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There’s not enough time in my life to explore everything that interests me, but I’m reading, listening, watching, and learning all I can. This month I came across an Inc. article that listed 12 websites that will make you smarter. Some of those weren’t of interest to me, like learning to play the piano with Pianu, but Highbrow looked interesting, delivering lessons via email, so I signed up for a productivity course, just to try it out. The first lessons have been pretty simple—not much more involved than a blog post—but I’ll stick with it. I’m sure I’ll learn something new.
The Inc. author curated her list of 12 from a longer list of 37 websites to learn something new. That list included additional sites that piqued my interest, including some offering university level courses for free like Coursera (which I already knew about and highly recommend) and edX, which offers free courses like one on The Science of Happiness.
I’ve also been listening to and learning from a Seth Godin podcast series, but I’ll tell you more about that below.
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One of my goals is to enjoy and curate good content to share on my Facebook page and Twitter feed. The more I’ve been doing this, the more Twitter has become the primary place I’m sharing a lot of interesting stuff, so scroll through for snippets and teasers to see if something catches your eye.
I also tried to read Daniel Goleman’s book Focus, but I chose a bad time to start it, right before a business trip followed by Thanksgiving break. Here it is early December and I’m still having trouble getting into it—trouble focusing, I guess.
Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir is far more engaging. As you may know, I’m offering a few discussion questions on Tuesdays over at my Facebook page, in case you’d like to participate:
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Creating a business plan for your blog gives you the opportunity to nail down all of the specifics, do important research, and create strategies that will propel you forward. It is essentially a roadmap of your blog business, written with your audience in mind.
I’m also writing small, as I recommended in a recent podcast.
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My son and I challenged each other to two geography games to test our knowledge of European countries. We tried levels one and two. He won.
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I took Paul Minor’s advice at the Productivityist and began to schedule more tasks on my calendar. For years I’ve scheduled appointments, errands, and a few big tasks, but I’m going to add medium tasks, as well. Minor writes:
If you want to be productive, you must embrace the power of scheduling your tasks. You have two main tools that help you do this: your to-do list and your calendar.
Your to-do list is the place where you define and organize what you’re going to do.
Your calendar is used to identify when you’re going to do those things and how much time is needed to complete them.
When you schedule appointments in your calendar, you’re saying to yourself: “I’m going to do A, B and C by X date and it’s going to take Y hours.”
Once you make this promise, it becomes harder to procrastinate.
You will find you are less impulsive as you’ve planned out your time.
As a consequence, you will get more work done.
When the calendar alerts pop up on my phone, I tackle the task. It’s like having a personal assistant in my purse.
Minor points out that when you have blank space on your calendar, you can enjoy guilt-free play time to do something like draw on Silk (utterly mesmerizing, and quite playful).
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Recently I found “Seth Godin’s Startup School,” 15 podcast episodes featuring excerpts from a three-day workshop he led with 30 entrepreneurs back in 2012. I’m not in startup mode, but I’m pondering the principles that seem to apply to my work.
Seth Godin makes me think; Stephen Colbert (with James Taylor) makes me laugh.
JT recently released a new album, and to help with promotion he’s been appearing on talk shows like The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Stephen convinced James to perform a silly adaptation of one of his most famous songs, so if “Fire and Rain” is your all-time favorite, do not watch the video clip. You will struggle to listen seriously to it ever again.
However, if you can let go of the weight of the song, click through for a giggle.
We just started listening to Christmas music at our house, and our collection includes classics like Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, and Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas. A few years ago we added James Taylor’s Christmas CD, James Taylor At Christmas.
What are your Christmas favorites?
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I’ve always valued, even nurtured, a healthy, holy curiosity that tends to stretch me, surprise me, and lead me to a more creative and productive life. Tracking the month’s curiosity discoveries reminds me to stay open, ask questions, try new things, play, and pass along my discoveries to others.
Images with words created by Isabelle Kroeker.