Thursday, November 27, 2014

Don't leave the table!

A few years ago, a Google employee came to my school to give a talk about the company's services. It was interesting, especially learning about some of the larger Internet trends.

It turns out that Thanksgiving and Christmas are some of the biggest days for internet usage; of course, there are people who are travelling (lots of time on buses or in airports) but it seems many just "want to escape their family and check online". 

Kind of depressing, no? 

Well, if you are reading this on Thanksgiving, get back to the table (yes, it's obvious you are gone longer than a bathroom break by now) & get another helping of stuffing!

How Do I Cut Out Toxic People From My Life?

The 80/20 rule is used to explain a ton of different phenomenon. Today, I will be writing out that 20% of people who cause 80% of drama in our lives: the toxic people.

You know them: somehow everyone they meet is "crazy" or "just can't understand them". Maybe you've been that person at a certain point in your life for some reason. You may even deny this person is toxic to your other friends ("___ is really a lot of fun! She doesn't mean...") and defend them to create less controversy.

On the other hand, when you read toxic people, 1-2 people came to mind, right? Despite the tons of amazing people and strangers in our lives who deserve our attention, these negative people can occupy so much energy and time. I am not saying I have it all figured out, but these are some things that have helped me. If it can help another person, it will have been worth it.

1. Identify it this person is really a toxic force in your life.
Think about all your interactions with this person, and what you have felt like after. Has their behavior changed recently or is it has been negative from the start?

A toxic person isn't necessarily someone who isn't always your unconditional cheerleader. From personal experience, I have only come to appreciate some "hard truths" from friends in retrospect. True friendship, at least for me, is more about helping your friend be the best-which may not always be a happy go lucky pep talk.

Toxic also doesn't mean someone who is being negative. Negative people are not the most fun people to be around, but try to see if this is an overall pattern or just temporary. Give people slack if there has been an issue in their lives causing them stress; cutting these people out of your life will only make your former friend more upset.

2. Determine your ideal relationship and strategy with this person.
Despite the tempting idea to just say "my ideal relationship is no relationship" with this person, it's usually not that easy.

If this person is someone who you can't cut out of your life (a boss, a friend's spouse, or a neighbor), think about what kind of relationship you want to have and the reality of the situation. Do you want to maintain a civil relationship when you see each other in person? Do you want to be able to exchange gifts without causing a fight? Do you just want to be able to be in the same room without an insane amount tension? Smaller, more realistic goals are better than expecting to be BFFs!

This goal-setting will help you keep your emotions in check. If you feel baited by this person into drama, you can just think of how your non-response is working towards your goal. Responding to that bait would be working against your personal goals.

I also try to brainstorm a few ways to reduce the impact of this person on my life. How can I make myself easier to get along with? Also, exercising or calling a friend > stewing over it by myself.

3. Avoid toxic people in the future and meet more positive people.
This is something I am really working to figure out myself, but I have noticed that "drama" seems to follow certain people more than others. In college, I knew of someone who had major fights with three separate groups of people on campus. Hmm... I am not saying to believe everything you hear, but to keep alert. Keep track of what you trust to who, and see who proves trustworthy.

On the positive side, you can seek out positive, "non-toxic" (crayon-style!) people in your life. Introduce yourself to that guy who's doing fantastic volunteer work on weekends, or the amazing woman you keep hearing about (in a positive way!). These people may not be perfect, but it is a step in the right direction to the life you want.

Anyway, I hope this helps! Good luck!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Be present.

Be present in the moment (but not so present you forget about your daily blog post)

Monday, November 24, 2014

New Show I'm Loving: Marry Me

On the face of it, Marry Me doesn't seem like anything I'd be into at this stage in my life. A comedy about a newlywed couple trying to navigate their new life? Eh? 

The cast is just perfect, though, in Marry Me. Ken Marino (of Party Down & Burning Love) & Casey Wilson (Happy Endings & SNL) are, finally, perfectly cast. Although I've always liked Casey's "Cathy comic" type humor (even when she admittedly not great in SNL), Marino has really grown on me. 

The writing is also great--I think it's probably most similar to Parks and Rec that every line is on point. AH! I love this show so far, so get watching on Hulu!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Know Your Gut

One of the biggest lessons I have learned in the past year is the importance of knowing my gut.

I used to think "trust your gut" meant listening to that feeling inside of you above all else. I now realize that it is much more important to *know* your gut / yourself.

My golf coach would tell us that the best players don't necessarily have the best swing (although they have great swings). The best player knows exactly where the ball will go. If he or she picks up a 7 iron, the ball will go x far.

Bad players have no idea. They are swinging blindly and hoping it all works out in the end. When shots don't work out, some blame the club, the weather conditions, or plain old luck.

Gut feelings/intuition seem to work the same way for me. Now, I consider whether my "feeling" is more of the uncomfortable side or something deeper. Then, after the experience, I evaluate to see whether I was "right" and I adjust. I now have a better idea of how to analyze my gut for the next situation.

Know your gut.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Let Your Freak Flag Fly With Productivity

I knew a girl when I was in college who would always sit in on classes she didn't take. At first, I thought it was an attempt to soak up more knowledge; maybe that advanced math course was helping her somehow with her physics degree?

Nope! She told me that she was always much more productive when she was SUPPOSED to be doing something else. While the professor talks about math, she would have some of the most productive time of her day. 

A little weird, but it worked super well for her, as she graduated with a 3.9!

In my own way, I would do this too. If I had a really important paper and a lot of smaller assignments coming up in the next few weeks, I would start with the smaller assignments. After a few hours, I would either have completed them all (leaving the way for my paper to be completed) or feel like I should prioritize my time to do the larger assignment. Either way, I had gotten started and used that momentum to keep going! I would caution to only use this trick when you have enough time to do everything--you just don't feel motivated at that exact moment to get it done. If you are on a time crunch, by all means, focus on the most important activity first.

Whatever method (even if it seems crazy or against "study habits" guides) works for you, use it! Take note of the best times of the day for you, and best areas. Maybe a physics classroom would be better for you than a library...or maybe 5-9 am is when you get the most done. 

Just as important, take note of what does not work for you. Maybe it's great for everyone else to start their day at the library to catch up on a little bit of work each day...when really, you thrive on long amounts of uninterrupted time at night. Try to schedule your less important tasks in these less productive times and you will soon start feeling like your day has much more time!

What is your "odd" to do list strategy?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Landlopers & Fear

After reading this article about fear on LandLopers, I was inspired to write about some of my own fears.

One big one for me is approaching strangers, and that fear of social rejection. Totally better to stare out the window than try to talk to the person next to me, right? It feels so much safer...

Although I am working on it, I make mistakes. Now, I know and FEEL the pain of letting fear win out, though. Instead of rationalizing (what will the other person really tell me? Or I will just waste their time), I now know that it was "my bad": letting fear be stronger than my goals.

I am a big fan of "wooooo fear conquered!!" stories, but this blog post from Landlopers above is even more courageous to me.