How to Have a Day Job

[How to Have a Day Job] On the Importance of Spiral Notepads


As I was unpacking paperwork from our move last summer, I came across a small, spiral-bound notebook. I had had it for notes about the new house and little scribbles about mortgage figures, etc. However, without thinking, I put it into my pocket. It fit perfectly.

I started carrying it around with me. I put it on my desk, in my purse, in my pants. I started taking all kinds of notes in it: blog post ideas, lists, grains of story sand, reminders of things to do.

It has been a godsend.

No matter what you do – whether you’re a desk jockey, a janitor, a veterinarian, or a vacuum cleaner salesman (if you are, tell me, I want to know if this is still a thing) – always have a simple, nondescript spiral notebook.

The best ones are:

  • Thick
  • Have enough room to fit a pen into the side
  • Sturdy
  • Have nothing printed on the cover or any inference that it is anything other than a plain notebook
  • Perforated pages

Keep it on you at all times. Here are ten rapid fire things you can do with it to achieve ultimate work-life mastery:

  1. Write a poem.
  2. Rant about something that is bothering you.
  3. Make a list of places you want to visit before you die.
  4. Keep track of hilarious quotes you hear in the lunch room.
  5. Write down your favorite songs of all time.
  6. Imagine what the world would be like if you were king/president/high chancellor.
  7. Create doodle animals.
  8. Sketch out an editorial calendar for your blog.
  9. Complete a self portrait.
  10. Make a list of bizarre character names.

So do it now. Go to the drug store and get a spiral notebook. It will save your soul.

Giving Back, Uncategorized

Goodness Gracious

It’s easy to block people out. Well, maybe it’s not easy so much as it is not hard. We walk out of our houses in the morning, past our neighbors. We get into our car, we drive to the office. We sit at our desk and do our work. We go home.

It isn’t hard to forget how many lives are happening around us. We’re in our own heads, we’re in our own worlds. We are functioning to survive and thrive based on our own needs, wants and desires. It isn’t difficult to block out everything that’s not in line with those things.

But something I have discovered in recent years is that being kind is so very, very crucial. And it’s just as easy as ignoring people, but it reaps three times the rewards in the world around you.

Here are a few inoffensive ways that you can make someone’s day with less than 30 seconds of effort:

  • Wish someone a good day. If you’re about to leave for the day, and someone is walking to their own bus stop/car/whatever, tell them, “I hope you have a great day.” Immediate smile.
  • Compliment someone’s taste. “I really love that bag. It suits you.” “That necklace is gorgeous.”
  • Thank someone for something, and be genuine about it. “Hey, thanks for letting me park in front of your house. This weather is awful, and I feel so much safer not going all the way around the block.” (Note: this is one I use in Pittsburgh a lot in the winter, if possible).
  • Support someone’s dream. Artists really need this, and 9 times out of 10, they’re not going to ask for it. “I saw that piece of art you posted online. It’s really great. I hope you keep sharing your work!” You have nothing to lose by encouraging someone’s creativity, and the world has everything to gain from their self-expression.
  • Treat someone to a little special treat. Leave a dollar on the snack machine. Offer to buy someone a soda.

Easy. And the joy that immediately comes back from a small act like this is profound. It will make their day, and it’s going to make yours too.


Reboot Check In: January

Have we already gotten through January? What the heck is up with that, guys?

So I thought it would be fun to do a bit of a check-in on the REBOOT thing. Just in this past month, there’s been a lot going on, and I still feel like I made the right decision with taking that word for this year.

Just in January I have:

– Gotten hit with huge work stress. As some of you may recall, I changed to this day job in March of last year, and this is the first “busy season” I’ve experienced. It’s been rough. BUT…

– Been writing a lot. Every day. It’s stuff that I’m doing for my own pleasure, but it’s still word output, which makes me happy.

– Been reading. I’ve particularly been reading, “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry” by Fredrik Backman. It’s beautiful and painful and magical, which is a good combination.

– Gotten involved in a NEW PROJECT. More details to come.

I think that the biggest lesson I’ve learned so far is that by coming back to things that are really important to me and that I’m really passionate about, and not just in a ‘oh yeah, I guess that could be good for me’ way…I just feel generally better. My productivity has sky-rocketed. I feel in control.

And that’s big for me, as a writer, and as a creative person.

So we’ll just have to see what the rest of the year holds, huh?