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Work (58 posts)
Inventing a dance club, actually, is more accurate. Once a month or so, office workers show up for Lunch Beat and cut loose. For an hour. Lunch Beat Stockholm's organizer, Daniel Odelstad, told USA Today, "People are sober, it's in the middle of the day and it is very short, effective and intensive. You just have to get in there and dance, because the hour ends pretty quickly." He added that the first rule of Lunch Beat is...you don't talk about Lunch Beat. Just kidding! It's "that you have to dance." Participants report that after dancing their hearts out they return to work sweaty but much more relaxed.
Pretty great, right? In case you happen to not be in Stockholm, you can gain the same relaxing benefits by checking out a Zoomba class at a nearby gym over your next lunch break, or recruiting some coworkers to bust a move in an empty conference room. It will be really fun when your boss walks in. Promise.
How to Take a Minute at Work
16 Ways to Destress the Workday
18 questions that everyone's too afraid to ask
Salma Hayek's aha! moment: Discovering my true motivation
How 4 career changers found their calling
The tale of Amelia Earheart has all the aspects of a great tragedy: a brave, unlikely heroine; the inkling that anything is possible; and of course, the lasting mystery—we still don't know why Earheart's bid to be the first woman to fly around the world failed, or what happened to her.
This June, The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery is commemorating the 75th anniversary of Earheart's flight by relaunching a search for the wreckage of her plane. Of course I hope they learn something about her fate, and I am excited to see the way the search is stirring up interest in a pioneer of women-can-do-anything-ness. But what's so compelling, to me, about Earheart, is the hugeness of her ambition. There's been a lot of talk of failure in the past few years--everyone from neuroscientists to the editors at the Harvard Business Review. As dismal as the consequences of mistakes may be (and, indeed, were for Earheart), those who follow want to know what happened, in their ongoing efforts not just to push beyond old boundaries but to see that outsize ambition eventually fulfilled, possibly even surpassed.
Read the whole article in the Christian Science Monitor to learn what politician is rallying support for the cause (and for an awesome slideshow of Earheart and other wonder women).
How Failure Can Lead to Success
Let a Failure Liberate You
"When you get a job – say [to design] an ad for a dry cleaner – many images come to mind, we all have preconceptions. My suggestion is to forget every image that comes to mind, forget everything you know about dry-cleaning.
"Instead of sitting at your computer, and looking at books, go to a dry cleaner, and sit there. The way to get an interesting idea is to go to the source. Stay there until you have thought of something interesting about dry-cleaning. Then, listen to that idea and it will design itself."
This, from Bob Gill, creative industry great and co-founder of D&AD, a British educational organization that celebrates excellence in design and advertising. Good timing too, this advice coming at the brink of spring. You have our permission to tell your boss: "Sorry, I was trying to have a brilliant idea so I just had to get outside this afternoon and go straight to the source."
Some of us (ok, I mean me) totally fetishize the elderly. I'm always nudging grandmothers for stories about their youths, seeing in a grouchy senior citizen's frown a lifetime of hardwon wisdom. I seek out antique rings and vintage old-lady handbags, and my husband and I have puzzled our extended family by actually wanting the art deco bedroom set his grandparents bought when they were first married. ("But...it's really old! We were going to throw it out!") So I was extra excited to peruse the excellent new The Real Rosie the Riveter project. Videos of elderly women reminiscing about their nontraditional youths? I'm all over that like cold cream on a septuagenarian's cheeks.
In this project, Spargel Productions and New York University’s Tamiment Library teamed up to interview dozens of women who found themselves taking on traditionally male work during World War II. The women describe the unexpected turns their lives took when they began working outside of the home in defense factories. Then they flex their muscles and proclaim that they are women, we should hear them roar, and that being called upon to do men's work infinitely opened up the possibilities their lives offered. Well, maybe not. Actually, while the women are good-humored and insightful, they by and large seem pretty matter-of-fact about the direction their lives took. They were called upon to do something extraordinary, to leave their comfort zones and work in ways they'd never imagined. Factories jobs weren'tt always pleasant but as one of the women interviewed, Esther Horne, said, "You felt you were doing it for the war."
Rosie the Riveter.
Life Lessons from Borrowed Grandparents
What Scares Women About Growing Older
So I can't say I'm surprised by the findings of Real Simple's study, which reports that women don't have enough free time. What's more, according to the survey "women who set aside regular free time are ultimately more satisfied with their lives." As Real Simple editor Kristin van Ogtrop put it, "There is a startling connection between scheduling free time and happiness–and an equally startling connection between the ability to delegate and happiness."
That's right, it's not actually that aliens come and steal hours from your afternoon (as I've sometimes suspected), but apparently much of this time pressure we feel is actually our own fault. Mediabistro's Fish Bowl blog has a great run-down of the survey's takeaways, but what really struck me was that most often women limited their own free time by not delegating and not being able to let go of control. It's that old "well I could ask him to clean the kitchen but it won't get done right so FINE, I'LL JUST DO IT." Mediabistro reports that, discussing the study, ABC News Correspondent Claire Shipman noted "girls are often raised to be perfect, because we’re able to be perfect (duh!), but at what price? She says women often lose their ability to be in the moment and just enjoy life. So now she focuses on being good enough. She doesn’t worry about being perfect at work or parenting. She recommended that women stop dwelling on things that don’t really matter."
Another time-sucking culprit? Constant interruptions. Work flows into home, home flows into work, a lunch date is punctuated by texts, and in the end we forget to be present enough in the thing that we are doing to enjoy it. We must remember, for the sake of our daughters if not ourselves, to make time for ourselves, to stop sweating the small stuff, to release ourselves from perfection. We must Be Here Now, in the words of that hippie book my parents always had lying around. A book you could read, if you made some free time for it.
She writes: "I saved favorite emails, accolades and a handful of pictures from my work at my desk. When I hit a really difficult day, I'd sift through that. While it couldn't erase an error or a loss, it boosted my spirits and helped get me back onto a productive track." While the idea was originally to have this Feel-Good File at work, she now has one at home too—brilliantly stowed in that usually-uninspiring-place, the laundry room—full of her running medals, photos of family and friends, meaningful letters and awards from work. She writes that taking a moment to look through this file helps her to "bolster my own spirit and keep myself from getting derailed."
Why not set up your own Feel-Good File?
9 images guaranteed to lift your spirits
6 reasons to smile right now
We can all say "I don't have time for that" all we want, but in the end, do we have time not to learn something new? Hey, I want to make origami bird thingies! I want to pick up ordering in Spanish! Most of all, I want to regain that "I can't wait to get back to my new project" feeling that's so energizing and exciting. You know what I want to learn about first? Don't laugh—it's crock pot cooking.
Make your life sparkle! Master something new.
Why it's important to be a lifelong learner.
Well, not so Benjamin Franklin. Not only did he have much cooler hair and glasses than I do, not only did he invent bifocals, the lightning rod, the odometer, and, like, the United States of America when to date I have invented exactly, hm, nothing, but old Ben had a daily plan. I guess that's how big thinkers work. His daily schedule is enlightening—structured, but not too—and I dare say we could all learn a thing or two from it.
I very much enjoy the break in the middle of the day to read over lunch, and the exhortation to spend part of each evening putting "things in their places." I imagine a harried Ben scurrying around putting away kids' toys and unpacking the diaper bag, you know, so to speak. And I especially love the morning question— "What good shall I do this day?"—and the evening question— "What good have I done today?" This is the kind of checking-in most of us don't do enough in our daily lives. Not just, How will I check all the to-do's off my to-do list? But, What good shall I do? And not just, Let me go over all the things I didn't get to today, but I must have done something good today. Let me take a moment to reflect on it.
The Creative Commandments of Henry Miller
Schedule Tweaks for Simplified Mornings
From a cuisine standpoint, a mission to the red planet—estimated to take three years, much longer than the typical one- or two-week trip to the moon—poses unique challenges. Most of the prepackaged foods on which astronauts have long relied can spoil in half that time. Cooper, who studied chemical engineering at Texas A&M University, helped develop organic snacks for Frito-Lay before becoming a contractor for NASA. There, she researches the costs, benefits and risks of extraterrestrial farms on which astronauts may someday grow food during extended exploratory missions.