Category Archives: advice

DBT is one way to deal with strong emotions

As this piece argues, if you need help or struggle with your emotions, approaches from dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) may be helpful. Consider the article as a bit of emotional first aid.

First aid may not be sufficient for everyone and you may need to see a therapist. But try the piece first and see if it is for you.

P.S. Another good piece on managing your moods is here.

It’s Monday. You have some difficult tasks in front of you this week. Here’s some help with that.

It’s always hard to deal with difficult tasks. If you are struggling, read this: Getting Good at Just Starting a Difficult Task – zen habits zen habits.

I especially liked the idea of making it meaningful and joyful. Sometimes just thinking about how you will feel when it is done brings joy. Focus on that.

Also shrink it down. I sometimes make a difficult task more difficult by imagining all the follow on activities. That’s wrong. Stay focused, break down the task, make it easier to do the next thing.

Good luck!

(Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash )

In praise of katas and other forms of motion


Reading this great piece by John DeMont on how he finds calm while doing katas made me think that I often forget that motion is a good way to deal with a too active mind. Sure, mindfulness and meditation are great, but there are days when my brain resists that. Moving, whether it is katas or tai chi or simply  walking, all help the mind in finding a place to center and calm down. I believe involved movement such as katas help with that even more.

If you have a discipline such as martial arts, then you can tap into that. You can also do workouts, even workouts that approach tai chi, such as this. Or just go for an engaging walk where you push yourself not only to walk a bit faster but to really observe and take in the world as you go.

You’ll be glad you did.

(Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash)

On taking time off on your birthday

Since I started work, decades ago, I have always taken the day off from work for my birthday. There are two good reasons for this:

  1. You get to celebrate and do things special things. I would often go to the Senator in downtown Toronto and have the fantastic breakfast they serve. Then I would roam around downtown and shop for things I love. I’d meet friends for lunch. Perhaps go to an afternoon movie or just go home and have a nap before the evening festivities. Whatever makes a great day, having the day off means you get to indulge in it.
  2. You get to avoid difficult things. Work is often difficult, and difficult things can spoil your birthday. If you have a great job then this isn’t such a problem. But if you have a demanding job, it’s hard to enjoy your birthday with all that. Best to take the day off!

The next time your birthday rolls around, I recommend you do the same. Tell people in advance, book off the time, and plan your own idea of a great day. You’ll be glad you did. It’s like a gift you give yourself.

This year I am celebrating a milestone birthday and am taking off the entire week! How old am I? The dog photo contains a hint. 🙂

Happy birthday for whenever your day is!

(Top photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash. Dog Photo by Glenn Han also on Unsplash)

It’s Monday. Here’s some links on moving from being resilient to being successful


Here’s two pieces on being resilient. The first one argues that to be more resilient, it pays to journal. That’s certainly a good thing to do. To move from being resilient to being successful, consider taking an active role in shaping your story, as this piece argues. If you are unsure of how to do that, consider examining role models who have struggled with similar difficulty and succeeded. Look at what they did and how they thought and felt during their struggle. Take all of that which applies to you and use to change your story.

(Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash)

Good advice for any age can be found here


Do you wish you could give someone (or yourself) good advice at a particular age? Well now you can, if you go here: Select An Age – Hey From The Future

Good advice, whether you are 16 or 60.

(Photo by Frame Harirak on Unsplash)

John Stuart Mill on why you should not argue with people on the Internet (and especially twitter)

I have long tried to not get into arguments with people on the Internet*. This has served me well. If you are struggling with that, I recommend this piece:
150 Years Ago, a Philosopher Showed Why It’s Pointless to Start Arguments on the Internet

Mill makes the case for why trying to argue with people won’t get anywhere.

Read it. Practice it. Enjoy a better Internet.

(*Especially Twitter. Even debating with reasonable people is awful on Twitter due to the format of the medium.)

 

It’s Monday. A good time to remember there is something better than willpower to succeed


It’s Monday. You might be thinking: I could be more successful if only I had more willpower. I am here to challenge that with this article: Willpower Isn’t the Key to Success.

In a nutshell, set yourself up so that the thing you need least of all is willpower. It’s easier said than done, I know. But it is true: the easier it is to start something, the less effort is required, the easier it is to succeed. Easier, but not necessarily easy.

Focus on setting yourself up for success. Once you start making progress, you may find your willpower is increasing along with everything else.

It’s the weekend. Time to clean house. And you hate cleaning house. So read this.

Some people love cleaning their house. I envy them. I hate it, and only the thought of a dirty and mess place gets me through it.

If you are like me, I highly recommend this: The Lazy Person’s Guide to a Happy Home: Tips for People Who (Really) Hate Cleaning | Apartment Therapy

You will find some tips to make the process less painful. Will you enjoy it? Please. Let’s not get carried away. But you will not mind it so much.

(Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash )

 

On using your comfort zone effectively


When people use the term “comfort zone”, they are talking  about  getting out of it. They say you need to get out of your comfort zone to grow. The problem with that is it implies the comfort zone is a bad place. And it isn’t.

It is true you need to leave it to grow. But you don’t always need to be growing. Sometimes you need to care for yourself. You need to recharge, repair, recover. During those times finding your comfort zone and staying in it is the right thing to do.

I recommend you be aware of your comfort zone and leave it when you want to grow and improve yourself. And stay in it when you need to get yourself back to where you need to be. This is the best way to use your comfort zone.

(Photo by Luca Dugaro on Unsplash)

There is no perfect body for an athlete, and anyone can be fit

It can be a problem: people who are fat or whose bodies don’t fit a stereotype of an athlete don’t think they can be fit without changing their body. So they give up or focus on losing weight rather than trying to get fit. That’s too bad. Fitness leads to a better life, regardless of your age or sex or body size.

What I love about this piece is that it clearly shows there is no perfect body shape for an athlete and you can be fit and athletic regardless: The Body Shapes Of The World’s Best Athletes Compared Side By Side | Bored Panda

For more on this, I recommend you read this: In Obesity Research, Fatphobia Is Always the X Factor – Scientific American.

(Image from the Bored Panda site. I recommend you go through it. It is amazing to see just how different are the bodies of athletes in different sports.)

On How to Do What you Love


This piece, How to Do What You Love by Paul Graham, should be something we all read from time to time. It’s especially good to read if you aren’t happy with your job and you are about to make a career change. It will give you the necessary perspective you need to make the right and difficult choice. For example, it is tempting at times to take on a new role because of the prestige that comes with it. Graham outlines the dangers of that. He’s also realistic about the fact that work is still work, and there are times when you won’t love it. But if you are rarely loving what you are doing, I highly recommend you read Graham.

(Photo by Johnson Wang on Unsplash )

It’s Monday. You need a positive and uplifting goal to achieve this week. Here’s one

Do you want a weekly challenge that is easy to do but also satisfying? Then you want to read this and then start giving out one compliment a day: I Challenged Myself to Give One Compliment a Day – PureWow

You may think: that’s easy, why do I need to read an article on it. Well there are good and not so good ways to go about it. After you read it, you’ll see what I mean.

Good luck with that this week. I hope you feel much better about yourself after the week is done.

(Photo by Trung Thanh on Unsplash )

 

When you don’t know what to create, record what you know

When you don’t know what to create, record what you know. I was reminded of that rule when admiring the paintings of Rachel Campbell, here:  Colorful Oil Paintings Depict Give a Glimpse into the Life of the Artist.

If you are trying to write or draw or paint, you may be stuck with two problems: being able to make things look “nice” and not knowing what to make. Recording what you know solves those two problems. You know what you are going to make: a recording of what is in front of you. And even if you don’t make a good recording (i.e. it isn’t “nice”), I can assure you years from now you will look at it and say “oh that! I forgot all about that, but I am glad I have a recording of it now!”

Here’s another tip: ask yourself what is something you know that you Love or think is Beautiful. Whether it’s a place or a person or a thing or even a time of day, record that. When you see it, you won’t think the lines aren’t great or the colour is wonky: you will see the Thing you Love or think is Beautiful. Others will think it too.

Here’s a final tip: record something of your era. Include something fashionable, or technology, or anything that is not long lasting. Years from now it will be fascinating to your or others. “Look at that old phone”,  they’ll say. Or “look how cheap everything is”, or “look at that dress”.  You get the idea.

Sure you can take a photo, and it may be a good photo. But put some creative thought and effort into it. Your art will get better, and the work you produce will be better.

(Image is a link to the article in My Modern Met.)

It’s Friday. You need a to-don’t list

Ok, that’s a cute name, but what do I mean by “to don’t” list? Chances are, you have a long list of todos. Worse, you don’t even have a list: you just have a foggy anxious stew in your head of many things you feel you need to do.

Here’s what to do. Write out everything. You can use paper, you can use post-it notes. You can use workflowy like I do. But get down those todos. If you already have a long list, then great. I mean…”great”. 🙂

Once you have your list, go through the four questions here: Multiply your time by asking 4 questions about the stuff on your to-do list

Take all those items you are going to eliminate and put them in one list. The items you are going to automate in another, the items you plan to delegate in a third, and the items you can put off in a fourth. Then remove them from your list. Tada!  You’ve decluttered your todo list and separated it into a To-do List and a To-don’t List.

If you find this difficult — and decluttering is difficult — ask a friend to come in and help you. They can be much more objective about things that you can. Don’t dither: if you can’t decide, put an item into the Put Off list.

As for automation, don’t just think of the one time you do something, think of the many times a year you have to do something. It adds up. A little bit of time automating might add up to hours of effort in the next year or two.

The point of a todo list is not to accumulate a list: it’s to get things done. Get the unnecessary things off of it so you can focus on the necessary ones.

(Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash )

It’s Monday. Your web site needs a tune up. You need this checklist


Most organizations and many people have web sites. Some of us have several. No matter how many you own, I highly recommend you study this checklist and review your own with it: Website Content Checklist: 200+ Checkpoints to Make Your Prospects Love You.

I would be willing to bet there’s at least one idea in here that you can adopt to make your web site better. In fact, I bet there are several.

If you have no web site, go through this before you start building your own. It’s a great resource if you are a small business  needing to design your web site. In today’s world, we are all small businesses.

(Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash)

There are four ways to fail. Here’s how to fix three of them.


In this good piece by James Clear, he talks about three ways we fail and how we can fix it.  The three types of failure are:

.. a Failure of Tactics. These are HOW mistakes. They occur when you fail to build robust systems, forget to measure carefully, and get lazy with the details. A Failure of Tactics is a failure to execute on a good plan and a clear vision.
… Failure of Strategy. These are WHAT mistakes. They occur when you follow a strategy that fails to deliver the results you want. You can know why you do the things you do and you can know how to do the work, but still choose the wrong what to make it happen.
…Failure of Vision. These are WHY mistakes. They occur when you don’t set a clear direction for yourself, follow a vision that doesn’t fulfill you, or otherwise fail to understand why you do the things you do.

Really good piece. I recommend it as something you schedule yourself to read at least once a year to help you do better both at work and elsewhere.

In the piece he doesn’t focus on failure of opportunity, but it is huge. For people living in the right place and born into the right segment of society, success is much easier because opportunities abound.  Sometimes you can change that (e.g. emigrate) and sometimes you cannot.

Despite that, read the piece and reflect on how you can address the things that cause you to fail.

 

On Anger

It is natural to feel angry at times. As the Mayo Clinic explains, anger is a natural response to perceived threats. What you do with your anger is what is important.

For some, stopping your anger is what is important. Some but not all. This piece argues that anger can be a public good. On the other hand, this article compares it to a form of madness that needs to be curbed. Certainly if you have kids, especially kids with severe difficulties of their own, knowing how to regain your sense of calm (as this pieces shows) is important.

My personal view is that anger is like a fire, and while fire has its uses, it is generally someone you want to contain if you don’t want to cause major damage to yourself and others. It is worthwhile to examine what you perceive to be a threat and try and break it down and determine if it really is a threat. Often the things we fear are not as threatening as we imagine. Plus sometimes we feel that way because we are tired or feeling isolated.

The last piece I want to recommend on anger is this piece in Zenhabits.

(Photo by Yaoqi LAI on Unsplash)

An important flow chart you need to keep in mind this week

The twitter account lizandmollie (@lizandmollie) tweeted this last week and I think we all need to read it

Only do important stuff that may be urgent.

Original tweet: @lizandmollie

It’s Monday. You have some emails you want to send but don’t know what to say. This can help


Have you’ve been putting off sending an email to someone because you don’t know what to say? Well with canned emails, you have a good start. Simply go to this site: Canned Emails – a minimal site with prewritten emails. and search for what you want to say. Want to catch up with someone? There’s an email for that. Does someone owe you money? There’s another one for that. Want to cancel a service? That site has you covered.

Some people have a knack of knowing what to write in any situation. For the rest of us, canned emails can help us get over the hump and get that communication going.

Give it a try.

(Photo by Melinda Gimpel on Unsplash )

The feeling wheel: a great tool to help you assess how you feel

If you are in therapy or using some sort of mood log to assess how you feel, I highly recommend this tool: the emotional word wheel. It’s more than a fancy thesaurus. As the creator explains:

I work with people who have limited emotional vocabulary and as a result the intensity of their negative emotions and experiences is heightened because they can’t describe their feelings (especially their negative feelings). That’s why this list is heavily focused on negative emotions/ experiences. Being able to clearly identify how we are feeling has been shown to reduce this intensity of experience because it re-engages our rational mind.

I think it’s great, especially for men of a certain generation who have difficulty assessing how they feel and therefore have difficulty in dealing with it.

Speaking of mood logs, if you are interested in why you want to keep one, see this. Mood logs don’t have to be fancy: you can write your daily moods on post it notes for all it matters. And you don’t have to only write down bad moods: if you note the good moods, you can better understand what makes you feel good and look for ways to replicate that. That’s the goal for people like me.

You can find more on the emotional word wheel all over the Internet. The version I am referencing is here.

It’s Monday. Here’s a guide for teens to cope with anxiety that you too should read

Sign with the word Emotions on it.
Wait a second, you say. I am not a teen with anxiety, and I don’t know any. Fine, read this anyway: How to cope with teen anxiety | Psyche Guides

We all have a mix of bad feelings at all stages of our lives. You are likely reading this on a Monday: don’t tell me you don’t have some bad feelings right now. 🙂 The good news is that techniques used in CBT can help you deal with those feelings, whether you are somewhat anxious or depressed.

Not only that, but I think CBT can help people with feelings like being bored, disappointed or frustrated. Feelings you may feel weighing on you that don’t make you feel good. You can use it to shake yourself our of your current mindset which may not be helpful to you and move you into a better mindset.

Take those emotions that don’t make you feel your good self and move towards some better ones. Hey, it’s Monday: a good day to take a crack at it.

All the best.

(Photo by Alexas_Fotos on Unsplash)

New office chair and phone ideas (or, be good to your back and head :))

chair

Two things that can make our lives easier as we work from home are a good chair and a good phone. If you are in the market for a new office chair, see this:

Best office chairs of 2021 for your home office or student workstation – TechRepublic.

If you are in the market for a new phone, consider something out of the ordinary, like these minimal phones.

If your outputs aren’t great, look at your inputs


Are your outputs bad lately? Do you find your work is not up to the same grade they used to come up to? Are you finding yourself struggling to maintain good relationships with others? Maybe you find you aren’t taking care of yourself the way you used to? If your outputs are not great lately, I recommend you look at your inputs.

Simply put, if you have bad inputs, you will have bad outputs. Anyone who runs a well run machine will tell you that. It’s also true for you.

First of all, you are living in a pandemic in the middle of winter as I write that. Some of us are in a lockdown.  Just that alone is one big bad input into every day. Part of your pandemic life may be that you don’t get to see and meet people who at one time would give you a lot of positive input. A deficit of good inputs can be as  bad as a surfeit of bad inputs.  If you find you aren’t sleeping properly, or eating properly, or doing other things to take care of yourself, then those too are bad inputs.

Some of us can do well with even meagre inputs. But few can thrive that way. If you want to do better, you need to improve your good inputs and reduce your bad inputs. To do that,  I want to point you to this piece I wrote about it some time ago: Motivational Jiu-Jitsu: Staying Positive in the Face of Negativity & Indifference – Adobe 99U

There’s some inputs you can’t change. But you can tune some of them out, just like you can amplify some of your good inputs. If you do, I can assure you that you’ll get better outputs.

P.S. For more on the importantance of inputs on outputs, see: Austin Kleon – Posts tagged \’input and output\’

(Photo by Pete Nuij on Unsplash)

Two pieces to help with (getting back into) mindfulness

mindfulness sign
For some time, I was doing well practicing mindfulness. I found it helpful. I don’t know why I stopped. But then I have stopped doing so many things during the pandemic, and mindfulness was one of those.

If that sounds like you too, here’s two good pieces that could help:

  1. How to Practice Mindfulness | A Cup of Jo
  2. How to Meditate: It’s Not Complicated, but It’s Not Easy | GQ

They’re also good if you haven’t done mindfulness before and want to start.

(Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash)

It’s Monday! You need help in keeping going. This can be the thing you need

Dontt give up sign

It’s Monday! The first of March! We’ve been doing this stupid pandemic thing for a year now. We’ve managed somehow, and we have to continue to manage.

If that sounds daunting to you, I highly recommend this article: An Ode to Low Expectations in The Atlantic. I think it could be just the thing to help you get through the week, the month, and the rest of the pandemic.

We talk about managing their expectations. It’s never more important to do that in turbulent times with feelings of great anticipation.

Good luck! Appreciate what you have. Things will get better.

(Photo by Rosie Kerr on Unsplash)

Why you should point at things on the Internet (and elsewhere)

A person pointing at a painting

If you are stuck at creating things, find something worth pointing at and create something about it. For example:

  • if you see something interesting, take a picture of it and post it somewhere
  • if you have a favourite song, sing it for someone
  • if you have a favourite food, make it for someone
  • if you have an interesting place or person or idea and you think others should know, write about it

You get the idea.  I have been mulling this idea over since I read this: Pointing at things – Austin Kleon. 

The format of my blog since the beginning has been to point at things by writing about them. I’d estimate over 90% of my posts are me pointing at other parts of the Internet and saying why they are interesting. Even this post is about pointing at someone else’s post about pointing at things.

Pointing at things is an old tradition of the Internet. There is far too much information on it and often the only way of finding something useful is for someone to point it out. The best pointers often garner the most attention.

I hadn’t thought before to apply the idea of pointing to other creative forms. I somewhat do that on Instagram. Now I want to try and do it elsewhere.

Start pointing at things! Then tell people why you are. Everyone will benefit.

(Photo by kevin laminto on Unsplash)

How to use math to improve your relationships at home and work

the number 5

According to this, the way to have a good relationship with someone is to have five (at least) or more positive interactions with someone for every one negative interaction: Use the Magic 5:1 Ratio to Improve All Your Relationships | Inc.com.

While the focus for that study was on spouse or partner relationships, I think it is likely a good rule to follow for any relationships you have with people. That goes for people at work.  Think about the people you work with: how often do you have positive (vs neutral) interactions with them? If it is infrequent, consider increasing that. Especially if you are a leader. If you are a leader and you find the only time you interact with people is to criticize their work, you likely have many unhappy people under you.

Think about when you interact with your people and be conscious about making more of your interactions positive. After time you will find you have a better relationship with others, and that will lead to other benefits too.

(Photo by Ralph Hutter on Unsplash)

On preparing for a post-pandemic world

Theatre sign saying the world is temporarily closed

If you are in business, you need to start thinking today about how everything will change after the pandemic. If you need help, review this piece in HBR: Preparing Your Business for a Post-Pandemic World

If you are not responsible for a business, it could still benefit you to read it. I see plenty of people fantasizing about what they might do after the pandemic. Why not go further and start planning to do it? If you are thinking of moving after the pandemic, what will that take? If you are planning on travelling, what do you need to have in place to make that happen?

The pandemic will end. Not soon enough, but sooner than you are prepared for. Get started on that today. The world is only temporarily closed.

(Photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash)

On the benefit of long lists of advice

list
The benefits of long lists of advice are twofold:

    1. You can pick and choose the advice you need.
    2. You can build your own list

I’ve done 1: I’ve yet to do 2, but I want to.

Meanwhile, if you want to do both, here’s a bunch of long lists of advice I’ve found.

On the benefits of insomnia

Person with insomnia

For anyone suffering from persistent insomnia, the idea that the condition has benefits is an absurd one. However, if you have occasional bouts of sleeplessness, you can reap some rewards. As this piece argues

Being unable to sleep night after night, for weeks on end, is – of course – hell. But in smaller doses, insomnia does not need a cure. Occasional sleeplessness is an asset, a help with some key troubles of the soul. Crucial things we need may only get a chance to happen during a few active hours in the middle of the night. We should revise our assessment of sleeplessness.

I agree with this. I have had a few rounds of insomnia lately brought on from work stress and I found that I was able to work out some problems during this time. I was fortunate: I took a break midday when I was tired and had a brief nap and I was fine. I realize that not everyone can recover so easily.

To read the entire piece, go here: Perspectives on Insomnia -The School of Life Articles | Formally The Book of Life. Photo by Megan te Boekhorst on Unsplash.

In praise of amateurs, young and old

Are you an amateur? Do you sometimes feel you can never accomplish anything doing something you love? Then here’s three good stories on amateurs doing great things you want to read:

  1. High school students discover exoplanets during mentoring program 
  2. Decades-Old Graph Problem Yields to Amateur Mathematician
  3. How older amateur athletes are staying fit through the pandemic

Not all amateurs can accomplish great things, but never let anyone tell you that amateurs are incapable of great things. Because surely they are. Go on, pursue the thing you love. Great things may result.

(Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash)

It’s February. A great month. Here’s why

I used to think February was a terrible month. In Canada it is one of the coldest and darkest parts of the year. By the time you get to this month, you’ve already been slogging through months of winter. The joy of Christmas and the New Year has worn off. February is bleak.

Now I think February is a great month. It’s a good month to make resolutions and challenge yourself. It’s a good month to get things done indoors. And it’s a good month to get ready for spring.

If you have to make resolutions or challenges for yourself, make them in February, not January. The latter has 31 days, the former at worst has 29. So if you are trying to exercise every day for a month or not drink for a month or…whatever….you have less days to get to your accomplishment. You will still have a sense of accomplishment and you will have an easier time accomplishing things.

In the cold northern hemisphere, you are likely spending more time indoors, so do some excellent indoor things. Why not take that time and start a new hobby? Or purge your closet/basement/attic of stuff you always wanted to get rid of? Or lie down and binge watch that show you always have been planning to binge watch? Soon Spring is coming and you will want to get outside. Now is the time to tackle all that.

Once you have done your indoor tasks, plan to do your outdoor activities. If you are going to do gardening in the spring, figure out how to do that in February. If you want to get a bike to do cycling in spring, start researching where to get the best bike before March comes. Whatever you want to do in spring, start thinking and planning for it now before it’s too late.

For more on why February is a great month, see this: February resolutions – Austin Kleon

(Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash)

A good American list of wines that Canadians can use

Most of the time, I find that wine recommendations for Americans are useless for Canadians to adopt, because most of the wines recommended are not available in Canada. This list of wine recommendations is different:  50 Affordable Wines You Can Always Trust | Food & Wine.

A majority of the wines are available, at least in Ontario. And needless to say, the wines are good. If you are looking for some new wine ideas, check the list.

 

If you need help in designing a simple(r) life….

…you can find it  here at this site:  No Sidebar – Design a Simple Life

The clutter in my house has seemed more oppressive since the pandemic. Maybe you have the same experience. If so, sites like that can help.

(Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash)

 

A novel theory of procrastination


I write a fair bit about procrastination because I tend to put things off more than I want. If you struggle with this problem too, I recommend you read this theory of ….Why Procrastinators Procrastinate — Wait But Why

I think there is more to it than this, but it is an interesting theory. Worth a read.

The pandemic isn’t over and neither is working from home. Why are you working like before times?


Until recently, I was working like I always did: get up, get coffee, start work around 9 and finish work around 5 while sitting in the same place for the whole time. Then I read this:Working From Bed Is Actually Great – The New York Times.

After reading it, I thought: why am I working like I used to? Why not take advantage of being at home to work better? For example, last week I was working on a hard problem and I was sitting at my desk and getting nowhere. I decided to go out for a walk. After about 20 minutes of walking the solution came to me. I went home and wrote it up!

Likewise I have weights next to my desk now. When I get stuck I get up an do a microworkout. Other times I will take a break and do a drawing. Or stretch. Anything to get my brain going.

Consider shaking up your own work routine. I know for some people, that’s impossible. End of story. But if it is not impossible, try doing what I did. Or work from a different part of the house. Even the bed.

We are going to be working from home for some time. Let’s make the most of it.

(Photo by Avi Richards on Unsplash)

 

It’s Monday! First up: dealing with your procrastination

Let’s face it: Monday is a good day to deal with tasks you’ve been putting off. So you write them down, say: this week I will deal with these! And then….you don’t.

It’s ok. Procrastination is a complex thing. If you don’t believe me, read this:
‘Why Do I Spend Weeks Avoiding Tasks That Will Take Me 10 Minutes to Do?’

So much of our culture rewards us for meeting deadlines, so we are encouraged to do things at the last minute. That can encourage our use of procrastination. Likewise, many of us do not acknowledge we have ebbs and flows of energy as well as ebbs and flow of mood. If we were to acknowledge that, we would schedule tasks when we know we have energy and in a good mood.

Read the article and pick out the things that contribute to your putting things off (e.g. mood). Then schedule and do those things that have been on your todo list for so so long.

Good luck!

(Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash)

Some poems of hope and resilience


If you need some hope and inspiration and find your typical Internet material isn’t cutting it, perhaps you need something better. If so, visit this site: Poems of Hope and Resilience | Poetry Foundation. 

There’s many good poems there that might help. As they say:

How can we find hope amid uncertainty, conflict, or loss? When we feel we have lost hope, we may find inspiration in the words and deeds of others. In this selection of poems, hope takes many forms: an open road, an unturned page, a map to another world, an ark, an infant, a long-lost glove that returns to its owner. Using metaphors for hope seems appropriate, as the concept of hope is difficult to describe. It is deeper than simple optimism, and more mysterious, delicate, and elusive. It is a feeling we must develop and cultivate, but like faith, it is also a state with which we are graced. Hope can foster determination and grit—the ability to bounce back and to remain determined despite failures and setbacks—when we make daily efforts to change and improve what we can control. These poems speak to the importance of hope and resilience.

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If you are tired of cooking, you need quarantine cooking help


At the beginning of the pandemic there was lots of advice on  cooking and baking being published. Then summer came, and it seemed to have stopped. Restrictions loosened, people went out to restaurants, and in the meantime much of that advice got shelved.

It’s winter now.  In the middle of the second wave with more lockdowns and restrictions, we need that advice again. Bad news: I don’t see as much new material on it. Good news: the old material from before the summer is still good. Case in point, this, from the New York Times: Our Best Recipes and Tips for Coronavirus Quarantine Cooking – The New York Times.

There’s lots and lots of good advice and good recipes there. More than enough to keep you going for the next few months.

My favorite of the lot are the recipes from Melissa Clark. If you don’t know where to start, start there. But really any of the pieces in that long list of recipes and tips are good.

As Jacques Pepin likes to say: happy cooking!

(Photo by Jeff Sheldon on Unsplash)