Pile Patrol

Today review the biggest pile of papers & miscellaneous crap in your way at home. The critical part here is in your way. I'm not talking about the workbench in the garage, I mean that pile of mail, magazines and CDs on the kitchen counter blocking your ability to make a nice peanut butter & jelly sandwich.

You may not be able to get it all dealt with today, but at least recycle or trash the junk, handle the urgent stuff (Any unpaid bills buried in there?), and move the rest to more appropriate homes.

Make a game!

Have you ever tried to make up a game? It's fun! Though it can take a bit of playing it and tweaking the rules to get a game that has good play balance, the more games you try making, the better you'll get at it.

Break out paper, pencils, crayons, dice, cards, pieces from other games, anything you think might be good ingredients for your creativity. Think about aspects of games you enjoy and work those in. Get your friends and family to help improve it.

I just came up with a game that uses pennies, 6 index cards, and a 12-sided die. It's called 72 Penny Opera. Give it a try and tell me what you think!

(Further sources of inspiration: Cheapass Games, 1000 Blank White Cards)

Do you really like mass-produced media best?

Corporate-produced entertainment costs money, usually involves advertising, and frequently leaves one unsatisfied.

Tonight, make your own. Write, sing, play instruments, take pictures, make movies… whatever you feel like. Share it with a friend or a lot of friends.

There are lots of free ways to share things online, but maybe tonight is perfect for a jam session with some pals, having a cup of coffee with a writing buddy, or letting your kids cast you in their new theatrical production.

Go, do, make!

Diversify your habit portfolio

How do you spend most of your day? Are you building some opposites into your free time to keep yourself balanced?

If you're getting where you want to be, your day includes lots of things you enjoy and are good at, so that doesn't mean you should be excluding those activities from your non-work life, but everyone should remember to stretch out into their full spectrum.

Think about your days and what might be under-emphasized in your life.

I'm a software product manager so I spend my workday in email, browsers, instant messenger, one-on-one conversations in my cube explaining software functionality, team meetings, and the occasional presentation to a large group.

What's missing? Being outside. Not sitting. Being away from the Web. Handling physical objects, even paper (other than to-do lists, I mean). Playing. Activities that do not have deadlines. Mental rest. Being aware of my body. Creating something completely under my control. Reading for pleasure. Writing for pleasure.

Right now spend an hour doing something to celebrate your whole self. And listen to your heart, not social norms, when you decide what you most want to do. Play with Legos, break out the crayons and color, start up that D&D campaign, practice some skateboard tricks, launch a kickball league, anything that makes you grin.

Get inspired

Home projects don't have to be hard or huge. You can find great ideas on sites like Megan's Not Martha. Check out the places she links to and her own projects in her "how to make stuff" section.

You can often find useful help on Flickr. Try searching for the topic you're interested as tags. For example, you can find a tutorial on how to make paper which is tagged howto, papermaking, paper, craft and art. The howto tag is a good one to look for, along with tutorial and diy (Do It Yourself).

Here's another fun one: How To Make a Photocomic.

Really a beginner? Warm up with How To Enjoy Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

Everybody knows how to do something, so get out that camera and make your own tutorials!

Discard passivity! It’s maker week at Discardian

Don't just consume some corporate product; make! And support your fellow makers!

I went to the Maker Faire this weekend and it was wonderful to see the range of things that people are doing because it pleases them to do so. Science, crafts, art, general geekery and personal passion everywhere you look. Check out the list of makers and descriptions of their projects – such a fun variety!

What interests you? Look around tonight and think over those projects you started but never finished or always wanted to do.

Instead of turning on the tv or otherwise blobbing out after work this week, work in some creative time to tinker.

Give yourself space – physical, mental and chronological – to play. Life deserves joy and passion and simple pleasures.

Go ahead. Make a forest out of legos, create your own stenciled t-shirt, learn backyard rocketry, turn an old book cover into a clutch purse. Whatever – just do something for the pleasure of doing it and learning how it works.

When it’s over, it’s over.

Take an hour or two for yourself today. Take a walk or close the door and relax in private at home. The important part is to create some solitude to think a bit.

What are you hanging onto that you should let go of?

What emotion do you keep stoking the coals of out of habit, but really are ready to move on from?

Is it time to stop grieving and resume living? Time to abandon chewing the bones of that old grudge? Time to move on from longing for someone who isn't the one for you? Time to quit swallowing your pain and cutting someone far too much slack for the hurt they cause you?

Meditate on where you spend your emotional energy and what kind of life that is giving you. If it's not the life you want, start changing it.

Right now. Today. Just change your direction and step towards where you want to be.

Keep it real

If you're doing something that espouses a particular philosophy, such as producing a magazine about living more simply, don't take on advertising in direct opposition to that philosophy, such as having the entire back page of your magazine be an ad for a Hummer.

(Yes, we thought they were a bit hypocritical before, but the current issue of Real Simple drives the nail in the coffin of their credibility. Lame, guys, very very lame.)