Wednesday, March 13, 2013

More Gits and Shiggles

Dear Wednesday,

You puzzle me. You signify the middle of the week, yet also remind us there are still two more days before the weekend.

But don't worry, Wednesday. You will not beat me. For I have funnies to put a smile on my face and keep me laughing until then.

So ... nice try? Maybe next time? Pooey on you? Which would you prefer I say to you this week?

Sincerely Yours,
Still Smiling :)

Here's some laughs to keep you going 'til Friday! Hope you enjoy! :)

Supernatural Season 7 Outtakes and Funny Stuff
Who doesn't love to laugh at Jensen and Jared?
Feed Me from Simon's Cat
Simon's Cat never fails to make you smile. :)
Jeff Dunham and Peanut as Batnut
"You're Batnut's butler. The Nutler!"

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Highlighter-Infused Crazy List Maker


My lists went from plain and boring to
fun and rainbow-colored.
I bet you were wondering who I might’ve been referring to by that title. *raises hand* Yup, that’s me. And I'm willing bet this is some of you as well. Though you might lean more towards the "list" part of that title and not the "highlighter-infused crazy", am I right? ;)

I’m as guilty as ever for being so far OCD that I not only make To Do Lists for everything, but I color-code said lists. And I make no apologies. Why? Because these To Do Lists keep me and my life straight. Without them, I’d get nothing done and would end up so disorganized and discombobulated that Writer Husband would have to check me into a mental facility (though I think he’s starting to find other reasons to get me checked in).

Here’s the method to my madness:   
  • Dayjob To-Do List:
    • Title: "To Do: Week of X/X"
      • I list all items that are due to be done during the week. Then I follow-up the items with the day they're due (usually in parenthesis). I normally start the next week's list on Friday afternoons, and keep adding to it as more things come up during the week.
      • Then I highlight each item a color based on its due date:
        • Monday - Pink
        • Tuesday - Orange
        • Wednesday - Yellow
        • Thursday - Green
        • Friday - Blue
    • Why I run it like this:
      • On a white sheet of paper with only blue or black ink, it started to get annoying to have to actually read through every item in order to find the ones I needed to do that day. While I could've made a chart with a box for each day to help keep the daily due dates straight, that also took too long (and wasn't as much fun). So by color-coding the due dates, it made it easier to seek out the pink highlights on Monday, the orange on Tuesday, and so on and so forth. (I also keep a daily day planner, but that's slowly fallen by the wayside in favor of this To Do List)
    • Comments I've received on this list form coworkers (using initials to protect identities):
      • "You're so organized!" -M <- Notice she didn't call me crazy. :)
      • "That's actually not a bad idea. I need to start doing that." -C <- I immediately handed this person a pack of highlighters to get 'em started.
      • "Ooo, pretty!" -V <- Why yes, definitely pretty. The list makes me smile every time I look at it.
      • "Ummm ... you know you possibly might be certifiable, right?" -D <- Um, this doesn't compute.
Now, I also have two other To-Do Lists that I visit daily: Home Life and Writing Life. The Home Life is nowhere near as detailed as the dayjob, and neither is the Writing Life. But my Writing Life To-Do List can be just as complicated.
Writing Life To-Do List:
  • Title: "Get 'Er Done!" 
    • I have 3 sub-lists for this one: Long Term Goals, Monthly Goals, and Weekly Goals. So I basically keep track of my career goals while breaking it down into a smaller, more detail-oriented goal listing. And I keep each list separate on three different worksheet tabs in Excel.
    • Why I Run it Like This:
      • Looking at your Long Term Goals daily can be overwhelming. For me, I'd never get anything done because I'd end up paralyzing myself staring at a goal such as Get published within the next X years. Don't get me wrong, it's my goal and something I'm gonna make happen, but ...
      • The Writing Life is all about taking things one step at a time. And most steps are small in the grander scheme of things, such as drafting and/or revising. Seeing larger goals in the To-Do List when I'm trying to focus on the here and now, the smaller goals, overwhelms me. So I prefer to separate these lists/goals so I can concentrate on eating my elephant one small bite at a time.
    • Comments:
      • Nada! This list is just for my eyes. So there's really no one to hold me accountable. Though let's be honest, if you don't get it done you're only letting yourself down, and that's the worst possible person to disappoint, right?
    • My Favorite of these Lists:
      • The Weekly Goals List. Each item is a small step in the bigger picture and just seeing everything crossed off on a particular week makes me feel so, so good.
      • I even have a column entitled, "Why did you not get this done, nimrod?"
        • If I'm having a horrible week and just couldn't seem to get anything done on my list, having this column is how I hold myself accountable. Maybe I need to adjust my schedule? Adjust the To-Do List itself, not put as many items on there? Or maybe I need to stop slacking off? Whatever the reason, it's a good rule of thumb to learn from the mistake and move forward.
Tips for Making & Keeping To-Do Lists
  • Every item on your list should be SMART:
    • S = Specific: Make your goal clear and well-defined
    • M = Measurable: Can you track the success of this goal?
    • A = Attainable/Actionable: Is the goal a challenge? Something you can achieve?
    • R = Realistic: Is it within your reach? Something you can achieve?
    • T = Time: Does the goal have a deadline? Is the deadline workable/achievable?
  • Hang/Post your To-Do List somewhere you’ll see on a daily and/or hourly basis. The constant reminder of what you need to get done will be a great motivator.
  • Don’t kick yourself too hard if an item doesn’t get checked off (unless you’re contracted). I tend to be very hard on myself, but I’ve learned to get a little lax when it comes to missing an item on my list. That just means there’s more to do the next day. :)

Additional Resources on the Interwebz:

Your turn: Do you use To-Do Lists? Are you as neurotic diligent as I am? Or more lax? What tricks have you come across that have helped you knock the items off your list?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Gits and Shiggles

Happy Hump Day!
Wednesday. The middle of the week. The moment where you often think only two more days to go and then it's the weekend! 
This is the point in the work week where I often look to laughter to help me finish out the week. So I wanted to share some of what makes me laugh. No matter how many times I see these clips (and the TV episodes and/or movies they're from), I can't help but laugh. Almost instantaneously, too! ;)
Hope you enjoy! 

Peter Griffin singing 'Ding Fries Are Done'
I'm singing along. Are you?
"Eurotrip" anyone?
One of my all-time favorite movies. Simply because "Europtrip" is fun to watch, fun to quote, and it never fails to make me laugh.
"I'm Batman!"
Who doesn't love Big Bang Theory?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Keeping Positive to Keep Moving Forward

Paramore on the Honda Civic Tour
Summer of 2010
Picture by Me :)
I’m a huge music junkie. No doubt I’ve done everything to hide that fact. *sheepish grin* One of my favorite bands is Paramore. I’ve seen them in concert twice, usually listen to their albums while driving across the state for the day job, and yes, many of their songs are in my writing playlists.

On Sunday I ran across a photo of Hayley Williams, lead singer of Paramore, on Facebook where it appeared as though she got a new tattoo. (Don’t want to post the pic here since I can’t locate the copyright license for it.) This tattoo may be one she’s had for a while and I’ve just never noticed, but when I saw it, it struck a chord with me. Call it coincidence, but I just so happened to be pondering my writing journey and thinking about how badly I want my writing career to succeed ... then that pic came through on Facebook. And of course I noticed the tattoo right away because I myself have two of my own and enjoy checking out others' artistic expressions.

The tattoo I'm referring to is on her left forearm and it says: Accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative.

Considering what Paramore’s been through over the last fourteen months with the loss of two original band members, Hayley’s tattoo is no doubt speaking from her personal experience of having to deal with the usual breakup issues (you know, the stuff where the ex says XYZ that isn’t necessarily true and yada, yada, yada). No matter what type of breakup it is, there will always be negativity associated with separations rooting from a difference of opinion and direction.

One of the reasons why I’ve always loved Paramore, and particularly Hayley Williams, is that they haven’t been afraid to say what’s needed to be said. A song like “Ignorance” may punch you in the face with lines like, “You treat me just like another stranger,” but that line’s quickly followed up with, “Well it’s nice to meet you sir, I guess I’ll go. I best be on my way out.” In other words, thanks-nice-to-meet-ya-I’m-outta-here, and I don’t want or need your negativity. When I’m angry at a situation, this is one of my go-to songs. :)

The awesome pic the hubs
took of me while I jammed
Another reason why Paramore’s listed in my top favorite bands is because of their determination to keep going, even during the rough times. Band members/friends come and go, a clashing of opinions and/or direction will happen, and sacrifices will always have to be made. And I’m sure that there may have been several moments where the remaining band members have thought about quitting (I don’t know the band, so this is purely an educated guess from a fan). But, obviously, they haven’t quit. They continue to persevere and keep going.

One way Paramore's done this is by eliminating the negative and accentuating the positive.

They’re still a band and they’re still recording music. Even though they’ve lost two major band members, the three remaining members are moving forward and focusing their efforts on making a positive album – which is scheduled to be released in April – and giving their fans what they want a need.  

As a human being, an individual, an artist, a woman, and a wife, I’ve taken a long hard look on the inside after seeing Hayley’s tattoo yesterday, and I’ve pulled a lifelong lesson and will now strive to live by that same motto tattooed on Hayley’s arm. The lesson has been there all along, right in front of my face, right in front of everyone’s faces. It’s a known law of the universe that if you put positivity out into the world, positivity is what you’ll get back. *the epiphany moment where I slap palm to forehead*

So as a show of commitment to myself and others of this particular change in my life, I put it out there on Twitter. Kristen Lamb followed up with a response to this new-beginning-proclamation of mine:


As always, WANA Mama Kristen is there to help support artists when they need it, and she’s 100% right-on with this response. It’s exactly what I needed to hear. And I actually like the way Kristen put it. So maybe I’ll end up adding another tattoo to my mini-collection in the near future? :)

The bottom line of my post today is this: Keep positive no matter what happens, no matter how negative others are around you, no matter how many lemons life throws at you. When you do this, you’ll continue to move forward on your life’s journey.  

And always remember: “It’s not the way you plan it, it’s how you make it happen.” – Paramore from “Hello Cold World 

So from this day forward, I’m going to keep moving forward by keeping a positive mindset. And I hope that many of my friends, both online and in real life, will hold me to this. ‘Cause God knows I am in no way perfect. :)


Your turn: Have you struggled with keeping positive? Have you had those moments where you’ve recommitted yourself to the journey you’re on? What’s the best advice you’ve been given to help you stay positive?
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