Evernote or OneNote?

I’ve used Evernote for years, paying for the personal version while I was working. Its main competitor is Microsoft OneNote, which I’ve never really got on with.

Since retirement I’ve been using the free version of Evernote and I thought I’d switch to OneNote which comes with our Microsoft 365 yearly subscription, but I just couldn’t get it to work for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great notebook program, it simply didn’t scratch where I itch.

This pushed me back to Evernote, and eventually to the personal pay version to unlock many of its useful features. It’s brilliant, I use it for everything from household business to planning and drafting my WordPress blog.

Both have excellent features, both synchronise to all devices, both are useful; but which do you use?

Overcoming Winter Fatigue

It’s easy to feel exhausted in January, not least because of post-Christmas lethargy, the chilly weather, and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. So, if you’re suffering from winter weariness, then this post is for you. Here are some tips I’ve picked up to help get your energy back and defeat winter fatigue.

  • Throw your curtains open as soon as you wake up and get as much light as you can during the day, as this will help you sleep and recharge. Also, get out in the open air as much as possible during the daylight hours.
  • Do the things that bring you joy, because the lack of positive vibes adds to stress and tiredness. Be as sociable as possible because isolation can also cause you to feel tired. Do what makes you smile, laugh, or simply feel good.
  • Be careful what you eat. Carbohydrates and sugar make you feel less lively and lead to fluctuating sugar and energy levels. Eat plenty of heathy foods and avoid fatty food during the evening as these interfere with sleep. Consider food supplements and vitamins, see here. An alcoholic nightcap might seem tempting, but this can interfere with sleep quality causing early waking.
  • Find your exercise sweet spot, do what you can and not what you can’t. Exercise is always beneficial, but beware overdoing it and making yourself more tired. Be sensitive to your body.

Other things that can help are staying hydrated, taking time to do breathing exercises (apps are available), and keeping a gratitude journal. All these things can help calm our minds, promote a positive mood, and enhance motivation.

We live in challenging times, but these are things we can do to help us cope.

This might save your life!

This is a simple life hack that might save your life one day, I found it on Facebook.

If you’re ever lost miles from anywhere or stranded with a broken-down car (for example) and your mobile phone is low on battery, do this before it dies completely – provided you have a signal.

Change your voicemail to a message that gives your approximate location, time, date, situation, along with any specific information about your intentions. When someone calls you, they will hear the message and take appropriate action.

You’re welcome!

Note: a useful app for giving your location is what3words

Saying ‘NO’

It’s not always easy to say no, but often it’s essential to retain the balance of our everyday mental health. People will make demands of us, asking for this or that. They’ll ask nicely and this makes it difficult to refuse their reasonable requests, because we all want to be liked. Often people’s requests for your time or expertise can flatter, and this also makes it difficult to say no.

But we can’t say yes to everything or everyone without losing our own equilibrium. We can only help others when we look after ourselves. I want to be there for my family and friends, but to do that I have to be there for myself. An empty vessel has nothing to give. It’s not selfish, it’s inherent to human life.

One danger is when you say yes to those with the loudest requests and feel bad afterwards. Then you’re not able to spend time with those who you want spend time with, or with those who might benefit more but are less inclined to ask. Learn when to say no and when to say yes. Saying no to loud people gives you the resources to say yes to important opportunities.

Also beware of ‘distant elephants’ – saying yes to something next year that you wouldn’t say yes to if it was next week. It’s still an elephant when the time arrives, even if it appears small now!

Remember, you can say no with respect, you can say no promptly, and you can say no with a lead to someone else who might say yes. Saying yes because you can’t bear the short-term pain of saying no is not going to help you or others.

Don’t make negative resolutions!

A lot of resolutions are framed as negatives. For example, your goal might be to reach a certain weight, but the focus is then on the loss of weight, rather than the gain of health and fitness. Another resolution could be to stop being so late for things, but it might be more effective to think of it as starting to be on time more often. Source

Don’t set yourself up for failure, make positive resolutions.

Another helpful tip is to break long-term goals down into smaller ones. For example, don’t set a resolution to run a marathon if you’ve never run in your life, even though it can be done. Break it down into smaller chunks, think about running 5km first.

Let’s all have a happy and positive new year!

A Momentous Decision

Today (25 June 2021) I made the momentous decision NOT to buy a physical diary for 2022, totally switching to an electronic one (Google Calendar) – one that I can access on my laptop or smartphone.

For many years I’ve used both analogue and digital diaries, focussing on the strengths of each format. I especially enjoyed the tactile pleasure of touching and using a quality Moleskine diary.

But the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 meant that many people ended the year with many empty pages in their paper diaries. For me, it also coincided with my retirement, and so the connection with a physical diary loosened somewhat.

This year, much as I love my Moleskine diary, using it is not coming as naturally as before, almost becoming a chore sometimes. So I made the sad decision to switch completely, sorry Moleskine! At least my bank balance will be a little healthier, it was a small luxury I allowed myself. At least I can still use their wonderful notebooks, I can’t see myself NOT using them!

Grounding Exercise

This grounding exercise is really helpful if you’re anxious or feeling overwhelmed by life. It can be used to keep you alert, to return to the present after some fantasy or imaging, or as a way of dealing with negative experiences.

Sit upright in a supportive chair, and take a few deep breaths.

  • Become aware of the soles of your feet in contact with the floor.
  • Guide your attention to the chair, feel it touching your body.
  • Tell yourself, ‘I am safe, and no harm is happening to me’.
  • Become aware of what you hear around you, continuing to feel your feet in contact with the floor.
  • Become aware of what you see around you that is pleasant and interesting.
  • Remind yourself that you are safe, and stay aware of your feet on the ground.

Now, move your focus to what is happening in your body. Remain aware of your feet on the ground, and remind yourself that you are safe.

  • Become aware of any tension in your body.
  • Become aware of any emotions related to that tension.
  • Still feel the soles of your feet on the ground, remember you are safe.

Finally, move your awareness to the most relaxed place in your body and remain in your chair for as long as you need. You then might like to move into a more comfortable place and listen to some relaxing music.

Note: Breathing apps can also be helpful, see here.

Overdependent on technology?

As a total technophile, I’ve been reflecting recently on whether we’ve become overdependent on it in our interdependent world.

Technology seems to have taken over all aspects of our lives. Yes, it brings huge benefits, but what happens when it fails on a huge scale? Also, what about those who are left behind, unable to access or use it?

Technology in my first appointment as a Salvation Army Officer (Bideford 1980) comprised a portable typewriter (Cc meant carbon paper copy), a duplicator, a landline telephone, and snail mail. Oh, and a big black book for finance. Those were the days!

I’m not sure I want to go back to those days, but they were simpler times. I love technology, and (now retired) there were many aspects of technology I was highly delighted to say goodbye to!

Six reasons to let it go

Are you trying to decide if you should keep or get rid of something?
These are six reasons to trash, recycle, sell, or donate an object:

  1. You don’t use it, love it, need it, or want it.
  2. It’s broken, busted, damaged, or destroyed and you haven’t fixed it in six months or more.
  3. You have multiples of the same thing, and the other one is vastly superior in quality.
  4. It’s expired.
  5. You don’t have anywhere to store it.
  6. It doesn’t fit in the life you desire.

Note: I copied this a while back, but can’t find the source. If I do, I’ll link to it.