Life on Overload

shs_140403_adult_adhd_head_ideas_95792515

source, theopenmind.com

I have been feeling a little overwhelmed in both my work and personal life lately and I’ve been making a lot of mistakes. It’s making me very unsure of my capabilities to perform in my job. I haven’t taken any more time off than a three day weekend since last Christmas. I chalked it up to burnout. I’ve lost my spark.

Someone very close to me sent me an article from the Harvard Business Review that said that it’s not uncommon nowadays, and that in order to stay on top of everything, you have to work at a break-neck speeds even though you’re not really accomplishing anything. Seems like a vicious cycle and sounds extremely familiar.

I have been having trouble concentrating, my memory is terrible and procrastination is the name of the game in my world. These are three (of many) traits of someone with Attention Deficit Trait.

As I did a little more research into this, I noticed that this is not a hereditary condition, but environmentally-made. The noise, the pressure, the expectation to constantly multitask, finding it difficult to prioritize and stay organized, and therefore productivity takes a nosedive. Sounds just like me these days!

6340763_f260

Source, Hubpages.com

I found this website, that has given me some interesting basics to manage ADT:

  • Get enough sleep. Hmm, for me, that’s a matter of going to bed before 11:30pm every night. I get up at 5:45 am, which means I should be going to sleep about 10pm – yikes!
  • Eat real food. I love to cook and I try to make all my meals, but I sometimes fall into the pattern of just grabbing something on my way home to save time.
  • Take fish oil. I don’t take any medications, so taking a pill with regularity is challenging. Though I suppose I could put a reminder in my phone.
  • Exercise. I was doing yoga with some regularity awhile ago and I really liked it. I also try to get out walking when I can. I’m still not doing enough though!

Then the more specific work-related ways to manage it:

  • Connect with others. I have unsuccessfully attempted to create a culture at my work that’s collaborative. Though, these mandates should come from the top. I also work at home a fair amount.
  • Make a list of priorities each day and keep it short. Easier said than done. Being in communications, my priorities sometimes shift by the minute. My short list of three things from last Tuesday is still on my to do list on Friday.
  • One task at a time. See above.
  • Schedule time for yourself. For me, that would be exercise. But when I get home, I’m exhausted and I sometimes take a nap before making dinner, doing dishes, cleaning my house, do my freelance work, and attempt to fit my courses in.

So when I break it down, there’s no surprise that I likely suffer from ADT. What is your experience with this?

Advertisements

Adventures in Fostering Cats

After seeing a blog from another student about making her adorable cat an Instagram star, I was giving some thought to my own situation and looking at my Twitter and Instagram account. It appears that I’ve taken over my feeds with comments about these wonderful little cats that I’m fostering. I’m likely driving people nuts.

I’ve recently started fostering, and I’m posting proud “parent” pictures of the cats like they are my own. These little critters deserve a good home, and for whatever reason they’ve been turned out by their owner or they’ve been born into feral colonies. In any case, these cats should have a nice, warm, loving home if that’s what they want.

My first foster, Marcel, was a happy-go-lucky six month old kitten that I fell for. Maybe the foster organization wanted to ease me into the idea of fostering or perhaps they wanted me to adopt him, but it was an extremely tough decision to let him go. Marcel was hilarious and incredibly adorable. I now regret giving him up and I hope he’s in a happy home where his personality can thrive.

Last week, I took in two new fosters, one feral male cat, who I was told wasn’t happy about being feral, and another female who was a bit shy at first, but is now not afraid to tell you anything, and will take every opportunity to do so.

The feral cat didn’t last long. The poor little guy was not a good fit with the other one. She’s too opinionated! We had to find another foster situation where he could integrate better. I get updates as to his progress.

Little missy has totally come out of her shell and is acting like a spoiled princess – I spoil them all. The poor thing might get a wakeup call in her forever home!

img_4736

Chatty little Greta 

I am so happy to make the decision to foster cats. They all need some love and are so appreciative when they get it. I expect this will be my life for the foreseeable future.  It really is hard to not adopt them all!

I encourage all of you to consider fostering animals. If you have the space, give them some semblance of a decent life, away from the kennel!

Blogging for dough

bag-147782_960_720

I have a friend that has been encouraging me to write a blog as a side gig. We brainstormed some ideas and I investigated the possibility of making money. As it turns out, there are tonnes of resources out there to help people get started. However, I’m thinking that the whole blogging for money thing seems to be a bit more challenging than one might think.

I’ve read some how-to sites that say that all you have to do is:

  1. Set up a blog
  2. Create content
  3. Find readers
  4. Build engagement
  5. Monetize

Sounds simple, right? Though as they say, the devil is in the details. Otherwise we’d all be blogging for cash.

My inner skeptic is coming out and I’d like to investigate this process a bit more before I jump.

Set up a blog

This seems like a simple task. You are a specialist in something and have an idea for an interesting blog. I think it would be wise to do some research to make sure that what you have in mind has not been done many times over. Unless you’re interested in blogging for fun, then it doesn’t matter at all that you’re wanting to blog about your family, your lawn or your pet snail, escargot.

If you’ve managed to settle on a topic that works for you, then it’s time to choose your platform.

I would think it would be wise to do some planning before. Perhaps even for the first few posts. I think given that I’m a planner, I need to be sure that I’m timing my posts and not getting off-topic at the start.

Create content

This is the fun part. Write, write, write, right? Yes! This is the time to create the useful content. I envision this part of the process to be rather time-consuming. Especially if you need to do some research. Meaningful, interesting, authentic content will bring the people (I hope!). Links to valuable sources, pictures (we all love them) and other neat things that will make the content readable and will allow the audience to interact.

Find readers

Write or sales, what’s the priority? You need to write content for the people, but you need the people to read the content. I think this is where it could get very time-consuming.

Do some research and find out where your potential audience is hanging out. Other social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, forums, other blogs. Developing a presence in those networks will help. But beware of over self-promotion.

Build engagement200_s

Write engaging content on a regular basis, while finding readers is expected to build engagement. Don’t forget to engage with your audience on your blog. Interaction with them is a good plan too. You need to continuously work at this by interacting with others in other networks, writing content, posting your update links on all channels. Phew. I’m tired just thinking about this.

Monetize!giphy

Finally! Once you’ve got your rhythm going, the money will start pouring in. Not quite. There are lots of ways to make money and you have to figure out which is best for you. The below image demonstrates the various income streams. Determine what’s best for your blog through a bit of trial-and-error and baby steps.

Ways-to-Make-Money-Blogging-tm
(Source ProBlogger.net)

What are your thoughts on attempting this? What do you see as risks?

Renovation Inspiration Through Home Improvement Blogs

I recently bought a house and I am feeling a bit like I have an identity crisis. This is not the first house that I’ve owned, but the first house where I’ve been required to do a lot of work. In the past, I’ve considered myself a turn-key kind of person. Not because I wanted to be, but because I have no idea what I’m doing and the last thing I want to do is attempt to install a shower and make a disaster! Also, I’m terrified of using an electric saw! If you’ve ever seen the movie “A Christmas Story,” I liken my fear of saws to “you’ll shoot your eye out!!” almost as though it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I’m a little overwhelmed at the work that needs to be done. Kitchen – yes, bathroom – yes, fix cracks in the floor – yes, new landscaping – yes, new walkway – yes, and the list goes on. Not to mention that in order to turn the lights on in the living room, I have to have the kitchen lights on as well! Thankfully the house is not unliveable!

IMG_4243IMG_4253

Painting in progress at my house vs. completed paint job.

I made the right decision, I made the right decision… That’s what I told myself when I bought this cute, 1,100 sq ft 55-year old bungalow.

IMG_4342

Removing yucky old carpet runner, one painstaking staple and nail at a time. 

I take comfort in the fact that some of the blogs that I have read are geared toward people like me. I have ridiculously high standards when it comes to certain appliances (ahem, Fridgidaire Professional range), but willing to learn as I go with DIY renovations, while making a few mistakes along the way. I found a great resource for me in The Ugly Ducking House website. It has a plethora of ideas and tips to renovate a house, and make it look pretty.

FullSizeRender

Pretty new range!

I am a learn-by-doing kinda person, and when cooking, generally use recipes as guidelines. I have discovered, like baking, that’s not the best way to renovate a house. Is it measure once, cut twice? Or is it the other way around? In any case, I have learned that I need to do my research before starting a project. Heck, even painting takes some preparation. And drop cloths. And reeeeaaaallly old clothes. And patience.

I am discovering that there are some pretty talented people out there. Not only in the renovations, but some of these bloggers come up with some pretty darned creative projects. I recently came across one called PrettyHandyGirl.com. The owner of the blog, Brittany, has the ability to not only build and rebuild cool stuff, but have the vision to see it through.

Looking at these blogs makes me feel excited to create something really great in my little house. I won’t be able to do it all myself, but I do know that I can get some inspiration and I can be proud of the fact that my house will perfectly turn-key for the next owners.

A Case for Internet Cats and Procrastination (yes, it’s still a thing)

7c503b3ac94dc465edf527b22ee68bb0

I am an animal lover. If I had to choose, it would be cats and horses specifically.Honesty time. As I was half-heartedly thinking about a topic for this blog post, I was thumbing through my Instagram feed. I realized that much of my feed rather embarrassingly seems to have been taken over by what seems to still be one of the most common uses of social media, at least I hope not just in my feeds (though I would deny it if anyone asked). Cats. They are taking over the internet.

This article states that there are 2 million cat videos on YouTube as of 2014, with almost 26 billion views. These numbers are likely much higher today. This is clearly an indication that I’m not alone! Interestingly, the article goes on to say that real-life pets significantly improve peoples’ moods and that spending time with the digital feline versions also has a positive impact on stress levels.

It’s not just about Grumpy Cat and Lil’ Bub

31

Internet cats have become such a phenomenon that there is now a festival devoted to it, with proceeds going to cat welfare. Proudly Canadian, this festival shows the best of the internet of cats, and for a good cause. One can now join their cat-loving peers and watch all the cuteness in one place.

The justification of internet cats in the workplace

Watching YouTube videos can be seen as counter-productive, and by many a form of procrastination and time waster. Just as this Japanese tech company has cats in the office to help lower its employees’ stress levels, internet cats provide an allergy-free environment for improving moods and therefore increasing productivity.

Perhaps I’m just a weird cat lover, but I do find cat videos and memes mood enhancing. With an increase of stress levels and work demands, employees need to have an outlet. Fluffy critters, for many, fulfills that need in the workplace.

Funny-Cat-Meme-Work-2

Disconnection of social media connections

don__t_belong_here__by_perhydrol
(image source, perhydrol/DeviantArt)

As I started writing this first blog post, then stopped, then started again, I realized that there are so many ways social media has given the average person a voice. From connecting with an old friend from kindergarten, to having a twitter conversation with a celebrity, we’ve managed to use social media to shrink our world and simultaneously create a disconnect in our society.

I’ve had friends come and go in my life, but my social media friends are forever. Or are they? I was on Facebook one day when I got a friend request from someone I went to grade school with many, many years ago. I was so excited that we connected and we messaged back and forth for awhile, catching up on the last few decades. However it seemed as though as quickly as we connected and caught up, we lost that connection again. Not too long after that I was unfriended. At the time I thought “How rude! Who does that?” Then I realized that, as much as it allowed us to reconnect, so many years had passed and the likelihood of us meeting again in person was very slim. Maintaining the connection would have been too much like work. I could have been anyone, telling her the best of my world (even making it up) while she was doing the same to me. The question is, why bother reaching out to make the connection in the first place?

I came across an article which indicates that social media is the most common way to keep in touch with friends (and family) in today’s world, with two-thirds using Facebook, Twitter and other platforms as their main means of communication. People are using it to be part of a group and feel connected. Not that we needed research to point that out! Any conversation you’ve had with anyone likely turns into some kind of social media discussion. I have family and friends in my networks that I would have not kept in touch with otherwise.

This article says that it’s easier to keep in touch with people in our lives through social media than going out of our way to call them or meet in person. What would we talk about if we did? Some people’s whole lives are there for you to see so you don’t even need to ask questions. Well, the parts they want you to see anyway. I feel like I could write a biography based on the information that I see in my feeds. Does this make me feel connected to them? Not really.

By not taking the time to get to know someone personally, in real life, we’re losing our ability to make strong connections with others. This social disconnect is creating a world that is like watching a movie, distorting our reality.

What is your perception of how social media has caused a disconnect in today’s society?