Tag Archives: lifehacker

Save the Jack o’ Lanterns from the rats with nice tails


Walking around my neighborhood this weekend I noticed two things:

  1. People have done a great job decorating for Halloween
  2. Squirrels do not give a fig for Halloween and seem to like wrecking people’s good work. Especially their pumpkins/jack o’lanterns.

If this is happening to you, I recommend you at least read this: How to Keep Squirrels From Destroying Your Pumpkins.

You’re welcome. Thank you for decorating: the kids from 6-96 love it.

How to say “no” at work, why boundaries are important, and a very special mute button

To be effective at work, give your best, and not burn out, you need to learn to say “no”. Now if it were as easy as saying “no”, you wouldn’t be reading this. 🙂 Given that, here’s some good advice on how to say no at work without saying no.

I’d add that you want to get to say “yes” as much as possible. However, you want to say “yes” in such a way that doesn’t cause you to be ineffective, burnout or quit. That’s no good for you or your employer. To do that, say “yes” in a reasonable context. Instead of starting by saying “no, I can’t do that this week”, trying saying “yes, I can do that next week / month / etc”. Saying “yes + better alternative” is one way to get to yes for both parties.

That said, sometimes you will have to just say no. Remember, when you say yes to One Thing you are often implicitly saying no to Other Things. Make those Nos more effective.

As an aside, you could always say Yes and then never do it, like Mel Brooks did! But I don’t advise that. 🙂

Speaking of say “no”, here’s a piece on bosses who promise jobs with a coveted perk: Boundaries. Two things on that. One, boundaries are a good way of saying No in advance. Two, boundaries are more common than the WSJ lets on. Your salary is a boundary. Your office situation is a boundary. Scope statements, terms and conditions in contracts, and agreements: all are boundaries. Boundaries are important for EVERY aspect of your work. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Boundaries make work better for everyone. Make sure the people you work with respect them. Go work elsewhere with other people if they don’t (thereby establishing a new boundary).

In other business links, here’s more on quiet quitting, which is a passive way of saying no. And here’s a very sophisticated mute button, which seems related. 🙂

(Image: link to page on Austin Kleon’s blog)

 

 

 

It’s Monday. Two ways to work better this week: more stretching and less control freaking

Here’s two piece of advice for you on a Monday morning: one is easy, one is hard.

First, the easy piece. You need to work more stretching into your day. Here’s some advice on how to do that. If it has been so long you don’t even remember how to stretch, I give you:

I don’t think you need a dozen stretches (but go for it if that makes you happy). I do four to six for about 20 seconds each and I find that very helpful. I try and focus on the parts of me that tend to get stiff or sore.

Now the hard piece. Does the following apply to you?

  • You’re a perfectionist with high standards (and you don’t trust anyone else to meet them).
  • You want to know every detail of an activity or event: Who, what, when, where, and why.
  • You over-plan and get upset when things don’t go the way you envisioned them.
  • There’s only one right way to do something—which happens to be yours.
  • You get angry when other people mess up your plan, or do things differently than you would.
  • You prefer to be in charge. That way, there will be fewer mistakes.
  • You have trouble giving others free rein to do things as they see fit. Instead, you micromanage.
  • You’re overly-critical of yourself and others.

That list comes from this piece: How to Stop Being Such a Control Freak. If one or more of them apply to you, you could be a control freak. It’s not a good way to be. If you would like to change that, I recommend you read that piece and work towards being less of one. The people around you would appreciate it.

(Image: link from Cup of Jo piece.)

Stop giving the praise sandwich feedback, and other advice on giving good feedback at work

Image of feedback

Do you use the “praise sandwich feedback” approach at work? If you don’t know it, the approach is this: you take a piece of negative feedback and layer it between two pieces of positive feedback.  If you do know it and use it, consider reading these pieces for better ways on how to give feedback:

We all benefit from good feedback. Deliver it better. I’m sure you can.

P.S. One of the articles argues for Radical Candor. I can see it’s appeal, but I wrote before why it is usually not a good way to provide feedback. My arguments against it are here.

Great films you can watch in 90 minutes or less!

Last week I wrote about really great long films. Those are great, Bernie, you say, but what about those times when you don’t have much time? In that case, you need this list of films you can watch in under 90 minutes!  Yes, Rashomon is on the list. And so many more great films. Proof that longer isn’t always better.

Fun fact: Spike Lee has a film on this list (“She’s Gotta Have It”) and on the long list (“Malcolm X”). Check out both of them!

How to overcome the mid-afternoon energy slump


If you find you are depending more and more on beating your midday slump with lots of caffeine, you may want to read this:How to Beat Your Mid-Day Slump Without Caffeine. In a nutshell:

  1. Limit your carb intake—and hydrate
  2. Work while standing (and inhaling good smells)
  3. Turn off your phone early—and get enough sleep
  4. Move your body for 15 minutes
  5. Incorporate music and meditation

I find #1 especially hard, because I will often eat a carby treat with my afternoon coffee to keep going. But it doesn’t last long.

A variation of #4 is stretch. While you may not have much room to move around, stretching is always possible and may help you in other ways.

Good luck!

How to clean your house (and other things) if you’re depressed (or down in general)


I really found this article worthwhile: How to Clean Your House When You’re Depressed

It’s worthwhile reading even if you are not depressed. There can be times when it is too hard to clean your place. Unfortunately, a messy place may lead to more sadness and stress. Applying the lessons in that article can help alleviate that.

Now your house may not be messy, but you may be suffering from being down and not able to do other chores. Again, try and apply the lessons in that article. It may help you make progress, and clear signs of progress can often help.

Good luck. Go easy on yourself.

How to read more books

If you want to read more books but struggle, then I recommend this article: How I Tricked Myself Into Reading More Books. I have applied a number of the lessons in this article and I have gone to reading 2-3 books a year to reading over 20 a year.

Besides the lessons in this article, there are four other methods I use to read more books.

  1. Buy (or borrow) more books than you can read. I used to buy a book and then try and read it. What I found was that if I didn’t like it much, I would put it down and not read anything. Now I tend to buy 3 or more books at a time, and have them close by. If I get stuck on one, I move on to another until I find myself reading often. Most times I will come back to the book I got stuck on. If I find I continue to get stuck on it, I just toss it.
  2. Follow the 50/100 page rule. This rule has two parts. Part 1: if there is nothing of merit in the book by 50 pages, get rid of it. Part 2: if there is something of merit in the first 50 pages but nothing more by page 100, get rid of it. Life is too short and there are too many good books out there to waste your time trying to finish a poor one.
  3. Skim the middle of non-fiction books. I find for many non-fiction books, the beginning is strong and the ending is either strong or short. However, in the middle you often find repetition. For example, for how-to books or books that have examples or cases to illustrate the main ideas of the book, you will find many of the same ideas played out 5 or 6 times. I find after 2 or 3 times, I either agree with the author’s ideas or I don’t. Either way, I can start to skim by the 2nd or 3rd time.
  4. Mix up light reading with heavy reading. If you find you are reading heavy material all the time, you might find you read less. I do. Likewise, if you read light material all the time, you may give up on reading because it isn’t satisfying. So switch it up. Diversifying your reading keeps it interesting and keeps you from getting stuck in a reading rut.

Changes and life improvements should not just be for the first of January

You can start life changes any time. These may be aimed on people making New Year resolutions, but you can resolve to change right after you read this.

Good luck.

It’s winter. Scarf season. Here’s 25 techniques to wearing them.

You may never need more than one or two of these. But scarves come in all sizes lately, and some techniques will work better than others.

from Lifehacker http://lifehacker.com/25-different-ways-to-wear-a-scarf-in-one-5-minute-vide-1497868372