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!

Planning to get Unstuck

Hello Fuzzbutts!

One thing that has stuck out to me in some of the conversations with people I’ve met is how many of them seem to fall into a mindset that they are just stuck. They hate where they are but they can’t move from there because one of reason or another (usually it’s a job situation and they can’t move out of it because they need the job for money). Other times, it’s a weird relationship issue where they want to leave but they stay for whatever reason is most difficult for anyone else to understand.

While I can’t help so much on the relationship front, the job situation and the feeling of being stuck is something that can be dealt with. We feel helpless to the moment and the way we’ve led our lives that we’ve made mistakes along the way and don’t see any way out. We’re so busy we don’t think to take a breath and assess the situation. Yet, that’s exactly what we have to do. Take a step back and start reviewing where you are and where you want to be.

Have a lousy job and want to take on a job in a field you’re more interested in? Find what skills you’re lacking and start learning. I don’t get paid by Udemy but I love recommending their online courses. Computer skills, singing, drawing, whatever. You’ll learn more about the subject and learn if it’s something you actually want to do vs whatever you think it is. A computer job might sound lucrative and cozy but are you prepared to stare at hundreds, if not thousands of lines of code trying to fix whatever is broken with a deadline quickly approaching? Dip your toes into the water. If it’s fine, then start gaining the skills you need and make that transition. I know a couple of people who dropped out of college, got entry-level biotech jobs, and are doing great without a degree because they were determined to get their feet in the door and then picked up the skills they needed.

What if you’re stuck because you hate your job and don’t even know what to do? Well your problem is you don’t even know what you want to do. Start writing up a journal! Brainstorm like crazy on a sheet of paper about the possibilities. You don’t have to figure it out in one sitting. Every time you sit down and start popping off ideas, you might not know what you want to do but you’ll learn what you DON’T want to do. When you do figure out what you want to do, start assessing all the aspects of it and then weigh the pros and cons.

Say you want to make fursuits. Do you have the skills to make them to begin with? Can you afford all the materials to just get started? Do you have customer service skills appropriate for dealing with furries? Can you take criticism in case you get a bad review? Can you set up the boundaries necessary so you can do your job without being micromanaged by your customer while also make sure you can hold up your end of the deal? How much should you price your fursuits and accessories to be able to compete with better-known brands? How will you maintain your schedule and social media presence? Can you figure out a tracking system that won’t become a huge mess when you have a dozen orders or a long queue?

How about a non-furry related job? You want to work in electronics? What kind? Sound systems, displays, robotics, etc? Are you making things or repairing them? What companies would be interested in those skills? Are there any do-it-yourself projects you can do at home as examples to show off when you interview? Are there certifications you can acquire that would help you land work?

How about just stuck in your position at your current job? What does it take for a promotion? Is there a different career track at your company that they might even enable you to take? Are there other companies nearby that do the same sort of work but would give you new experience (and probably an increased income? Sometimes they will even if you end up with the same title)? Is it time to update the resume?

None of what I said matters until you can sit down and take the time to think about these things. You don’t need a lot of time. Take 10 minutes in the evenings or even during your break at work (just don’t show anyone at work you’re working on changing careers!). The point is you’re not stuck. You just need to settle your mind, take a breath and a step back, and review everything going on. You can come up with a plan and come up with a direction for your life. You’ll gain a sense of control almost right away as you shift gears and you’ll realize you can handle this.

Good luck fuzzbutts!

Dealing with the Post-Convention Depression

Hi fuzzbutts!

You’ve had your fun at the convention. Met friends you haven’t seen in ages and made new friends! You had a care-free fun time the entire convention and then you’re on the plane or in the car to head back to real life. The high of the con starts dipping down and you get home again with a desperate need to do laundry and put everything away. However, by now your mood has dropped into the deafening void and the various chores to accomplish look impossible and you lost pretty much all your motivation.

I know I went through this. I was willing to let my fursuit air out after a long weekend of use and just took way too long to get around to actually washing it. Dirty laundry sat in the washing machine way too long and I just flopped on the bed or at my computer and found it tough to get anything done. So I did a bit of inner exploration, realized I was depressed after the convention, and then decided to figure out how I can address this since I know it affects many convention goers.

One of the first things I realized was a sense of loneliness since most my friends had moved away. While I usually enjoy alone time, even I experience the lows that come with missing friends. So the first thing I did was start reaching out to those friends. I made new friends at the convention too and we shared our contact info and social media and I started talking to them too. They were all pretty darn chatty too so it was very helpful to keep in contact with them to combat the PCD.

Another thing I realized is my mood was down because I was just exhausted. At the con, you’re riding high and you’re having so much fun that it’s hard to pay attention to what your body is telling you. Starving yourself because you don’t want to eat without your friends but they’re taking too long. Then, when you do eat, you’re eating quick food or junk food. Sleeping late because there’s so much going on. Drinking and having fun like a crazy person. Then we’re surprised that so many people leave a convention with con crud (the almost immediate cold/illness you get as you’re leaving a con or immediately after a con). Being physically tired/weaker will lower your mood and contribute to the post-con depression.

So if you’re set on not taking care of yourself at the convention and want to party hard, the best way to recover after the convention is to just rest and start eating better immediately. You’ve put yourself through a lot and need to take the appropriate rest and eat something that will put your body back to normal, if not even healthier food than normal. Your body will recover and then you’ll just feel better there too.

So the gist of dealing with post-con depression is to put yourself out there and reach out to friends in a way that’s enjoyable. Don’t go telling them you’re so miserable and sad. Just be social and chatty. Also, eat something to help your body and take the appropriate rest. You’ll feel better way faster and your mood will improve to drive away the post-con blues. Then you can get back to being productive!

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.