Life is a Team game

Hello fuzzbutts,

I’ve been seeing a lot of lonely people lately. I’ve also seen others who have friends but apparently don’t even like them. Always complaining or being exhausted by relentless drama. Especially given the current atmosphere lately and how many people seem to be losing “friendships” due to differences of beliefs, it’s easy to feel lonely and isolated. So there’s people playing the game of life solo and others are playing with a bunch of toxic randos.

Unfortunately, there’s no getting around the fact we need others. Yes, it’s important to be able to be on your own and satisfied with your own company. Absolutely. On the other hand, it’s also important to be around those who will help you grow and motivate you to do better!

So today’s post is to have you evaluate your relationships or what you’re doing right now and start exploring some more. It doesn’t even have to be in this fandom! Try to find a community interested in the same things as you that also motivates you to be a better you. I met an artist recently and suddenly I found myself way more motivated to do even more art practice. I also dipped back from some relationships that were draining me. Is there anyone you know who inspires and motivates you? Is there an interest you have and a community around that will get you more active?

Look for the qualities you want in your own life and look around for those who are already there or interested in doing the same thing! Your path to growth will be accelerated by having others help keep you going!

Working with Passion

Hello fuzzbutts!

“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Mark Twain

It’s a nice sentiment and something a lot of people I’ve met are looking for. They have a specific thing they want to do with their lives. If you can just find that one job, everything will be smooth sailing and you’ll wake up every morning with the joy of going to work and no stress. Young minds can’t help but think about the eventual day they don’t have to deal with work

Unfortunately, life rarely works out like that for anyone. Work is work, and fun is fun. You can work in an industry that has meaning and purpose related to your goals, but your activities at work may not be anything you hoped for. Worse, some people convert their passion into their job, like art, and it ends up becoming a dreary existence as well. So how do you navigate this? Well, like the rest of life’s choices, you have to strike a balance or separate the two entirely.

Your job is just something you have a skill in and can make money from (science, accounting, art, organization, whatever). If you can’t find a way to get a job more related to your passion, then it’s time to work hard and play hard. Take the job and do it well. After work, it’s time to get moving on your passions. Like animals? Spend off-work hours volunteering at the humane society or donating to a conservation cause you care the most about. What about art? Fund your life with your job and work on your art at home. Want to travel? Save up those vacation days and pack those bags.

It’s hard sometimes when people try to work their passion and it ends up failing on them in an identity-crushing way. All that effort for their passion and the work turned out to be WORK! Work will always be work. I enjoy science but it’s not like I enjoy washing glassware half the day or seeing bad data pop out of the instrumentation. So I just do the job and do it well. After that, I can take time at the Food Bank to volunteer and help the less fortunate. I use some of my income and put it toward veterans too. Those are things that would be harder to accomplish if I was always looking around for a better job or some mysterious position somewhere in the universe where I’m incredibly fulfilled by a job that also doesn’t stress me out.

My advice for all fuzzbutts is: Take the check from whatever job you have, lousy or not, and use the other 72 hours (168hrs in a week, minus 40 for work and 56 for sleep) for your passion and things that help you experience purpose and meaning in your life.

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

Expectations vs You

Hello Fuzzbutts,

Hope you’re all doing well! Feeling good? Keeping yourself grounded? Maybe you’re a little stressed out because of everything around you or maybe your goals aren’t coming to fruition. It might be your expectations are off and the difference between expectation and reality is what’s driving you crazy.

Say you wanted to lose 100 lbs in a year. That’s almost 10 lbs a month. If you’ve never lost more than 4 pounds so far, is it reasonable to expect yourself to double that? Maybe. Maybe not. However, if you’re halfway through the year and you’ve lost maybe 20 lbs, you’re going to find yourself very frustrated that you’re not on track. You’ve made great progress, just not at the timetable you’re expecting. If you had been better about your expectations though and said 50 pounds, you’d still feel pretty good halfway through the year if you lost the same 20 lbs.

I also see a lot of people putting expectations on others or even the entire world. They expect others to behave a certain way or think a certain way. If it doesn’t happen, it really ends up bothering them. It would be like me saying “I expect everyone to be productive” and then getting angrier every time I see somebody wasting away all their time (there’s a lot of them). It doesn’t do me any good to put those expectations on others and it only results in feeling bad. There are certain behaviors that should be expected like not expecting a stranger to randomly run up to you screaming, sure. However, we have to be reasonable in what we expect of ourselves and others. Often times, it just means lowering expectations.

I hope you start to analyze your own expectations of yourself and others. Are your goals and responsibilities actually reasonable or are you expecting too much (or too little!). Are you putting expectations on others and becoming frustrated when they don’t live up to them? Reassess how you think when it comes to things like this and hopefully you’ll find the peace of mind you need when everything around you seems to be failing.

Sometimes there’s no plan. Sometimes you don’t need one.

Hello fuzzbutts!

I hope you’ve all been doing well in these crazy times. I had a little bit of a scare almost a couple of weeks ago which turned out to be food poisoning and a few days off from work. Considering how many of those symptoms match the virus, work asked me to stay home until I could get over it and get a test. However, your productive wuff is doing fine now and has been busy.

The time off came off at a crazy time. I was in the process of shifting into a new position at work, taking over a new space to arrange and help get another building set up. So when I returned to work, there was a lot to do and quite a bit to get caught up on. As much as I love my checklists and planning, I had plenty of tasks in front of me, my coworkers were swamped with their own responsibilities, and I was told “Do whatever you can.”

So what did I do? Anything I could! I looked through the supplies, wrote down a quick list of things I could get, and raided the old building for anything I could find to bring over. There wasn’t even enough time to count or calculate how much stuff I needed. I just went in, grabbed handfuls of whatever, loaded messes of boxes, carted things back and forth to get it done. More people came at me asking if we had this or that. We didn’t, of course. Did I make a huge list and plan to make the most efficient trip like a disciplined wuff? Nope! Time was more important for each case so I’d go over, grab what was needed, and rush back.

As chaotic as it was, it was still a blast. I love organizing spaces and supporting others so the new position feels good. I came in without a plan and there just wasn’t time to get a plan in place. When you have a big task in front of you and no time to plan it out, all you can do is pick out some piece and get it done as quick as you can. Then continue to take it bit by bit until it’s done. As the dust settles, other things will make themselves apparent and you’ll hopefully have more time to plan those out.

Just don’t lock yourself into feeling like you ALWAYS have to plan everything. You’ll end up paralyzing yourself when sometimes you just need to get to work. With enough experience, you’ll be able to make a quick decision about whether it’s a “planning” or a “doing” task and I hope you can start getting things done!

Good luck fuzzbutts!

So where are you?

We’re about halfway through the year so I thought it would be a nice time to check in with yourself. You should be doing this more often than twice a year but there’s a little something in your brain that gets triggered when you reach the halfway point. Similar to when we’re about to start the new year and everyone wants to make resolutions. We set some goals earlier and we need to stay on top of it. It’s not really any different than if you work somewhere that requires annual goals. You assess the goals and see where you are with your progress and if anything should be changed.

So feel free to pull out a piece of paper and a pencil and then look over your goals. First thing to check is whether or not you already accomplished the goal! Yes? Hopefully you already checked it off. Do you want to take that goal further? Reach your goal of 30 pushups in one go? Why not step it up to 40 or 50? Draw something that reached a new record in your favorites count? Why not keep up the drawing and work toward a new personal best? So if you’re done with the goal, cross it off and focus on the rest. If you want to do more with that goal, time to step up and make another plan for it.

What if you didn’t finish the goal? That’s fine! You got time. First, check in with your progress. Did you make enough progress? Are you on track to finish the goal in your time-frame? That’s fine. Even if you miss the time by a little bit, you’re still going to reach that goal. Seriously, though, try to get it done on time.

So you didn’t finish the goal and your progress is…. lacking? Nonexistent? Absent? Some other term to reflect that you made next to no progress? Well if you haven’t been working on it, just take it off the list. No reason to guilt yourself over not doing it if you’re not interested in it right now. Free up the mental space for the other goals you have.

So get started on some self-review and check over your goals and how you’re doing. If you don’t have any goals on your radar right now, time to come up with some!

Good luck, Fuzzbutts!

Hacks for Achieving More

Hello Fuzzbutts!

What a month lately! I’m still working but wow. Lots of things going on since we’re all locked down. Odd, right? You’d think I’d be doing less when stuck at home but it’s worked out anyway. I’ve even discovered grocery delivery and I might just stick with it after everything is over. Thankfully, I have plenty of goals that just need time at home so here we are!

Sometimes when we’re home, even if we have things to do, we can let the goals slide. “I’ll take a nice little vacation and have plenty of time to draw or work on X” becomes “Where did all that time go? I didn’t do anything I said I was going to!”

How does that happen? A few reasons.

First: With nobody coming over lately, it’s easy to let the mess start to build up in your home. Socks go over the couch, counter-tops build up with pancake mix and cereal boxes. This clutter can make it difficult when you suddenly have inspiration to hammer at your goals. Now you’re trying to clean while you find your book or tablet or whatever you’re working on. Keep your space clean!

Second: You’re letting distractions get to you. You have a goal but hey, it’s lock-down time. Might as well treat it like a mini stay-cation and just do whatever you like. It won’t last forever! Working on something? Naw. What’s on Netflix? Stop that. If you don’t get to work on your goals now, how can you expect to get anything done when your life picks up again? So don’t let that be your excuse and see what you can do.

Third: Your reason isn’t strong enough. Goals are fine and meeting that goal is nice to think about. What about the work? Do you have a reason good enough to put in the work? Think about the goal, what you want by working toward it, and decide if the result is worth the effort (It usually is!).

This is just three things I could quickly think of and I hope you’re able to assess yourself right now and how you’re doing with your goals!

 

Good luck Fuzzbutts!

Stuck at Home! Be Productive!

Hello Fuzzbutts!

Given these crazy times lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about others being cooped up at home. I work in an essential industry so I’m still going out to work during the week but I’m just as cooped up as anyone else on the weekends. Hopefully everyone is staying safe and taking good care of themselves.

So you’re stuck at home and feeling lousy. What now? Well that’s easy if you’re being a productive fuzzbutt! Figure out a plan! You have a huge list of things to do at home, I bet. It could be cleaning, small projects around the house you have been meaning to get to, perform some internal work on yourself, or just a time to explore from your desk!

First things first! Is your place dirty? It’s almost April so you might as well start on any spring cleaning you have been meaning to get to. Organize your home, de-clutter what you can and finally make it comfortable for you to be there! I’ve met plenty of people who live in messy homes and then just say “I don’t like staying home. I like to be outside.” Well yeah if my home had several empty chip bags on the floor and couch with unfolded clothing everywhere, a thick layer of dust on everything and a desperate need to vacuum, I would to!

Next up are the projects! Some things are collecting dust and eagerly awaiting your touch. Start putting just a little bit of time into your list and see what you can get done. If there’s something you end up never touching, it’s time to address whether or not this is a project worth finishing and just switch to doing something else. Then just re-prioritize!

I mentioned internal work too! What does that mean? Are you stressed out? Do you hate being home because you can’t be with your friends? Maybe it’s something deeper than that. First thing here- If the news is making you stressed out, go on a digital detox. Stop watching the news for a few days! The world isn’t going to end for a bit and, even if it does, that’s it. If the problem is job-related like your job has cut you off, get the paperwork rolling on those government benefits being dished out during this pandemic and start checking for new work. Do some journal writing to figure out your feelings and pick the path that’s right but sitting there feeling unhappy with yourself isn’t going to be the way.

Lastly, if you’ve taken care of the rest of the list, why not explore? Maybe there’s a new hobby or craft to take up. Maybe you want to explore a new career path. Practice with something new like coding, 3d modeling or some other work that allows you to work from home. I personally believe this pandemic might change the way employers feel about employees working from home so there may be more opportunities out there for home workers. Why not get on that as businesses might move in that direction?

I wish this was more personalized for you, individually, but I just wanted to focus on very general thoughts for you to consider so you can pick your best path forward right now. Think of these things, get in your head a little bit to figure out a plan, and do your best!

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

Being Responsible by Avoiding Responsibilities!

Hello fuzzbutts!

How’s your plate looking lately? Got enough things to do? You sure? Are you able to handle all of it? Maybe there’s one or two things too many and they’re slipping off the plate. It’s fallen off the plate like a tasty meatball that rolled off the spaghetti and now is sitting on the floor, making you feel bad as you consider whether or not to pick it up again.

Let’s face it. We can get over our heads. We have some time, volunteer for something, and then it becomes a bigger project than we planned on. We see some fun thing we want to try (me and my 3d printing) and takes that on. Before we are even finished with that, we pick something else we like! Finally, our homes fill up with unfinished projects that each nag at us whenever we’re home, sometimes things for other people with a deadline approaching! We meant well but there’s just too much going on now!

Well there’s only a few things you can try to fix the situation. One of which is hammering down and focusing on your work so you can fulfill some of those responsibilities and catch up with everything else. However, that doesn’t do any good if you end up volunteering for something else so soon. There will always be something.

Everyone wants to feel wanted or appreciated. People come to you as the fixer and you’re always available to lend a hand. You love to feel useful and help out. Even worse, if you say No to them, you’ll be letting them down and they’ll be miserable!

It’s irresponsible to take on too much responsibility. There. I told you. You want to help but you can’t. You have way too many things on your plate already. Taking on this new thing is going to just make things worse which leads to you wanting to be helpful or make up for the issue. Just stop. You have enough to worry about.

So what do we do? Well if you find yourself with too many responsibilities, you need to stop yourself and check your list of tasks. Prioritize them as needed. If it’s not in your top three things to get done, consider dumping it entirely. Do you REALLY need to do that thing? Just wipe it off the list and then come back to it later if it’s still bugging you. Sometimes I still think about 3D printing stuff. However, in the grand list of stuff I’d like to do or am doing, that ranks too far down for it to warrant serious consideration.

Next up, get used to saying No to new responsibilities. You might have a little free time but that doesn’t mean you can dedicate yourself to a whole new project. If it was something that was going to go smoothly, they wouldn’t have asked for your help to begin with! Let others handle their responsibilities and you handle your own. If you do finally reach the point where you don’t have anything to do, congratulations! You’re the only person in the world to be in that situation! Then go ahead and offer to help out.

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

Intermittent Fasting to Productivity

Hello fuzzbutts!

Hope you’re doing well! I had an extremely busy and difficult week. Next month doesn’t look like it’ll be any better. When this happens, it becomes easy to want to retreat. You do your work, have a hard time, and go home to put on your potato fursuit and binge some Netflix. Who wants to be productive when you’ve been running ragged? You can push yourself to be productive for a bit but it’s easy to burn out too. So how do you maintain productivity and avoid the burn-out blues?

You’ve heard of intermittent fasting, right? There’s different ways but it’s essentially changing your diet so you’re fasting at some point. It may involve skipping a meal every day. Sometimes you eat normal one day and then you do a 24-hour fast. There’s several methods. I’ll leave the rest of the research up to you as far as any health benefits (it’s interesting). What does this have to do with productivity? Maybe you’ve already guessed.

If there’s something specific you do that isn’t productive, it’s good to take a break from it. Likewise, if you’re so productive you’re leaving a fiery trail behind you, it’s ok to slow yourself down and take a break. Maybe you need a compromise on both.

For me, it tends to be video games. I come home, pop on a chat with friends, and play some games either to stream to them or to play with them. Then I lay my head down and don’t feel so great about how I spent my time. Sometimes I come home, spend a bunch of time working on something and when it’s time for bed, I still feel wound up like I can’t relax. When I catch myself feeling these ways, it’s time to figure out what to do. If I find I’m spending too much time playing, I’ll stop myself from gaming. That doesn’t mean I force myself to work on goals. If I stop gaming, maybe I’ll write a blog post or clean my kitchen or handle some other business that’s been in my brain. Likewise, if my brain is running on empty, I’ll hold off drawing or an online course. Either way, the important thing is moderation and keeping some control over your behavior and brain.

Is there something you do that you spend way too much time on and avoid your goals? Try just saying “tomorrow I won’t touch X” and avoid doing that thing. Finding yourself burning out? Before you do, say “tomorrow I won’t do Y” and give yourself a break. Take a little of the routine out of your life and try doing something new or at least avoid the usual things. If you always binge some Netflix when you take a break, do something else like read something fun or just chill out with friends.

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

Balancing the Digital and Real Lives

Good morning Fuzzbutts,

In the digital age, it’s easy to be stuck in the digital world. You’re watching videos or movies online, playing games, chatting about stuff, whatever. The day ends and you flop into bed.

“Oh I could have done this! Oh I had time for that! I want to do this!” pops through your mind. There’s tons of times I’ve done this and even seen plenty of relatable memes on this very thing. Either way, you’re now tired, in bed, and regretting how you spent your time, kicking yourself now because you have to go to work tomorrow and you wasted your weekend.

In the US, the states are becoming smaller. Friends and family seem to have very few barriers anymore to moving around. You can still maintain friendships, thanks to the internet, but it’s more common now a days for people to have more friends online rather than in their own areas. So there will always be a draw to sit on your PC, doing things while waiting for friends to pop on.

There’s also the usual games, movies, and so on. These are easy time sinks where you can blow several hours trying to accomplish stuff in a game or binge watching a good show. We set a goal for ourselves (I’m going to finish this quest after all these side quests, I want to finish season 6 of this show) and it eventually is accomplished. We’re so focused on the goal and we accomplish the goal. Then, as soon as your head hits the pillow, the real goals you had suddenly fills your brain.

That’s a sign you’re a bit of of whack in balancing your digital life vs your actual life. Your life goals are being temporarily held off by other things and you’ve let your computer take over for a short period of time. So what do we do to figure out a solution? Is there a way to get back to a balanced lifestyle?

Yes! It’s just a matter of checking in with yourself throughout the day. Stopping whatever you’re doing (or at least stopping your brain) and asking yourself “Is there anything else I should be doing right now?” Then take at least 30 seconds to mull it over. If there’s something better you think you should be doing, it’ll pop right into your thoughts. Then you can decide if you want to do that vs whatever you’re currently doing.

So how do you stop yourself and check in? We lose track of time so easily. Well that’s where your phone or a timer comes in. Set a timer for an hour and when it goes off, check in. You could also set reminders on your phone for every hour or two (I use the google reminders function on my phone) where the reminder just says “Are you doing what you should be doing right now?” to prompt you. Then you get to make a decision about what thing in your brain you want to do. Hopefully you’ll find yourself having less nights where you fall into bed, hating yourself for all the stuff you forgot to do.

Good luck fuzzbutts!