Single-tasking to Success!

Good morning, fuzzbutts!

Ever wanted to get something done faster? You have a little project or task you want to get done today and yet you get distracted by something. Maybe it’s a different task that is less important but hey you have things to do! Maybe you put on a video while you work or listen to a podcast. Unfortunately, those things you’re doing are just making that original task or goal even harder to reach.

It’s annoying but the best way to accomplish your work for the day is to hammer down and focus on it without any distractions! That video you put on is pulling you away from your work. Those other things you do might be good to get done but you’re not accomplishing your goals! So why is it so difficult to sit distraction-free and get stuff done?

Some of us, including me, seem to be addicted to stimulation. As much as I’m an introvert, I love listening to music, podcasts, or youtube videos and have a hard time enjoying a silent morning when I get out of bed in the morning. However, give me a sketchbook and a youtube video and I’ll take over 30 minutes for something that should have taken me 5.

I know I said in a past post that I will draw while having a movie on my monitor because it keeps my butt in the seat so I get SOMETHING done. However, as time has gone on and movies on Netflix seem to keep getting worse, I’ve found I draw faster and often better when I keep things off. When I turn on youtube, on the other hand, I catch myself in the middle of a line to pause and look up at my screen because I heard or saw the edge of something that distracted me. Turn it all off and I’m able to get way more done in less time and it’s becoming easier.

Like most things involving discipline, willpower, etc, it’s a muscle. You have to gradually train yourself to accomplish these things and push through the need to be distracted so you can get it all done. Start light and for short periods if you can’t handle things being silent for long. Perform focused work and see how quickly you can finish whatever you’re working on.

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

Dream BIGGER

Hello fuzzbutts!

Tonight I want to talk about your dreams. Are you living with a mentality where if you just make it through the day, you’ll have survived? If you just manage to pay one of your bills on time, that’ll be a good day? Maybe you’re lonely but you figure if nobody hates you, that’s good enough.

Bad! No! I want to reach through this screen and bat you lightly with a rolled up magazine. Your dreams are too small! Your goals are set too low! You need to think bigger.

Your life is yours. If you want to live the kind of life where anyone hears about you and goes “That’s kinda depressing,” then alright. However, if you’re reading this blog then clearly that’s not the case. I want you to be the champion of your life’s story. So here’s what you need to do.

Look at your goals and ask yourself WHY. Why is this goal important to you? What are you really trying to accomplish with this goal? If the point of your fitness goal is to become healthier, why not go for something bigger like participating in races, becoming the most fit of your friends and family? If your artistic goal is to become an artist, why not try to build a huge following to show your art off to? If you have a goal around finances, why not work toward a dream of financial independence or becoming a world traveler?

Even if you don’t reach your perfect dreams, you’ll be aiming much higher than you are right now and performing much better. Keep planning, increasing your goals, and seeing where you can go. As you notice these little improvements, I hope they give you the boost you need to keep moving and aiming higher. I would love to hear about your dreams and what you want out of life.

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!

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!

Deliberate Practice!

Hello Fuzzbutts!

Today we’re going over the concept of deliberate practice. It’s a very general term that is intended to apply to anything you want to learn. It’s not just doing repetitive actions like memorization or drawing circles constantly, but it is focused on establishing and performing specific tasks to improve your performance. You find your weaknesses and look for ways to fix them. You look for specific ways to improve and follow those techniques.

Since I like talking about my own goals of drawing, I’ll start with that. I could spend hours upon hours drawing circles  and a few lines to represent heads. Unless my weakness is being able to draw a circle, this actually isn’t going to help me out. However, if I’m not happy with the way a muzzle or the eyes turn out, that’s something I could practice more. Not only just me practicing the eyes I draw, but looking at references and images that I admire and trying to imitate that process. I practice the eyes until I’m very happy with the way they are. I also practice variety since there’s so many types of eyes out there. It has a clear intention for me- draw better by drawing prettier eyes. If I eventually feel ok about eyes but now find I don’t like the way I draw hips, then I apply the same exercises I established and proceed from there to improve my art.

If you want to improve math skills or something more school-related, you can still apply deliberate practice. Study the problems and the solutions to them in the book. Then practice a few problems on your own and check the solutions. If you made a mistake, review where it happened. Try again and see if it works correctly this time. Unfortunately, in many math textbooks I’ve encountered, many practice problems have only some of the solutions and zero explanation of how the solution was even reached. In that case, a classmate or tutor might be able to shed light on where things went wrong in your thinking.

A good read on the principles of deliberate practice along with a ton of great examples can be found at James Clear’s Website and I recommend you look into it even just to get some ideas with regards to things you could apply the idea of deliberate practice to.

 

Good luck Fuzzbutts!

Write Down Those Thoughts!

Hello fuzzbutts!

Ever have random thoughts when you’re out and about? You’re at the store and remembered a quick thing you need to take care of when you get home. You’re at work and think of a hundred small things you need to get done. You finally get home and realize you don’t remember what you were going to do. It happens often and you end up blowing a bunch of time not doing anything important because you can’t remember any of the tasks you wanted to do.

So how do we combat such a faulty memory? Writing things down! Keep a little notepad and pen in your pocket. As you go throughout your day, something will pop into your head with the unstoppable force of a shower thought. So take out your pad and write it down! Write it ALL down!

On a usual day at work, I’ll come up with anywhere from 7-15 items to complete. Once I’m home, I just sort the list and dump anything I can’t finish that day. I don’t write it on an eternal to-do list. I just dump the idea. If the idea pops up on another day, it goes through the same process and I might sort it out or take time that day to handle it. Weekends tend to be a good time to catch up on any of the larger projects that come across my brain.

So try to keep a pencil and pad with you at all time and be sure to write down anything you need to do. It doesn’t matter if it’s to light some incense or write a productive blog post. Once you’re able to sit with your list, look it over and do whatever it is you want to do for the day to call it a great day!

Good luck fuzzbutts!

Book Recommendation: The 12-Week Year

Hello fuzzbutts!

I wanted to drop another book on you all! I’ll summarize the gist of it and you can decide if it’s worth looking into for more details! I think it’s actually very useful and I’ve been trying to incorporate it into my life.

So it’s the start of the year (or end of another) and you come up with big goals for the year. Tons of things you want to improve or get done. You then live your life and realize it’s late October and you’ve done next to nothing. Suddenly there’s no time to get it all finished and you feel guilty for not taking steps toward your dreams. You push it off for next year and fall into the same trap.

The problem with goals for the year is that you have a whole year to do them. You lose a sense of urgency when it comes to working on them and so it falls to the wayside as you try to keep up with life.  You beat yourself up over it and regret the entire year because of how little you accomplished of the things that truly matter to you.

The idea of the 12-week year is to set your goals for every 3 months. I’ve discussed ideas like this before but this book really boils it down. By setting yourself up for 3 months, you can still set substantial goals for yourself. It’s also short-term enough that it’ll stay in your mind that you need to work on it (Write them on a white board to help!).

I just barely covered the main point of the book and book contains a lot of details and ways to think about this. So go read The 12 Week Year !

Good luck fuzzbutts!

The Mortal’s Disadvantage

Hello mortal fuzzbutts!

As we are such furry furry little mortals, we need to keep that one little fact in our minds. We’re all going to die at some point, some sooner than others. There’s so many things we want to do. There’s even more things that some of us hold ourselves back from or we wallow in something from our pasts that keeps us from moving ahead in life. That is our disadvantage.

This is just a reminder that we don’t have all the time in the world to do the things we want to do. It’s not about being a hedonist where you indulge to excess, end it early, or being irresponsible about rushing toward your dreams. It’s about YOU getting YOURSELF in gear, finding the things that provide meaning in YOUR life, and working toward accomplishing what you can. Do you want to be an artist? You’re not going to do it by playing video games all day. Want to travel? Don’t wait until retirement when you’re old and creaky when you can scrounge up enough money to do it sooner (Being responsible, of course).

I want you to put yourself out there some more. Write down your dreams. Settle on some goals. Finish the things that are your current priorities and free yourself up for your real priorities. Narrow down the scope of your life. It may be fulfilling to try and work on a ton of things at once but you can paralyze yourself. Look at those people around you who are the most successful. Chances are, they’re really amazing at just a couple of things.

So the bottom line of today’s advice is to realize you’re going to die eventually. Whatever your belief system is, please make the most of it. Remind yourself every day whether it’s a post-it note, an app, whatever that you don’t have forever. So how are you going to spend today?

““If you live each day as if it were your last, someday you’ll be right.”

Good luck, fuzzbutts.

Reviewing the Pomodoro Technique

Hello fuzzbutts!

So I’ve been trying the Pomodoro technique some more lately. As a refresher, the Pomodoro timer relies on a 25-minute set of focused work, whether it be studying or working on a task, then a 5-minute break. Rinse, repeat as needed. It sounds interesting-taking a task at a moderate pace with specific time constraints so you know how long you’ll spend. It helps against things like procrastination when you’re thinking about the billion other things you can work on. Just 30 minutes and I’m done. If you’re still feeling good at the end of your break, you can go for another round!

So what do I like about the Pomodoro technique?

First, it’s simple. You can get a timer (or an app) and just turn it on once you’re ready to begin your task. 25 minutes tends to fly by pretty fast once you get started. You can schedule it ahead of time and you’ll be able to finally tackle those tasks with focused work. If you prefer structure, this would be very helpful for you.

What don’t I like about it?

Well, it can feel very unnatural as you get to work. If you get into the task pretty deep, you can reach the famous Flow State. The last thing you feel like doing once the timer goes off is actually stop! You’ve got your groove going, you’re accomplishing stuff! So maybe you end up ditching the Pomodoro technique anyway to keep working. Or maybe you follow the Pomodoro, grudgingly stopping, taking a breath, and then try to dive right back in. Maybe you’ll hit it with gusto or you blew the flow state and can’t quite get back into it.

So what’s the verdict?

The Pomodoro technique works for anything you don’t actually want to do. Always procrastinating something? Use Pomodoro. Dreading studying for a test? Use Pomodoro. What about things you want to do? Just do them! You like drawing? Drop Pomodoro and just draw. Hate drawing hands and want to get better? Use Pomodoro. It’s just a matter of discovering what is difficult for you and using the Pomodoro technique to help you overcome it. If 25 minutes seems too short, you can always increase the work time.

So start experimenting with it and see where you might be able to make more progress!

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!