My prayers have been answered: True Lemon in a shaker

61N6gyOOv3L._SY679_I posted back in the day about how much I love TrueLemon for my water. TrueLemon is, as far as I can tell, actual powdered lemon with maybe a little extra vitamin C in it. More importantly, I like the taste a lot better than Crystal Light or whatever those other things are. I use it in my water almost every day. If I buy a real lemon it invariably gets lost in the fridge and then turns into a scary dried-out alien looking thing.

My only complaint with TrueLemon was that it only came in individual packets, which is great for portioning but super wasteful. Now I finally found that it comes in a shaker! This is so great.

Seriously, this thing is a really easy way to convince yourself to drink more water. And it’s like $4 on Amazon. And, while I have this at home and use it during the day, there’s no reason why folks who go into an office couldn’t keep one in their desk drawer, so this is a product for not just freelancers but anyone who needs to drink more water.

I promise I haven’t been paid by True Lemon to endorse this. But if they wanted to send me a lemony care package I would definitely be OK with that.

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What’s your best self-care ritual?

I’ve been reading that rituals are important for happiness and productivity. It doesn’t even matter what the rituals are as long as they’re yours…and in fact this post says that the #1 ritual you should do every day is have more rituals.

In other words,

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So you’re having a bad day. Maybe freelancing is really getting you down. You’re stuck in a rut, you’ve got a client that drives you crazy, you’re working 12 hour days, whatever it is. It’s important to take time to care for yourself.

Me, I like to work out. It doesn’t really matter what it is; I’m slowly getting back into running after a knee injury, but I also enjoy lifting weights and just dancing around the living room with some good music on. Exercise releases so many good hormones and has so many positive effects on your mood it’s basically a no brainer. I guess you could argue that the act of lacing up my shoes, putting on headphones and picking out the best music is kind of a ritual. I’m going to think of it that way next time and see if it makes me run faster or farther.

Other things that might be rituals:

-Having a nice snack. Eating an entire bag of crispy wonton strips isn’t a ritual (not that I’ve ever done this) but getting out a nice plate and napkin, pouring yourself a glass of (sparkling?) water, and having something healthy that will make you feel good about yourself for the rest of the day certainly can be.

-Leaving work behind at a certain hour and putting on your favorite music or TV show as a reward is totally a ritual. Just giving up and flopping on the couch with Netflix is likely to make you feel sluggish and worse about a bad day, but again, it’s all in how you frame it. If you think to yourself: I worked hard today and am rewarding myself with this episode of Gotham , you’re more likely to get positive benefits from the show.

How do you take care of yourself especially after a long day freelancing?

You’re more productive and creative when you’re happy, so smile!

According to science, when you keep a positive attitude, you’re more likely to have great things happen to you at work.

Science has even quantified this likelihood: Studies say that positivity means you’re 31% more productive, you’re 40% more likely to receive a promotion, you have 23% fewer health-related effects from stress, and your creativity rates triple.

Now, these exact numbers seem pretty dubious to me but suffice it to say that being happy is good for your work.

Can you actually make yourself be happy, though? Slapping on a fake smile (or as countless moms used to suggest, holding a pencil between your teeth) does actually work a little. Other ideas: pinpoint the problem (having a concrete reason for your unhappiness gives you something to work on), think of three things you’re grateful for, and take one single concrete action, whether it’s making a phone call you’ve been putting off or choosing a healthier lunch. This can set off a positive “mental avalanche” to get you unstuck.

Also, if you can, get outside, if even for 10 minutes. The fresh air and change of scenery does wonders for your mood.

(h/t Harvard Business Review)

 

The book is ‘in production’

This is my least favorite part – I’ve written and started to edit the text, and at the same time I’m starting to format it for e-readers. This is time-consuming and fiddly and not the most fun part of writing a book. 🙂

It is coming along, though, albeit slowly – so “late 2015” is still a pretty reasonable launch date.

Stay tuned, basically!

It’s almost Halloween, so let’s be grateful that we don’t work in offices

Hey, office Halloween parties can be fun. But they’re also minefields since there’s always that one coworker who doesn’t understand that yes, blackface is still racist.

Honestly, I’m thankful this year that I can wear a costume to a couple parties tomorrow but don’t have to learn uncomfortable truths about my coworkers.

Jack-o'-lanterns carved from pumpkins and lit with tea lights
Jack-o’-lanterns carved from pumpkins and lit with tea lights – by William Warby on Flickr

On working: Sometimes less really is more.

Sometimes it feels great to have worked your butt off for eight or ten hours straight. Sometimes (most of the time) it totally feels like crap.

The good news is that “effort” doesn’t really matter.

Via 99u:

It’s dangerously easy to feel as though a 10-hour day spent plowing through your inbox, or catching up on calls, was much more worthwhile than two hours spent in deep concentration on hard thinking, followed by a leisurely afternoon off. Yet any writer, designer or web developer will tell you it’s the two focused hours that pay most—both in terms of money and fulfillment.

And in fact, in the 2013 book Daily Rituals, which looked at the work routines of 161 writers, composers, painters, choreographers, playwrights, poets, and more, almost nobody reported spending more than four or five hours a day on their primary tasks.

The takeaway: Sometimes more is not more. Or as 99u’s Oliver Burkeman says, “Remember that tiring yourself out—or scheduling every minute of your day with work—isn’t a reliable indicator of a day well spent. Or to put it more cheerfully: The path to creative fulfillment might take a lot less effort than you think.”