Reflections on a Frosty Day

Had a fairly big chunk of freelance work to do from home today so fuelled up on freshly-brewed coffee and got to it.

It was a beautiful day out though, frosty but very still (finally the right temperature for the time of year!) – so I popped out for a walk at Wardie Bay just before the sun set and took my DSLR.

Okay so I still haven’t mastered the manual settings (note to self..) but there were some nice reflections in the very calm waters of the Firth of Forth, so I thought I’d share.

Now.. back to work.

Inspiration Injection: Your 5 a Day for Jan 3rd 2012

Photo by Sarah G (click for Flickr profile)

I find a lot of great stuff online but I’m not always sure how to best share it, in case I overload people with too much information (no doubt one of the biggest barriers to creativity and productivity in this ‘always online’ era).

In his book ‘The Information Diet’, a Case for Conscious Consumption‘, Clay Johnson compares our knowledge intake to our food intake. In both cases, there is good and bad, e.g. junk food and crap information.

As with eating our 5 a day of fruit and veg in order to improve our energy levels and physical health,  he advises we filter out the junk and consume only the most worthwhile content in order to be clear-minded.  This isn’t an easy task which is why online ‘curation’ is now so popular.

So I thought I’d test out the idea of posting regular ‘inspiration injections’, limited to 5 items under a variety of topics that catch my eye.

I’ve also included a Scottish Supplement for more local news and articles (music is the main focus today).

Please note this is very much in the test stages right now. Let me know in the comments if you think you would find it useful, and how often would be preferable. 

Creativity

Top Artists Reveal How to Find Creative Inspiration – bumper post of great advice from The Guardian

Business

2012 Business Catalyst Awards – Jonathan Fields highlights some of the best online resources for businesses and entrepreneurs

Learning

Codecademy - Learn to code the easy way in 2012

Sanity

Why You Should Start Your New Year in February by Mike Vardy (bonus – Vardy also reviewed the Information Diet, mentioned above)

The Fight Goes On – a battle cry after beating depression from The Bloggess

The Scottish Supplement – The Brewing up a Storm Edition

How to Make 2012 a HAPPIER New Year (video)

Fireworks Obscured By Bus

Every New Year’s Eve at midnight we wish each other Happy New Year, but how much do we really do to help make it a happier year than the one before?

In the run up to January I’ve already discussed simple goal setting as a way to ensure you don’t drop your New Year’s resolutions like hot potatoes the minute all of life’s myriad distractions get in the way by around say.. 6th January.

The Difference Between Resolutions & Goals

But according to Gretchen Rubin, whose bestselling book of the same name describes her year long Happiness Project, which she continues to write about on her hugely popular blog, there might well be some wisdom in making resolutions rather than goals:

I’d noticed idly that a lot of people use the term “goal” instead of “resolution,” and one day in December, it struck me that this difference was in fact significant. You hit a goal, you keep a resolution. “Run a marathon” makes a good goal. It’s specific, it’s easy to measure success, and once you’ve done it, you’ve done it. “Sing in the morning” and “Exercise better” are better cast as resolutions. You won’t wake up one day and find that you’ve achieved it. It’s something that you have to resolve to do every day, forever.

Striving toward a goal provides the atmosphere of growth so important to happiness, but it can be easy to get discouraged if reaching the goal is more difficult than you expected. Also, what happens once you’ve reached your goal? Say you’ve run the marathon. What now—do you stop exercising? Do you set a new goal?

With resolutions, the expectations are different. Each day I try to live up to my resolutions. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail, but every day is a clean slate and a fresh opportunity. I never expect to be done with my resolutions, so I don’t get discouraged when they stay challenging. Which they do.

Keeping track of how well you’re sticking to your resolutions though is another matter. Rubin was inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s ‘virtues chart’ to keep her own Resolutions chart where she could tick off each day that she achieved it. You can use the toolbox she provides on her site to do the same, or for a simpler solution, Joe’s Goals does a similar thing (or you could even use a good old fashioned pen and paper).

There Are No Good Answers Without Good Questions

Rubin also has some good suggestions for questions you can ask yourself if you want to be happier in the year ahead. I talk through a few of these in the video below – hope it’s useful (our cat certainly didn’t seem to find it very interesting, and even yawns at one point!).

Watch Video on iPhone, iPad, mobile devices

You can buy The Happiness Project from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk if you want to find out more (Amazon affiliate links). Personally I found I didn’t relate to her life very much so found the details a bit mundane, but I still think a lot of her research was very interesting and the book will definitely make you think about how to improve your day to day life in small but effective ways.