Be kind with yourself this week

Avoid clothes that are too tight or itch. Eat foods that leave you feeling good, not turbulent inside. Surround yourself with silence or soft, pleasant sounds whenever possible.

Create room around yourself to raise hunched shoulders, to breathe deep.

Let all that touches you be by your consent and invitation.

Make space in your world for your best, kindest, most peaceful self.


You have permission not to do everything.

“I know I’ve got more on my list than I could ever do, but I just can’t seem to keep up with it.”

Think about that sentence. Most of us say something like that to ourselves or a friend at some point—and most of the time when we do, we don’t notice the inconsistency at all. However, if we fully accept the truth that our to-do lists are bigger than our availability, we must stop beating ourselves up for failing to achieve the impossible.

September’s Discardia holiday is a reminder to practice Quality over Quantity and is a good time to revisit the expectations you’ve been setting. One of the best ways to manage stress is to manage your agreements with others and, especially, with yourself, so take a little time to think about those agreements.

That’s what your ‘to-do list’—whether you keep the things on it in your head or written down—really is: a list of everything you’d need to do if you wanted to fulfill all the things you’ve said 'yes' to. It represents agreement in its broadest sense, whether a commitment to another person or an internal affirmation of something you desire.

Being excited about things, working on them with others, doing the hard work to achieve progress, these are all valuable and can be highly motivating. But try to do too many at the same time and the effect will be negative. Fewer will be completed, with your work and the satisfaction you derive from it being less than it would be when you’re not overstretched.

I’m not necessarily recommending saying 'yes' less often. You can have as big a list of things you’d like to do as your heart and head can dream up, but the only way for that not to be a burden is to let go of the expectation that everything on the list is active right now. Become comfortable with the idea of inactive projects. They aren’t failures; they’re just not in play at the moment.

This isn’t as hard as it might seem. You have lots of practice with doing this in other areas of your life. Think about the music you like; you don’t listen to it all at the same time. You may not even listen to all the genres you enjoy every single week, yet that doesn’t create stress.

Start approaching your list of projects a little more like a D.J. What’s the right mix for here and now? Is there anything my audience will miss if I don’t get it out there? What will keep my energy up?

When to buy a book

Only get it when

– you'll read it at least 5 times.

– it's a reference book you'll use a lot.

– you need it under a time constraint (i.e. now) or must have it longer than the loan period at the library.

– you're planning to damage it during use (e.g. flour-filled baking books, workbooks, bathtub reading material).

– you plan to donate it to the library.

– to support the author.

Otherwise, use the library!

The Hundred Dollar Christmas

Try this: spend $100 or less on holiday gifts this year. I think you'll find you can achieve a more rewarding holiday season by not making the silly assumption that the pleasure you cause and appreciation you demonstrate is directly related to the pain of subsequent credit card debt.

Here’s the bottom line: we have so much stuff that a pile of presents is no longer exciting, no longer novel. [Read more of this post from Bill McKibben]

What you may be really surprised to find is how little you miss the old way of doing things. My family gave up the gift thing in favor of just stockings a few years back and the holidays for us are now a relaxed, warm time to hang out together and share cool stuff like foods & music & books & movies we've discovered over the past year. A lot of the time we even just enjoy being together each doing our own things and occasionally piping up with good lines from books or a pretty new image found on Flickr. No big production, no big expectations, no comparing your stack against someone else's; just good company and tasty things to eat and the absence of obligation.

Anti-aggravation Week #2: Make ’em Fix It

Renters, call your landlord and report that broken stuff they're supposed to keep working.

Home-owners and those with more strict lease agreements, bring in a pro and just get the most irritating home flaw taken care of.

You deserve to live without dripping faucets, broken doorbells, dead stove burners, holes in walls, and similar nonsense.

Discard blinders and a memory that only works in the very short term

So we're going to hang Saddam Hussein. That'll clearly solve everything.

Now I'm not saying he isn't guilty of war crimes, but where did he get his tools of death? Who was backing him when all this went down in the 1980s?

The United States of America. The United Kingdom.

Remember those old pictures of him shaking Rumsfeld's hand?

Read Robert Fisk's November 6th essay in the Independent, and then ask yourself this:

"Who are we allowing the sales of weapons & deadly biological agents to today and who are they killing with them?"

We must hold our governments and our corporations accountable for their actions because as far as the rest of the world and history are concerned, we are accountable for what we permit.

The Qualified Yes

Here's a great tip from Merlin Mann's 43 Folders that I somehow missed at the time. Instead of an outright No answer, you might be able to give a qualified Yes. As in "Yes, I'll post 365 Discardian tips this year, but every now and then one might come up late and I totally reserve the right to provide more than a few tips that are just links to someone else being clever."

Optimizing your game time

Some of us like to relax with games on the computer or video gaming systems. Unless you're blessed with as much free time as you want and don't have anything else on your list you'd rather get done, you might want to limit the amount of time you spend distracted in these alternate worlds.

Here's a simple suggestion from D. Keith Robinson:

Play on an easier setting than you might otherwise.

Yes, okay, maybe you aren't challenging yourself properly, but really, what's your goal here? To become better at this particular game or to relax and have fun? Weigh the satisfaction you achieve after 30 minutes at easy vs. hard and go for that which leaves you jolliest.

It's just like tossing a ball around in the yard instead of suiting up for a regulation football game; who cares if you aren't playing it the tough way? Don't you get enough tough elsewhere in your life?

Don’t live in overdrive

There is a terrible pressure to stay in high gear at all times in today's culture. There's a hidden message that with enough caffeine you should be able to go go go all day and night.


Of course you can't run your metaphorical engine in the red nonstop any more than you can any real motor. You've got a certain capacity, which you most definitely should exercise the fullest quite often, but slow down and recover afterwards.

There are things we fundamentally need to stay happy and healthy and wise.




When that little voice in your head is saying "Too much!", be sure to build a rest into your schedule as soon as possible. If there's a crisis, you might need to make it a shorter rest, but there is always a way to take a few moments to step out of the noise, look out to the distance, breathe and rest your mind.

When that moment comes that you can't take the longer break you need, at least schedule it. Plan to use a vacation day, give your regrets for that social obligation that was going to take up all of Saturday, skip the TV tonight and go to bed early.

It's really truly definitely okay that you can't Do It All all the time.