How To… nurture desire.

It’s a common refrain in the manosphere and red pill circles that desire cannot be negotiated. Which is true. When you simply do not want someone or something, there is very little that can be done about it. However there is a big difference between something we simply do not want and, unless we change radically, never will, and something we do want, but not the way it is presented to us.

This philosophy starts with sex and sexuality, but also extends into self-improvement, diet, employment and, realistically, everything you will ever do.

For me right now the problem is alcohol. When TTC, pregnant and breastfeeding, I will not drink. But everyone around me still does and did so during last weekend’s BBQ. And I had to remember that what I wanted was not best for me right now.

As a simple, relatable example, we may want pizza, not omelette for dinner. We don’t dislike omelette. We just want to eat a pile of junk. However for some reason it isn’t in our best interests to have pizza. Maybe we’re saving money. Maybe we’re on a diet. Maybe it just doesn’t fit into our day. Our desire for pizza cannot be negotiated: we want it and that’s final. And if we were presented with food that we definitely do not enjoy, perhaps brussels sprouts, our desire not to eat that cannot be negotiated. We will if we must, but even if we make ourselves we do not want to. However the emelette exists in a middle ground: we do desire it, but the circumstances right now mean we do not currently desire it. And that is where nurturing comes in.

1: Identify your desires and non desires.

In this case our main desire is pizza, our non desire is brussels sprouts and our secondary desire is omelette. We really want pizza, would be OK with omelette, and be unhappy with brussels sprouts.

2: Identify the reasons for your desires.

The reason we desire pizza and omelette is because they suit our palettes. They are savoury dishes with salt and fat and protein. They fill us up and the taste tells our bodies they are good. Likewise, we do not desire brussels sprouts because they are not savoury, salty, fatty, proteiny foods. They are bitter and plant-ish and lacking in calories.

3: Identify the pros and cons of your desires.

The pros of our desire for pizza are that it stimulates our taste buds and provides calories. The con is that it is expensive, unhealthy and/or inconvenient.

The pros of our desire for omelette are that it stimulates our taste buds, provides calories, is healthier, cheaper and more convenient. The con is that, lacking carbs and cheese, it does not make us as hungry as pizza.

The pros of our lack of desire for brussels sprouts are that we do not eat a food we find unpleasant which provides few calories. The con is that we are avoiding a perfectly healthy food.

So, as we can see, the one that wins out is omelette, meeting our needs and desires in the middle. However it is not enough to deny ourselves pizza. We need to work on our desire for omelette. And, though we cannot eliminate desire for pizza or create desire for brussels sprouts, we can reinforce our desire for omelette.

4: Feed your desire for the best options.

Work on making that omelette an important part of your day. Season it well, cook it well, make it an enjoyable experience. When your mind drifts to pizza, remind yourself why you do not want to eat pizza: it is unhealthy, expensive and inconvenient. Think of the tastes and textures of the omelette. Feel the hunger. Build a craving for it.

5: Promote the best options with in-betweens.

And, of course, sometimes you will feel strongly pressed to go for something more like pizza. Sometimes the craving will be very strong. At times like this, you find a compromise which does not take away from the benefits of the omelette but allows you to enjoy the experience of pizza. Maybe you will fold cheese and cured meats into your omelette. Maybe you will make a pizza at home with cheap and healthy ingredients. Whatever you do, try and go for the best option for you.

In other words, desire cannot be negotiated. But to assume that means “I want pizza so I will have pizza” is ridiculous. We have more than one desire in the choices we make. And by nurturing the productive desires, we can make the most of our options. So pizza-omelette, here I come! 😛

What are some choices and decisions you find hard to make? Would love to hear about any time you overcame a craving, inertia or another conflict of desire!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.
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5 Things I Wish I Had Done Before My Laptop BURNED OUT.

So, I’m stressed right now. Very, very stressed. I have just had my computer crash and lost a week worth of work. Send the thing in to be checked, but there is no guarantee anything can be recovered. Which leaves me finishing a pile of work that I had already done. Annoying? Yes, very. Even Jon’s giving me quiet space to do my work, so I’m guessing it’s very noticeable that I am angry and stressed beyond words.

So here are five things I wish I had done before my laptop burned out, as a caution to myself and to others who take their work as lightly as I do.

1: Deliver things as soon as they’re done.

If you’re writing for work or for a magazine or volunteer group, deliver everything as soon as it’s finished. The only thing worse than losing a load of work is losing a load of work that has been ready to go for 24-48h and that I’ve been postponing. Writing over 40k words all over again in a night is the worst experience imaginable, worse than writing it in the first place. Do yourself a favour and don’t mess up like I did: deliver fast.

2: Set online backups.

Most computers today come with the option of online backups. Create an account and back up your most important work, updating it daily. It sounds like a lot of stress, but it is a life-saver in the long run. Many of my personal work files, such as my books, are saved on Amazon or my email account, which is brilliant to know!

3: Keep external backups.

Even so, try and keep external backups. I am usually good for this, every six months or so. Shame my last backup was exactly that long ago. Ouch. I think more regular backups of certain folders may be required. If the folder is updated every month, then two or three months should be the absolute minimum for backup. Plus, it’s a good safeguard against online formats breaking down.

4: Keep an eye on known problems and keep up to date.

I had no chance to guess this one. Apparently it was just the result of regular use for several years, including the usual issues of running it too long every once in a while and the odd bump. Still, it might have been in my best interest to bear in mind the issues that come with an aging laptop and to run more backups after the second year. When this bad boy is two years old I will definitely be running more regular backups and treating it more gently.

5: Save important work as you go.

I found this out the hard way the first time around as well. I think we have all at some point written several hours worth of work and research, only to have the computer crash, the session time out, the internet die or just to click “do not save” instead of “save”. So we learn to hit the save button at least every sentence and eventually find a happy medium of saving every few paragraphs. Well, that’s where I am right now. From now on I am going to store my most important work in various file systems and save it there whenever I make changes.

All I want is my books back. 😦

Any tips for feeling so stressed you’re about to be sick? It hasn’t gone since last week.

TTFN and Happy Saving!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

How To… motivate yourself.

I get it: you don’t want to. I don’t even know what you want to do yet and I know you don’t want to. I can feel the intensity of not-want from here. But you really want the results. And sadly, when you want results you have to work for them. So here are a few pointers to get you on track.

1: Make it a surprise or do it together.

If your plans involve someone else, then it’s all or nothing. Either they are doing this with you, or it’s better not to tell them.

It has been scientifically proven that talking about your goals casually gives you the same positive energy boost as achieving them. Being acknowledged and listened to matters more than losing weight, quitting smoking or finishing that novel.

Besides that, it is also proven that people who aren’t improving themselves will try and sabotage those who are. Make your plans secret from such people.

If your friend or partner are all in, then that’s a different matter. But otherwise, make your self improvement a secret.

2: Visualize less, plan more.

Visualizing is a trap. The more you imagine yourself to be the perfect person you want to be, the less likely you are to actually strive for it, the less prepared you are for setbacks and the less likely you are to accept improvement over perfection. People who visualize and daydream more tend to be less likely than average to achieve their dream.

Throw away that perfect inspirational picture, stop imagining fame and glory, leave behind your dream job and focus on planning our the steps towards actually improving, one ladder rung at a time.

3: Plan less, do more.

In the same vein, the more time you spend planning, the less time you spend doing.

Give some serious thought to a rough plan you will be able to follow. Write yourself a schedule with a bit of flexibility. Then stop planning and start doing.

Too many plans take up your time and energy and can leave you falling into the visualization trap. Besides that, like fad diets, when your goal is 90% planning and only 10% practice, you are wasting time and energy on something other than results.

Move towards your results instead.

4: Give yourself a pep talk.

Sometimes you just need a coach behind you to tell you you’re doing great, to push you a bit further, to remind you of where you are heading. But if you’re working this hard path alone or you just happen to be alone when the desire to give up hits you, you need to give yourself that pep talk.

Remind yourself of your goal, of what you have done right, of what you have done wrong and of what your plans are. Don’t be too kind or forgiving, but don’t talk down to yourself either. Direct yourself to the right path.

5: Look at how far you’ve come and reward yourself.

Gamification is a recent concept in psychology that shows how turning your progress into a “game” can help you make more progress.

Rather than just looking at the start point and the end goal, measure your success in stages, like levels to a game, and reward yourself appropriately at each stage. The same mechanism that makes you hooked on a silly online game can hook you on self improvement!

And those are just some ways you can productively motivate yourself!

What do you do for motivation?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

5 Things To Give Up When You Feel Like Giving Up.

Some days everything gets on top of us. We’ve all been there. Maybe it’s a looming deadline with no possibility of timely completion. Maybe it’s a confusing point in a book you just can’t wrap your head around. Maybe someone has left their laundry on the stairs one too many times. Maybe you managed to break something you need and can’t readily replace. Or maybe something tiny just happened and it was the straw that broke the poor camel’s back.

Whatever it is, it makes us throw our hands in the air, roll our eyes, tug at our hair and say “That’s it, I give up!”

So, for when these days hit us and hit us hard, here are the five best things to give up when you feel like giving up.

1: Give up bad feelings.

Sometimes it’s easy to let bad feelings get the best of us, especially when we are overwhelmed. But these feelings do nothing to improve our situation. If anything, they make our lives and everyone else’s worse.

For anger: Go and do something physical to burn off the steam. Keep your thoughts in your head and work through them before bringing them up to someone else.

For despair: Go somewhere quiet and practice your breathing. Look for the good things you still have.

For guilt and blame: Ask yourself whether blaming will get you a solution. If not, accept that someone or something caused the problem and let it go. Promise yourself not to bring blame up against yourself or others in the future.

For weariness: Go and have a lie down and a hot drink. Slowly ponder solutions to your problem in a practical way.

2: Give up boredom and routine.

Sometimes we’re just caught on a hamster wheel of daily habits and we just need to get on with things. And then we get thrown off and it feels like we will never catch up.

For those days when your routine is boring you, you are getting slow and failing to meet your schedule or deadlines, call it out. Go for an extra coffee break at work. Crunch your numbers in the morning and do you emails in the afternoon. Go walking at lunch time. Put housework aside and paint for an hour.

Just push your routine aside for a bit and enjoy your day.

3: Give up bad habits.

Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. We start doing things that are directly self-sabotaging and don’t even think twice about them until the inevitable results happen and then, like a smoker struggling to breathe after a flight of stairs, we wonder why we picked up the habit to begin with.

If we are routinely running late for deadlines, perhaps we ought to reconsider our procrastination habits or accepting so much work. If we are often breaking glasses and plates, perhaps we ought to get some pretty plastic dinnerware. If we keep making ourselves ill with overwork, perhaps we ought to consider the work-illness ratio of effectiveness and take it easy once in a while.

Try and live for maximum health and mental wellbeing. Don’t let anything get in the way of that, however “important” it seems to stay busy.

4: Give up perfection.

Sometimes we get in the way of a perfectly good day by looking at five minutes of it and declaring “that wasn’t good enough”. How many times has a morning went really well only for you to break your favourite mug and declare the day ruined? If you’re anything like me… too many times. Why does that one moment have to define our days?

If something genuinely serious happens, then sure, our day is ruined. But a small issue like breaking a mug has not made our morning any less pleasant and has not set the tone for the rest of the day. Make a commitment to being happy, no matter what happens, and to letting the little things slide. When you do this your life will have a massive reduction in drama and frustration.

5: Give up fretting.

It’s a bit of a cop-out to tell a stressed person to stop being stressed. But it’s easier to stop fretting than to stop stressing, and if you leave frets behind, the stress will soon follow.

Sometimes we just let things get the better of us. This is sort of the other side to the coin of perfectionism. When you know that getting one thing “wrong” can ruin your day, you worry about making sure everything is perfect. Which means we end up stressing about problems that haven’t even happened.

When you feel like giving up, ask yourself if the day is salvageable or whether the whole world has truly ground to a halt. Generally, you will find something to enjoy from the day and something to look forward to. Push the worries out of your thoughts, tell yourself off for thinking about them and focus on actual solutions.

I guarantee you, it will feel better.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

How do you deal with it when you feel like the whole day/week/year/world is ruined?

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

How To… balance a freelance schedule.

As most of you already know, I am a freelance worker and self-employed in my own tutoring business. Which is kind of cool, as it means I can sit around on my butt all day and somehow get housework done and make a full time income. But it also means the schedule is insane. My everyday life has changed a lot since I went from being “the rural housewife” to actually becoming “the second earner”, and the schedule is the weakest point of the day.

So, when you have this work here and that work there, deadlines all over the place and have to work from your own home, how do you balance a freelance schedule? Here are my tips.

1: Set hours.

If any of your work has set times, build the rest of the day around them. Don’t worry about other aspects of the day, just prioritize set hours and deadlines and let everything else work itself out.

2: Think about time.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Think of how much time you have to complete a project, look at the time you have available and make realistic decisions.

On the other hand, you can always cancel something halfway. Don’t fall for the fallacy of sunk costs. Sometimes it’s better to end a business agreement or a task halfway through in order to focus on something you would rather be doing.

3: Reviews versus money.

When starting up, sweat the reviews but keep an eye on the money. Reviews mean more money, even if you have to do some underpaid work to get there. But make sure you’re not out of pocket, either!

When you’re established, sweat the money but keep an eye on the reviews. You need to look out for yourself and your business. But make sure the buyers think they are getting their money’s worth, or you will have bad reviews.

You cannot prioritize both unless you plan on letting this become a full time job.

4: Home office.

Try and contain all your work in an area of the house. This way you will always know where it is and you will save insane amounts of time.

5: Powering down.

When you set foot outside your home office, the working day ends. Check emails, by all means, but don’t try and keep going day and night. Set aside some time to keep your house in order, enjoy your family and be yourself.

6: Write a list.

Write up a complete list of your daily tasks every morning. Write in timed ones first, then fit everything else in around the times. Include work tasks and home tasks. Push important tasks nearer the start of the day and leave less important ones as a footnote for if you have time. This should help keep you focused and make sure everything gets done.

OTOH, I’m pretty sure I need a break soon. I’m forgetting to power down.

How do you balance your schedule?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

5 Things I Did For Money In September.

I know I mention my work a bit here and there, and I do think that stay at home partners should try and boost their incomes. So to give a clearer picture of how I make my money, where it all comes from and how little you need to get started on most of it, here’s September’s breakdown:

1: I wrote four ebooks on demand.

The task: 4x 5-20k ebooks for different clients.

Time involved: around four hours average per book, not counting uninvolved time.

Payment: $50 per book, total $200.

The ease: I find writing comes easily to me and most books are simple to write.

The difficulties: Dealing with new buyers and weird specifications, on top of deadlines, can be too much.

2: I tutored ten students.

The task: 10 students needing on average 5h of tuition over the month plus homework.

Time involved: fifty hours active tutoring, around five planning and working on homework.

Payment: £10-25 per hour, total £700.

The ease: For me tutoring is entirely easy now I have the luxury of declining student’s I’m not perfectly suited for.

The difficulties: You need a skill to start with, and from there you need to cope with many awkward students before you can afford to focus on the good ones.

3: I reviewed fifty products, services and ebooks.

The task: 50 genuine reviews of real products.

Time involved: 8min trial time, 1min review time average. Total 7.5 hours.

Payment: $4 per review, total $200, plus freebies.

The ease: Very easy and most of the things I review (pet products, books, medical supplies) are things I want anyway.

The difficulties: You need to find people willing to pay for a review and know on which sites it’s legal and on which it isn’t.

4: I proofread five books and various documents.

The task: proofread various texts and documents for clients.

Time involved: about ten hours total.

Payment: $200 total.

The ease: Anyone could do it as long as you speak the language and aren’t dyslexic.

The difficulties: Reasonably hard, actually. You need to be fully focused in order to alter spelling, grammar and reading ease of the text.

5: I recorded ten video reviews and messages.

The task: 10 videos for various clients showing off their products or delivering a message.

Time involved: around 5min prep time plus the video length, totaling around 2h total.

Payment: £10 per video, total £100, plus, freebies again.

The ease: The easy part is doing the actual video.

The difficulties: The hard part is getting the work and getting it ready. 10 videos a month isn’t exactly an income on its own.

Total hours invested: 90h 30min.

Hours per week: 22h 30min. (56% of full time hours.)

Total earnings: £1100. (100% of minimum wage, 50% of national average.)

Earnings per week: £275.

Earnings per hour: £12.15.

So basically by being smart with what I do, investing more hours in my high-payers and cash-in-hand money and working entirely from home, I can bring in a full-time minimum wage salary and still have 17.5 standard working hours left to keep the house in order, blog, train our puppy, write my own books and unwind.

If you’re interested in giving it a go yourself, here are six jobs to do from home and an idea of how to get started.