Welcome to the first Monday of 2021. I hope you’re doing well. Here’s a few things I’d like to share with you from The Editor’s Desk.
Creating a Habits Scorecard
James Clear, author of Atomic Habits (currently in the to-read pile next to my bed), published an article (it’s an excerpt from the book) on creating a Habits Scorecard. This exercise will help you to discover what habits you should change. He discusses “pointing and calling” your habits so that you become more conscious of them. The Habits Scorecard enables you to list your habits, and rank them as positive, negative or neutral.
Quote from the article: “As you create your Habits Scorecard, there is no need to change anything at first. The goal is to simply notice what is actually going on. Observe your thoughts and actions without judgment or internal criticism. Don’t blame yourself for your faults. Don’t praise yourself for your successes.”
100 tips for a better life
- Establish clear rules about when to throw out old junk. Once clear rules are established, junk will probably cease to be a problem. This is because any rule would be superior to our implicit rules (“keep this broken stereo for five years in case I learn how to fix it”).
- When googling a recipe, precede it with ‘best’. You’ll find better recipes.
- Learn keyboard shortcuts. They’re easy to learn and you’ll get tasks done faster and easier.
- Done is better than perfect.
- Exercise is the most important lifestyle intervention you can do. Even the bare minimum (15 minutes a week) has a huge impact. Start small.
- Discipline is superior to motivation. The former can be trained, the latter is fleeting. You won’t be able to accomplish great things if you’re only relying on motivation.
- Things that aren’t your fault can still be your responsibility.
- Compliment people more. Many people have trouble thinking of themselves as smart, or pretty, or kind, unless told by someone else. You can help them out.
Taking the 31-day challenge
Austin Kleon created a template to help you follow a 31-day challenge. Basically, you pick something small and you do it every day. I would like to write something in a journal or notebook every day. I write for other people most of the time, so it would be nice to write something for myself.
Google Docs add-ons
I use Google Docs to write articles and blog posts for some clients because that is what they prefer. I’m OK with it, but I still prefer writing in Word – it’s just what I’m used to doing. However, Google Docs does have its advantages, like being able to share and enable comments with others (this can be a disadvantage as well). Farrah Daniel wrote about Google Docs add-ons that can help to make you more efficient with your writing. The ones that look most useful to me include:
- GDoc SEO Assistant – it generates relevant SEO suggestions and related keywords based on the keywords you provide
- i should be writing – it allows you to set a timer or word count to motivate you to write
- OneLook Thesaurus – find synonyms, related words, adjectives, rhymes, and more
Grammar and editing tools
For those of you who need more help with your grammar and spelling, check out these grammar and editing tools from Write Life. Grammarly seems to have a lot of fans. I don’t use any of these tools, but you might like them.
What I wrote
What I read in 2020
I track what I read in Goodreads and in a notebook; when I’m done reading, I write two pages about the book. According to the Goodreads annual review, I read 36 books in 2020. Here’s a list of some of my favourites (in no particular order):
- A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
- The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
- Everything is F*cked by Mark Manson
- If It Bleeds by Stephen King
- Range by David Epstein
- The Last Emperox by John Scalzi
- Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
- The Freelance Content Marketing Writer by Jennifer Goforth Gregory
- Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
- Show Your Work by Austin Kleon
What I watched
Over the holidays, I watched a lot of TV shows and movies – actually, I always watch TV shows and movies, it’s a thing I do. Here’s a bit of what I enjoyed watching:
- Ozark (Season 2)
- Wonder Woman 1984
- The Mandalorian (Season 2)
- The Queen’s Gambit (Season 1)
- Roald Dahl’s The Witches
- Writing on the Bathroom Wall
What I listened to
I listen to podcasts while I work. Sometimes I’ll select random podcasts when I’m all caught up on my subscribed episodes. One of my recent favourites was the Jerry Seinfeld episode on The Tim Ferriss Show – I’d recommend subscribing just for that episode. My newest podcasts are Build Your Copywriting Business from Filthy Rich Writer and Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! from NPR.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to share it with people you know who you think would enjoy it.