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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Monthly Round-up: January

winter-forest

RIP January 2017!  Did anyone else have a pretty good first month of the year, state-of-the-country aside?  I am most proud of the blog relaunch this month (am I allowed to call it that), and have set up some social meeds for supplemental engagement:

Check out foryouloveemily on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!

If you’re into Twitter, can we please set up a video conference to go over what Twitter is good for besides public transit updates, keeping tabs on celebrity fights, and seeing what The Donald has to say about SNL?  I’m afraid to tweet because that’s always how they pin the murder on the perp in Dateline episodes, and who wants to leave a trail like that?

I know the title of this post says “round-up” but since I only had four posts in January there isn’t much to actually…round up.  So instead, let’s look back at five things that happened on January 31st throughout history:

  1. Jan 31, 1949: first soap opera airs, titled These Are My Children.  The program was marketed to moms and sponsored by soap giants like Proctor & Gamble, and so the term “soap opera” was born (that explains soap but not really opera?).  As this was most likely the foundation for my own, personal soaps (Real Housewives of Anywhere), I am grateful to 1949.
  2. Jan 31, 1961: a chimp named Ham is successfully retrieved from space after being sent there to see if humans could survive space travel.  Not sure why they didn’t include a cat on this important mission, but three cheers for Ham.
  3. Jan 31, 1971: Apollo 14 is launched.  I’m only including this because Apollo 13 is in my top five favorite movies of all time, and it’s a good reminder of the five reasons we should all re-watch this pillar of film: Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Ed Harris and Gary Sinise (<–dream space team.  I wonder if Ham was lucky enough to have a similar crew). 
  4. Jan 31, 2014: Oldest flamingo named “Greater” dies at age 83 in Australia.  Bummer!  
  5. Jan 31, 2017: my printer is officially broken and OfficeMax doesn’t care.

See you in February when the sun will hopefully reacquaint itself with Naperville.

{photo from watcherromano}

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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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