Thursday, February 28, 2013

Creativity Exercise: Occupational Hazard

Look at that keyboard. I type so much, I've worn off the letters on M and N, and V and C are about to go. I guess it's an occupational hazard.

And that brings us to our exercise today! Get out your camera, your phone, your drawing pen, whatever, and illustrate your own occupational hazard. If you don't have a 9-5 job, consider the hazards of life -- everything from icy streets to excessive solitude.

That's step one. Step two? Reconsider. Is it really a hazard? Or the key to something fun? For example:

I've worn off the letters on M and N
V and C are about to go

could be the start of a wonderful poem. It's all a matter of perspective ...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Opposite of Snow Day

So, yesterday I heralded a snow day and then gave you advice on how to work at home. Mo called me on it. Mo is right.

A snow day is a snow day is a snow day. The list of tips on how to work at home successfully is valid and useful -- but not applicable to a day off.

My bad. If today is a snow day, go play! Catch some snowflakes on your tongue. Why should kids have all the fun?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Snow Day! Seven Tips for Working at Home

As I write this, snow is falling -- again -- in Kansas City, and lots of my friends are making plans to work at home. Welcome to my world! And, because we're buds, I'm going to share my top seven tips for working at home successfully:
  1. Get up and get going. Set the alarm and get to the office on time -- even if the office is upstairs, downstairs or at the dining room table. On the bright side, you can save time by going to work in your jammies or sweats. Yep. I bill in my jammies. Make all the jokes you want.
  2. If you have a landline, ignore it. You're at work. Let the machine take the message and call mom back later. If you don't know what a landline is, you're a pup and I'm jealous. Go away. (Fine. Stay. Hang out with us geezers and maybe we'll both learn something.)
  3. Enjoy social media. But ... and this is an important but ... don't let it suck you in just because there's no one around. Limit your time on Facebook, Twitter, or any other site you wouldn't loiter on at the office.
  4. Take a lunch break. Everyone needs a break. Including you.
  5. Don't think you can take care of the kids, do the laundry, play with the pets, make dinner, and work. When you're at work, be at work. When you're at home, be at home. Even if you work at home.
  6. Treat the kitchen like a break room. If you need coffee, go get it. If you need a snack, go get it. Don't dawdle. Don't stand at the refrigerator and graze. Working at home can be an invitation to gain weight. Consider yourself warned.
  7. Walk away at 5 p.m. Or 6 p.m. Or whenever you would typically walk away. One of the dangers of working at home is that you can work all the time. All the time. Trust me on this -- I've been doing it for more than 10 years. WALK AWAY. 
And here's a bonus bunch of tips on what to do after work: Build a snowman. Build a fort in the living room. Light a fire. Play Scrabble -- which is not Words with Friends. Put a puzzle together. Make soup from scratch. Make s'mores.

And if you're really looking for a diversion, start a blog.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Creativity Tips: Give Yourself Space

You know how seedlings don't grow well if you plant them too close to one other? Fires won't burn if there's not enough air between the logs. There's no musical score without the rests.

The plants, the logs, the notes -- they all need space. And so do we.

It's a new week, my friends. Give yourself the space you need to grow, to blaze, to soar.

Happy Monday!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Creativity Tips: Pay Attention

I take yoga classes at a rec center -- the yoga room is right next to the big gym. So, every week, I walk by all the adults sitting outside the gym while their adorable elementary school children practice gymnastics.

The kids are a hoot -- they're tumbling and balancing and falling and leaping and laughing. I know this, because there are huge windows so you can see the action from the waiting room.

Unfortunately, the windows aren't all that necessary.

As I left the other night, I noticed that -- as usual -- almost all the adults were focused on their iPads and cellphones and laptop computers. Only a few were watching the kids. One of the other yoga participants, walking next to me, said, "Isn't that great? Everyone is making such good use of their time!"

We were leaving yoga. I was mellow. It wasn't the time to go ballistic. But, that was then and this is now.

Ignoring a six-year-old on the balance beam is not a good use of your time. Missing your third-grader do a perfect dismount is not a good use of your time. Playing solitaire when a child is right in front of your face doing a cartwheel is not a good use of your time.

And it's not just an adult-kid thing. We're in danger of losing eye contact, people. Remember eye contact? That thing you used to make with another human being before we turned our focus to all things electronic?

Listen up, because I'm ranting and I'm right and I love you: You don't get this day again. Only today. Only today.

Pay attention.