Saturday, March 21, 2020

Working from Home Tips!

Tips for Working at Home

Hello, Everyone!

As the COVID-19 spreads around the world, more and more people are finding themselves working from home. This may feel weird to you. You may be resistant. You may need to have a few tips to stay organized and productive.

I’ve been working from home for over thirty years. Yes, I’ve had “outside world” jobs as well from teaching musical theatre to chopping veggies at a grocery store to patient acting and background acting and dog walking and reading tarot cards at parties and so much more.

However, my biggest chunk of working has been at home; writing books, editing other people’s books, copywriting, transcribing, making videos for YouTube, going live on Twitch, teaching online at Udemy and soon for a college, and so on. These days I live in a one-room studio in an Artist’s Co-op by myself but the patterns of working from home don’t change.

1.       Have a dedicated work space. This is the most important. You may have the luxury of an office area on your own floor with a door that shuts. Or you may have the kitchen table with your laptop. Wherever you choose to set up your home office, be consistent. Yes, you can take your laptop around the house or onto the balcony, and you can do that sometimes to break up the monotony. But for the most part, have a dedicated space. Believe me, it really helps mentally to have an “office.”

2.       Have a routine. This is super important. Get up every day at the same time. Your routine may fluctuate, especially if you have other people in the home, but really get them and you into a routine. My routine forever, when I was a single mom, when I was married, when I was single living alone…is to get out of bed between seven and nine, depending on how late I was up the night before and how many times I was up in the night. I go to the bathroom and put on a pot of coffee. Sometimes I’ll take a shower while waiting for the coffee, sometimes I’ll have a cup of coffee and then take a shower.

3.       GET DRESSED. Even if you just change one set of pajamas for another, take a shower and get dressed. This is a work day. You must mentally prepare for one. You can wear your underwear but take a shower and change your outfit.

4.       Assess your day. Make a list on a piece of paper or calendar of your goals for the day. What needs to get done. Include exercise, kids, etc. in your list.

5.       Be flexible. You can try to keep a schedule and if you live alone, you can likely keep it. However, with the constant news update, the anxiety of the pandemic, it’s better to keep a list of what you need to do but be a bit flexible about when this is going to happen.

6.       Give yourself a break. Sometimes, especially in these times, it’s good to work hard for a chunk of time and then stop for a bit. Some people use timers. It also depends on the nature of your work and if you have meetings or if you’re doing live online teaching.

7.       Have an end to your work day. As a creative type, I don’t really have a workday end, but those of you who aren’t used to this lifestyle, give yourself a proper beginning and end to the workday. You can do it by tasks or you can do it by time. Stephen King has been doing this forever, he writes a set amount of words per day and once that’s finished, the rest of the day is his. If he takes all day and night to create those words, so be it. If he gets it all done by seven am, the whole day is his!

8.       Take meal breaks. Make yourself a proper lunch. Eat it properly with the family or at a table. Try not to eat at your desk if you’re not used to working at home. You need to get familiar with working at home so use your snack and meal breaks to clear your head.

9.       Exercise. This means standing up every hour and stretching. This is vital now that we all can’t leave our homes. Do good things for your hands, fingers, wrists, neck, shoulders, back, lower back, legs, etc.

For more intensity: You can jump around to a Zumba class or do stretches or anything else. There are tons of routines on YouTube and Twitch that are pre-recorded and now a lot of people are doing live exercises as well. Stretches are vital for desk sitting. Also, get some cardio in at some point. Walking in place, marching, jumping jacks, dancing. You can walk in place watching news updates. You can dance around to your favourite songs.

Stretching and walking around is very important for blood flow. Try to do this every hour. Then pick a time or two during the day/night to do a bit of cardio, even five minutes a few times a day can really add up. I know someone who had a stroke because she never stood up from her desk or went to the bathroom or took walks at her real-life day office job and she was only in her forties. Now she’s a disaster. So, don’t discount just standing up and stretching to keep blood flow going, prevent blood clots, prevent heart attack and stroke.

10.   Stop working at some point in the day or night. Or at least, turn off the email. Turn off the phone. Or, you could set up your email and phone text with different notification sounds so that you know which are work and which are play. You are allowed to not work twenty-four seven.

11.   You don’t have to answer emails, texts, phone calls right away. You are allowed to prioritize them just as you would at the office. People can wait a day or two for an answer, no one is going anywhere! Don’t feel obligated that you have to answer everyone all the time the minute you are dinged.

12.   Have a routine. I can’t stress this enough. Be flexible but have a routine.

I’ll likely add to this list as I think of more things. The biggest takeaways are:

Have a routine

Get dressed


Take breaks

Good luck!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Here's hoping you have a spectacular 2020!

These are a few pictures from the fireworks at City Hall on New Year's Eve.

I had to work, reading tarot at a party, but it was only a block away and I was finished before midnight so I was able to wander over to see the fireworks at midnight!

New Book!

In 2019, my book Taurus: A Hearse of a Different Color was published in both print and e-book. You can grab a copy anywhere online! Don't forget to leave a review.

And, hey, speaking of reviews, here's a nice one for A Hearse of a Different Color!

Several of my short stories were also published; another magician story in The Pulp Book of Phobias, a couple of monster stories, and more.

Of course, the new horoscopes are up. Don't forget to subscribe to me on YouTube so that you don't miss when I post new horoscopes, Writers Behaving Badly rants and positive messages of the day!

If you've been thinking about checking out any of my courses on Udemy, today is the day! There are huge sales on Udemy until January 8 so click on these links to enjoy deep savings on all of my courses!

If you click a link on my website, I receive a bigger percentage. If you don't click my links, I make about a dollar per class but if you use my links, I can make five bucks and sometimes ten, depending on how they are calculating it. So that's some information that you might find useful not only for me but for anyone you take classes from on Udemy!

Here are links for my courses. You can use these links any time and they will always show the lowest rate on the day you click.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Sunday, November 24, 2019

A Few Lessons I've Learned Along the Way

It’s been a while since I’ve sat and written a normal blog post. I’ve been distracted making YouTube videos and for a while, was pretty consistent with my TwitchTV channel. I blog nearly daily on Patreon so you’re always welcome to go over there.

 And so, this blog has been neglected, especially with regard to my TV and movie observations!
As I’ve been getting used to my new digs, I’ve been doing a lot of self-exploration. I’m really forced to look at myself and my actions these days as I live in an open concept apartment. This means that there are no walls, no place to “hide my crap.”

I’ve been really proud of how much I’ve let go these past ten years. Material and emotional. I’ve thrown out a house full of stuff. I continue to throw out stuff I never thought I’d part with in a million years but now I know, none of it means anything. By “throw out” I mean donate, unless it’s broken and unusable. I refuse to rent a storage unit anymore. I want to only have the stuff I need and of course, my toys and photos and manuscripts.

I’ve come to terms with letting go of my beloved books.

I visualize my book collections out in the world, being read by people who are excited to read them instead of me hoarding them in my dragon’s lair. I continue to let go of more books all the time. I never throw them in the garbage. I take them to charity places and now I have people who are taking them, and the ones they don’t want, they will take to charity. Why do I need thousands of books to stare at every day? I don’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I will still likely have over 1000 books by the time I’m finished. Those can’t be helped. Books written and signed to me by friends and celebrities. They add up over thirty years!

My world continues to be rocked as I return to the spiritual roots I was exploring in the early 2000s before I took the wrong turn at Albuquerque and got derailed for nearly twenty years! But every day is a lesson and a blessing. We need to learn from our actions and face ourselves in the mirror eventually. I’m learning. And now, so many great things have been happening this past year, I really am excited for 2020.

My judgment day came about ten years ago, and I wasn’t too pleased with who I saw in the mirror.
So I’ve spent a few years doing a deep and not so pleasant dive into who I’ve been turning into and who are really friends and my lifestyle habits. Some stuff was fine, other stuff, not so much. As the kids were adults, I finally had time to breathe, to just think about me, which is still hard, admittedly, but instead of being a mombot, I had to mutate to the next level.

But these days, the past year or so, I really like who I see. Maybe it’s age…that wisdom that makes us crones, maybe it was the very hard life lessons I learned along the way, maybe it’s my quest for meaning and curiosity about life not just here in Toronto but everywhere, from middle earth to the deepest trenches in the sea, to beyond the second star to the right, beyond the limits of any galaxies. My mind is caught up in the Big Picture and beyond instead of worrying about trivialities and pettiness and material possessions. I have a place to live in one of my favourite cities in a first world country. 

What’s to complain about?

But whatever is going on in my head, I think I’m finally “getting it.” 

My gratitude for my life thus far has no bounds.

A lot of those revelations are freeing and it’s one thing to kind of know them but it’s another to know them at a cellular level. Freeing and in my former life, I would have seen some ideas as depressing. Now I just say, “knowledge is power.” My favourite saying lately is something like, “We don’t know what we don’t know until we know that we don’t know it.”

We all live, and we die.

We all make mistakes.

We all want what we want.

Not everyone is your friend.

Maybe no one is your friend.

Maybe no one is meant to have friends.

Toxic people do, in fact, show themselves from the start.

Some people are born toxic.

Some go through phases of toxic.

Some grow toxic through unexpected life changes and transference of power.

Some can learn how to shed their toxic skins.

Some will never admit that they are the toxic ones.

Toxic people are never sorry.

Toxic people will always blame others.

Transformation is possible with a lot of will and work.

Some toxic people can never change.

The less contact with toxic people, the better.

Positive energy attracts positive energy.

Words have power.

Attitude has power.

Time is a construct.

Trust no one.

Trust your first gut feelings.

Don't be afraid to say no.

I am the Star of my own Life!

You are Star of your own Life!

We can all shine together.