Thursday, July 04, 2013

Fifteen Things I Learned in June

I found out from Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy (I love Modern Mrs. Darcy, I want to be just like her when I grow up! Heh.) about a "Things I Learned in June" linkup, hosted by Emily at Chatting at the Sky. Anne says,

"Every month, Emily Freeman writes a post about things she’s learned lately. Pretty much anything is up for grabs: mindless celebrity connections, introspective musings, favorite new products, iPhone tricks.

This month Emily is hosting a “Things I Learned in June” linkup."

So, I thought it would be fun to play along, even though I only just recently found out about it and don't have much time before the linkup closes. Like, the "I have to post it tonight before I go to bed" kind of not much time.

Oh, and the tenth thing Anne learned? Cracked me up. You should read hers.

At first I thought this would be easier if I'd been thinking about it ahead of time, and written down things I learned as I went through the month. Especially the small things. It can be tricky to remember the little things you've learned, and when.

But then I started sketching out notes for the draft, and decided that keeping track over the course of a month might be risky. This post is already looking to be on the long side, if I'd caught even more things...!

So. Here we are, in... well, let's just pretend it's no particular order.

1. I love checklists, and they're amazingly helpful to me. I mean, I already knew certain ones were really helpful, but in June I learned to apply it more. For example, I already had a morning checklist for getting Gracie and I out the door, whether I take her to work with me or I drop her off with her Nana. It's wonderful. There are so many little things to remember, even doing it every day and even when I successfully remember it all there's a nagging feeling that maybe I didn't, I better check back through my mental list, and oh, do I need to change her again?

A written checklist (I use Nirvana, just put "- " as you type up your notes, and it turns it into a checkbox) saves my sanity and makes the process quicker.

So, I knew, but I didn't really realize. As my love of checklists began to sink in in June, I created some more of them. One I created was for blogging. I'd begun to feel a little of that same fuzzy-headed feeling known from my mornings getting Gracie and I out the door, but I was feeling it when I thought about posts I wanted to write, and the little things I do after publishing a post. Once I sat down and brainstormed a checklist for blog posts, it became evident why! There are lots of steps involved, especially for book reviews. Everything from writing down the first idea for a post in Nirvana to asking Melanie whether or not she's read a book to scheduling it in my Blogging Planned calendar (see #14) to updating the books I've been reading in my sidebar to the things I work on in various drafts to linking to the finished post on Facebook, Twitter, and Google +. It's possible I should simplify my blogging a bit, but... well, the checklist DOES simplify it, in a way. I like. Helps me be a little more realistic, too, when I'm thinking I want to blog about that and that and that and that... (as does #14)

2. A blog called Raptitude exists, and I quite like it so far. Found about it (language warning) through my nephew's blog, Paradox Play, which linked to this article on procrastination, which had a link to its original appearance on Raptitude. I found his Experiment Log and decided to try a similar experiment towards a specific type of procrastination I struggle with, going to bed early.

As you might be able to tell from the time stamp on this post, I've had mixed results. I'm still working on it and learning, and I'm not sure of all the lessons yet. But one thing I think is pretty sure:

3. Specificity helps. As Switch says, "script the critical moves." My temptations are to try to script ALL the moves, or just give up and script none of them. Mmm, all the moves... did I mention I love checklists? Maybe #3 doesn't count as its own lesson. Meh.

4. Marian Call's voice is amazing. Okay, I already knew that, but hearing her in concert again, it was even better than I'd remembered. I love her stage presence too, everything that she puts into each song. Reminds me of what a high school drama teacher said to us (The choir, I wasn't in drama -- we were doing a musical. Well, I was in one play, but never mind.) when we had three days of performances and we were tempted to think we could get away with sloppy work the first night because we'd get better, and the last night because we were tired. No, for most of your audience, this is the first and only one of your shows they'll see. Marian Call goes on the road for months at a time, yet you'd think this was the first and only time she'd told these jokes about these songs. (Okay, not the first time she'd sung the songs, because she's better than that, but it all feels very personal, very tailor-made to her audience.)

5. That's right, I learned to be more careful about backing up my work, because Blogger can be evil. I know, I know. But it's normally been so good to me...

6. I learned that Feedly allows multiple tags on posts now, finally. And that there are apps like gReader that now work with Feedly, and allow tags when you're going mobile. Things still seem kind of buggy in certain annoying ways, but nothing that's a deal breaker, at least.

7. If I'm going to penalize myself for not completing one of 750 Words' monthly Challenges, and I'm going to use a "won't sit down to read until after I've written a book review" kind of penalty, I should really match the reading and writing amounts more closely to each other. Otherwise it's just... mean.

8. The 48-Hour Book Challenge lets you count all time spent on blogging updates, even if it isn't really quite book review blogging. Like the start and finish line posts. That's good to know.

9. The Thirteenth Tale is better than I remembered. More on that another day.

10. Writing a blog post about time logs is time consuming. And... makes for a long post. Can. But hey, it's good, because part of the time lies in analyzing the data, which is kind of needed for a big part of the point of doing a time log in the first place.

11. If you walk your tired, tired baby around Shoreline Village in a stroller, she won't go to sleep. The stroller might help normally, but the crowds are too much. And the sun. Bring baby sunglasses. And then when she gets away from the crowds she'll be all excited they're gone and get a second wind. Leave her with the grandparents to take her nap instead. Everyone will be happier. Except for maybe the aunts and uncles going with you to Shoreline Village who keep making faces at her to make her laugh, even though she needs to sleep.

You know, theoretically speaking.

I'd add pictures, but I'm trying to hurry here, and I don't think I took any, so I'd have to go find aunts' and uncles' pictures. Er, um, I would if I weren't speaking theoretically, of course. Theoretical pictures.

12. Even when someone says an event is going to be casual, remember to err on the less casual side. It's a less embarrassing way to stick out.

13. Baby is growing well and the doctor is happy. Finally!

14. Putting my blog posts on Google calendars works very well for me. I created the calendars at the end of May, but I learned in June that I like them. I have a "Blogging Planned" calendar and a "Blogging Actual" calendar. Helps to see it all laid out, and helps me plan out the installments in series that I've said I would do.

15. Also, with how much I'm loving 750 Words these days, it really helps me to have categories in Nirvana for my 750 Words inbox and outbox, so to speak. Ideas I want to draft, and things I've written about that I want to copy and paste elsewhere and edit.

Whew! That was link-heavy! And edited many times after originally posting... does that make it show up several times in your RSS readers? Sorry, if so.

I'm pretty sure I could go on and on, but I have to work tomorrow, and accomplish rather a lot in a very limited amount of time. So, good night, all!

What are some things you learned in June?

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