Deliberate Practice!

Hello Fuzzbutts!

Today we’re going over the concept of deliberate practice. It’s a very general term that is intended to apply to anything you want to learn. It’s not just doing repetitive actions like memorization or drawing circles constantly, but it is focused on establishing and performing specific tasks to improve your performance. You find your weaknesses and look for ways to fix them. You look for specific ways to improve and follow those techniques.

Since I like talking about my own goals of drawing, I’ll start with that. I could spend hours upon hours drawing circles  and a few lines to represent heads. Unless my weakness is being able to draw a circle, this actually isn’t going to help me out. However, if I’m not happy with the way a muzzle or the eyes turn out, that’s something I could practice more. Not only just me practicing the eyes I draw, but looking at references and images that I admire and trying to imitate that process. I practice the eyes until I’m very happy with the way they are. I also practice variety since there’s so many types of eyes out there. It has a clear intention for me- draw better by drawing prettier eyes. If I eventually feel ok about eyes but now find I don’t like the way I draw hips, then I apply the same exercises I established and proceed from there to improve my art.

If you want to improve math skills or something more school-related, you can still apply deliberate practice. Study the problems and the solutions to them in the book. Then practice a few problems on your own and check the solutions. If you made a mistake, review where it happened. Try again and see if it works correctly this time. Unfortunately, in many math textbooks I’ve encountered, many practice problems have only some of the solutions and zero explanation of how the solution was even reached. In that case, a classmate or tutor might be able to shed light on where things went wrong in your thinking.

A good read on the principles of deliberate practice along with a ton of great examples can be found at James Clear’s Website and I recommend you look into it even just to get some ideas with regards to things you could apply the idea of deliberate practice to.

 

Good luck Fuzzbutts!

Write Down Those Thoughts!

Hello fuzzbutts!

Ever have random thoughts when you’re out and about? You’re at the store and remembered a quick thing you need to take care of when you get home. You’re at work and think of a hundred small things you need to get done. You finally get home and realize you don’t remember what you were going to do. It happens often and you end up blowing a bunch of time not doing anything important because you can’t remember any of the tasks you wanted to do.

So how do we combat such a faulty memory? Writing things down! Keep a little notepad and pen in your pocket. As you go throughout your day, something will pop into your head with the unstoppable force of a shower thought. So take out your pad and write it down! Write it ALL down!

On a usual day at work, I’ll come up with anywhere from 7-15 items to complete. Once I’m home, I just sort the list and dump anything I can’t finish that day. I don’t write it on an eternal to-do list. I just dump the idea. If the idea pops up on another day, it goes through the same process and I might sort it out or take time that day to handle it. Weekends tend to be a good time to catch up on any of the larger projects that come across my brain.

So try to keep a pencil and pad with you at all time and be sure to write down anything you need to do. It doesn’t matter if it’s to light some incense or write a productive blog post. Once you’re able to sit with your list, look it over and do whatever it is you want to do for the day to call it a great day!

Good luck fuzzbutts!

Reviewing the Pomodoro Technique

Hello fuzzbutts!

So I’ve been trying the Pomodoro technique some more lately. As a refresher, the Pomodoro timer relies on a 25-minute set of focused work, whether it be studying or working on a task, then a 5-minute break. Rinse, repeat as needed. It sounds interesting-taking a task at a moderate pace with specific time constraints so you know how long you’ll spend. It helps against things like procrastination when you’re thinking about the billion other things you can work on. Just 30 minutes and I’m done. If you’re still feeling good at the end of your break, you can go for another round!

So what do I like about the Pomodoro technique?

First, it’s simple. You can get a timer (or an app) and just turn it on once you’re ready to begin your task. 25 minutes tends to fly by pretty fast once you get started. You can schedule it ahead of time and you’ll be able to finally tackle those tasks with focused work. If you prefer structure, this would be very helpful for you.

What don’t I like about it?

Well, it can feel very unnatural as you get to work. If you get into the task pretty deep, you can reach the famous Flow State. The last thing you feel like doing once the timer goes off is actually stop! You’ve got your groove going, you’re accomplishing stuff! So maybe you end up ditching the Pomodoro technique anyway to keep working. Or maybe you follow the Pomodoro, grudgingly stopping, taking a breath, and then try to dive right back in. Maybe you’ll hit it with gusto or you blew the flow state and can’t quite get back into it.

So what’s the verdict?

The Pomodoro technique works for anything you don’t actually want to do. Always procrastinating something? Use Pomodoro. Dreading studying for a test? Use Pomodoro. What about things you want to do? Just do them! You like drawing? Drop Pomodoro and just draw. Hate drawing hands and want to get better? Use Pomodoro. It’s just a matter of discovering what is difficult for you and using the Pomodoro technique to help you overcome it. If 25 minutes seems too short, you can always increase the work time.

So start experimenting with it and see where you might be able to make more progress!

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

Have a good day!

Hello fuzzbutts!

It’s the end of the day and you lay your head down. You got a lot done today but you don’t feel so good about it. Your mind wanders around to the other things you didn’t do. Suddenly you’re in that limbo where you’re tired but you also feel bad for neglecting this or that so now you’re kinda resisting going to sleep. It’s a terrible mindset to have because it hurts your sleep and doesn’t help you feel any better. You’re practically drowning in guilt!

So how do we take care of that? Start off your day with writing down the things you want to get done. Take the time to think about your day, the time you have, and what you need to finish in order to actually feel like you had a good day. These things will jump out at you when you wake up in the morning. You focus on those tasks, get things done, and you’ll feel so much better at the end of your day. Sometimes it might just be one thing. Sometimes you might feel like doing NOTHING would be a good day because you’re such a busy vixen and, so long as that’s actually what you feel would make a good day, make sure you do that.

Then, you make to make an agreement with yourself that you will do those tasks and be guilt free, regardless of how you spend the rest of your day. The reason is that if we actually manage to accomplish our goals, we think about something else we could have done and then feel bad when we think about not accomplishing that last thing. This also means you need to pick your daily goals appropriately. Pick enough that you can actually get them done without aiming so low that you don’t make any progress.

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

It’s the New Year! Time for a New You!

Well it’s the second day of the new year! Hope you did alright in 2018. Now that we’re both becoming more active and productive with our lives, it’s time to look ahead to the rest of 2019. You’ve gone through some of your goals for 2018 to review how you did and maybe you’ve been putting together some goals for 2019. If you haven’t got your plan going forward, I recommend you get started. The sooner, the better!

One thing to keep in mind, as you align your various goals, is to envision yourself as the ideal you. How do you behave? What are your hobbies? What kind of work do you do? Imagine your ideal life for yourself. If you find it difficult to picture or detail your thoughts, then just pick somebody you know who you want to be more like. You’re not them and won’t ever be them but they have certain qualities you wish you would have or develop. Then work out your goals to help yourself embody those aspects. Are they disciplined? Maybe start with a set sleeping/waking schedule. Are they charismatic and friendly? Plan a goal that revolves around being more social. Do they keep things or drama from getting to them? Research some personal development articles or books to learn about how to deal with those situations. Are they learning something you want to learn? Start learning it yourself!

When working on yourself, you can find somebody to compare yourself against at the START so you can get a bearing on your life but then stop comparing yourself to them from that point onward. You can only really compare yourself against YOU. Compare how much you’ve developed yourself against who you were yesterday. If you don’t feel like you took any steps forward, then you have to assess and figure out a way to move ahead!

I’ve given myself a few goals this year and a new one I added was to move back out from the folks house this year. I’m going to start looking for a new apartment in March. The folks are great but I don’t see myself staying here for another 2 years to build up enough money to buy a condo. I’ve been looking for a new job around most of the country but haven’t had much luck with the process which makes me think my career isn’t far enough along for companies to want to import me from California. So if I haven’t found anything by March, I’m moving out, signing a year lease, and then being the best darn chemist at my current job that I can possibly be.

I hope you’re coming along nicely in reaching your goals and ideal self! Feel free to share or reach out to me if you want to talk about it!

Have fun, furries!

News Years Time!

Hello furries!

The year is ended, you’ve accomplished so much this year. Have you reviewed your year and how much you’ve gotten done? Hopefully, following my blog, you’ve done more this year than you even expected! Now, I hope you’ll be able to get even more done in 2019 as we work through the processes of how to get more done!

So let’s set some goals! We need some short-term goals and long term goals for the year, keeping them in line with our life goals we’re working toward. Want to draw more or get more followers this year? Remember, these are SMART goals- Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Decide and write out your goals in that format. Then keep your written goals somewhere you can see them so you can think about them.

Have a much more general goal that’s harder to put in SMART format? I want to make more friends. Well you need to break down the issue with questions that help you make it into something you can work with. How do you make more friends? Meet more people. How do you meet more people? Find things people do that I also like to do in a social setting. How do you find those things? Look it up online. Now let’s say you found something that you want to do in a social setting with others. The SMART format could be Attend X numbers of meetups in 2019. Not bad. Of course you’ll have to learn and adapt more about the way you behave to earn more friends but you need to try.

Want to move out of the house in 2019? Find some relevant goals for that. Pick a place you want to live, increase your income if necessary, plan on how you would actually move your possessions, etc.

There’s a lot of stuff out there to try and work toward. You have a whole year to do it and if you work on it regularly, I believe you have what it takes to reach your goals this coming year! Have any SMART goals already? I’d love to hear them! Use the Contact Wuffles link to the left and let me know. Having trouble figuring out how to break down a goal? I’d be happy to help if you reach out using the same link! I look forward to hearing from you all!

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

The Protective Wall!

Good morning Fuzzbutts!

Alright so a creative friend came and asked me a little bit about commissioners but this is something I’ve heard about before that drives many artists, whether they make fursuits or sketches or whatever, to go batty. If you’re a creative type who has turned your art into your income, listen up! If you’re somebody who likes to purchase art stuff that somebody else has made, listen up! If you’re neither of those, then read this post anyway because I put in the effort!

So you create something and somebody comes to you for a commission. You do what they say and then they have a couple of corrections. You fix those and then there’s other errors they want you to fix. Those are handled and then suddenly the whole thing just still isn’t satisfactory. You’ve spent about twice as much time on this one commission without any increase in your price and they’re still walking around grumbling. Their grumbling hurts you because you really tried to make them happy and put in extra effort. They don’t seem happy either. Next time you open up for commissions, they’re right there with another handful of dollars to have you go through it all over again with them.

There’s something called the 80-20 rule that applies to a lot of stuff. If you’re a creator, 80% of your problems will come from 20% of your customers. That means if you’re spending a bunch of time with one unhappy customer, it’s taking time from customers you enjoy dealing with and most of your issues are coming from a small group rather than the majority! So it’s time to recognize the problem furries and cut them off! Preserve the sanity!

There’s a mindset sometimes that you want to be liked and you appreciate your fans for the fact they think enough of you to give you money for art. You get the money and want to satisfy their request! If there’s something wrong, even though the commissioner didn’t actually tell you the thing that should have been there in the first place, you want to make it right. They’re not very happy with what you made but can’t even explain what you did wrong without requiring you just start over.

Nope! That bad commissioner goes out the window! Next time they show up, you close that door. You give that slot to somebody who will appreciate your efforts.

One thing I think happens with artists when they get repeat bad commissioners is that they’ve already been turned away by other artists. These sour platypuses then waddle their way to you since you’re the only one who puts up with their needs. Don’t enable their behavior by dealing with them and then stressing yourself out!

Commissioners! I’m speaking to you now! If you have a specific thing in mind for your commission, describe it in detail! Have a good ref handy! If you weren’t clear in your description and they show you a beautiful artwork that wasn’t exactly what you wanted, then take it as a lesson to be more clear. Then just enjoy the artwork, even if it’s not exactly what you had in your head. Other times, the art just doesn’t look so good where the artist doesn’t seem to have put as much effort in yours as they did with the other commissions. I’ve experienced that too. Take the art, thank them, and don’t bother with them again. There’s plenty of artists out there who will do your characters justice who will also take your money. Now if there’s something that was in the ref or description that they clearly forgot, feel free to point that out to them (missing a marking on their face, the pose is way off from what you described directly, etc).

Please, regardless what side you fall on, realize the other end of the FurAffinity notes is a person and also loves furry stuff. Artists, do your best and work with your customers but don’t stress yourself out and spend too much time with unpleasant experiences but make sure you complete the work you take on. Commissioners, provide your feedback when something has to be fixed but realize the effort that goes into making artwork and don’t nitpick or change what you asked for. Together, the furries will maintain their fun, artsy economy and we’ll all get to appreciate what gets posted!

Have fun, fuzzbutts!