A random, eclectic mix of thoughts, feelings, observations, and experiences – LIFE

Posts tagged ‘projects’

A Birthday and a Million Projects

Sunday was Babe’s birthday. We celebrated in minimalist fashion, I’d like to call it. Lol.

Last week Monday was my niece’s birthday and my sister made fried chicken wings and macaroni. It was pretty awesome, and Terneille kinda raved about it. When I told my sister her birthday was coming up, she immediately went into planning mode. “I’ll make her a pan of macaroni and fry some chicken wings! What time you want it?” YAY, for awesome sisters! That made it a lot easier for me.

cakecropBabe requested a carrot cake. Last year was cheesecake. This set my wheels turning, and I wondered if I could pull something kind of experimental off. I measured, poured, and mixed with confidence. It was only after I put the bundt pan in the oven that I started wondering if I was crazy, and imagining the horrible ways it could all go wrong. But it worked! WAAAHOOOOOO! Carrot cake and cheesecake in one, y’all! I know, I know. I’m a little out there. Whatevs. It worked and it was pretty tasty. Babe really loved it and my sister even called to tell me that she “NEEEEDS” me to make one for her. Hahaha.

Since I’m currently unemployed and don’t even have pennies to count, I made it rain on Babe in a different way. COUPONNNNNS! Let’s just hope she remembers to cash ’em all in. They’re pretty valuable, lemme tell ya!

So aside from birthday stuff, here’s what’s up:

  • I’m venturing into the world of zines. I’ll be making some of my own. Four, to be exact. I’m excited about it! I plan to complete the first issues of each one this weekend. Then I’ll start selling them on Etsy next week. Look out for linksies!
  • I finished The Whispering Willow! Did I mention this already? Even if I did, once is not enough. I FINISHED IT. The writing, that is. There is lots of editing to be done. But the first draft? FINITO!
  • I started writing a new novel. It’s not as fun to write as I thought it would be, and that’s probably because I didn’t plan it ALL out before I started writing. I work much better with a plan. A pretty precise plan. NOTED.
  • I need to workout. My body is all achy and sedentary and I’m super lazy right now. I hope to start this weekend. A little bounce on the trampoline. A 20 minute run. 15 minutes of yoga. I’ve gotta get this body in MOTION. STAT.
  • Currently reading The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. It’s a bit slower than her other two novels which I completely devoured. It’s taking me a bit longer to get through it due to pacing plus my zillion plus one projects I have going on. But it’s good. I’m enjoying it. Morton knows how to spin a tale. That’s for sure.
  • New 100 word story is up. Read it, comment on it, share it! 🙂

What about you? What’s up? Working on any projects?

Thankful Thursday

Lots of things have been happening. I’ve been acting on things more than thinking about them lately. I’m holding myself accountable. I need to do what it takes today to be happy and fulfilled tomorrow.

Here’s a little slice of goodness from my week:

  • Got to the grocery store, FINALLY.
  • Picked up three movies to watch. Babe and I are whipping through tv shows and movies like nobody’s business and it’s getting harder to find things we haven’t seen yet AND would like. May soon resort to the classics. Haha.
  • Doing much better with water consumption.
  • Finally proved that I’m not completely inept, and I DO know how to throw and catch a friggin’ football. (I just refuse to put in full effort when I bored, nearly to death, and simply tossing the ball back and forth. Give me a challenge, and I will accept!)
  • My application to be ML (Municipal Liaison) for my region (The Bahamas) in NaNoWriMo was accepted. WOOT, WOOOOT! So exciting!
  • On the FINAL round of edits for my food flash for the Food & Drink themed short story competition. I’m letting it rest for a week before taking my last look at it, doing final tweaks, and sending it off.
  • Finally working on a story I had resting for months. I think it’s been months. I’ve decided that some of the suggestions in the critiques were way off base. They wanted me to give them more story. Backstory, really. That is NOT what a flash piece is about. I decided to make it even shorter. Cut it from almost 1200 words to under 1000. That is MAJOR.
  • Planned my entire ML month – In-person events, online events (Twitter hashtags/chats), created a blog, listed blog enough blog post ideas to post 2x/week until the end of the year, created a Facebook page, and secured venue for in-person events. All I need to do now is plan my novel (which I started months ago).
  • Projects, projects, projects! Lots of things to work on. I love it.
  • Positive feedback. I’ve been doing a lot of critiquing on Scribophile, and sometimes I think I may be taking things too far, BUT I want to be honest. Makes no sense posting work for crits if you don’t want the good, bad, and ugly, right? So I go hard. A lot of people seem to appreciate it, and send me the nicest little messages, thanking me for my help. One woman even said I’m a great editor AND writer, and called it a “power combo”. WOW. Mind. Blown.

How about you? What are you thankful for this week? What has you feeling great?

Summer Brings…

  • Mosquitoes. I don’t understand why they have to show up in the summer. EVERY summer. And BITE. As if it’s not annoying enough that they’re flying around. And seriously, why do they exist? WHY?! Do they do anything awesome like turn into butterflies? No. Do they do anything useful like cat rats? No. I asked my aunt the other day why God made them. She said something about the plagues in Egypt or something. Nice save, Auntie. Nice save. All the bad stuff is the fault of the humans that weren’t jivin’ with God. Got it.
  • Heat. Extreme heat. It is a bit too hot in The Bahamas. You really would not survive with air conditioning or a high-powered fan. It is SO. Freaking. HOT. Wowzeeerrr! I don’t mind the heat when I’m at the beach. It’s allllll good. But in traffic? No bueno. Trying to sleep? No bueno. Any time that I’m not on the beach, heat is no bueno.
  • Graduations and proms. I think they are all over now. The young folks here have decided that limos are not cool any more. Now, they find people with “fresh rides” to drive them to the prom. Mercedes, BMW, Hummer, Jaguar… That type of thing. They’re saying, “Look at us! We know people who drive these super expensive cars! BOW DOWN!”
  • “Summer body” season. It is just HILARIOUS to me. People post FB statuses, tweet, and start conversations about their bodies. It isn’t until June that everyone is talking about “workin’ on this summer body.” Like, really? You have a special body for the summer? That’s the only time that you care to be in shape? You think that if you start in JUNE, you’ll have a “summer body” before the end of the summer? Ok. Carry on smartly! *eats ice cream*
  • Idle Children. School is closed. Parents are at work. No guardians are around. All of the children/teenagers are breaking Twitter. Can’t sign in? Guess why. Because all of your little cousins, godchildren, and their friends are tweeting about running out of juice boxes.There also seems to be an increase in graffiti, fights in public places, and revenue at places like the movie theater. They are BORED. Their parents won’t send them to summer camps.  
  • Ice Cream Cravings. I want WAY more ice cream during the summer month. And those AMAZING frozen strawberry fruit bars. You know that ones with chunks of strawberry? Have mercyyyyy. Yummm. I love it!
  • Projects. It seems like the perfect time to take on things. It’s like Lent on crack. MUST DO THINGS. DO ALL THE THINGS. Must get better at things. Must run marathons, and travel to other places, and exercise, and spend more time with friends, and write a book, and clear out the garage, and finish the kitchen renovations. Must DO. Must.
  • Barbeques. Except in this place. We really don’t do much barbequing in The Bahamas, y’all. I don’t think very many people OWN barbeque grills. I miss that about Halifax. Anyway, getting off track. BARBEQUES. Parties outsiiiiide! WOO! *runs around in bikini*
  • Vacations. Some people save, and some people take out loans, but ALL the people WILL find the money to GO AWAAAYYY. For Bahamians, the place to be is Florida. It’s super close, so it’s rather convenient to go and shop. They take their children, and spend every single day in malls. Hardly any of them will see a theme park. All they want to do is get rid of the money. Some people are a bit more fancy, and go to New York. They don’t want to wear the same clothes as everyone else who probably caught the SAME sale, and have the SAME pieces of clothing. Vacations are a must.
  • Beach time! The beaches are far more crowded than any other season. Everyone who forgot they had a swim suit is on the sand, sitting on bath towels (because no one bothers to buy beach towels). Suddenly, we live on an island, and there is an ocean, and EVERYONE must go and see it. And you should see the hilarity. People staying on the sand, in all the heat. Most of the people in the water unable to swim. Don’t ask me how this happened. I don’t know.

Does summer change things in your city/town/country? Does it change anything for you? What are your summer plans?

Thankful Thursday

It’s been a while, I know! After things stopped being super hectic, I started feeling very tired. My energy level was super low, and my vision got a bit crazy. I’ve self-diagnosed. I’m pretty sure it’s related to my anemia, and my failure to take proper meds. *sighs* Anyway, getting back on track now, so YAY!

Today, I’m thankful for:

  • Sweet weather. It’s cool, but the sun is still shining.
  • Getting out of my ruts. I started writing again this week, and starting running (and it was HARD) again TODAY. The weather demanded it.
  • Supportive family. I’m unemployed at the moment, but my family is backing me up in my decision to lay low and work on a few projects of my own. My mom still lends me the car (which I though she MAY have stopped doing since I wasn’t going to work), my aunt doesn’t discourage me from writing, my mom tells me to go get my business license, my great-grandmother is not stressing me out about joblessness, etc.
  • I have an application in for an exec. asst. job. It’s nothing thrilling, but the department (of government) is new and interesting, and it’s the kind of job that will still leave me with the time and brainpower to do my own thing. It shouldn’t be draining. Getting it would be cool since it would kind of be a good balance. I’d be getting a steady income and would be able to run my own business and write at the same time.
  • I put a call in to a contact I made while working at my previous place of employment. He’d told me about the possibility of his workplace (a local bank) opening up a completely new position to bridge the gap between them and all of the initiatives and organizations that they support/sponsor/make donations to, and work with their (outsourced) PR team. That’s right up my alley, so if they make it a real job, I’m on it!
  • I’ve got all the laziness out of my system. I’ve been at home for almost two weeks, and I still have some time with pay left, so it’s not too late at all. I’m happy to be back in productive-mode.
  • Yoga. I see it being very important and beneficial in life. *breathes deeply*
  • Elections will be held in less than two weeks. I may throw a party when it’s all over, regardless of which party wins. I’ll explain this in a post about election season in The Bahamas on the weekend. Be sure to come back to read it! You have never heard of anything like it. Believe me.
  • Cereal and milk. I’ve been up for far too long to have nothing in my system, and I don’t feel like cooking. Hellooo, Honey Bunches of Oats. *looks in kitchen* Do I see bananas?! Oh, yes indeed!

How about you? What are you thankful for today? What’s the weather like in your part of the world? How productive have you been this week? Fill me in!

10 Laws of Productivity – StumbleUpon

It seems like a lot of people have productivity issues. People waste time. Some people use time, but in the wrong way. A lot of people procrastinate. Some people have trouble getting started. Others find it difficult to keep going. The issues are not unique. People have been fighting them for as long as there has been time (and things to do with it). It takes a little hunting, and trying, and testing, and evaluating, but it’s possible to find a way to make it work. Make TIME work. And make YOURSELF work. Here’s something I came across, and just had to share with you. As always, I’ve highlighted major points (to me). If you have anything to add, feel free to do so in the comments.

Here are 10 laws of productivity we’ve consistently observed among serial idea executors:

1. Break the seal of hesitation.
A bias toward action is the most common trait we’ve found across the hundreds of creative professionals and entrepreneurs we’ve interviewed. While preparing properly as you start a new project is certainly valuable, it’s also easy to lose yourself in planning (and dreaming) indefinitely. We must challenge ourselves to take action sooner rather than later. The minute that you start acting (e.g. building a physical prototype, sharing a nascent concept with your community), you start getting valuable feedback that will help refine your original idea – and move forward with a more informed perspective.

2. Start small.
When our ideas are still in our head, we tend to think big, blue sky concepts. The downside is that such thinking makes the barrier to entry – and action – quite high. To avoid “blue sky paralysis,” pare your idea down to a small, immediately executable concept. Can you trial the idea of a multi-day festival with a smaller performance series? Take an idea for a skyscraper and model it in miniature? Work out the flow of an iPhone app by sketching on paper? Once you’ve road-tested your idea on a small scale, you’ll have loads more insight on how to take it to the next level.

3. Protoype, prototype, prototype.
Trial and error is an essential part of any creative’s life. As Ze Frank says, usually when we execute an idea for the first time, it kinda sucks. The important thing is to synthesize the knowledge gained during the process to refine the idea, and create a new-and-improved version. Serial idea-makers like Jack Dorsey, Ben Kaufman, and Studio 7.5 all attest: Prototyping and iteration is key to transforming a so-so idea into a game-changing product. Rather than being discouraged by your “failures,” listen closely and learn from them. Then build a new prototype. Then do it again. Sooner or later, you’ll hit gold.

To avoid ‘blue sky paralysis,’ pare your idea down to a small, immediately executable concept.

4. Create simple objectives for projects, and revisit them regularly.
When working on in-depth projects, we generate lots of new ideas along the way. This can lead to a gradual expansion of the project’s goals, or “scope creep.” This insidious habit can make it impossible to ever really complete anything. The best way to avoid it is to write down a simple statement summarizing your objective at the start of each project. (If you have collaborators, make sure there is agreement about the objective.) And then – this is the part we overlook! – revisit it regularly. When scope creep starts to happen, you’ll notice.

5. Work on your project a little bit each day.
With projects that require a serious infusion of creative juice – developing a new business plan, writing a novel, or just learning a new skill – it’s incredibly important to maintain momentum. Just as when you run everyday, the exercise gets easier and easier, the same thing happens with your brain. Stimulate it regularly each day, and those juices start to flow more freely. As Jack Cheng argues in a great blog post, “Thirty Minutes A Day”: “the important thing isn’t how much you do; it’s how often you do it.”

6. Develop a routine.
Part of being able to work on your project a little bit each day is carving out the time to do so. Routines can seem boring and uninspiring, but – on the contrary – they create a foundation for sparking true insight. In his recent memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, famed Japanese author Haruki Murakami writes about how a rigorous routine – rising at 5am and going to bed at 10pm every day – is crucial to his impressive creative output. (In a side note: Alex Iskold derives a series of lessons for start-up entrepreneurs from Murakami here.)

7. Break big, long-term projects into smaller chunks or “phases.”
To help manage expectations and stay motivated for year-long or even multi-year endeavors, break each project into smaller chunks that only take a few weeks or a month to complete. The dual benefit of this approach is: (1) making the project feel more manageable, and (2) providing incremental rewards throughout the project. It’s crucial to pause periodically to take stock of what has been accomplished – even if there’s a long way to go.

With projects that require a serious infusion of creative juice, it’s incredibly important to maintain momentum.

8. Prune away superfluous meetings (and their attendees).
Few activities are more of a productivity drain than meetings. If you must meet (and this should be a big “if”), make sure everyone knows what needs to be accomplished from the outset. If people are present who don’t help out with achieving that objective, let them leave. Qwest COO Teresa Taylor, recently interviewed in the NYT‘s Corner Office, starts her meetings with the question, “Do we all know why we’re here?” and then follows with, “Does everyone need to be here?” To trim the runtime of internal meetings, you can also try the standing meeting.

9. Practice saying “No.”
Creative energy is not infinite. Seasoned idea-makers know that they must guard their energy – and their focus – closely. Take author Jim Collins for example. His books Built to Last and Good to Great have sold millions of copies. His business acumen and insights are in demand. Yet, “even though Collins demands over $60,000 per speech, he gives fewer than 18 per year.” More than that and Collins wouldn’t have enough time to focus on the research and writing that yield those bestselling books. When you’re in execution mode, keep in mind that “unexpected opportunities” also mean distraction from the work at hand. Saying no is an essential part of the productivity equation.

10. Remember that rules – even productivity rules – are made to be broken.
Did we say develop a routine? This and other tips here should only be followed as long as they are working. If forward motion has become impossible with your current routine, try something else. Whether it’s taking a long distance trip, popping into the art museum, walking around the block, or talking to a perfect stranger, make sure you occasionally shake up your normal routine. Breaking habits offers new perspective and helps recharge us to head back into the fray.

Source: 10 Laws of Productivity :: Tips :: The 99 Percent – StumbleUpon.

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