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.
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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.