Out-of-office emails, blog posts…

I’m going to be taking a little break from blogging, potentially for the next two weeks. I’ll try to pop in with the Best of Both Worlds Tuesday posts, since we have some great episodes coming up, though the posts might not be posted on Tuesday. I can write them ahead of time, but I wait to post until we have the live Apple podcast links… Anyway, it will all go up eventually.

In the meantime, I realized I’ve never actually set an out-of-office response on my email. I’m not sure if anyone’s ever needed immediate service from my little business, and there haven’t been too many situations where I’ve been away from email more than about 48 hours. There was that trip to Morocco in early 2011. I thought I would have some email access but I really just didn’t. Oh well. When I waded through my inbox afterwards, there was a media request I missed that I probably would have responded to otherwise but that ship sailed. Perhaps I missed some fabulous opportunity back in early 2011. I guess we’ll never know!

Anyway, my Medium column this week looks at “The Serendipity Paradox — or How to Plan to Make More Luck Possible.” This is one of my favorite topics. Serendipity means chance good things happening. You can’t plan serendipity because the definition requires chance. But! You can plan to put yourself in situations and structure your life to make more serendipity possible. This column discusses five ways to do just that.

The Before Breakfast podcast this week suggested that you “Set a Life Maintenance Time.” I find it’s helpful to identify a spot in your week where you set up life maintenance appointments, because you know it works for you and doesn’t shove out your “best” time when you’d be able to focus on deeper work. So I do early afternoons later in the week. Hair cut? Car maintenance? Eye doc appointment? That’s when it goes. Now, if you’re trying to get an appointment where there is very limited availability, you might not get your first choice. But for a lot of stuff you will. So know when that time is! (I often try to do medical appointments where I suspect they will run behind by the end of the day first thing in the morning, but I aim for later in the week there too.)

I remind listeners that “You Can’t Eat Prestige.” If you’re doing valuable professional work for free (and not in an obviously volunteer context), make sure there is a very clear path to a payoff for you.

And a perennial favorite topic: “Low Expectations are Easy to Meet.” Just in general! Feeling frustrated? Aim lower. Then you feel happy, and probably get more done, as long as you just keep going.

This week I finished reading the book Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune. It was a good and enjoyable read, and very inventive. My one complaint is that I found the ending kind of…wrong. I mean, it was a happy feel-good ending, but getting that happy ending involved changing rules that the characters (and I think the readers!) had accepted. I guess it’s not bad to be happy instead of sad after reading a book, but the plot police in my head weren’t happy. Now I think I’m going to try reading a few short memoirs…

Photo: My husband has been busy planting flowers…I love seeing what blooms!

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