5 Things I Learned in February

T-Rex in a Snuggie

TMIL (This month I learned)! You thought I forgot about this, didn’t you? What with March already being a almost half-over? A-ha, nope! The draft’s just been sitting idle for, oh, a week?

1. Toggl for Time Management

I know this puts me at risk for sounding anal-retentive* but I like tracking how I spend my time. I’ve practiced time tracking on-and-off since high school, scribbling down near-illegible notes about hours and activities (7- 7:30 – blogged TMIL). For me, it’s less about productivity and more about being mindful of what I’m doing — the former just happens to follow the latter (sometimes).

This month, I started using Toggl, and it’s totally changed how I monitor my time. I now work a job that requires me to report hours spent on different projects, and my manual method became too tedious. Toggl is the next best thing, if not better. It’s so easy and always handy on mobile or desktop (plus, it syncs). I’ve even started using it to track time spent on my creative and personal pursuits outside of work. The problem with a lot of other so-called “productivity tools” is that they focus too much on time planning. Scheduling, to-do lists, deadlines, blah blah. Toggl is purely about tracking, which better suits my style, whims, and fancies.

*Related TMIL: Not everyone knows what “anal-retentive” means, and so it’s probably best not to casually use the phrase in a professional setting. Oops!

2. How to remember dreams (better)

This month (or, last month?) I remembered my dreams eight nights in a row. That’s a new record, I think. And okay, maybe this title is misleading because I’m not exactly sure how or why this happened, but there are a few contributing factors. For one, I was going to bed a half hour earlier. Secondly, I was feeling a bit sick, fighting off a cold (hence the going to bed earlier). Third, I recorded my dreams every morning, making it a habit. So some delicate combination of those factors made for a good formula. Guess what broke the streak? Going to bed and waking up at an unusual time (I’m bad at the whole “sleep schedule” thing, surprising for someone who gets excited about time tracking apps).

3. zelda fitzgerald died in a fire

Maybe that’s too specific, but it’s something that I did not know previously, and now I do. I actually learned a lot about Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald (or Scotty Fitz, as I like to call him) this month. Not only did I read Superzelda: The Graphic Life of Zelda Fitzgerald, but F. Scott’s writing routine was featured in Process: The Writing Lives of Great Authors.

4. What to do when you can’t get cash for THE laundromat

You kick something. Except no, kicking things is not productive. This should really say: “This month I learned, the hard way, to always keep some emergency cash somewhere, in the unlikely event that I have a load of laundry in my car, it’s dark and pouring rain, and my only method of getting cash for laundromat quarters isn’t available.” It’s fine. It worked out.

5. Library COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT services

Hey, I never said my TMIL’s can’t relate to my day job. The awesome thing about copywriting is that you get to dive deep into a topic you knew maybe knew next-to-nothing about. Like library services, for example. I’m not a librarian (though I’ve been assumed to be one on more than one occasion — must be the glasses?). But I love books. I love libraries. And now, thanks to a copywriting project I’m on, I get to learn all about tools and solutions that make librarians’ jobs easier. Which means I’ve had to give myself a crash course in what exactly librarians do — from book selection to collection management.

P.S. I have no idea what to put for a featured image on this post, so I just put a t-rex in a Snuggie. ¿Por qué? ¡Por qué no!

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