Quit suckin’ lemons

No, no, I'm serious.

If you've got a "sour tooth" instead of – or worse yet in addition to – your sweet tooth, be careful. Eating that lemon slice out of your water glass or the wedge garnishing your plate throws a heavy dose of acid on the surface of your teeth which will eat away the enamel. The enamel, as you may recall from grade school, is the layer of armor your brave teeth wear to protect them from attack.

Knock off eating lemons like apples unless you like expensive prescription toothpaste and your dentist saying "well, all those painful spots may be cavities, but also use this second prescription calcium paste for a month and we'll see if we have to drill".

Lost Sock Day

Time to get your sock act together.

Get rid of all those unmated and holy soled socks.

Take the ones that you notice are always still in the drawer when you're putting away the clean socks from the laundry and donate them to charity or toss them too. If you don't wear them, don't have them taking up your space.

Does this leave you with too few socks? Then buy some! Socks work hard and wear out. Your feet deserve good padding, really.

Hate clothes shopping? Just go order some socks from Lands' End; they'll last a good long time, I find. Also, when you find some socks you really like, go back and buy another few pairs right away.

Take care of your feet and they'll be nice to you.

Dumb Hunt

Today your mission is to prowl through the house finding the Dumb Stuff.

Everyone has it, those things you keep for no explicable reason even though they add no value to your life.

The attachments you've never used for an old device you rarely use. A plastic thing that looks like it might be part of something else and therefore Important, but no one can remember what it goes to. Ten times more paperclips or rubber bands or twist ties than you've used in the last 5 years and to which you continually add more. Broken things you've been intending to fix for over a year.

Hunt down the dumb and purge it.

Set aside your short attention span

Sometimes something takes longer. Sometimes you need to mull it over for a while. (Sometimes you get the same Discardian post for a little longer than a day because it's that important).

What have you been giving less attention than it deserves?

Take some time off rushing around, slow down and focus.

If the goal in your life is not to have read as many blog posts & flipped through as many magazines & watched as many shows as time and caffeine allow – and I certainly hope it is not – then what do you want to have done with yourself? What would you like to be looking back on at the end of this year?

Go do some of that.

Discard the back-logged life

Greg Knauss is blogging again. This is good news because sometimes he makes me laugh hysterically enough to frighten passers by and sometimes he cuts right to the bone about what's really going on that I've been sweeping under my mental rug.

I've been under a lot of stress and it seems like even though I'm doing the right things to reduce it, I'm only able to make so much progress before I get that drowning feeling again. Well, like the old Boomtown Rats song  says "maybe it's because I'm sinking".

Greg pins it down in "The Back-Logged Life":

My entire life has devolved
into an endless, grinding slog through my back-log. Everything I do is
about catching up, doing the stuff I didn't get done the day before,
plowing through some other goddamned thing that needs my attention.
Ending the day without actually adding to the total aggregate is a
victory. There are times when it piles up faster than I can shovel it

And the computers are at fault, of course.  Always the computers.

The tools I use to manage information have evolved to the point
where I can abdicate the tedious process of gathering it all together
to them, and they now do a very diligent job of making sure that it's
all brought to my attention. Endlessly. Maddeningly.

Years ago, someone phoned you and
you weren't home, you missed the call and they had to try back — now,
the messages queue up in voice-mail. TV shows used to slip unwatched by
unless you were there to suck them up them in real-time — today, my
TiVo has hours of mindless crap that it's faithfully holding
for me. The Web originally required me to actually go out and do
something as quaint as visit sites to read them — these days, my feed
reader pulls down megabytes of data — a large portion of it, of
course, cat pictures — and piles it up, forever. Each of these swollen
reservoirs of data silently mocks me with my inadequacy.

Go read the whole thing, it's very good. Greg's solution is different than mine – probably more effective – but I'm not quite ready to take the radical move-it-or-lose-it approach and discard everything older than a certain date.

What I am doing is increasing the efforts I've already started – reduce the incoming stream and process that stream more quickly – while adding a new element, completion by deletion.

In Getting Things Done terms, I'm going to start dropping a lot of things which would go on my Someday/Maybe list.

Here's the rationale: that magic day when I'm all caught up on the things higher up on the list – either in priority or urgency or both – and get to this stuff will never come. I am never going to get down to the Someday/Maybe folder. What makes those things get done is they have to climb up out of that low level and catch my attention again. If they become important or urgent, they will.

Pare down. Then, later, if you're all caught up, you can add back on (or not).

So, today do some thinking about what comes into your life, creating a backlog, and decide what you can live (happier) without:
– consider cancelling your Netflix subscription and not using Tivo's recommendation feature;
– consider cancelling or reducing magazine and newspaper subscriptions – at least abandon any feeling of obligation that you have to read the whole thing;
– live with only one voicemail (I use the one on my mobile phone, so there's no blinking little light when I come home);
– consider unsubscribing from all, or most, or at least many of your email lists and feeds;
– get yourself off catalog and junk mail lists;
– don't buy books unless you're going to start reading them within the next 48 hours;
– eliminate all but 2 of the "read next" stack of books – loan 'em to someone, donate 'em to the library, sell 'em, whatever, but eliminate the nagging;
– recycle all the half-read magazines and newspapers lying around – or put them in on 48 hour warning and then recycle them;
– figure out which mail aliases and listservs you are on at work that you never have opportunity to read and then see about getting off them;
– review your to-do lists and cross off anything that is unimportant, non-urgent, and will remind you of itself later if you wind up really needing/wanting to do it.

That last one is really important:

As of today, redefine your to-do list as Things I Need To Think About This Week. If you can ignore it for a week, it either belongs on your calendar or you can just let it slip. If it matters, it will come back.

Don’t Fear The Dentist

Here's the trick: don't treat your mouth like shit and find a good dentist.

If you actually do brush at least twice a day and floss at least daily, not only will you have a nice kissable mouth, you'll have dramatically reduced risk of gum disease, cavities, and other ailments that make the dentist have to do painful things to you.

There are dentists & hygenists who know how to make the process much less painful. They do this through a mix of strong interpersonal skills, the latest equipment, good physical techniques, and genuinely caring about their patients. If your dentist doesn't seem to be on your side, find one who is. Ask friends for recommendations and when you're talking to a prospective new dentist's office, ask about how they reduce the painfulness of common procedures such as cleanings.

Personally, I recommend Dr. Perona in San Francisco. Tell him Dinah sent you.

One less pair of cruel shoes

If you have a pair of shoes that leaves your feet aching every time you wear them or, worse yet, actually damages them with blisters and contortions, get rid of those evil bastards.

There are sexy shoes that don't cause agony. Really.

There is another new pair out there that can make you as happy as those worn out ones that can't live up to their former glory (or arch support) anymore.

Take care of your feet; they work hard for you.

Are you on autopilot with your snacks?

Review the snacks you keep on hand around the house and at work. Do they help or harm your overall health goals?

I've learned that if there aren't any corn chips or soft drinks in the house and I am limited to lower fat & less sugary snacks – like fresh baby carrots, baked blue corn tortilla chips, apples, and soda water – I am just as happy and have a lot more energy.

Don't torture yourself by keeping a bunch of stuff around that you don't actually want yourself to eat. Make it easy to snack well.

Discard your hurry

Think about when & how you get places and keep your eyes open for ways to enhance the experience, even at the cost of a little extra time.

Instead of flying, have you ever taken a sleeper car on the train somewhere? It's really cool!

Could you walk that 12 blocks instead of taking a bus or a cab and get to enjoy nice weather and interesting sights?

Going on a trip for business? Can you build in a day or two at the beginning or end to explore a new city?

Instead of driving have you found out about other fun options? Is there a boat that goes there?

Build some flexibility for adventure into your life and keep a little bit of that vacation attitude year-round.