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!

Game-ifying Habits?

Hello fuzzbutts,

Given the quarantine and all this going on, I noticed recently that some of my habits started to die off one by one as I grew increasingly bored and had less things to do. Exercise is tricky since my work closed their mini gym and I’m on an upper floor at home so I can’t exactly bring in a treadmill or do anything jumpy while I’m exercising. Same goes for drawing. I sometimes end up playing games way longer than I should since I practically halted work on my goals so those usual habits got rather spotty.

Given that, I realized internal motivation is at a low in my life for things I want. So back to basics! First, understanding my Why? Why did I want to build this habit again? What was the goal of doing this?

Next, I also found I wasn’t really rewarding myself for any good habits. So I worked out or I drew something. Did I give myself a treat at all? Nope! I was relying on my self-satisfaction to keep me motivated. It didn’t last for long.

But Wuffles! You’ve mentioned these things before! Yes I have. Productivity is like physical fitness. Even if you hit your target level, you have to maintain these things and it’s so easy to let things start to slide after a while. If you’re not super vigilant, you’re going to find yourself stopping once in a while to re-assess where you are and how to do better.

So now what? Well I can still go out for runs so I can look into routes in my area and just take a jog in the morning. In fact, I went today and it was nice! I can also look up “Hotel Room workout” on youtube for low-impact, quiet, and difficult workouts to complete in my home and rebuild my strength. What about drawing? Well there’s nothing special stopping me from that so it’s just a lack of drive to get it done. Well the solution for this can be lumped in with my drive to work out.

Gamifying! How does it work? Well, like any quest in an RPG game, you give yourself a task and a reward! As an example, I give myself a little credit every time I draw something to put toward a commission! I also hold myself accountable by doing things like a random raffle sketch where I put out the expectation I’m going to draw something. There’s also apps like Habitica that let you track your habits and tasks and give you points and a score! This is how things like High Scores work in arcade games. You see the progress, the numbers, and you want to keep boosting your score. It’s meaningless in the long term (like most games) so you don’t really have an incentive to cheat and boost your score in the app, but there is something in your brain that gives you a little reward when you check something off the list. So look up some apps, give them a try, add some goals and tasks and habits you want to pick up, and then see how you respond to it!

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!

Out of your brain and into your plan

Hello Fuzzbutts!

In the quest to achieve a distraction free environment or life (about as easy as seeking perfection itself), we have to keep on our peets. Are there things around us that stick in our brain? Is there a project or thought you keep considering but avoiding, burning up precious brain power while you decide whether or not to go for it? Could be something significant like pursuing the life of a fursuit builder. Or it could be something small. One thing in my head is I want to investigate the plumbing under my bathroom sink. It seems to drain slowly so maybe there’s a clog somewhere? It pops into my head every single time I brush my teeth or clean my hair. I then proceed not to do anything about it except say “Sooooon.”

Don’t do that when it comes to something that keeps popping into your head. If it keeps coming up on a regular basis, then it’s time to do something about it! Set up an appointment with yourself, set aside some time, and then start working on it! I’ll be in the bathroom! You, on the other hand, might be tackling a project in the yard. You might be shopping for materials to advance your art. You might be looking up classes for something you’ve been wanting to learn! Whatever it is, take the time to look into the subject!

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

New Year, New You?

Hello fuzzbutts,

Hope the holidays were fully of holly and jolly for you. I had a great time with my family, went back to work, and got sick from sick coworkers. Ugh! That’s always rough. I was starting to close in on a month without a post and finally have a message for you.

Have something you want to change about your life? Want to improve in some aspect of your life such as romance or hard work. Well here’s an angle you can choose to work on it.

Become somebody different.

Ok slow down. Before I get pelted with “Everyone is fine the way they are,” allow me to say this. “No. Not at all, sorry.”

If everything was already perfect you’d feel a lot better about where you are right now. So how do you become somebody else in relation to something you want to change? Still looking for that super model significant other? Are you a super model? No? Why do you set such an insane standard for somebody else when you don’t hold yourself to the same standard? So are you going to lower your standard or raise your own? Time to get fit, figure out an income, work on charisma, and become the type of person a super model might be attracted to!

Want to draw more this coming year? Want to call yourself an artist? What do artists do? They write, draw, create. Are you going to act like an artist or are you going to blow a hundred hours a day on video games or something else that isn’t helping you along? Who are some creators you respect and is there anything about them that you could try to imitate as far as their activity, personality, etc?

A lot of this sounds like “Fake it ’til you make it.” That’s actually accurate and it does work. Want to be an artist? Start making things and showing them to others. Want to improve in your relationship? Take on the qualities of somebody worthy of the kind of relationship you want and start putting yourself out there. You may feel like an impostor but it’s these kinds of things that open up the world to you and discover a lot more about yourself than you originally thought. Be you, just a different you.

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!

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!

Book Recommendation- 24 Hours to the Perfect Interview

Hi fuzzbutts!

Working hard at the new jobbo! It’s been fun so far and the training process is intense. Even then, they’re suggesting people don’t typically “get comfortable” until 3 months after they start. I intend on doing it within 2 months. Aaaaanyway, once I had the interview scheduled for the job, I had received a book recommendation from my pal Tabykat to study before the interview.

It’s a short book called 24 Hours to the Perfect Interview. It’s almost 200 pages. Before you panic and say you can’t read that many pages so fast, I’m just saying you should get it the moment you know you’re looking for a job or a promotion and review the stuff. Plus a lot of the pages are a decent skim or show tables, etc, so it’s not as onerous as it sounds.¬† It covers a lot of things an experienced professional things should already know but it also gives fascinating details and things to try.

Since I was feeling so desperate for this particular job (the lab was beautiful, it’s an industry I want to work in, I heard nothing but good things from people there), I did the extra work. Good news is that it worked! So what especially seemed to help? I’ll just go over what I wouldn’t usually do but I did it after reading and I feel like it helped.

Research the status of the company- how are the financials. Any good news from the company? Any new deals or partnerships? I had a chance to talk about this to the director who interviewed me and they were impressed with the level of detail I knew (even though it was about 10 minutes worth of googling). I also seemed to blow somebody’s mind when I mentioned how I liked the company’s recent growth spike.

Letters after the interview- I thought this was kind of a hokey idea. I had a rapid fire interview (different pairs of people for 30 minutes over a few hours). Between pairs, I’d jot down notes regarding each person about something we discussed. After the interview was all over, I wrote thank-you notes and mailed them to the company for each individual person, mentioning said item from the interview. Once I got my foot in the door, almost everyone mentioned it and seemed to appreciate the gesture. Considering all these people were part of the decision to hire me, it felt like a good move.

There’s a ton of other stuff in there that I think most people miss, especially those early in their career development. I just wanted to recommend the book in general because I feel like it helped me. I wasn’t sure when I bought it for my kindle, planning on returning it if I didn’t get enough out of it (since I paid full price when it’s dirt cheap for a physical copy) but I liked it enough that I felt it was worth the sticker price.

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!