Weekly Reads: Back to Work Edition

Alright — the New Year is upon us, which means it’s time to get back at it. Some of you probably have already been back at work for a day (or more), but my first day back will be Monday. I’m interested to see what kind of things will have piled up — a two week vacation normally would see quite a pile accumulate, but the school was closed for most of that time period so all bets are off.

On the plus side, having an extra few days off has helped me almost fend off this cold, as well as gave me a chance to catch up on a bunch of reading — as evidenced by the somewhat more lengthy list of links this week.

If you would like to pass on anything you think I might be interested in, post the link as a comment to this thread! I’m always looking for new things to explore. Note that comments on this site are moderated, especially if they contain links, so if it doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry!

Made Me Think

2009 Focus – Intimate Relationships and Polyamorous Relationship Q&A (from Personal Development for Smart People). If you’re afraid of a little controversy, don’t like thinking outside of social norms, or want everyone to live “normally”, you probably gave up on Steve Pavlina long ago. But if you haven’t already, there’s a lot of things in these two posts to get you thinking. Since the beginning of the New Year, Steve’s been spending some time on his blog explaining his next direction in personal growth: in the area of relationships. I know I’ll be watching and reading.

Bathtubs, Lightening Bolts, and the Myth of Writer’s Block (from Copyblogger). I think I’ve read about a thousand posts, articles and books about how to get past writer’s block (and other creative blocks) by “just doing it”. This is the first one that has gone so far as to call Writer’s Block a myth, though. And I think it’s an accurate description — if we say that we can “get past” writer’s block, we’re still acknowledging that it exists (and thereby giving it power over us). If you instead just get down to work instead of worrying about the block, you’d be much better off.

Why Mood Boards Matter (from Web Designer Depot). I have a confession to make. When I feel like turning my brain off and just watch some TV, one of the first places I’ll go is the design shows on HGTV. I’ve jealously seen how interior and exterior designers can pull together mood boards that just. look. fabulous. But the idea of using mood boards for other types of design (like websites)? This article was a “duh” moment for me — it’s a great idea, not only from the designer’s perspective but also from the clients’.

The Best of Get Rich Slowly (2008 Edition) (from Get Rich Slowly). Of all the year-end round-ups that I read, this one was my favorite. J.D. is one of my favorite bloggers — not only because he’s a great personal finance blogger, but because he always finds a way to tie it in to the bigger pictures. His annual round-up reflects that, and I highly recommend clicking through and reading his featured articles

Related Reading

Maybe it’s not so surprising, but there were a whole lot of posts on setting goals rather than resolutions for this New Year’s. I guess great minds do think alike! Here’s a link to some of the ones that I came across; I won’t give them each a whole lot of description since many of the ideas are repeated throughout. But each one brings a unique and slightly different perspective on the subject.

  1. What Will You Learn This Year? (from The Simple Dollar) — this is my favorite one of the lot. What a great approach!
  2. Why You Should Do New Year’s Resolutions All Year Round (but don’t call them that) (from Retire At 40)
  3. New Year’s Resolutions? Not Me! (from Early Retirement Extreme)
  4. How to Be Damned Serious About Your New Year’s Goals (from Rock Your Day)
  5. And of course, Never Set Another Resolution, Again and It’s Not About Self-Discipline: 10 Tips for Reaching Your Goals from yours truly

Also, related to my article on our frugal Christmas party, The Simple Dollar described how they frugally celebrated the New Year — more great ideas, and even a controversy about the ethics of BYOB which broke out in the comments!

Sententia’s Best Of 2008?

The last week it seems as though every website that I follow has had at least one post dedicated to their year in review (be it personal or site related). I debated writing a best-of for Sententia, but it feels a little goofy when you consider that I’ve only been actively writing since the beginning of December!

That being said, 2008 did leave me a lot to be grateful for, both on the site and off. So here’s some of my “best of 2008” moments, in case you care :-)

  • A new job in higher education where I have a chance to grow and learn, both professionally and personally. I work in a hugely supportive environment, with great co-workers, and I’ve already had a chance to take on leadership roles which have been both challenging and rewarding.
  • Learning a tonne. At home, if I had to identify the one area that I’ve learned most about this year, it would be about money and finances. I was always pretty good with money; I graduated two university degrees without debt, have always paid off my credit card every month, always spent less than I earned, and put money away. But this year, I pushed myself to learn about things like frugality, basic investing theory and most excitingly, financial independance. Careful planning allowed J and I to purchase our first home in August, while still making major contributions to our short- and long-term savings.  The two most valuable books I read on PF this year are the two classics: Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century (I read the previous edition), and The Four Pillars of Investing: Lessons for Building a Winning Portfolio.
  • But even more importantly, I’ve had a chance to learn more about myself. This year, I learned to be comfortable being a scanner and embracing all of my wide interests. For example, I got to work on a marketing project, communications officer, lead designer, specialist, consultant and more; talk about perfect opportunity. Embracing my “scanner-ness” is also what led me back to Sententia…
  • And of course, most recently, the relaunch of Sententia has been pretty exciting. In the month since the official relaunch in early December, nearly 200 people have encountered the site and read some of my musings. Those numbers may not be huge in the world of blogging, but I’m not after huge numbers — all I care about is having a chance to share with you all. So with that in mind, here’s a quick highlight of my top 3 favorite posts of 2008:

How about you — what was your “best of 2008”?