I just finished readingΒ And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. I’m on a bit of a whodunit kick lately. I recently enjoyed a few episodes of the British TV series Poirot. And I’m excited to see the Knives Out sequel.

For those wanting to learn a little more about the Fediverse/Mastodon, here are a few links:

1. fedi.tips — an unofficial guide to Mastodon and the Fediverse
2. instances.social — find the instance that best suits your interests
3. fedi.buzz — discover trends in the Fediverse
4. getstarted.social — find people to follow suggested by user communities
5. presscheck.org — find verified journalists on Mastodon

πŸ“’ Why I Use a Pocket Notebook

I carry a pocket notebook with me wherever I go. In it, I write thoughts, ideas, anecdotes, and to-do tasks. I could use a notes app for this purpose, but I find a paper notebook more convenient and accessible for several reasons:

1. Paper and pen is quicker.
2. While with company, it’s perceived as less rude to write in a notebook than type on a phone.
3. Phones and computers are distraction machines. Often I open them for one purpose and end up down a rabbit hole of frivolity.
4. There is an indefinable magic to writing things by hand.

For multi-page writing, a computer with a keyboard is the most efficient tool. For anything less, pen and paper can’t be beaten.

πŸ’ͺ 25 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Life

1. Tidy your space.

2. Make a gratitude list.

3. Read a book.

4. Listen to an audiobook.

5. Watch an educational video.

6. Drink water.

7. Go for a walk.

8. Tell someone you appreciate them.

9. Read a Wikipedia page.

10. Set a budget.

11. Check your credit report.

12. Talk to someone smarter than yourself.

13. Sit up straight.

14. Unclench your jaw.

15. Floss.

16. Delete Facebook.

17. Block time-wasting websites.

18. Eat something healthy.

19. Do push-ups, squats, or burpees.

20. Write a list of goals for the week.

21. Download a password manager.

22. Set up automatic deposits for your savings account.

23. Take a break from the computer screen.

24. Set up a file backup system on your computer.

25. Stretch.

🎻 15 Ways to Unlock Your Creativity

1. Read. Read about creativity. Read about artists. Learn new things.

2. Get bored. Sit down. Do nothing. Let creativity fill the gaps.

3. Journal. Free write. Let your thoughts flow unencumbered. Try asking yourself questions. Answer them on the page.

4. Do something mindless. Go for a walk. Go for a drive. Do the dishes. Keep your body busy while your mind wanders to other places.

5. Review your notes. Look at your past thoughts. You might have a different perspective now than you did then.

6. Copy your idols. In other words, Steal Like an Artist.

7. Start with one small step. Write one sentence. Make one brushstroke. Do the minimum. Just get things started to overcome that first hurdle.

8. Make a list. Create a mind map. Spit words and ideas onto the page. Figure out what to do with them later.

9. Create more. Creativity isn’t finite. The more you create, the more ideas you get. 

10. Break routine. Do something different. Use new experiences to fuel your creativity.

11. Talk through it. Just saying your thoughts out loud can help you work through them.

12. Change your process. Use new tools. Try a new technique. Approach your work from a new angle.

13. Try collaborating. Get an outside perspective. Find help from someone with different experiences and expertise. Just talking your project over with people can bring new insights.

14. Set constraints. Endless options can lead to analysis paralysis. Set constraints to force creative solutions.

15. Remix your old work. Edit it. Tweak it. Repackage it. You are a different person now than you were in the past. You have experienced new things. You have different skills and opinions. All of that can impact your work.

⏰ Spend Money to Buy Time

Money is infinite. If you lose money, you can always earn more. Time doesn’t work like that. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. So whenever you can trade money to buy time, you should do it.

There are even scientific reasons to buy time. According to studies, buying time promotes happiness. But how do you do it? Depending on your disposable income, you have a few options.

Ways to buy time:

  1. Get a housecleaning service. Pay a service to do your dusting, vacuuming, and scrubbing.
  2. Hire a gardener. Get someone to mow your lawn and prune your bushes.
  3. Outsource repairs. Hire others to repair your appliances, house fixtures, and car. If you rent, hold your landlord responsible for home repairs.
  4. Pay for faster transportation. Fly instead of drive. Opt for direct flights. Pay for priority parking.
  5. Get an assistant. Hire someone to keep your schedule, make your appointments, and run your errands. If that is out of your price range, try online services.
  6. Outsource work. Hire freelancers to research, edit, write, design, code, or do whatever else you need done.
  7. Cut down on commute time. Pay more to live closer to work. Or quit your job and find one that allows you to work from home.
  8. Pay someone to cook for you. Order out for meals. For a healthier (and more expensive) option, hire a personal chef.
  9. Retire early. Be frugal with your spending. Save as much as you can. Invest wisely. Retire early so you can spend time doing what you want and not what you need.

Not everyone has the disposable income for some of these options. But there are a handful of things you can do to free time without spending money.

Ways to free time without spending money:

  1. Automate repetitive tasks. If you need to do it more than twice, find a way to automate it. Set up autopay on your bills. Write scripts for repetitive computer tasks. Use automation software.
  2. Streamline decision making. Author Neil Strauss eats the same lunches from the same restaurants every week. He does this so he doesn’t have to spend time choosing what to eat. The decisions are made for him. Find ways to cut down on your decisions.
  3. Stay healthy. By eating healthy, exercising, and regularly visiting your doctor, you can add years to your life you might not otherwise have.
  4. Stay on task. Manage your responsibilities in a timely manner, so you can move on to tasks you enjoy.

It’s up to you to decide which strategies you implement. Some things you might actually enjoy doing. Others you will want to outsource. If you enjoy cooking, don’t bother ordering out. However not many people enjoy dusting and vacuuming, so you might want to hire someone to do the housecleaning for you. Like most decisions, the more money you have, the easier they are to make.

Now take the time to choose what you want to outsource. Do it for your own happiness. Go task by task, deciding what you can and can’t afford, what you enjoy and what you don’t. Don’t limit yourself to the tasks in this post. The more time you buy, the more time you have to do the things you love.

πŸ“ 20 Ways to Improve Your Writing

1. Write daily.

2. Read On Writing Well or one of these other books on how to improve your writing.

3. Get feedback from friends and family.

4. Join a writing group, class, or workshop.

5. Participate in NaNoWriMo.

6. Listen to the Writing Excuses podcast.

7. Watch Brandon Sanderson’s creative writing lectures.

8. Keep an observation notebook.

9. Read read read.

10. Rewrite rewrite rewrite.

11. Copy great work.

12. Follow the Pixar rules of storytelling.

13. Craft a story from a writing prompt.

14. Read your writing out loud.

15. Start a blog.

16. Travel. Experience the world.

17. Keep a journal.

18. Outline your novel like Jim Butcher.

19. Re-read good books.

20. Try to get published.