New Year Again!

Hello fuzzbutts!

After some amazing time from Thanksgiving thru the new year, it’s time to get back to work. It’s a new year and everyone is talking about resolutions again. Isn’t it amusing to hear all of these grand goals by others, inwardly knowing that they’re not going to accomplish them? Those who’ve been following along here or have gone through the old posts know the secrets to reaching our goals. To begin, we start with setting good goals. That means SMART goals!

First, it’s Specific. It must be Measurable so you can track progress or when you’ve actually accomplished the goal. It must be Attainable which means you can actually reach the goal. The goal must actually be Relevant to your life. Finally, it must be Time-based to keep the pressure on you and keep you moving.

Once you have your SMART goals, it helps to break them down into smaller and smaller goals which are each steps toward your big goal. If you wanted to learn a language by the end of the year at a conversational level, you’d probably want to finish an early, beginner course by the end of the first quarter. Even that, finishing that early course could get broken down into smaller goals. You don’t have to be crazy about designing all these sub-goals but keep them in mind.

So you have your SMART goals and the smaller goals. Now, it’s time to assess yourself. When do you work best? Is it in the morning before work? Is it after work? Late hours before bed? Middle of the day when you have a good break? If you don’t know, experiment with this and find out and try to find your peak hours. For me, I do best in the morning so I get up at 5AM and work for about an hour before getting ready for work.

From that point on, it’s about keeping yourself accountable for your work, remaining adaptable in case you need to change anything, and grinding away at your goals. Remember to pace yourself, keep an appropriate schedule, and continue to work toward being the fuzzbutt you really want to be!

Love you and good luck, Fuzzbutts!

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!

Actually Picking the Goals

Hello Fuzzbutts!

Today, we’ll go over goals. I’ve gone over SMART goals and how to design them. However, you can’t set a SMART goal if you don’t even know what it even is that you should work toward. So here are some steps to follow to give yourself some direction.

First, jot down a list of things you would like to do. Write ALL of it down, regardless of any hindering thoughts that come up. We’re going to refine this list. So try to get anything from 5-10 things you’d like to do. No judgements here.

Once you have your list, you’ve probably noticed a couple of things that really stick out from the rest. Think it over and consider the options on your paper. Now you have a couple of goals to set up.

Don’t know where to start? Google it! There’s tons of resources out there to give you an idea of what you have to start with. From there, it’s time to design a SMART goal around that. Want to start a garden? Design where it will go, what you want to grow, and what you need to buy to make it happen. Want to learn Blender? Find a tutorial and then proceed to make a goal around that (The Donut Challenge). Follow SMART principles and you’ll reach those goals.

If you fall out of love with your idea, you still have your big list of interests from the first step to review and try something else!

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.

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!

Time to Think

Hello fuzzbutts!

With everything going on and the urge to stay productive, it’s sometimes difficult to slow down and come up with another plan. Currently, there’s two things. One, what to write for this blog. Second, how to decorate my home since I feel like it’s not quite comfy enough.

The underlying problem when it comes to this stuff is that it takes focused thinking. It’s easy to consider something and be like “Oh yeah I should spiff up the living room,” or “I need to come up with topics to post about,” and nothing happens. Not really something to set up with a SMART goal but it takes effort. So what now?

It’s surprising how much we think about something we should do which is something that may not be as important as your other priorities. If it sticks in your brain, though, you need to focus and take care of it. I can’t decorate my condo if I’m not actually stopping and planning how I want it to look! I can’t keep up the blog if I don’t sit down and actually come up with specific topics for the blog!

So be sure to check in with yourself or the things you have going on. Carve out the time, sit down, grab a pad and paper or whatever you need to figure things out. You’re not going to get it done while working on other things or just lightly musing about it on the drive to and from work. So get focused and think hard about your subject!

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!

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!

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!