The Right Productivity Tool

I am becoming increasingly convinced that the reason someone’s not as productive as they want to be is not because they haven’t found the right stuff to organize their life. It’s because they keep getting more stuff to organize their life. Because here’s the problem: any productivity tool will have flaws. So if you’re looking for the “right” productivity tool, whatever tool you choose, its flaws will […]

'Bologna, Via Marco Emilio Lepido - SS9' by Pom Angers on Flickr

Project Debt

Last night, I slept deeply and dreamed copiously. When my alarm went off, I slowly surfaced into the real world in one of those strange grey modes of thought where my mind was unfettered by reality but still aware of it. One belief crystalized: I have too many projects. This happens to us all; to me it happens frequently. Most of the time, I sigh, acknowledge it, and try to whack my way through the weeds of my projects. […]

Minimalism vs. Frugality

Most of us need to control our spending. Many people at some point realize that their finances are, well, not where they should be. Many of them respond with a focus on frugality, and look for cheaper cell phone plans, coupons, combined internet and cable plans, and streaming services. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with reining in your spending, and psychologically you may need to start with simple […]

'stack' by hobvias sudoneighm on Flickr

The Power of the Scanner

We still receive a lot of paper. People hand us receipts and flyers. We get bills and statements in the mail. I don’t keep all of these, of course, but all my life, I dutifully kept mortgage statements, credit card statements, any unusual financial notices, etc. I’ve gone paperless with as many bills as I can, but some places are still old-school. I told myself I’d sort through them all. I honestly […]

Pursuing Minimalism

August 3, 2017: the day my copy of Fumio Sasaki’s Goodbye, Things arrived on my doorstep. Sasaki’s earned a reputation as one of Japan’s leading bloggers about minimalism, documenting his 5-year journey towards reducing his possessions. My curiosity got the better of me, and since Japanese self-help writers tend to be less aggressive than their Western counterparts, I figured I’d see what he had to write on the subject. I devoured the book in 2 […]

I Pledge for 2014

By the middle of the year… Everything I eat will be raw or homemade (unless I’m at a restaurant). I will eat at least 3 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. At least once a week, I will drink a little wine and eat some fish. Every day, I will exercise for at least 20 minutes, write for at least 30 minutes, and meditate for at least 10 minutes. At least once a week, I will draw. At least once a week, I will practice […]

'snow-globe' by Jenny Downing on Flickr

Happiness, Happiness, and Happiness

As I learn to improve myself, I’ve been learning to unpack the idea of happiness. We use happiness in at least three ways: the emotion, the attitude, and the state. When we’re in the state of happiness, we feel happy all the time. This is the dream world we’ll live in after we’ve won the lottery: a big home, a fast car or two, and lots of pleasurable activity. In this world, we fulfill every need. This is bliss. Unfortunately, […]

'Running dog' by ali_gata1970 on Flickr

The Middle of my Media Fast

I’m halfway through my yearly Media Fast, a week where I consume no mass media. That means no movies, no TV, no DVDs, no books, no newspapers, no magazines, no blogs, and no music. As happens most years, I struggle most on the first day, the middle day, and the last day. I come home from work and, after making dinner and taking care of a few duties, I dive into some […]

Make Something Every Week: Ray Harryhausen Tribute Video

I resolved at the beginning of this month to try something new for the next 3 months: I will read twice as many books as movies I watch. I will spend at most 30 free minutes on the computer each weekday evening. This time includes email, social networks, YouTube, and general surfing, but not time spent writing or otherwise making things. I will spend at most 90 free minutes on the computer each weekend day. I will […]

Better Off?

Yesterday, I finished reading Better Off by Eric Brende. It left me breathless and thoughtful, pacing the length of my hotel room. It’s a book about living without electricity, and the destructive cycles of modern technological dependence. These books worry me in many ways. Usually, I just dislike their mindless tone, as though anything the author can’t personally comprehend is automatically suspect. Fortunately, Brende is honest about his prejudices and thoughtful […]

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