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!

Giving Back Time!

Hi Fuzzbutts!

One thing I keep seeing fuzzbutts post are things involving being a victim or sad or something terrible that has happened in their lives. It gets depressing when you see so many people losing it on Twitter or other social media (mostly Twitter). Sometimes it can be a true cry for help and other times people just wallow. Part of it is a lack of personal goals and productively working toward meaningful ends. Another part is that we can get stuck in our own heads. I have my own problems and therefore, how do I help others? If you don’t address your issues properly, you just end up stuck, focused on yourself and not getting any better.

Unless you’re the worst off person in the world, you have something to offer others. If you have a talent, like drawing or crochet, make a gift for somebody you life. If you have means, help out a friend or check out GoFundMe to see if there’s somebody you’d like to just help. Have some time? Volunteer for something to help out. I started volunteering at the Food Bank for the past few months. I sign up for a shift (no hourly commitment like other organizations), show up, get assigned some very simple work, and stick to it for a couple of hours. At the end, the organizer announces how much work was done and how many people we helped in that one shift. It does give the warm and fuzzies to be around so many people doing good, regardless of the reason they’re volunteering!

This isn’t some miracle cure for fixing your own feelings. Your feelings are the result of a bunch of factors that each need to be addressed. However, getting out of yourself and helping others is just one thing you can do to help yourself and improve your own life. You may even find yourself having an attitude of gratitude. So look into yourself for something you might like to do for others and give it a try.

Good luck fuzzbutts!

Recognizing Your Emotions

Hi Fuzzbutts!

Have you had a day recently where you wandered around feeling stressed? How about just angry where everybody got on your nerves? Well that’s normal, depending on all sorts of factors going on. Could just be a lack of sleep. Could be a lot of stuff has gone wrong and you’re feeling frustrated. The first trick is to catch yourself when you feel this way. Once you catch yourself, tell yourself how you feel.

This has been helpful this week and last for me. There have been a couple of days where this wuff didn’t sleep well. I’d go to work and find things just getting on my nerves or I just feel like I don’t have the patience for certain things. So what do I do? Analyze how I feel. Is anyone actually doing anything different? Why am I reacting so differently? “I’m tired and irritable. I need a nap.” was all I needed to say to myself and I felt better instantly. I knew what was going on with me and what was affecting my emotions and just knowing that gave me way more patience when dealing with others. I was tired but at least people didn’t bother me as much.

I had another time when things kept breaking down or not working. I’m sitting there, doing everything right, from my point of view, and things still went wrong. After a few hours of that, it was clear I was feeling stressed. “I’m frustrated and stressed out.” and suddenly I felt more clear. Things were still broken but I was able to let it go and sort out everything that had been done and other options to try.

So if you catch yourself feeling terrible in one way or another, stop yourself and try to identify the specific feelings you’re having in that moment. If you can go a cat’s whisker further, try to identify WHY you feel that way. Not necessary but it all helps. So keep good track of yourself and see how you feel!

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!

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.