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Feb

I just wrote a post about procrastination, and at the end I gave myself an assignment. I have to clean out my Firefox tabs (which means read them, save them, or somehow act on them, and eventually close them). To prove that I’m doing this, I’m going to write notes about my tabs. I’ll also share links to the sites so that you can read the interesting stuff and add to your tabs collection. (more…)

Feb

So, I read this great article about procrastinating . . . a few weeks ago. I left it open in one of my Firefox tabs because I wanted to write an article about it.

Unfortunately I can’t write an article about how to stop procrastinating because I still procrastinate. So today I’ll write about why I procrastinate. I think that identifying the causes is the first step toward a solution. (more…)

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Jan

Even though I read last fall that RSS adoption is only around 11%, I am frequently surprised to meet people who don’t use RSS feed readers, and don’t even know what that are. I don’t know why these people haven’t adopted RSS, because RSS is definitely better than a cute puppy.

This makes me sad, because RSS feed readers are wonderful tools.

I’m not a techie. Really, I’m not. But I love my Google reader. I love it because it sends me cool information and pretty pictures and interesting articles. Best of all, I don’t have to remember the names of the sites I like or visit them to see when they are updated. It’s wonderful.

If you are part of the 89% that has not adopted RSS, never fear. You can have a part in the RSS feed happiness.

You can get started by reading this nifty page from Google about RSS, feed readers, etc. After you read it, and get your Google Reader all set up, then you can subscribe to my feed!

Jan

I have always been fascinated with people who are experts in their fields. What makes them so successful?

One thing that seems clear (to me, at least), is that people who succeed are disciplined. They may not be disciplined in every area of their lives, but they at least apply discipline to their field.

Ron at the Wisdom Journal wrote recently in The Myth of Self Discipline about discipline. He asserts that discipline is a tool rather than a character trait. I’m still thinking about the implications of thinking this way, but the idea appeals to me. Thinking about discipline this way makes it more achievable. Of course, it puts the burden back on me, but that’s ok. I would rather be responsible for something, because at least then I can control it.

Since I am working from home, self discipline is becoming increasingly important to me. I have trained myself to perform to deadlines. When an obligation looms, I can get things accomplished. But when faced with a vague “ought-to” and no time schedule, I procrastinate. After reading Ron’s article, I decided that some research on the benefits of self-discipline might be good for me.

Here’s what I found:

Washington Post Article: Self-Discipline may Beat Smarts as Key to Success

This article references a University of Pennsylvania study which suggests that self-discipline is a very important factor in students’ academic success. I have long thought this; the problem is figuring out how to motivate students and help them practice self-discipline. Self-discipline may be a skill, but it’s a difficult skill to teach.

Steve Pavlina’s Series on Self-Discipline

Steve shares what he believes to be the five pillars of discipline: Acceptance, Willpower, Hard Work, Industry, and Persistence. After an introductory post, he has a post for each of the five pillars. The posts are inspiring, but after reading the series, I felt like I had read about 6 different topics (self-discipline and the five pillars). He also argues that self-discipline can be developed through hard work.

Study Hacks post on research re: self discipline

I like this post because it links to research about self discipline (I love research!). Much of the post is devoted to exploring the idea that motivation has a lot to do with willpower and self discipline.

Summary

Self-discipline is definitely helpful for getting things done. And getting things done is usually necessary for success.

However, self-discipline is no fun without motivation behind it. I’m working on being more self disciplined, but I don’t want to become a productivity robot. So now I’m interested in studying motivation, particularly as it interacts with discipline.

Jan

Leo Babauta’s New Year’s Challenge may be just what you need to achieve your goals. Be sure to check out the other resources on his website, too! I hope to read his new book Power of Less soon, and I enjoy reading his blog.

His New Year’s challenge involves picking one new habit, and committing to practice that habit 10 minutes each day, for thirty days. Visit here to get the details.

Jan

I’ve told several people about my amazing measuring cup, so I thought I should share the joy with everyone (everyone who reads my blog, anyway!).

I really, really like my Oxo measuring cup. What makes it so special? Instead of having measuring markings on the side, this cup has measurements on an angled piece of plastic inside of the cup. This means that you can see the measurements while you’re pouring liquid, without breaking your neck to look at the side of the cup.

As measuring cups go, I think this one is a little expensive, but the convenience factor is definitely worth it.

This measuring cup makes a great gift. I know, because I was delighted when my sister-in-law gave it to me. I wanted to give one to my mom, but someone else beat me to it.  So, if you’re thinking about giving one to your mom for Christmas, you’d better change your mind and give it to her for Valentine’s Day, before everyone else beats you to it. If you fill it with chocolate, I’m sure she’ll love it.

And no, OXO did not pay me for this post. I just really like this measuring cup.

Dec

If you like scrapbooking, you’ll love the free desktop for December on the Shabby Princess blog.

Nov

Welcome to the 4th, and probably last part in my series about my favorite websites for saving money.

Today I would like to talk about two websites that remind me not to buy at all. But first, some thoughts on not buying.

As I have delved deeper into the realms of bargain shopping, I have to remind myself that a sale is never a good deal if I don’t need to purchase the item in the first place. An example: I am hoping (soon!) to clean out our books. We have four tall bookcases and one short bookcase, all crammed with books. Approximately one-third of our books were purchased on sale. We have books that we will never read, but we bought them because they cost 50 cents or a dollar each. We thought that someday, we might read them, and now we have more books than we can fit on our shelves.

Those $1 books were not a good deal if I never use them.

So on that note, one of my new favorite blogs is Unclutterer. The constant reminders to clean out, get rid of stuff, and keep it simple = constant reminders to quit buying stuff. It is good for me.

One of my other favorite blogs is Get Rich Slowly. I like this blog because J.D. is a real person who researches stuff and applies it in real life. It is authentic and practical. And, J.D. often reminds readers not to buy stuff they don’t need. Like me, he sometimes struggles with urges to buy stuff just because he likes it. For him it is comic books. For me it is (usually) clothes. For you it may be something else. That is why a blog feed that regularly reminds you not to buy is a good thing.

Unclutterer and Get Rich Slowly do that for me, but I’m sure there are lots of other good blogs and websites out there on this topic. What is your favorite?

If you enjoyed this post, check out my other posts about money-saving websites:

Part 1: Comparison Shopping

Part 2: Discounts

Part 3: Buying Used

Nov

I like this summary of the voting process from Jessica at Indexed.

Click to see the full size image.

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Nov

Last week I started a series about my favorite websites for saving money. So far I’ve talked about sites that help you comparison shop, and sites that help you get discounts. Today, I list my favorite spots to find used stuff.

Buying Used

Of course, you can often buy used items on eBay, Half.com, or Amazon. As every penny-pinching college student knows, used textbooks work just as well as the new ones. And it’s not unusual to find exactly what you’re looking for on eBay, practically new, but substantially cheaper.

I also like to buy used items from thriftstores, yard sales, and Craigslist. I haven’t figure out how to use the internet to buy things from thriftstores, but I’ll let you know when I do.

Most of you probably already know about Craigslist, the free classifieds website. If there is a Craigslist for your area, it is a great way to find deals. You can find everything from jobs to toys, but I find it especially helpful for more expensive items like appliances or furniture.

Even if you are familiar with Craigslist already, you may not be aware of a neat feature: you can search for an item and then sign up for an RSS feed of that search. This is convenient if you are looking for something specific, but don’t have to buy it right away.

I also use my local newspaper’s online classified ads when I am looking for yard sale deals. When Tim and I got married, we wanted to furnish our house without going into debt, so we bought most of our furniture at yard sales. Every Friday we would get on the website, find all of the yard sales, and then search the yard sales for furniture. We would copy all of the interesting ones into one document. Then Tim would map them (using Google maps or some other mapping website) and put them in order by location. This may seem tedious, but it helped us avoid wasting time by getting lost or going to yard sales that did not interest us.

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If you enjoyed this post, be sure to read about my other favorite websites.

Favorite Money Saving Websites Part 1: Comparison Shopping

Favorite Money Saving Websites Part 2: Discounts

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