Weekend wisdom

One of the things I try to do on Saturday mornings is to go through the backlog of emails in my inbox that I haven’t read or dealt with during the week. I’m a slightly flawed follower of the inbox zero regime and I don’t often get to inbox zero but I do like to only have a small number of emails there that I can see all at once.

But I’m not here to talk about emails.

I’m on more email newsletter lists than I really need to be, many of them because I signed up for one thing and then never got around to unsubscribing from the list. Some of them I usually delete without opening unless the title of the email really grabs me, like one did this week. Some of them I glance through and some of them I read in more detail if I have time. Those are the ones where I often find little snippets of wisdom or inspiration. They often appear just at the right time when I’m grappling with an issue or a problem, which is kind of cool. (Still talking about emails . . . )

Sometimes I save the email in my extensive email library—but I’m not really sure why, because I never browse through my extensive email library. I usually file it away and never look at it again.

Sometimes I copy and past a couple of quotes into my journal so when I re-read it I’m reminded. But I wondered if there might be a better way to keep track of everything and I thought it might be fun to make a weekly blog post of quotes and information that I found interesting over the week.

So here’s instalment 1 of Weekend Wisdom.

Perfectionism and procrastination from Cassandra Massey,  which is not a website I regularly read, but the headline got my attention.

What interested me about this was talking about how we procrastinate because we can’t do the job perfectly or because the perfect conditions aren’t in place, so we don’t get the job done. And then we feel bad and try to do something to make us feel better, which is normally something that isn’t productive, like binge watching TV, endlessly scrolling through social media, having another glass of wine.

The podcast says that what to do instead of giving in to the bad feeling by “buffering” with one of these “false pleasures”, is to begin to tell yourself that you’re going to do the thing anyway and say, “I am not supposed to feel great about this right now. I am not supposed to be experiencing a positive emotion.”

Cassandra says:

Maybe it’s something that you haven’t done before. Maybe it’s a big project that you’ve been putting off for a long time. And so you’re experiencing a negative emotion and so just reminding yourself that that is okay, that that is part of the human experience.

When you can train yourself to allow that negative emotion and to do it anyway, you’re really building up a new skill and so the more that you do this, the easier it is going to be for you to follow through on things that you don’t feel like doing even though you know that they are going to lead to the result that you ultimately want.

I’ve been experiencing a lot of negative emotions this week and I think that reminding myself that it’s part of being human to feel like that is a good thing to keep in mind on the bad days. And linking it to procrastination, a thing that I am a master of, like this isn’t something I’ve heard of before.

20190621 Davey & Harrington St

One of this week’s photos from @hobartstreetcorners on Instagram

This one is from photographer Dan Milnor on the Blurb blog, which also served as a reminder for me to stop procrastinating because whatever I want to do won’t be perfect and just do it anyway.

Art is what you want it to be. A way of seeing the world, a way of thinking, a way of making something as pure expression, or something that has meaning.

Art is pure freedom. You can create and make anything your mind can dream up, and this acts as a counterbalance to many of the less than savory aspects of being human. Art also works as a translator, connecting people with varying opinions through the filter of light, shape, color, form, or concept.

The best way is to just start. Remember, there really is no right or wrong, only how you see the world, or an individual piece you are creating. Create as if you are the only person who will ever see the work. That way you allow for your real vision to shine through and not the vision you think people want to see.

Making art for art’s sake is a GREAT way to breakthrough creative plateaus. When left alone with no strings attached, you will create work that is pure you, and often times, this is the best work you will ever create.

And finally this week, some words from one of my favourite writers, James Clear, on the importance of showing up every day and mastering the fundamentals of whatever it is you’re trying to do.

It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one critical event or one “big break” while simultaneously forgetting about the hidden power that small choices, daily habits, and repeated actions can have on our lives. Without the fundamentals, the details are useless. With the fundamentals, tiny gains can add up to something very significant.

Nearly every area of life can be boiled down to some core task, some essential component, that must be mastered if you truly want to be good at it.

Mastery in nearly any endeavor is the result of deeply understanding simple ideas.

For most of us, the answer to becoming better leaders, better parents, better lovers, better friends, and better people is consistently practicing the fundamentals . . .

PS. I wasn’t going to post this at all because I didn’t have a snappy title for it. But I talked myself into it because if I’d waited until I had the right title, I’d still be waiting this time next year. Done is better than perfect.

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19 for 2019: week 24 update

Week of 10 June

This week was much better than the last few weeks have been. I got up every day and went for a walk. I count that as a win.

I also completed another of my 19 things! Yes!

I had to go to the GP and this time I remembered to ask about getting a skin check (thing 4) and she agreed it was a good idea. I got a recommendation from her about a good doctor and I phoned them the next day to make an appointment. When they said they had an appointment available the next day, I decided to just do it and get it over with rather than drag it out to next week. So I did it, had a great conversation with the doctor about where he gets his very cool socks from and learned that I should be using sunscreen a lot more.

This is a thing that has been on my list for six years. I now have a standing task in my to-do list to make an appointment every year as is recommended for people with my Celtic Princess complexion living in this unforgiving sunny land. It’s either that or move back to the land of my ancestors.

I watched seven of the photo course videos (thing 1) and completed two assignments in Lightroom (thing 19) with photos I took last year near Lake Pedder. I’m working through the last few photo course videos, which are all around using different functions within Lightroom. I haven’t learned a lot that I hadn’t already figured out for myself but it’s good to see that what I’m already doing is pretty much on the right track and I have picked up a few extra tips and tricks along the way.

20190610 Assignment 24 1

A foggy day in South West Tasmania, July 2018

20190610 Assignment 25 1

The Needles, July 2018

20190610 Assignment 25 2

Serpentine Dam, July 2018

I watched this week’s wellbeing videos (thing 6) and completed some of the exercises from a couple of weeks ago, including looking at ways to better support myself while I’m in this winter slump.

I stuck a couple more collages in my 2018 photojournalist (thing 11), I did some work on my photo project (thing 16) and I googled some manicure places to work out where I want to go (thing 17).

I finished a list of 100 things to put in the bucket list book (thing 18). I want to sit with it a bit to make sure there’s nothing I really want to do that isn’t on the list, or anything that’s on there I don’t really want to do. I know I’m overthinking this, because there’s nothing to say I can’t change anything on the list and I don’t *have* to do everything this week (or ever). It’s just an inspiration list and I’m sure I’ll think of other things to go in there along the way (which means I’ll just need to get another book!)

Status for week 24

  • Things completed this week: 1
  • Things completed: 9 (3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15)
  • Things I progressed: 6 (1, 6, 11, 16, 17, 18, 19)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress:  1: (2)
  • Things not started: 4 (10, 14)

19 for 2019: week 23 update

Week of 3 June: Sunday 9 June 2019

My work has been incredibly busy the last month. I have been putting in long hours, not taking proper breaks and not taking very good care of myself. I haven’t been walking, I haven’t been drinking enough water, I haven’t been creating and I haven’t been going to bed on time. Some other stuff has been going on too that’s been emotionally draining. I’ve been feeling terrible.

As you might imagine, I’ve made very little progress on my 19 for 2019 things since my last update, which was about four weeks ago. I haven’t had the energy to do anything and when I have, I haven’t had the energy to write about it.

It’s a long weekend now, the immediate work deluge is over and I am exhausted. Saturday I spent doing very little. I didn’t even get out of my PJs, let alone go for a walk. I couldn’t even remember the last time I got up in the morning and went for a walk.

What I know is that not walking is not good for me. I could possibly excuse myself if I were getting extra sleep instead of walking but I’m not. I’m waking up at my walking hour and lying in bed trying to justify why I can’t get out of bed. I’m worrying about things that are worrying me and I’m overprocessing everything. It is not restful. I am doing myself no favours.

I realised this when my friend posted on Instagram a few days ago that walking for him is non-negotiable. He does it, rain, hail or shine because walking is his only exercise. It’s my only exercise too and I’m not doing it; therefore, I am not exercising. At all.

Exercise, so they say, is good for you and it is especially good for you when you are feeling as horrible as I am right now. So laying around in bed feeling sorry for myself has to stop when I can get up and go for for a walk in the sub-antarctic temperatures and have a real reason to feel sorry for myself because it’s so fucking cold. I can overthink all I like when I’m out walking and it won’t matter because I’ll be moving. I don’t care about steps, kilometres, any of that. I don’t care if I’m on Instagram or Facebook the whole time (sorry, Bored and Brilliant challenge). I care that I get out of bed and I walk.

This morning (Sunday), I let my alarm go off and I lay in bed thinking about getting up. I thought about every reason I had to get up and every excuse I had not to. I lay there for an hour with the excuses winning. I did not want to get out of bed. I finally told myself that I might as well get up and get it over with because I was going to do it anyway. I had committed to doing it last night. I was going to do it. I thought about what my friend had written and I told myself that I am no longer sick, I have no excuse.

It was painful, but I did it I got up, got dressed and went outside. I walked. I actually went for a walk. I know it doesn’t sound like a big achievement but it was so hard. I had only walked three or four mornings in the last month and it’s no longer a habit.

20190609 Week 23 2

Sunday sunrise

Now that I’ve done it once, I have to get back into making it something I just do, not something that I have to force myself to do. I suspect it will be a long, slow road back, but I have to do it. I have no excuse. If I don’t walk, I won’t move at all and that’s not a good thing for my physical health or my mental health.

None of that is in any way relevant to any of my 19 for 2019 things but I needed to write all that down, to acknowledge what’s been going on. Our lives ebb and flow through busy times and relaxed times, hard times and easier times. There are times we can work hard, play hard and then there are times we need to rest. And when the times we need to rest roll around we need to respond to that need and rest, because if we don’t, the wheels fall off the wagon and we start to lose our anchors and we end up in the place I’ve been for the last couple of weeks.

I don’t know if I’m fully okay now but I know that today I’ve done the one thing, out of all the things I could have done, that is going to be of most benefit to me right now. And tomorrow I will get up and do it again.

One day at a time.

And I did catch up on some of my things this week.

I watched a video for the photo course and completed an assignment (thing 1). I did some work on my photo project (thing 16) and then decided I needed to learn some more Lightroom skills before I actually do this work, so I’m focusing on that (thing 19). I think the rest of the photo course videos are Lightroom techniques, so I will be making progress in two things as I work through them. I stuck three collages in my photo journal (thing 11) and I did some planning for how to finish some of the outstanding tasks in my wellbeing program (thing 6). Yeah, I know, planning is not really progress, but I feel better having a plan.

20190609 Week 23 1

An assignment

Status for week 23

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed: 8 (3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15)
  • Things I progressed: 5 (1, 6, 11, 16, 19)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress:  2: (2, 18)
  • Things not started: 4 (4, 10, 14, 17)

 

Bored and Brilliant challenge 6: Observe something else

Previous posts on the challenge:

Bored and Brilliant challenge 6 is to go somewhere public and stay for a while: a park, a mall, a gas station, a cafe, the hallway at work.

Once you get there, hang out. Watch people, or anything that strikes you. No need to sit on a park bench for an hour. It can be as short as you like. If you really feel uncomfortable lingering in a spot to observe, you can do this exercise while walking. But it should have a different quality than challenge two (to keep your device out of sight while in motion). Here I’m asking you to pause and imagine what a single person is thinking, or zoom in on an un-inventable detail. Just make one small observation you might have missed if your nose were glued to a screen. I’m asking you to notice—because noticing is the first step in creating.

I’ve done this a couple of times. Just sat somewhere for no particular reason, but I always forgot what I was supposed to be doing there for the challenge.

Yesterday I tried it again, and again forgot the bit about imagining what a person was thinking, but I did try and look for things I might otherwise have missed.

For reasons unnecessary to explain, I found myself in New Town for an hour last night. It was dark, it was cold and I am trying to get over a cold. Not an ideal time to wander around so I decided to do this challenge once and for all. I mean, it’s been a month since I did the last one. I need to get this finished!

I went to the local shopping centre (mall—check) and sat outside Kmart for half an hour (stay somewhere public for a while—check). I’d like to tell you I didn’t look at my phone the whole time but that would be slightly untrue. But I didn’t sit there and scroll instagram or facebook at all. I mostly didn’t look at my phone. Apart from a couple of messages I just sat and looked around.

It actually felt less weird than I thought it would have. Random person rugged up in arctic wear (did I mention it was cold?) sitting on a bench outside Kmart not looking at their phone. What are they doing then? I think I was pretty much invisible. Good.

It was also less boring than I thought it would be. When I found out I’d need to do this, I couldn’t imagine anything I would less rather be doing on a freezing Tuesday night than hanging around in New Town for an hour. But the time went surprisingly quickly and I found I rather enjoyed just sitting in a fairly quiet space that was warm and had just enough going on to maintain my interest. Put it this way, it was more enjoyable than waiting at the bus stop for 10 minutes afterwards.

The shopping centre at 6.30 is fairly quiet, compared to in the daytime, with a slow but steady stream of people making their way into and out of Kmart. I’m not sure I would have liked it quite as much if I’d been sitting there in the middle of the day with all the noise and the much greater numbers of people. I think that would have overstimulated me and I would have felt very uncomfortable.

I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to notice.

What sort of people go to Kmart at 6.30? All sorts really. Parents with young kids, couples, singles, older people, teens with a parent, schoolgirls, people who had just finished work . . . And what do they buy? Clothes, kitchen appliances, blankets, cushions, mirrors, coat stands, lollies . . .

What did I notice?

Well, there were fewer people in ugg boots than I had expected to see. I had been wearing ugg boots all day until I went out and I imagined I’d see a lot of them at Kmart. Wrong. I saw two people in ugg boots. There were more people in thongs than there were in ugg boots. (Take note, aspiring film makers, if you ever want to shoot a scene in Kmart. People wear thongs not ugg boots. And flats, and runners (lots of Nikes and lots of non-Nikes) and workboots and walking shoes. Not ugg boots.)

I had no idea that DVD rental vending machines were even a thing. (I clearly don’t visit shopping centres very often.) Today was $2 Tuesday (or in old school language, Tightarse Tuesday) at the vending machine and I saw two people get DVDs from the machine. I also saw one person play the prize grab teddy machine (and fail).

I looked at the floor tiles and realised if I did weird things with my eyes I could make the floor move and wondered if I could make myself go into a trance if I blinked my eyes fast enough for long enough by looking at it. (I couldn’t, but it was fun trying.)

And there was a section of floor where the tile pattern was broken and I couldn’t stop looking at it because it was WRONG!

20190514 Floor at New Town Plaza 3 edit

Why?

I am not sure if I was supposed to have come away with anything profound from this exercise. I didn’t, other than a nagging feeling I had missed something from a statement on my website and that I wanted to change the font. Hardly profound. But I liked the experience. I didn’t get bored and I didn’t feel the need to scroll through social media because there was nothing else to do. It was nice to be able to sit, watch what was going on around me without judgement* and just let my mind take in whatever it wanted to.

I’d like to do this challenge more often.

*Okay I made one judgment. This girl in her 20s with a granny trolley and these massive headphones that she stopped outside to set up. She looked very cool and very happy.

19 for 2019: week 19 update

Week of 4 May

I don’t have a lot to update this week. I went to work, had a training course and went to a wedding (yay!).

I had a nice day walking around Launceston on Friday (more than 33,000 steps for the record) before I was struck down with a cold that has put me out of action since then (not yay!).

I took some nice photos though. 20190510 Launceston 00620190510 Launceston 013You can find more of the photos on my photoblog.

I watched the first half of the next assignment for the photo course (thing 1) and did a bit of work on one of the assignments in Lightroom (thing 19) but I haven’t finished it.

That’s about it!

Status for week 19

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed: 8 (3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15)
  • Things I progressed: 2 (1, 19)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress:  5: (2, 6, 11, 16, 18)
  • Things not started: 4 (4, 10, 14, 17)

19 for 2019: week 18 update

Week of 29 April

I went back to work this week. That always seems to take up an awful lot of my time for some reason!

I made some progress with 19 for 2019. I did some work on the photo course (thing 1); I watched two videos and completed one assignment. I have 12 assignments to complete. I’m waiting for something to arrive in the mail that will, I’m hoping, make at least one of those easier to photograph.

As the assignment I completed was a Lightroom assignment, I learned a couple of new things and had a few things explained that I was already doing but didn’t know why (thing 19).

I did a lot of reading for my wellbeing work (thing 6), which is probably not moving me a huge way forward but is still progress. I need to remind myself though that I need to actually take action on what I’m learning, not just collect underpants. (If you’re wondering what I’m going on about here, it’s a reference from the TV show South Park, which I wrote about in 2016.)

I stuck one collage into my 2018 photojournal and trimmed 11 more ready to stick in (thing 11). Small progress, but progress nonetheless.

And an update on thing 5, my reading challenge, which I’ve already finished. I finished another book this week and have now read 17 books this year, which is more than I read in the whole of 2018. This is almost entirely due to my habit of reading 20 (or so) pages every morning after my morning walk.

20190502 Time Travelling with a hamster edit

One of the best things about having a 12-year-old is they get cool books and let you read them

Status for week 18

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed: 8 (3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15)
  • Things I progressed: 4 (1, 6, 11, 19)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 3 (2, 16,18)
  • Things not started: 4 (4, 10, 14, 17)

19 for 2019: week 17 update

Week of 22 April

One of the things that’s on my 19 for 2019 list is to finish a photo project I’d been working on for a while (thing 16). It’s going to be fun, but it’s also intimidating, and I’ve been avoiding it.

I had a much easier photo project I wanted to do that I didn’t put on the list, which was to make a book of my 2018 black & white project.

This seemed too easy to put on the list because all it involved doing was uploading 365 photos into a template and then printing it. Easy, right?

Not so, my friends. I decided to use a format that had a cover page for each month with one photo and then a 3×3 grid layout for the rest of the month’s photos.

I’m sure you can see the problem. 3×3 equals nine photos per page, so three pages equals 27 photos. But there are 30 or 31 days in each month. February, it turns out, is the perfect month for this type of layout because there are 27 photos plus the cover photo (total photos: 28 days—thank goodness 2018 wasn’t a leap year) but for all the other months I needed four pages, which (4×9) equals 36 slots, for 29 or 30 photos.

So what I had to do was combine a couple of squares on each page to make some photos wider and some photos longer so that each month would fit neatly over four pages. I also wanted them to be in order because I’m picky like that, so it was a lot of work to figure out which ones to stretch (this didn’t work for a lot of the photos as they were square already and not suitable for cropping) and to keep the photos in the right date order.

Screen Shot 2019-04-25 at 6.55.02 pm edit

The joys of making a photobook

Yeah, let’s keep it real simple.

I started this project months ago and imagined I would come back at times when I had a few minutes with nothing to do and upload a month at a time and get it done over a few weeks. But, as with the photojournal (thing 11), it didn’t happen like that and the half-finished book sat there, threatening to be one of those dreaded projects I start but never complete.

I knew it was never going to get done like this and it was going to hover in my mind as something I had to finish, so I sat down for an afternoon and uploaded and sorted six months worth of photos and finished the damn book. Then (after a comprehensive review of whether the photos were lined up on every page, which may or may not have involved a ruler), I sent it to the company for printing on Monday.

Having never made a photobook before, I have no idea how this will turn out but whatever, I can tick another thing off my bonus list!

Completely irrelevant to 19 for 2019, and now I wish I’d put it on the list instead of the other photo project that I still haven’t made any more progress on. Maybe if I stopped writing about it and went and did it I might get something done.

Ahem.

I did a lot of work on the photography course (thing 1). I edited and uploaded some photos I’d taken previously for Assignments 14 and 17.

20190418 Aurora Australis 12 edit

Aurora Australis | 18 April 2019 | 5.21 pm

20190416 Twilight waterfront from Hunter St 08 edit

Hobart Waterfront Twilight | 16 April 2019 | 5.57 pm

20190416 Twilight waterfront from Franklin Wharf 03 edit

Hobart Waterfront Twilight | 16 April 2019 | 6.05 pm

20190317 Supreme Court 3 edit edit

Supreme Court of Tasmania

I practised with my new flash for Assignment 12 but wasn’t happy with any of the photos and my subject was very reluctant to cooperate any further. This one will have to wait.

I also spent a day at Mt Field National Park and have a lot of photos to sort through!

20190422-070 Lake Seal from the Tarn Shelf edit edit edit

Lake Seal | Mount Field National Park | 22 April 2019

I also started to re-examine my folio (thing 2) and, according to RescueTime, I spent 11 hours and 21 minutes in Lightroom over the week, so I must have learned something (thing 19). (I learned how to adjust the time on my photos, which is handy when you forget to change your camera time after daylight saving.) I spent a lot of Tuesday sorting out the catalogue again. I’m almost happy with it now. I attempted to merge some bracketed exposures but that really did not work out well.

I now have 50 things on my draft list for the Bucket List book (thing 18) and actually made a start on one of the projects I’m going to put in the book. Does that count as progress? I think it does.

Status for week 17

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed: 8 (3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15)
  • Things I progressed: 5 (1, 2, 6, 18, 19)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress:  2 (11, 16)
  • Things not started: 4 (4, 10, 14, 17)