Gratitude Time!

Hi Fuzzbutts!

In this time of thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday tomorrow, I feel it’s time to go through our lives and look at things we can be grateful for.

I’m grateful for a supportive family. I’m grateful for those I’ve met in the fandom that are such cool and accepting people. I’m grateful to be born in the USA. I’m grateful for this drive to improve myself. I’m grateful I bought my fursuit before my suit mama raised prices. These are all obvious goods to me and are easy to list off.

How about something you usually regard as negative? Well my job has been frustrating me a lot lately with so little to do that I don’t feel it’s meaningful yet I have to sit there and deal with a lot of fallout from office politics at the higher levels. Well I’m grateful that, in spite of how I feel, people do see me as an authority in my group and I have their respect. I appreciate that the lack of things-to-do lets me carry out some of the worksafe tasks (like journaling or goal-setting or online courses) that I couldn’t do if I was busy all day. I’m grateful I can turn around how I feel about my job and put energy into sending out my resume to other places.

What about a problematic family member? “I’m grateful that my mom was so crazy that it drove me to become independent earlier than most people. My brother is really annoying but he’s always had my back when things got rough. My sister was a huge pain but I’m grateful that she could always give me advice.”

It doesn’t work for everything but it doesn’t have to. The point is to come up with a list of things you’re grateful for and to give thanks for. Realize that even if you’re just reading this blog, you can be grateful that WordPress is hosting it. You can be grateful that I took the time to write this post, that electricity is being provided to you, that you are actually exploring areas of your life to better yourself!

The big important things first

Hello fuzzbutts!

Sorry for the late post! I’ve been busy helping the folks get stuff ready for their big move (assuming we can sell the place). Anyway, one thing I wanted to emphasize mostly applies to your days off but can easily be incorporated with those early mornings that some of us like to use to get stuff done.

Whenever there’s something to do and you know you need to do it, then just get that stuff out of the way before it drives you crazy. In helping the folks try to sell their home, I have to keep stuff clean. That means putting away dishes, sweeping, mopping the floor, and regular dusting! The house is sorta “on-call” for this so I don’t have much time to make sure things are ready if I get a notice saying to hurry up and put stuff away. There’s definitely been more than one time I’ve had to make a mad dash to clean up or sweep before people show up and I get out of the house!

This applies to anything that’s important, not just chores. You want to draw more? Get up, get a snack in you, and start drawing in the morning. Not enough time before work? Change your schedule so you get up earlier and THEN draw. Have various projects at work to do? Prioritize them however works best for you and then take the best one on first. Have errands to run? Pop out of the house as fast as you can and take care of it, beating traffic and crowds! You’ll feel a lot better when you flop down into bed at the end of the day!

 

Wednesday Tailtip: Nightly round-up

Hello fuzzbutts!

Today’s tip is to remind you to do something you probably do anyway, even if you don’t realize it.

As you lay your head down to sleep, I want you to review your day. You probably do this, thinking about the things that bothered you, the things you didn’t get done today. Sometimes there’s so many things you didn’t do that you suddenly feel “motivated” or have a creative breakthrough where there’s some idea you wish you could get down on paper before your pass out but you’re just too physically tired now. Sometimes this leads to a loss of sleep because you feel so poorly about yourself as you feel physically tired but suddenly you’re mentally awake.

So, rather than do it like this, why not take control of this process that comes so naturally already? Approach it with a plan!

The plan is simple: Think about the things you wanted to do today, which things actually got done, and what things you want to do tomorrow. It’s really that simple. Rather than letting things run rampant in your mind and making yourself feel bad, you can focus on the specific things and come up with an ordered list of things you wanted to do. By then focusing on the stuff you got done, you can start to feel like you had a productive day and avoid feelings of uselessness. Then, by laying out the tasks you want to get done tomorrow, you have a plan. Plans help us calm down when it seems like there’s so many daunting things to do and stop beating yourself up. Now we can sleep better so long as we stick to the plan and keep checking things off the list and making progress!

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

Expand on what works!

Good morning Fuzzbutts!

Sometimes we come up with techniques that we find useful and we keep it on the schedule. We are organized enough to keep it going and then don’t feel great when it’s time to move on. So why don’t we work on it more? We have other things to do, sure, but that doesn’t mean we can’t rework our schedule to do more.

One example for me is waking up early. I love waking up early now. I take the time to draw, study, write, journal, or whatever I want in the morning. Why does it work so well? I’m fresh with energy. Nobody else is awake so nobody is around to distract me. I don’t want to wake anyone up so I keep myself from doing anything noisy. I can always leave early enough to hit the gym before work. After work, I have less energy. After work, everyone is awake and needs my attention for something. So how do I expand my habit?

Sleeping earlier and waking up earlier, again. I sleep at 9 to wake up at 5. Now I can shift to sleep at 8:30 and wake up at 4:30 to gain another 30 minutes. 8:30 still works for sleeping because my family is winding down for the night already.

Other things I’m finding now is I love listening to inspirational videos and speeches on YouTube. Hearing these people speak with passion about how you can accomplish your goals just lights a fire under me. However, in exchange for listening to these, I drop some of the podcasts that I’m on the fence about. Sometimes the episodes on the podcasts are great and sometimes they really miss the mark for me. Yet these videos seem to universally resonate with me. So I need to drop some of these hour-long podcasts to listen to more things to inspire and push me to do greater.

So there’s a couple of ways I work to improve myself and how I live my life. You can find the things that work for you and, if it works, try to work your way into doing more of it! Good luck Fuzzbutts!

Fitness and Your Fursona

Hello Fuzzbutts!

This time around, I’m going to touch on a sore spot for many furries. As I write this, I feel some tension rising up. Anyway, there’s been a pretty negative stereotype surrounding furries (among many) and that is our fitness. Fine, we’re not alone among fandoms that have a reputation for being husky. I’m still talking about physical size, not the perfect fursona (ahem!).

“Hey Wuffles! It’s shallow to talk about physical appearance!” somebody yells from the audience in the dark. I agree that physical looks aren’t everything when it comes to many aspects of life. However, in a fandom where most tend to represent themselves as supermodel fuzzbutt versions of themselves, it’s still worth bringing up.

I want you to be healthy.

I’m emphasizing that. Also, being more healthy leads to more productivity! There’s all kinds of benefits to being healthy: more overall energy, better sleep, reduced stress, blah blah. You can see how those effects would also help you pursue your goals and make you more productive. You know these things. You’ve been hit over the head with it in the media and from others. For whatever reason, most furries don’t do a great job taking care of themselves for the sake of personal health and the listed benefits. So I want to propose a new idea.

Become your fursona.

“Uhh… my fursona is an anthropomorphic purple cat.” you say, considering what my angle is. Well of course you’re not going to become a cat. However, what is your fursona’s body type compared to yours? Is your fursona  svelte, athletic, maybe even a body builder while your own body is doughy or borderline obese? Treat your fursona as the ideal you can become rather than as an escape from daily life. You made your fursona the way you did because there was something in them you wanted to be, starting from personality and right down to their physical traits (maybe vice versa). You may not be able to become your fursona exactly, but you can bring yourself closer. Plan a goal around becoming your fursona.

Start light.

Changing your mindset about your fursona will help you begin a new journey. You may want to rush out the door and go full beast mode at the gym or on a trail. If you haven’t been working out, start slow. I’ve used a machine that worked my inner thighs (think thigh master-style) and it felt fine and I crushed it. For the next few days, I walked funny and was dreadfully sore. Don’t do that. Start easy on yourself, get an understanding of your body, and then build yourself up. You’ll feel better, you’ll have more energy, and you’ll be working toward your goals of becoming the best YOU that you can be.

Get a friend who will support you or maybe even join you on your workouts. I wasn’t too serious about working out until I started going with a friend. This may be another friend test too. Beware of those “friends” who might try to talk you out of improving your health and overall life. I’ve never met anyone who told their true friends that getting healthier was unnecessary. Don’t let anyone hold you back from making yourself a better fuzzbutt.

I hope this was inspiring and helpful to you. I truly wish for the best in your daily lives. Good luck out there, Fuzzbutts!

Is your environment productive?

Another beautiful Saturday to you, fuzzbutts! I hope you’re taking advantage of the weekend to do everything you want and feel good about it!

So you’re feeling good and ready to start doing stuff! But is your environment ready for you to do those things?

There’s articles out there that say all kinds of things about having the best work environment. Music is bad unless music is good. Cut yourself off from the world so there’s no distractions so put your phone outside the room when you’re working. Keep minimal decorations so you don’t get distracted but keep lots of decorations to stimulate your creativity. What’s the bottom line? Factors that affect your productivity are very personal to YOU. There’s all kinds of advice out there but I’ll start with a few basics.

Keep you work area tidy

Yes we all know that keeping everything clean is a pain. However, it’s hard to lay out all the things you want to do when your workspace is covered in junk. Sometimes, when faced with something daunting, it can put us off from wanting to do it. You want to draw but cleaning off your desk looks like a monumental task so you’ll draw later, once you’ve had time to clean up. The less obstacles we put in our own way, the more productive we can be. So clean off those areas (use your tail as a brush if you have to) and keep them that way!

Music or no music

This question is a little trickier. Some advocate silence and while others say some music is good to keep you in the mood. You’re the one who knows best but feel free to experiment. If you always listen to music, try some silence while you work and see if it helps. One things I’ve found helpful with music is that it shouldn’t have lyrics or tell a story because it can get distracting.

Realize what’s distracting you

Maybe you know what it is or maybe you don’t. Is a significant other in the same room doing something totally different that keeps catching your attention? Do you have a TV and find yourself staring at it? Find the things that seem to prevent you from working and then do your best to reduce those issues. Remove things that get in your way.

Find what helps

Sometimes we do need certain things around to keep us in the workspace. My own mind goes a mile a minute in silence about anything BUT the task I set myself to do. Music is helpful but it’s hard to keep me in my seat for long periods. Are friends helpful or do they distract you?

One thing that helps me the most is having friends around all working on the same thing. I had art friends where we could sit for hours together, even in coffee shops, and we’d just draw the entire time with a little chit chat. I’ve sat around with friends making fursuits, cutting up and sewing fur. As friends moved away, it became more difficult to just sit down and do something.  So I try to make friends with more artists and set up art jams when possible.

To keep my own fuzzbutt in my seat when I’m alone, I have my own environment to help. I open a reference image on my computer screen at my desk and then open a movie to the side of it. Then I push my keyboard away and put my sketchbook on my desk and start drawing. “WHAT?! That’s not productive!” you howl at me, voice dripping with the sense of betrayal. Fair enough.

Does the distraction of a movie slow me down in my pursuit? I agree it does. However, I’ve also experimented with a lot of things. I’ve tried to draw in my bed before I go to sleep only to find I never reached the bed until I was tired and then too tired to draw. I’ve tried sitting away from my desk and drawing on my recliner couch only to keep making trips to the computer for images or to fix the music. I’ve tried only sitting at my computer with the reference up only to get distracted by messengers and other things. Having a movie on keeps me from going to other social media and I keep drawing. Even if I only do 30 minutes worth of work in an hour, it’s still 30 minutes I wouldn’t have accomplished otherwise. Someday I do think I’ll be more comfortable with drawing to not have any distractions.

Only you know what really works for you and what works best

So try to honestly judge what you need to do to keep working. Being a little productive is better than not being productive at all. Out of all the advice out there, the only universal one in my opinion is to keep things tidy in your work area. It really helps. Anyway, try some new things and see how you react! Good luck, fuzzbutts!

Being Productive Takes Energy

For the first post, I felt it would be good to discuss having a good pool to draw your energy from. This means improving your lifestyle to get more done! It makes thing so much easier when you actually have energy for the various things you need to do. Below are just a few ways to help you feel better mentally and physically so you can accomplish whatever you desire.

Your Diet Is Holding You Back

Alright, fuzzbutts, there’s a hard truth to confront. Your diet is likely holding you back. Yes, the diet that has kept you alive to this point has also been one of the reasons you feel so lousy, frazzled, and overall UGH. The frustrating part is you KNOW there’s ways to eat better but it’s so much easier to take a complete meal out of the freezer and pop it into the microwave. I’m not saying you need to go full vegan or ketogenic or whatever. You DO need to start assessing and looking at what you’re eating and decide whether or not it’s actually worth eating it at the expense of your health. Start exploring easy ways to cook healthier food. A quick google search and you’ll be drowning in 10-minute recipes that are good for you.

Get Your Fuzzy Butt To Bed

“Sleep? Are you crazy, Wuffles? I have stuff to do! I can’t be productive if I’m asleep!” you say. “Lies!” I respond. Walking around like a stressed out zombie just means you’re taking way longer to just do a tiny bit of work. You have to sleep if you want to function. Important biological functions occur while you sleep, probably the biggest being the flushing of harmful toxins from your brain (Univ. Rochester Study). You can’t escape sleep, either, so why fight it? Your energy and mental clarity will be way better off if you stick to a routine which will make you more productive. I know those of us in school or working just love staying up late on Friday and Saturday nights, not having to get up on time the next day. Stop that. A regular sleep schedule leads to improved quality of sleep. There’re other ways to improve your sleep I’ll go into with later posts.

Moooooove

You knew this was coming. You might have cringed when I discussed diet but here’s the bad one. You need to exercise. You do. You know you do. So just do something. Enough with the multitude of excuses. Bad knees? Try some sit ups or push-ups. Bad neighborhood so you can’t run outside? Dress poor and run outside so you don’t get robbed OR just do some jumping jacks inside until your heart rate is up. There’s all kinds of things you can do. Think it’s all about cardio? It’s not. Weight lifting increases your muscle size which increases your resting metabolism, meaning you burn more calories by just existing with more muscle. The benefit of working out is that it snowballs. You can run on the treadmill and see you burned 300 Calories. What you also need to know is once you step off the treadmill, your body continues burning at a higher rate for hours (Afterburn Effect). This also applies to weightlifting since your body also goes into a repair mode for your muscles. Fair warning: You will feel hungrier than usual once you start working out, especially in the early phase. This often results to people eating more food than they usually do and the extra calories undo the work you just did! Prevent this by maintaining your portions and resisting the urge to have MORE. If you think your health prevents you from working out, then you’re wrong speak to a doctor who can help give a framework on how to start.

Simplify

I’m probably going to get into this a lot in many of my posts. We only have so much brainpower to dish out each day. Given that most of us have school or work, that’s going to be the big brain burner already so we need to ration what’s left! In future posts I’ll discuss ways to make things easier on yourself throughout the day but the gist is to assess where your energy tends to go during the day (How much time do you spend figuring out what to wear for the day? Do you have to decide every single day what you’re doing to eat? Is there somebody in your life who is constantly seeking your attention for a new crisis?).  Managing your mental energy lets you dedicate it to the things that really matter to you. For more about decision fatigue, check out this Wiki.

That’s all for now!

I sorta went a mile wide and an inch deep with this post because I do feel these are important enough to launch into right now and explore deeper as part of my future productivity posts. I hope my style resonates with you and I will make other posts a little more personal to my own experience rather than just lecturing you adorable fuzzbutts.