Jul 202015
 

In a previous post, The lure of coloring activity books for adults, I discussed what now appears to be a widespread trend among the bookstores: coloring books for adults.

“I just bought one for my wife’s birthday,” said the bookstore clerk Saturday afternoon, when he ran my credit card through the register for a copy of Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden: 20 Postcards.

Secret Garden 20 Postcards

He said that at one point his store had run low on certain titles of adult coloring books, but that publishers had finally “caught on” to the trend and bookstores everywhere are now well stocked. That certainly appeared to be true this weekend, when everywhere I looked, I saw displays of the books. I spotted them in the entryway, between the double sets of doors, on a table inside the store, and on their normal space on a bookshelf, in addition to the shelves built into the counter of the information kiosk. The store may as well have posted a billboard announcing, “Profit Leaders on Display Here.”

In any event, I was glad to pick up my little book of pre-printed post cards, simply waiting for color to be splashed on them.

Although it doesn’t cost much to purchase a coloring book and a set of 12 colored pencils, I acknowledge that for some people, their interest may wane after they color a page or two. Or, possibly, you don’t want to hand over an entire book to your kids that you think might interest them for less than a page. A good solution might be to take advantage of the many free pages you can print for yourself, beginning with the ones on this list from the Web:

A collection of adult coloring printables that continually grows can be found on Pinterest. If you search for “adult coloring therapy free inexpensive printables,” for example, here’s a screenshot of what you’ll find.

Screenshot of Pinterest printables

Let me know which sites appeal to you most. I was surprised to see how much is out there, simply waiting for your printer to take charge. In the comments below, feel free to share where you have discovered additional free coloring book printables for adults.

© 2015 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

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Jul 192015
 

One of the topics to which I keep returning on this Web site, probably because it’s a common challenge among creative people—particularly those who sell what they create—is time management. If you’re nodding your head because you can relate, read on.

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Some of the strategies I’ve described for carving out time for creativity—or for organizational tasks, for that matter—include making lists, tuning out electronic distractions such as cell phones and e-mail, rising early or staying up late, and many other strategies. You can read about these ideas here if you missed my past posts:

I’d like to suggest yet another way to manage time. Do you ask yourself where to find time to write blog posts, product descriptions, social media messages, and e-mails? What about fitting in the “making” process of your products, and honestly—the rest of your life—possibly an outside job, friends, family and neighbors? Viewed as a whole, time management of all of these areas appears to be overwhelming. But broken into mini-challenges or even small chunks of time, getting to all of the tasks on your “to do” list suddenly appears doable.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In A Simple Trick for Adding More Hours to the Day, columnist Jessica Stillman of Inc. includes a video featuring leadership coach Jason Womack, who suggests that one way to manage your time is to view it as 96 chunks of quarter-hours in a day, or 96 chunks of time x 15 minutes = 1,440 minutes, or 24 hours. Ahead of time, imagine what you can accomplish in the space of 15 minutes. Better yet, create a list ahead of time of tasks that “push the peanut forward” and only require 15 minutes to finish them. Then, when you have 15 unplanned, unexpected free minutes, choose a task from your list and finish as much as you can.

Image courtesy of Rawich at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Rawich at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Womack performed an experiment while waiting to meet with a client. He pulled out his smart phone, his electronic notebook, and a piece of paper. Then he began working through tasks. At the end of 15 minutes, he was surprised to discover he had finished nine items. Imagine how much you could get done if you used even a couple of quarter-hours in a day this way. You might not have two hours, a half-day or even a full day to devote to a detailed project, but if you can spare just a quarter-hour a day, or several of these, you’ll eventually finish what you have started.

Image courtesy of Naypong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Naypong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Stillman points out that this idea borrows a concept from the pharmaceutical industry, the concept of minimum effective dose (MED), or—according to sociologist Dr. Christine Carter, “the lowest dose of a pharmaceutical product that spurs a clinically significant change in health or well-being.” In How to Find More Than 24 Hours in a Day, Dr. Carter writes, “Unless we like feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, we need to accept that more is not necessarily better and that our go-go-go culture, left unchecked, will push us not only beyond our MED—but beyond the ‘maximum tolerated dose,’ the level at which an activity (or drug) becomes toxic and starts causing an adverse reaction.”

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The bottom line appears to be, if you want to get more done every day, you need to figure out the actual length of time you need to be effective in your home life and your work life—not the time you want to have. To me this sounds like time management is essentially about setting realistic expectations, and being able to say “no” to both others’ demands and the ones you make of yourself, when they’re “over the top.” What do you think?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

© 2015 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

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Jun 282015
 

When I was in college, one of my favorite classes was the history of the English language, which incorporated a study of etymology—the history of word origins—and involved many trips to the school library, where I pored through tomes of the Oxford English Dictionary. Much of the OED is now available online to the public for free. I still remember the musty smell of old, rare books, with their tissue-thin pages and tiny typography. Delving into these books was like following a trail: one word led to another, which in turn took you to another volume, and perhaps another. Several hours later, you wondered where the time had gone because it was all so fascinating. Decades later, when my husband and I spent time on Amelia Island off the coast of Florida, my husband was amused by (but understood) how excited I was to discover a copy of The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology.

The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology

In the spirit of fascination—and in memory of my once-upon-a-time study of the English language at Mount Mary College (now Mount Mary University) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I hope you’ll enjoy this post’s word journey, beginning with a question: Have you ever wondered where the expression, “Be mindful of your Ps and Qs,” originated?

According to Fiona McPherson, a Senior Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, in Where does the expression ‘to mind your Ps and Qs’ come from, no one really knows, but there are a lot of theories. “The concept seems reasonable enough—behaving well and not giving offence—but quite what the letters P and Q have to do with this is a little more mysterious,” writes Fiona. She points out that the Oxford English Dictionary devotes an entire entry to the subject. If you’re on your Ps and Qs, in the U.S. this means you’re on your best behavior, and if something is P and Q, it’s of the highest quality. One theory is that P stands for pint and Q stands for quart, with a landlord being reminded not to mix up these terms on a customer’s account. Another theory is that P represents a sailor’s pea coat, and Q is a queue, or pigtail. And there are many other hypotheses about the meanings of P and Q.

On the surface, the word “mindful” does not seem to have as many stories to tell. According to Merriam-Webster, being mindful means to be aware of something important. Mindfulness, in turn, according to the same dictionary, is a state of being aware. Psychology Today expands the definition of mindfulness to the following:

Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

In this context, mindfulness can be a technique, possibly meditation, which is encouraged by psychologists and psychiatrists alike to combat depression, anxiety and stress. There’s somewhat of a Buddhist tradition that ties in with this idea, too.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About 18 months ago, TIME magazine published an issue whose cover focused on the practice of mindfulness. To write the article, editor Kate Pickert took a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course originally developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979. According to The Mindful Revolution, Pickert describes how she ate a raisin mindfully, instead of mindlessly—almost meditatively, you might say. “We’re in the midst of a popular obsession with mindfulness,” she wrote, “as the secret to health and happiness—and a growing body of evidence suggests it has clear benefits.”

If you’d like to learn more about mindfulness in the context of the course, the Mindful site urges you to download an e-book called Mindful: Taking Time for What Matters. The e-book points out that mindfulness is known by other terms, depending on who practices it. For example, athletes might refer to “being in the zone,” caregivers might refer to “attention” and “empathy,” soldiers might describe “situational awareness,” and business leaders, artists and writers might speak of “flow.”

But mindfulness is also simply living in the moment, taking each day for what it is. It has become to some extent a buzzword these days, with magazines such as the Dutch publication, Flow, and Bella Grace Magazine (published by Stampington & Company) embedding mindfulness in the vision for their publications.

We dreamed of a magazine with which we could explore our love of paper,” write the editors of Flow. “A magazine of unhurried time, all about doing things differently and making new choices. Small happiness, daily life and the beauty of not always managing to be perfect. That is how Flow began. Flow is all about positive psychology, mindfulness, creativity and the beauty of imperfection.”

Flow Magazine

Today Flow released a special issue devoted to mindfulness. You can preview excerpts from this issue HERE, as well as order it.

Bella Grace’s tagline reads “Life’s a Beautiful Journey,” and its editors state, “We believe: An ordinary life can be extraordinary, there is beauty in imperfection, and that magic can be found in the everyday.” If you want to write for the magazine, the editors remind you that they believe:

  • Every cloud has a silver lining.
  • An ordinary life can be an extraordinary life.
  • There is beauty and magic to be found everywhere.
  • It’s OK to embrace imperfection.
  • Life should be lived with a full heart and open eyes.

Bella Grace Magazine

I have written previously about a current trend, The lure of coloring activity books for adults, which I believe is part of today’s focus on mindfulness. So, too, are all of the books, blogs and Web sites that teach you about Zentangle®, Zen doodling, and “tangles,” which are often variations on both techniques. The publishers of Cloth Paper Scissors, for example, just released their premiere issue of a magazine called Zen Doodle Workshop.

This premiere issue of Zen Doodle Workshop,” says the publisher, “is a magazine dedicated to the art and joy of doodling. Doodling is more than a mindless distraction you do while in a boring meeting, it’s a mindful art form with a limitless array of designs and styles that provide you with a little zen at the same time!”

Zen Doodle Workshop Magazine

Mindfulness has also arrived in the form of various “slow movements.” There’s the art of slow cooking, the art of slow stitching, and the art of slow writing, not to mention books that reflect mindfulness without calling attention to the word:

One hundred years from now, I suspect that the Oxford English Dictionary will describe the evolution of the word mindful as not only the state of being aware—and its relationship to self-actualization, creativity and well-being—but also as a source of income for the publishing industry, on whose doorstep the concept of mindfulness has squarely landed. I’m mindful, of course, that I am one of its consumers!

© 2015 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

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