‘Tis the Season!

Another year has come and gone and here we are again. Some of our goals have been met (most of yours got done, I hope!) and some have fallen by the wayside. Some of us started with an initial vision of what we wanted and it changed. Some of us stayed the course and enjoyed the ride. A third group stayed the course and isn’t actually happy with the way the year went.

So, to quote Scott Smith of The Daily Boost podcast, “Have you done your homework?” which is to say, have you sat down and reviewed how you did? What things did you like this year? What things worked and what didn’t? Do you like the course you’re on or do you think you need to make a change? The Daily Boost asks you that question once per week. If you decide to put up a reminder on your wall and settle down once a week to review how you’re doing, that’s super effective for building the life you’re after. On the other hand, if you can just do it a few times a year, that’s also great. Many people go through their whole lives lately just existing without looking at how their lives are really going or thinking about what they want.

I don’t think New Years Resolutions (NYRs)are a great move. They tend to be “I’m going to lose some weight this year! I’m going to exercise more!” without any real plan or serious reason why. “Be healthier” sounds good. But why do you want to be healthier? To have more energy? For what? Maybe it’s to start learning to dance or just because you like the idea of becoming fit and strong? Either way, break it down to WHY you’re setting that goal. Then follow the SMART principles to set a real goal vs the usual NYRs.

There’s a reason only 8% of people actually manage to follow through on resolutions. It’s because they’re made on a whim and without a plan. You can choose to have to have a plan or you can choose to have a bad plan (NO plan is the same as a bad plan). At least if you try to make a plan and it turns out to be bad, you can try to assess and figure out what you DON’T want. The trick is to keep checking in with your life and see if it’s what you want. Hopefully you’re taking the time to figure out what you’re after and start moving toward it.

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

Just Doing What You Can

Hi Fuzzbutts.

After over a couple of weeks of 10-hour days, I was starting to fade pretty bad at work. It’s hard to feel competent when you’re drowning in work and have to keep reaching out for assistance from coworkers. Granted, I recently did an interview with one of the managers and it put things into perspective. Mostly, I got absolutely slammed with an unreasonable amount of work. I know I’m not the only one to experience this kind of thing. Plenty of you go through it where it becomes easy to get overwhelmed. So what should you try to do when things get too hectic?

Well first of all, DON’T close yourself off from others. Sometimes people get so busy so they start to avoid any interaction with coworkers to try to focus on the job and get it done. Your coworkers might be available to actually help lighten your load. Also, when you do it all alone, you may start to resent anyone around you who isn’t helping or isn’t even aware of how insanely busy you are. Keep the lines of communication open and you might be able to get some help.

Next, just do what you can. If you look inside your bedroom and see a huge mess, how do you clean it? You just grab something and put it away. Same applies to tasks at work. Have a hundred things to work on? Figure out which is the most important and what you can get finished quickly (sometimes they’re the same thing) and then just get it over with. A mistake will usually end up costing you more time trying to fix it than if you get it right the first time. So try to single-task when possible and if you can’t decide what needs doing, ask whoever is in charge or just flip a coin on it depending on the situation.

Eventually you will catch up with everything. I’m still in the middle of it but I know there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Just keep a cool head, watch how you interact with people, and do your best.

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

Single-tasking to Success!

Good morning, fuzzbutts!

Ever wanted to get something done faster? You have a little project or task you want to get done today and yet you get distracted by something. Maybe it’s a different task that is less important but hey you have things to do! Maybe you put on a video while you work or listen to a podcast. Unfortunately, those things you’re doing are just making that original task or goal even harder to reach.

It’s annoying but the best way to accomplish your work for the day is to hammer down and focus on it without any distractions! That video you put on is pulling you away from your work. Those other things you do might be good to get done but you’re not accomplishing your goals! So why is it so difficult to sit distraction-free and get stuff done?

Some of us, including me, seem to be addicted to stimulation. As much as I’m an introvert, I love listening to music, podcasts, or youtube videos and have a hard time enjoying a silent morning when I get out of bed in the morning. However, give me a sketchbook and a youtube video and I’ll take over 30 minutes for something that should have taken me 5.

I know I said in a past post that I will draw while having a movie on my monitor because it keeps my butt in the seat so I get SOMETHING done. However, as time has gone on and movies on Netflix seem to keep getting worse, I’ve found I draw faster and often better when I keep things off. When I turn on youtube, on the other hand, I catch myself in the middle of a line to pause and look up at my screen because I heard or saw the edge of something that distracted me. Turn it all off and I’m able to get way more done in less time and it’s becoming easier.

Like most things involving discipline, willpower, etc, it’s a muscle. You have to gradually train yourself to accomplish these things and push through the need to be distracted so you can get it all done. Start light and for short periods if you can’t handle things being silent for long. Perform focused work and see how quickly you can finish whatever you’re working on.

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

Dream BIGGER

Hello fuzzbutts!

Tonight I want to talk about your dreams. Are you living with a mentality where if you just make it through the day, you’ll have survived? If you just manage to pay one of your bills on time, that’ll be a good day? Maybe you’re lonely but you figure if nobody hates you, that’s good enough.

Bad! No! I want to reach through this screen and bat you lightly with a rolled up magazine. Your dreams are too small! Your goals are set too low! You need to think bigger.

Your life is yours. If you want to live the kind of life where anyone hears about you and goes “That’s kinda depressing,” then alright. However, if you’re reading this blog then clearly that’s not the case. I want you to be the champion of your life’s story. So here’s what you need to do.

Look at your goals and ask yourself WHY. Why is this goal important to you? What are you really trying to accomplish with this goal? If the point of your fitness goal is to become healthier, why not go for something bigger like participating in races, becoming the most fit of your friends and family? If your artistic goal is to become an artist, why not try to build a huge following to show your art off to? If you have a goal around finances, why not work toward a dream of financial independence or becoming a world traveler?

Even if you don’t reach your perfect dreams, you’ll be aiming much higher than you are right now and performing much better. Keep planning, increasing your goals, and seeing where you can go. As you notice these little improvements, I hope they give you the boost you need to keep moving and aiming higher. I would love to hear about your dreams and what you want out of life.

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

Don’t let good habits fall off!

Hello fuzzbutts!

Ever start doing something smart and you’re able to keep it up for quite a while and then it just kinda… fades away? Like it was automatic for a while and now you just… don’t?

Well, as mentioned before, I moved. One thing I just noticed is that I no longer automate some of my daily tasks. One example would be how I choose my shirt in the morning to go to work. I go to my closet, grab the shirt further to my right, and that’s the shirt. If I don’t like the shirt, I leave it there and I grab the next one. If the next day I still don’t like the shirt, then I toss it into a bin for my rare trips to the Goodwill. I don’t know why but that was something I had stopped doing after arranging my new closet. So, starting tomorrow morning, I’m going to get back to doing that!

A couple of other small things fell by the wayside too which I’m going to re-institute in my life. It’s the small things that add up to significant change. Likewise, it’s the small things that also add up to being a big hindrance to the life we want to live.

So what’s something you used to do that was a positive in your life that has somehow faded back? Grab a piece of paper and search your mind. Maybe you used to go for walks and just stopped because life started getting busy. You were eating better than you used to but then gradually went back to your old ways. Maybe you regularly meditated or prayed and now you’re lucky to remember to do it once a week. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Just start slow again and get back on. It’s like riding a bicycle. You might wobble a bit as you try to build up the habit again but you’ll be back on it in no time and you’ll be working towards those goals.

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

How to read books OR You should just read more books!

Hello fuzzbutts!

Happy to have you here tonight because up next is a topic I hold as something that everyone should be doing more of: Reading!

I don’t have time for books, you think to yourself, probably muttering a swear as you read this article.

I disagree! If you spend time in the car listening to endless commercials on the radio or if you enjoy some downtime listening to something in your headphones, you have time to read a book. The trick is finding audio versions!

I’ve stated before that I love listening to books. I tend to be terrible about sitting down and reading. Even worse, if I hate the book, I sit there hating the book and finding it even more difficult to sit down and get through it. I mean, I can’t possible put it down and get another book. I HAVE to finish this terrible book.

Please keep in mind that bad books don’t have to be finished. You should be enjoying your reading experience. If the book is bad, just cut it off and toss it away. You don’t have to try to power through it. If you can read 3 good books in the time it takes you to read 1 bad book, that’s nothing to feel guilty about! Make sure you’re having fun with what you’re reading. Doing that, you’ll be able to do much more.

So WHY should you read more books? Whatever you’re reading, you can benefit from it. If it’s non-fiction, you’re learning something whether it’s straight facts or, in the case of a biography, what led to that person being a success or failure including their personality. If you’re reading fiction, you’re reading about the various moral choices a character may undergo and the worlds those authors created can stimulate your creativity. You will benefit by opening yourself up to new knowledge and experience.

I hope this helps you understand the How and the Why of you should be reading more books and take the time to pick up something you like!

Good luck Fuzzbutts!

Choosing your Challenges

Good morning, Fuzzbutts!

I believe in the importance of challenging yourself to experience growth. It could be a physical challenge to get healthier or stronger, or it could be a drawing challenge. Maybe it’s something that just challenges your discipline like picking a time to sleep every night.

Choosing a challenge is like choosing a SMART goal (specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable, and time-based). The only real difference between a goal and a challenge is that a challenge is designed to stretch yourself regardless if you accomplish it. If you exercise, maybe the challenge is to eat less sweets. If you draw, maybe it’s to try new poses or draw a subject you don’t usually draw. If you’re not the spontaneous type and want to be more-so,

You already know the areas of your life that could use some work. It’s the part about yourself that you routinely think about throughout your day. A random thought will pop into your head like I’m always tired; I want to be drawing right now; I should finish blank. Based on these thoughts, you can pick a challenge around it. I tend to be tired a lot.  So what would the challenge be? Improving my sleep. How do I improve my sleep? Better diet? More exercise? Meditate to reduce stress before bed? How long do I practice this for? 30 days? A couple weeks?

I hope you’re able to identify the areas you should challenge yourself in and pick out something you can do to improve yourself. There’s never been a good story without some sort of challenge arising for the main character. If you’re the main character, what’s the challenge you’re going to face?

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

Next Level of Life

Hello fuzzbutts!

I am not only a productive wuff, I also happen to be a homeowner now! I’ve spent the past couple of weeks closing the deal and then the last week moving my stuff over and settling in. What a stressful time! It was the stress where you pray it ends NOW but you’re putting up with it because you’re excited for when it’s over. Huge shout out to my folks for helping me make this happen.

So what’s next? I spent the past few years saving and doing my best to afford this home. Now the money I pay is not really lost value and I can use whatever I have for other things. Well, first is to establish my emergency savings again. I dipped into it for the down payment but I need to re-establish the safety net. After that, I need to fill my new home with some furniture that I want and will use and can entertain guests (I own one chair). Then I’ll start saving for conventions and going out to other things more. Just need to set some goals to make it happen!

Part of this moving process is, again, a chance to declutter! I’ve moved everything I could and then some from my folk’s home and now I can toss or donate whatever I’m not using. Old tablet and stylus I never used? Out the door! Karate trophies from when I was 11 or 12? Bye! I can decorate everything exactly how I want and make it a good den for a good wuff.

It really does feel like a new stage in my own life and I hope to maintain being a productive wuff, advancing in my career, and keeping you fuzzbutts along for the journey while providing value. I appreciate you all and keep an eye out for my next post!

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

Anxiety Overwhelming? How I dealt with a recent bad patch.

Good morning, fuzzbutts!

Been a busy couple of weeks for me. The job has been working me hard. I’m trying to close a deal on a home. I’ve been talking to various parties on how to get this home purchase done. I’m trying to find the time to draw. I’m working around my folks’ home to improve the place as much as possible before I move (landscaping mostly). I’ve been sleeping really lousy and I noticed I’m starting to get a little shaky in my hands sometimes. When I flop into bed at night, my heart starts to pound and, in spite of how tired I feel, I can’t fall asleep for a long while. When I do sleep lately, I wake up 2-3 times in the middle of the night. Gee whiz! How could anyone not feel so stressed?

The first thing I had to do was realized I was stressed. Not just temporary quick stress but prolonged, untreated stress. Even though I knew I was tired and not sleeping well, it was tough to recognize I was stressed. Once I knew I was really stressed out, I had to figure out why I was stressing. I tallied up the reasons why I was stressed and then needed a way to deal with it. Just diagnosing all of this took a lot of processing.

So what did I do? Normally, sleeping better would be the first step. In spite of trying to sleep better, I wasn’t able to stop waking up in the middle of the night. It was worsening a difficult situation but it wasn’t the cause of my stress. Normally I get stressed due to a lack of sleep but this was me lacking sleep due to stress. I had other things to focus on if I wanted to improve my sleep.

One, I had to stop trying to rush the process on the home buying. Yes, a labor day weekend to move all my stuff and settle in would be nice. No, I can’t actually rush through the paperwork and get all parties to sign it immediately. No it’s not so bad to only have a two-day weekend to move my stuff. Yes I am excited to move into my own home. No, I don’t have to keep talking about moving to everyone or asking for random advice.

Two, just because I was moving didn’t mean I had to rush fixing up the folks’ home. I wasn’t moving super far and would still have weekends to help out if my parents need it. It’s physically demanding enough without me forcing it to happen with everything else going on.

Finding time to draw turned out to be one of the easier things to resolve. During lunch at work, I eat my meal and head to my car. I brave the heat to sit in my car and draw for a while. I don’t care to have coworkers see my furry art and I’d rather keep my time after work to hit the gym. Still, I find this time of the day to give me the least amount of mental resistance and I sometimes surprise myself with a quality piece I enjoyed making.

As far as work, I decided to pace myself better. I have some control of my time and I had been rushing to get as much done in as short a time as possible. If I schedule appropriately, I can get everything done without running around like a wuff with his head cut off. Also, while scheduling my own work, I volunteered any free time between tasks to helping others get their own work done. One of the most satisfying evenings was helping somebody who had to work extra late and save them a few hours of time. Getting out of my head and dedicating a few hours to helping somebody was so helpful.

Last night was the first night in a while I slept well. It’s not like the stress magically went away. It’s still there. I’m still dealing with it but it’s manageable again. Much of the rest will go away with time and once I get through the situation with moving and home purchasing. I also enjoy the thought that my commute will drop by more than half and I’ll have way more free time overall. Things are looking up, even if I got pretty down recently.

Notifications? More like NOPEifications

Hello fuzzbutts!

If you survived my humor in the title, you probably know where I’m already going right now but it’s still important for you to hear.

Here we go. You settle in, start working on a project that you feel is important. Then there’s a familiar beep from your other brain- your phone. You pick it up, answer the message, then settle back to what you were about to do. Then they respond or ask something else, sending you another chime. You answer again, this time holding onto your phone for their inevitable response. As you’re waiting, you get another buzz and realize your favorite game of candy destruction has finished refilling your lives so you can try again now. So you’re waiting for your friend and start demolishing colorful candies since you know you won’t get any work done before your friend messages you back. An hour later, your friend is done, the lives are spent, and now the motivation is gone.

So how do we avoid these situations and stay on task? First, disable notifications for all your games and apps that are more entertaining than useful. The entire purpose of those notifications is to keep you engaged in the app and coming back to increase your chance of purchasing things. If it was really super fun, you wouldn’t need reminders to hop back into the game.

Next, use the Do Not Disturb feature on your phone to silence any beeps and chimes from those texts. Unless you live in drama, there’s not going to be an emergency every time you’re working on a project and they can wait until you’re done and can check your phone.

Since I don’t get a lot of calls and texts, I leave my notifications on. If it’s something I’m really serious about, I’ll turn on DnD to make sure I’m not interrupted. As far as apps I allow for notifications, I leave on TimeTune since those keep me productive and thinking. If I do ever put a game on my phone, I make sure to shut off the ability to send notifications.

Anyway, I hope you continue to lead a distraction-free life and keep working on your goals! Keep up the good work, fuzzbutts!