Monday, November 30, 2020

December 2020: Self-Care, Sunny Days and Redeemed Suffering


This month's title only captures some of the goodies I have for this month, so dig in!

It’s not that you don’t care. It’s that you’re mentally exhausted. I'm sad I even have to post this article, but this is what life is like right now after so many months of Pandemic Life. Remember, stress and exhaustion don't usually hit all at once; they incrementally build up slowly over time and take over without us realizing it. This article is a good start in assessing how you are doing.

7 Questions You Should Ask If You Are Applying for a Remote Job. Remote jobs are the "new black" in 2020. BUT... not all jobs are created equal. I have worked remotely since 2009 and I vouch for the 7 questions in this article. 

Sunny Days Protect Against the Flu (and COVID?). I don't normally post health tips here as it is a realm beyond my expertise, but I am one giant fan of self-care (and the benefits of Vitamin D), and we need to seek self-care all the more aggressively as we move into winter. Should a sunny day offer itself, don't miss out!! 

Time Magazine's 100 Best Inventions for 2020. In the past two months I've offered these other links for mental health breaks: Oddly Satisfying and Amazing Fact Generator. This month's offering will not disappoint.

Mary Karr — The Master of Memoir on Creative Process and Finding Gifts in the SufferingSpellbinding podcast interview from start to finish, on the process of writing. If you want a masterclass on creativity, especially in light of personal trauma, look no further. I could have listened for many more hours. (P.S. I'm not the biggest fan of Tim Ferriss, the interviewer, but the guest, Mary Karr, more than makes up for Ferriss.)

What am I reading / watching / listening to? Oh GOSH, where to begin...

  • Almost Everything: Notes on Hope by Anne Lamott. I am a HUGE fan. She makes me laugh out loud, and tells it like it is.
  • Where the Past Begins: Memory and Imagination by Amy Tan. Part memoir, part how-to on writing. A little rambling at times, but overall very moving and intriguing in its exploration of how we remember our past.
  • The Queen's Gambit on Netflix. I don't even know how to describe this. It's a little bit like a Wes Anderson movie, but it's also sort of a thriller. Who knew chess could be exciting?!
  • Song Exploder: How Music Gets Made. Just watch it on Netflix. SO GOOD.
  • Louder Than a Riot. This is a podcast -- I am 3 episodes in and I am HOOKED. If you liked Serial, you'll love this. It covers the "interconnected rise between hip-hop and mass incarceration," but even more than that.
  • Distributed. Another podcast, by the founder of WordPress, on remote work, AKA, being a "distributed workforce." Might sound nerdy... AND it is. But super interesting as we continue the WFH thang.
I'll end with this:
“And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet, and learn to be at home.”

―Wendell Berry

Hit me up with feedback or questions at Thanks for reading. 

Sunday, November 1, 2020


By my calculations we are entering the ninth month of the pandemic, so I will mark that milestone with nine recommendations for the month. At least I'm glad we're in this rollercoaster ride together!

  1. COVID-19 Won’t Change Us Forever. Though written in July (which seems forever ago!), I think the argument still stands. Here's a solid reminder: "Let’s give ourselves some credit. No matter how horrific the disaster, no matter how damaged our psyches, we wounded humans always bounce back." As we face a momentous election day this week, I recommend this brief one from The Atlantic.
  2. Informal Communication in an all-remote environment. OK, buckle up, because I've got a couple of key links here. I spent October taking an online course on How to Manage Remote Teams and have already applied things I've learned with three different teams. I certainly recommend the link at the start here, but I also recommend an interesting article from Fast Company magazine that sent me down this rabbit hole in the first place. And if you want the full downlow, here's the Gitlab Wiki that they use to run their fully remote company. PHEW! A whole lotta info, but the rules of work are changing under our feet (or in the cloud?) and we need to keep up. All the cheats are here. Reach out to me if you want/NEED more info!
  3. Coaching Problem Employees. This could be the most useful 36 minutes you could spend this month. Tune in to this "Dear HBR" podcast episode from 9-17-20, which includes Melvin Smith, professor of management at Case Western Reserve University. I especially liked this podcast because it really got in the weeds with specifics of how to address real life situations. I also turned it into a training module for one of my clients to use with their managers -- contact me if you want to receive that.
  4. How to Quickly Turn Emails into Tasks. One of my mantras with clients is "DO NOT use your email inbox as your to-do list!" As the article says, "It’s tempting to leave emails in your inbox because it’s easier, but then tasks you need to accomplish are buried in the incoming deluge of email." This gives you the skinny on how to make this happen in Gmail, Outlook, Apple Mail. Nice!
  5. 6 COVID-19 terms that would have made no sense in January. Try to guess what they are before you hit the link. (P.S. This could be a good mixer to start off a team meeting too!)
  6. Navigating the Virtual Workplace in Stressful Times (scroll down about halfway down the page). This may sound a bit random, but there are important vocal, chemical and body dynamics at play during video conferencing: this podcast provides fascinating stuff on how seratonin, oxytocin and dopamine are at play in our social interactions... plus some interesting new insights on the importance of HANDS in video calls. I KNOW! 🤷🏽‍♂️
  7. Your comprehensive guide to job searching during the pandemic. I am coaching SEVERAL clients in job searching right now... you are not alone. This article gives a good jumpstart if you're feeling a bit paralyzed. I also posted this one in August: Your Ultimate Guide to Answering the Most Common Interview Questions, which helped one client get a job offer, and this one in May: How to Recover When Your Career Gets Derailed.
  8. "Oddly Satisfying." Need a mental health break during your day? This one is pretty darn great. I think there is some of that ASMR stuff going on too... How Things Are Made is rather diverting as well.
  9. Plague of Peacocks. No real purpose here. I just found it rather delightful. Favorite quote: "They’re like blimmin’ road runners.”

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Hearty Bread for the Whole Journey? aka, "What's with the vague subtitle?"

If you have sat through (endured? enjoyed?) one of my Strengths Finder presentations, you know that I often refer back to my life as an eter...