the ordinary blog
It's been a busy month of March for the site even if the number of books completed were three (bringing the total to ten for the year) and on the surface not much has changed.
But like a hyperactive duck it has been all systems go underneath the surface. I have SIX books currently being read which is mental even for me and have been investigating and testing a number of different ideas and things.
HTML and CSS by Jon Ducket suggested that any website creator should take a serious look at Adobe Photoshop Elements (or a similar program) as images should be sized correctly before uploading. So I downloaded the free trial, followed his instructions....and got a cognitive ease bliss hit to the brain. Carefully getting the images to the same size using the weebly editor has been a worthwhile pain but that moment of joy when I realised that using Elements would make it so much easier was lovely. I also get to play around with a photo editor for the first time which is cool.
When I finished Authentic Happiness I went straight to "Adventures in the Anthropocene" as it was the book I had decided to read next a few weeks ago. When the time came to pick it up though I headed straight to "The Organised Mind" by Daniel Levitin. I'm not sure why I was just right in the mood for it. I knew I ought to take my own advice (see January's blog) but was surprised at how difficult it was to change my mind. A few weeks later and I am much happier for doing so. .
If I thought doing a proper summary of Authentic happiness is challenging then boy have I got my work cut out with The Organised Mind. Daniel Levitin is Mr Fact extraordinaire. There is so much good stuff in the book about the brain works, it's different parts and the chemicals involved but he is always able to keep it relevant to life. .
His references include David Allan's ideas including having your email inbox empty which I have proudly kept up for around five years. See the fantastic Inbox Zero website for details. I'd love more people to experience this and try and fail to persuade people to take the time to actually clear their inbox and give it a go. It doesn't change your life around or make you a better person but just like using Adobe it gives me a cognitive ease bliss hit quite often even now I have been doing it for a long time.
Daniel Levitin also proposes sorting out your to do list/tasks on Index Cards. This is something that David Allan proposed but it had never appealed like Inbox Zero did. Fresh from my Photoshop success though I thought it would be interesting and not very expensive experiment and one £4 Amazon order I had myself 200 Index Cards. The idea is to write everything that requires a future action or any ideas which you can't address right away onto an Index card. David Allan calls it "clearing the mind".
Stealing an idea from Marie Kondo and using a couple of old takeaway boxes to carry the cards the jury is out after only a couple of weeks. It still feels very odd and not very cool but I like the way when reviewing them every other day or so that I can quickly group similar items and have almost batch processed a few actions a couple of times. I have about 40 cards written on now which feels a little daunting at times but again I have noticed a cognitive ease bliss hit both when sometimes getting an idea onto a card and for sometimes ticking one off but I got that from my to do lists too.
Talking of Marie Kondo she has competition for being a tidying guru from Daniel Levitin. He also gives tips on how not to lose your keys, wallet and phone and although they might approach things in very different ways. Daniel will tell you that it is your hippocampus that is responsible for spatial remembering, while Marie will tell you that you need to talk to your house they both agree that your belongings need a permanent home. Needless to say my keys and wallet and man bag all now have their homes and my house and I are happier for it!!
Finally I decided I wanted to do an experiment with one of those "you can have everything" self help books. I criticise them all the time but when have I ever read one? So I did some Amazon digging and before long came up with "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne which I have seen in the top 100 books numerous times over the past few years. I am nearly two thirds through and am just so glad I didn't read it when I was much younger and so much more naive. In some ways it is even more shocking than I expected (in the wrong place at the wrong time, that is your fault for not thinking correctly) and yet there are moments of good advice which will help make it believable.
I'm off to visualise obtaining a cup of coffee and a parking space but watch out for my summary of The Secret in April and the completion of my summary of the amazingly brilliant Authentic Happiness.
I am 43 and lucky to have a fantastic wife and 3 kids who give my life purpose and make it fun too. To pay the bills I am a Software Consultant and have been for the past (mostly enjoyable) 18 years.