for you, love emily

A girl and her cat try out The Internet


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Procrastination and the Pomodoro Method

I love procrastinating.  I love it!  I can think of literally a million things to do before completing whatever tiny or big other thing is necessary.  Examples:  Need to read assigned articles for school?  Not before I Lysol the bathroom shower!  Gather a couple documents for taxes?  Not before I organize photos from 2009!  Must be out of the house at any time for anything?  Not before I iron some shirts I don’t intend on wearing!  What a fun spiral, right?  I’ve been on this roller coaster since in high school (maybe birth??) and it’s a joy ride that never slows down and doesn’t go anywhere.  Like, I may not be prepared for class tomorrow, but you better believe I soaked my retainer in denture cleaner this morning.

A common trait procrastinators exhibit is that we love blaming our shortcomings on anything but ourselves.  Nothing is ever my fault and I’m never sure why people don’t get that.  It’s not my fault that I’m late or that I have to stay up until midnight to complete an assignment.  The reasons those two things happened yesterday are 1) a school bus unloaded four kids at once, one with a trombone, and I had to stop for it, and 2) I had to read the entire class discussion board IN FULL (roughly 80 threads) before I could even think of reading the assignment instructions.  See what I mean?

Whenever I procrastinate a task and then end up feeling bad (daily), I wonder why I’m special like this.  Surely I don’t do it to myself?!??  And why is my twin sister not as good at this as I am?  I guess she can’t be the artist, the creative one, the popular one, the one with the good hair, and the procrastinator.  As suggested by Slate, procrastination is potentially half genetic (I’m looking at you, mom).  Can’t say I never won anything!

So anyways, as it’s a new year and a new month and I’m living my best life, and I’ve got a couple tips to aid in a procrastination crisis.  Before we begin though, I should disclose that I haven’t tried all of these yet.  Loljkjk that would have been the OLD ME!  Ok here we go:

  1. Understand that you are in charge of your procrastination.

    {photo from missionmission.org}

    {photo from missionmission.org}

  2. Understand that doing what you gotta do will make you feel like a champion.

    miss-america

    {photo from broadly-images.vice.com}

  3. Put your phone in a different room.  I cannot tell you how incredibly effective this is.  At first I was like, “I don’t even look at my phone that much.  I am definitely in enough control over my habits to have it right here by my mouse.”  HA!  I don’t think there’s anyone left on the planet that has control of their phone use.  When I put my phone in another room, not only do I do the things that are necessary, I am always pleasantly surprised to see how popular I feel when I’ve got push notifications to look at.  It’s a goldmine of rewards!
  4. Let’s say you can’t handle not being by your phone, or you have a little nugget at daycare and need to have your phone nearby for safety.  Try the Forest App.  This app costs $1.99, which at first made me think “absolutely not will I buy that, I don’t pay for apps, who do they think they are” but I can go find $1.99 in my couch right now and can you really put a price on a calm mind??  You can’t.  Alternative: use it as an Add-On in Firefox fo freeeee.  This app “plants” a forest while you work, as long as you don’t open any other apps on your phone/open other webpages in your browser.  If you open anything in search of distractions, you kill your trees!!  If you make it to 25 minutes distraction-free, you can continue building your forest.  forest-app
  5. Not into trees?  Try using a Pomodoro timer (there are many different apps and add-ins you can use for this, or you can simply set a regular-old timer).  This method is vaguely related to, but not to be confused with, pomodoro sauce in Italian dishes.  The Pomodoro Technique was developed in the late 1980s and is a time management system that breaks work into 25 minute chunks (just like the Forest App, without the digital forest), followed by a discretionary time block of reward.  The 25-minute segments are called pomodoros, which is in reference to the tomato-shaped kitchen timer used by the guy who came up with it  (pomodoro means “tomato” in Italian).  I learned about this method in my Learning How to Learn class, from the great professor Barbara Oakley.  If Barbara can teach herself Russian and advanced engineering using this technique, surely I can use it to simply focus up.
  1. {photo from recruitmentcoach.com}

    {photo from recruitmentcoach.com}

    Have you used any of these techniques with success?  Got any others to share?  Let me know in the comments!

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FBF: Tiesta Tea

tiesta-tea-logo

We’re going to flash back to last Friday today, when I had the privilege of joining the Tiesta Tea team at their 2nd Annual Spread the Warmth event in Chicago.  A dear friend of mine works at Tiesta Tea (the fastest growing specialty tea company in the U.S.) and she is a daily inspiration to me, as well as the master organizer of Spread the Warmth.  Check out her video bio here.

Some Tiesta background: the company specializes in natural loose leaf tea that comes in 45 flavors and five “functions,” – energizer, slenderizer, immunity, relaxer and eternity (anti-aging).  Yes please to all of those, right?  You can drink it, you can bake with it, it’s great.  Two super nice Midwestern guys began the start-up in 2010 and are making waves in the tea industry.  Fun story: Tiesta Tea recently started selling their product in bulk at retailers like Jewel.  Luckily, I have an insider at Jewel and am pleased to be able to relay the following drama:

Tiesta Tea calls Jewel to see if they need another palette of tea (they do not).  A young, apathetic worker in the grocery department who most likely doesn’t know what Tiesta Tea is, answers the phone.  In order to end the call he has foolishly answered, he says yes, sure, they do need another palette, whatevs, send it over, kthxbye.  A few days later, a huge shipment of Tiesta Tea arrives at the Jewel dock.  It is received by the head of the grocery department who immediately becomes furious that he now has to deal with an extra shipment of tea.  Without investigation, he decides Tiesta Tea is to blame and gives my good friend a call on the horn to let her know badly she has messed up.   He then calls my Jewel insider to let him know the situation is “handled,” and my insider patiently informs him that the Tiesta girl is none other than his sister-in-law*.  My Tiesta friend then gets an apology call from the grocery manager and the world begins to spin again.

*BASICALLY

tiesta-tea3

But back to Spread the Warmth.  Spread the Warmth is an event that gives back to the Chicago community; it sends volunteers out to various locations around the city with thermoses of Tiesta Tea, piles of donated coats, and hundreds of warmth kits.  We were sent to women’s shelters, soup kitchens, underpasses, and churches.  I’m not sure who left warmer – the people at my location with new coats and socks, or me with a full heart (<–this cheese is dairy free).  Check out the following items that were distributed this year:

   + 250 coats
   + 835 water bottles –> donated in part by Jewel-Osco
   + 1230 granola snacks –> donated in part by Jewel-Osco
   + 350 beef jerky packets
   + 392 gloves
   + 450 pairs of socks
   + 200 Sandwiches –> donated in part by Jewel-Osco
   + 200 hygiene kits
   + 300 flashlights
   + 250 hats, scarves & blankets
   + 2,000 cups of tea + 350 total warmth kits
Because of Tiesta Tea, thousands of people in Chicago had a better and warmer Friday night last week, and now will have a warmer winter.  It was such a moving experience for me; I need to add more volunteering to my 2017 goals list!  I’ve already signed up for Spread the Warmth 2018, and if you’re in Chicago and free on January 19th next year, sign up here to join me!

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Goals for 2017

Empty asphalt road towards cloud and signs symbolizing success a

It’s still January, so not too late to get some goals in order!  I’m a fan of goals any time of year, but they are especially shiny and inspiring in January.  Five of mine are below – one for each fingie so I can keep track of them all on one hannie.

  1. Last year I pledged on Goodreads (find me there at edohse) to read 20 books, and was so far away from completing that goal I can’t even write the final number here (it is not a double-digit).  This year I’m back at it, still aiming for 20, and I’ve already jump started things by getting a fresh library card.  I plan on doing a deep dive into the biography, memoir and self-help sections.  You can look forward to reviews on power women, along with groundbreaking tips on how not to be late (at least they will be groundbreaking for meh).
  2. Make writing a habit. Look!  While stating this goal I am simultaneously working towards it.  Should I check it off now??  This goal will be accomplished via this blog, and now that I’ve posted the goal, I have committed to the universe and myself, and people saw me do it, so in order to avoid shame I will make this blog great again for the first time.
  3. Add more items to my cooking repertoire.  Unlike Drake, I started from the bottom and I’m still there.  Which – my bad, my bad – I’m an adult and should have worked on this earlier.  But, the only place left to go is up, away from this crossroads of “cereal” and “chicken with rice.”
  4. Be a more committed learner in my grad program.  I feel like I can do anything now that finance is over, mostly because I have learned that I cannot do finance.  I hated fractions in second grade and it turns out I still hate them at 32, so bring on the soft skills of marketing!
  5. Keep taking good care of my body (“it’s the only one you’ve got!” – Karen D). I think I really upped my game with this last year and so it is a no-brainer to continue.  Habits will include:
    • Regular face masks. Looking for luxury and variety at a decent price point?  Allow me to suggest Peter Thomas Roth’s mask sampler kit.  If you’re a baller, get the big one and share with me.
    • Regular body lotion application. Target areas of 2016: hands, feet, neck.  New target area: décolletage (nobody wants leathery cleavage).
    • Obvi flossing.  Introduce the habit to my bottom retainer.
    • Daily stretching. Shout out to the random woman in 2008 who told me to never stop stretching, saying I will thank my younger self.  I think she was on to something.  Was she me from the future??  I predict my 40s will be a good judge of how well this worked out, so never quit reading this blog to find out.
    • For the love of god, quit rubbing my eyes.
    • Reach goal: use cuticle oil.

Did anybody else set some goals for 2017?

{image by Rory Vaden}

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