purpose in writing this is for the experience. I have other writing projects that have specific outcomes associated with them like entertaining the masses or providing education and inspiration; as far as this blog goes it is for the feeling of the thoughts traveling from my brain to my fingers and on to this screen. If you are reading it I hope you enjoy it but if you hate it I relish that experience to because as far as it goes for me, I succeed just by doing it.

Comments are welcome on the blog or by e-mail.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sharing my brainstorming for my life's purpose

A life purpose should be based on principles

What are my principles?

Do good
Being nice to people is good
Be nice to people
Spread God's word
Live in the moment
never stop learning
act the beginner
be relaxed
control your emotions
Express your emotions
Take care of your body
Live prayfully
Keep your mind like water
Keep your committments to yourself as well as others
Don't buy anything you won't use and when you use it, use the hell out of it.
Anything can be learned from a book.

Did I forget anything?
For next time? How do I present these principles as a purpose?

Monday, January 5, 2009

I am excited

It is a brand new year and I am excited about all of it's potential. I recently completed a mind map for 2008 and am in the process of creating one for my intention in 2009. The possibilities are endless and my hands have been flying across the keyboard as I make entries in free mind.
My affirmation for 2009:
2009 is awesome, my accomplishments are continuous and have led to the growth of others and there accomplishments more then my own.
I am also excelling in school, driving a new car, and selling fine art photography more often then I imagined before (thanks Barb for the encouragement to sell). I can communicate in Japanese with a native speaker now (with only a few giggles at my expense).
All in all rhis year has brought me closer to my goals far beyond what I have envisioned.
I can confidently call myself an artist, a writer, a photographer, a manager, a business owner, a martial artist, an athlete and am getting closer to my purpose with each relaxed breath.

I feel very good about this affirmation. I have been praying about finding God's will for me this year and feel his hand on my shoulder in all my planning and activities.

Brian Darnell

Saturday, January 3, 2009

My Daily Prayer

I pray daily that the Lord do his will through me but also praythat I can follow his will with great desire. I acknowledge that as a sinful person from birth I am completely incapably of even recognizing God's will. Fortunately god gives me the gift to surrender to his will and it happens through him. Every day I pray:

Dear Lord,

Please open my heart, and mind and grant me discernment of your will and help me to have the courage to follow it. Help me to follow your will as I would sail down stream working with current. Please Lord help me to leap into your will with a joyful heart. In your ever holy name.