Showing posts with label Tips Tricks and Tales. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tips Tricks and Tales. Show all posts

Thursday, 30 April 2020

A to Z Challenge: Day 26 - Z

Zucchini flower by Linzé

Not one of my favourite vegetables, but I have to say that I do like eating the flowers. But here is a gouache painting (using it like watercolour paint) on watercolour paper.
gouache painting of zucchini flower and leaves on watercolour paper, artist Linzé Brandon

And with this painting, I have to say goodbye to the #AtoZChallenge for 2020. I hope you enjoyed all the creative posts and that you will remember to pop around in future for more posts about my creative life and those of other authors and artists.

Until next time!

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

A to Z Challenge: Day 29 - Y

Yellow Fungus by Linzé

This yellow fungus appeared after a few days of rain in September 2017. It grew out of the wooden structure supporting one of our rainwater tanks. I have only seen it that once and never again.
Drawing done with Caran D'Ache museum aquarelle pencils on white paper.

colour aquarelle pencil drawing of yellow fungus growing on wood, artist Linzé Brandon

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

A to Z Challenge: Day 24 - X

X-stitch by Linzé

I found this little cross-stitch kit in a magazine. I cannot remember when or which magazine, sorry. I did think that it would be a good project (and appropriate) for this time of isolation and it is small enough that it can be completed in a few hours.

So I stitched it, made the background as per the instructions and now it is hanging on my pin board right next to my table in my workshop where I spend my time drawing or painting.

Good vibes only cross-stitch project mounted on green felt, stitched by Linzé Brandon

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Reflections on life during #LockdownSAExtended

Linzé's Sunday Thoughts and Things

I have been taking stock of life during lockdown. For me it has been busy with working, drawing, painting, supporting some friends, and issuing creative challenges to some of the ladies in my writers group.
Then last weekend the lab I work with, received permission to start working again. So we did this past Wednesday. At first it was weird driving on one of the busiest highways in the country without traffic. Sure there were other vehicles with me on the road, but the only things I had to focus on were staying in my lane, keeping to the speed limit, and generally just driving. I can tell you this though: it never felt so far to the lab than it did on Wednesday.
Coming back was just the same, except that I had a traffic police officer drive behind me for a while before going past me as I made my way to my off-ramp to go home. Not an unusual occurrence for them to do that, but for some reason it was more nerve-wrecking than normal.

What did I manage to achieve?

I had to ask myself that because 30 days (and counting) is a long time to be living a life outside of the norm.
I decided to make a list (yes, the engineering brain cannot get away from those):
  1. I did at least one drawing every day. Some days I did more than one, and sometimes I did a painting with gouache. I am busy with another one today.
  2. I managed to write 20,000 words for Camp NaNoWriMo. I was not happy with what I wrote, so don't hold your breath that those words will ever see the light of publication. No joke, sorry.
  3. I sometimes managed to walk more than 7000 steps, but definitely not every day. I am not a fan of exercising, so there is nothing more to report.
  4. Did I read? Yes, I got caught up on three issues of a magazine I subscribe to electronically now, In the Moment. Definitely worth looking into if you are on a personal journey of growth.
    ink drawing in monochrome of frangipani flowers and leaves, artist Linzé Brandon
    One of my Inktober52 drawings
    I am also reading a non-fiction book, but it is slow going so it might take several more weeks for me to finish it. It is fascinating reading, I just don't spend much time with it though.
  5. Did I gain weight as many of my online and face-to-face friends are complaining about more and more? No. That was the biggest surprise of this whole situation: I managed to lose 4kg. No diet. No exercise (see point 3 above).
I just didn't have time to snack so much as I normally would. In fact, last week Tuesday afternoon at 3 pm, was the first time since lockdown started that I wondered what to do with myself. It was odd, but the feeling didn't last long when I spotted my (still) unfinished cross-stitch project that I started 10 years ago.
I am not finished yet, but there is progress and I guess it will not be too long before it is finished.
But lockdown is not over. Here in SA we are on a 5 stage lockdown strategy. Right now, until 30 April, the whole country is at stage 5. From 1 May we go to stage 4, but thereafter the level will not be the same for the whole country. Different provinces, and even communities, may go to different levels going forward depending on the rate of infection from the virus.
Where I live we have a well organised community service (mostly to fight crime) but it also functions as a communications channel between our local councillor, the police and other government agencies when required.
So the weeks ahead will definitely be interesting.
Until next time - stay safe and be responsible to yourself, your families and your communities at large.

Saturday, 25 April 2020

A to Z Challenge: Day 22 - V

VIOLET by Linzé

Violet is one of my all time favourite colours. For the letter V I decided to play with pencils that I have that do not belong to a set. Most of them are purple or violet - no surprise! 😂

I found two Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer pencils and one Caran D'Ache Supracolor II in my pencil cabinet and decided to use them. The CD pencil was still in its plastic package. Mixing colour pencils from different manufacturers are usually not a good idea since the pigmentation and lightfastness will not be the same.

This time I just played a bit to see how they would look when activated with water especially since I don't have any more of them to do a multicolour drawing. I found a stencil in my collection and used that instead of drawing from scratch. I think the end result looks rather nice.

I used Monte Marte Premium watercolour paper, and a Monte Marte 16/0 brush to activate the pigments since my watercolour brushes are too big for the fine detail in the ropes.

Monte Marte watercolour pad with a drawing of three ropes with aquarelle pencils and a brush, artist Linzé Brandon

Monday, 20 April 2020

A to Z Challenge: Day 17 - Q

QUIRKY bird by Linzé

I did an online Sketchbook Workshop while in isolation and one of the lessons was this quirky bird. The artist/presenter of this lesson was Tamara Laporte ( I loved the concept and shared it with the artists in my writers' group who also made their own quirky birds. But here is mine. Enjoy! 💜

quirky bird drawing with fineliners and black pen on white paper, artist Linzé Brandon

PS: Thank you for visiting my blog today. I love reading your comments, but I am still having difficulties replying. I do apologise and hope I can get this sorted out very soon. 💜 Linzé

Saturday, 18 April 2020

A to Z Challenge: Day 16 - P

POT by Linzé

One day I was itching to draw something a little more challenging, so I decided to compose a still life. I photographed the greyish pot standing on a draped piece of black fabric I found in Francois' studio. I used my phone to capture the still life.

It was done with Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils on black paper.

still life drawing of grey pot standing on draped black fabric, Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils on black paper, artist Linzé Brandon

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

A to Z Challenge: Day 7 - G

Green by Linzé

Inktober52 had it first colour prompt last week (due this week). I have been drawing several nature related prompts, so this time I went abstract with my drawing.
I bought a book about the medieval practice of decorating books and used that as inspiration to tackle this prompt. When I was done I noticed there was a second G in the background. Just goes to show you that sometimes the creative process can produce surprises too! 😁😁

ink drawing of a G on a moleskin sketchbook with drawing pens and markers, artist Linzé Brandon
From Linzé's Moleskine sketchbook

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

A to Z Challenge: Day 6 - F

FUN in art by Linzé

As I am writing this post I am watching a video clip (part of an art course I have been doing) about discipline in practicing creative activities.  Although I have art as a goal for this year, I make a point of it to do fun things too. Art projects can sometimes take many hours and often it can be tough to get those finished. I prefer dry mediums like colour pencils, which is one of those that do take hours and often days to finish a drawing.

Now the fun things can be just as satisfying. I dug out my Caran D'Ache NeoColor II crayons a while ago and just played without thinking about anything except being colourful.
NeoColor II crayons can be activated with water and that is what I played with these four art cards from Hahnemühle that I bought last year.

Neocolour crayon drawings on Hahnemühle art cards, artist Linzé Brandon
Fun art project by Linzé

Thursday, 2 April 2020

A to Z Challenge: Day 2 - B

BFF and my creative partner by Linzé

Today I want to share a portrait I recently painted of my best friend, Vanessa Wright. I have drawn portraits before, but never painted one.
I am busy experimenting with gouache paint on gouache paper. So why not paint my best friend?
Fortunately for me, she liked it!

Vanessa Wright

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Managing ideas: a new method for me

  This year I have been trying new things, and that includes managing those new ideas. I have often read and heard people say to you should carry a notebook with you to jot down that "idea" that pops into your head at the oddest times. To be honest, I have done and said the same thing for many years. My problem is, that most of my ideas strike when I am writing in my journal and then those ideas get lost because I don't make the effort to rewrite them in that ideas notebook of mine.
image of notebook, pen and bag
Notebook, pen and bag
  About two weeks ago I came across a website about this very thing, but it is a touch more comprehensive than keeping a notebook. It is called the Zettelkasten method and it uses cards for noting down those ideas. I have tried cards in the past too, but they have never quite worked for me. What I liked about this method, is that the system caters for follow-up ideas and notes, without having to use bigger cards, or more notebooks to keep your notes together.
  Since I have been trying it for only about two weeks, I have not yet found anything not to like about it, but to be honest have not used it that much either. Not for because I lack ideas, but I am focused on #inktober52 mostly and immediately sit down to sketch my idea(s) since the deadline is a week away and there is not time to waste if I want to keep up.
  More on this method as I use it, but give the Zettelkasten method a try, it might just be thing you have been looking for.
  Speaking of new things. It is Valentines Day this week, and if the blog host sends me the info in time, there is a new book for you to explore this Friday. 
  Also a new #JournalArt2020 post on Thursday, and my next newsletter is out tomorrow with something special for subscribers.

But now it's time for me to go see to a few chores in preparation for the week ahead.

Until next time!
💜 Linzé

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Living the creative life...most of the time

Life has been crazy since my friend, Vanessa, challenged me to take part in Inktober this month. But my challenges did not end there. I also decided to follow a vegan diet in October (I follow a vegetarian diet since August 2018) and that has turned out to be quite the challenge indeed. But that is not all. Two large art projects have to be completed too - one at the end of November and one in December. November as you know is NaNoWriMo time, so I really have my work cut out for me on top of an increasing workload as a self-employed engineer.
As whiney as all that may sound to you, I am actually happier than I have been in a very long time. And the one thing I can attribute to that state of mind is control of my time. With more hours spent drawing than I have in a long time, I have also managed to work on a large cross-stitch project which I started in 2009. It is not finished yet, but I have more progress on that in six months than in the three years before. 
While I do work longer hours than I ever did in a full-time job, I also now only work 4 days a week. And I am taking three days off in the coming week.
I am a long way away from earning the kind of income that I had before, but the freedom of my time totally makes up for that.
Inktober Day 9 prompt: swing

Cammy: "Told you that thing didn't look safe."⠀
Cricket: 🤬
My drawing skills have improved although I am drawing a cartoon for Inktober which does not show the extent of my present skills. I still love the characters, Cricket and his friends, and am having a load of fun writing the little story to accompany each drawing. Maybe there is a cartoon series to contemplate with the (mis)adventures of Cricket and his friends, Tim and Cammy. Don't forget the dragon, Draco, who also has a few tricks hiding under those scales.
Inktober is running until the end of October and you can follow the adventures of Cricket and friends on Instagram.
The vegan diet will remain an option for me, but not permanently. Eating out in South Africa is for carnivores, with few vegetarian options and even fewer vegan options on the average restaurant menu. Cooking at home is not difficult, and that includes feeding my husband who is a committed carnivore. Snacking requires more planning than I anticipated, but my biggest challenge remains drinking coffee. With a dairy allergy, I drink my coffee black, but recently that has been a problem. So I have limited my black coffee drinking until after a meal.
I love having coffee while working (and not eating), so I have taken to "cheating" by drinking a pre-mix cappuccino powder twice a day. The powder does contain milk, but the processes it has gone through makes it palatable enough that two cups a day does not make me sick. I am not converting to a strict vegan diet despite some weight-loss (grateful for that) but can see myself be open to eating vegan more often in the future.
This time of year I think can get beyond the normal level of crazy we are used to, so I am making sure to get enough sleep, drink enough water, and focus on the things that work towards my mental well being too. And I trust that you will be mindful to do the same. We do after all only have one life, so we need to make the most of it, including taking personal time.
Until we meet again!

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Mindfulness Week: 5 Tips to take Mindfulness Practice to Your Next Level by Linzé Brandon

Today is international Mindfulness day and here on the Broomstick we have been celebrating this practice everyday this week. Some of the writers of the Pretoria Writers' Group are sharing their experiences along with me and I hope that you too will take a few moments of your day to celebrate with us.
Before I get into the details of my practice, let's take a step back at what mindfulness is and how it works in daily life.

Mindfulness vs Flow
Definition of Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one's attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which one can develop through the practice of meditation and through other training. [1]

Definition of Flow
Flow is…being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost. [2]

Practical Experience
To my mind, the two concepts are not exactly the same although I will concede that there is a significant overlap in the "state of being" between mindfulness and flow. Perhaps I could illustrate this with two personal and one general examples.
#1: When I am meditating my focus is completely inward. My concentration and focus are centred on my state of being. I am focused on letting go of the thoughts that are creating noise and chaos in my head and secondly meditation helps me to accept and learn about the state of me, physically and mentally, at that moment.
#2: When I am drawing, entering the flow state, my focus is directed towards controlling the pen in my hand. Drawing with ink is one of my favourite pass times and unless my concentration is on my fingers and the pen, there is the risk of making a mess of the end result. Fixing mistakes in an ink drawing is almost impossible and starting over is usually the only option.
I have a back problem and sitting in one place for longer than two hours, causes a lot of pain. When I was busy with a recent project, I would spend in the order of three to four hours at a time only focused on the drawing, completely unaware of my back, until I stopped. It was not fun to get up from that chair, I can promise you. Being in a flow state means that I was unaware of anything except the activity I was engaged in at that moment.
So you can see that mindfulness meditation (inwardly focused) and the flow state (action-focused) have different and separate states of mind. But being mindful is more than meditation practice. When you are focused and aware in the present, it can become a lifestyle instead of only a few minutes on a meditation cushion.
#3: Think about driving a car. It is by definition a mindfulness action. If your attention is not in the present, on the road, on your surroundings, you run the risk of being in or causing an accident. If all drivers were mindful, think how wonderful it would be to drive a vehicle. I love driving, but these days it is a stressful and mentally exhausting activity I have to deal with every time I get behind the wheel.
You can see that mindfulness is present during the flow state, but it is not only a single moment of focus. For the flow state to bring the enjoyment, creativity, and happiness people report, the state of being mindful has to be present for sometimes hours at a time.

Pros and Cons of Mindfulness
Concerns have been raised about the real benefits of mindfulness [3] in the way it is being sold as the quick fix for the problems of modern living. Mindfulness will not fix your stress levels with an app reminding you to breathe. Nor will it make you better human being when meditating for twenty minutes every day.
Mindfulness is not a fix, it is a journey of growth. Often the spiritual aspects of mindfulness meditation are removed from the modern practice and therein could lie the problem identified with the practice. Practitioners are accused of being self-centred and self-absorbed, and even more so than before starting the practice. You don't have to be a Buddhist to practise mindfulness meditation. Being more in touch with who you are does not distance you from any spiritual beliefs.
As a Christian, I find that the meditation practice strengthens my faith because of my increased awareness of my own limitations.
However, to me, the advertised benefits are there too, but I have been a consistent practitioner for almost two years now. I am calmer, even in stressful situations. I have found that I am less likely to judge people, and am much slower to anger. When I included some aspects of stoicism [4] in my life, the benefits grew exponentially.
At first, I thought that as I grew older it was purely for that reason that my temper has not been so quick to rear its ugly head, but personal observation of people around me has lead me to a different opinion altogether. Age has nothing to do with it, in some cases, it gets worse.

If you are already mindful, how can you take it to your next level?
Mindfulness is an individual journey. Mine cannot be the same as yours since your life's journey is not the same as mine. But here are 5 tips to help you figure out the journey you need to map to take mindfulness to your next level:
  1. Practice: There is a saying that says "practice makes perfect" which makes a whole lot of sense if you want to make the most of the mindfulness practice. Perfection is not what we are aiming for, but unless you practice daily you will not grow and become better at it. If you are a journal writer, use that to help you track your progress as you grow in your practice. If you don't use a journal, start a notebook and keep track of how and when you practice and your daily experiences. You will be surprised how quickly you will notice the difference in your life.
  2. Study: Many people stop learning as soon as they leave school or university to start "life". But learning is a part of life, even though exams don't have to be. Read about mindfulness, meditation, and stoicism then you will be more aware of all the aspects to each practice. The more you know the easier you will be able to adapt your practice and adjust it to suit your lifestyle.
  3. Meditation: Meditation is often cited as the way to mindfulness, and it has many benefits, but you don't need to meditate to be a mindfulness practitioner. Explore meditation practice as an option, and if you are unsure, do it with a guide to assist you. In the end, it is up to you to decide whether you like to meditate or not, but don't disregard it because you are not a Buddhist.
  4. Moving meditation: This may sound weird, but there are several methods of meditation practice where you don't have to sit in one position with your eyes closed, or staring at a burning candle. Tai chi is often called the practice of moving meditation and well worth exploring if you prefer a moving to a sitting meditation. I have been a student of tai chi for three years now, and I can confidently tell you that it takes real focus (in the moment) to learn the movements associated with the martial art. It is not difficult and you don't have to be in top physical condition to start, and it has the added benefit of moving so you also burn a few calories while you are at it. Walking meditation is also a meditative practice and there are lots of information available on the internet to learn how that is done.
  5. Stoicism: I believe that stoic practice can be the counterbalance to the perceived negative aspects of mindful meditation. Stoicism has an unfortunate name since it is believed to cause its practitioners to become emotionless. This is not the intention of stoicism, and practitioners will tell you that it is not the case.
    At its core stoicism encourages rational thinking, instead of emotional decision making. This has the benefit that the stoic practitioner will be aware of their own behaviour and always work towards a situation where other people are not hurt or taken advantage of.
    To my mind, the stoic practitioner takes the concept of mindfulness to the ultimate level of mindfulness: awareness of one's actions and behaviour and the effect this has on the world around us. 
(Note: Stoic week [4] is in October again, where you too can learn about the practice)

Going forward...
Like all mindfulness and mindful meditation practitioners you need to find your own way. Start with the small things: pay attention to what you eat, listen to someone speak, or notice the way the air smells when you walk outside.
We live in a world of distractions and as a result we are putting greater distances between ourselves and everyone and everything else.
Maybe it is time to bring yourself back into the present, and be mindful of every moment in your life, because we only have so many available to us.

If you want to learn more:
  • Flow - the psychology of optimal experience, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, ISBN 978-0-06016-253-5, 1990
  • The complete idiot's guide to short meditations, Susan Gregg, ISBN 978-1-592257-614-2, 2007
  • Seven secrets of mindfulness, Kate Carne, ISBN 978-1-84604-504-2, 2016
  • Meditation is not what you think, Jon Kabat-Zinn, ISBN 978-0-316-41174-5, 2018
  • Mindfulness for creativity, Danny Penman, ISBN 978-0-349-40821-7, 2015
  • The meditation handbook, David Fontana, ISBN 978-1-906787-65-3, 1992
  • The daily stoic, Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman, ISBN 978-1-78125-765-4, 2016
References used in the text
[3] The Problem with Mindfulness, Gustavo Razzetti,

About the Author
author picture, Linzé Brandon
After many years, Linzé left her full-time job to enjoy the challenges of self-employment once more. Now she spends her days working as a consulting engineer and competence trainer.
She is a mindfulness meditation and stoic practitioner, and a student of Yang style tai chi. In August 2019 she submitted drawings for her first, and hopefully not her last, art exhibition.
Linzé is the author of non-fiction books, novels and short stories.
Her life's philosophy can be found in the words of the stoic Epictetus - first say to yourself what you would be, then do what you have to do.
Linzé Brandon lives in Pretoria, South Africa, with her engineer husband and German Shepherd dogs who are convinced that the world revolves only around them.

Connect with Linzé:
On Instagram @linzebrandon
On Facebook @LinzeBrandonAuthor
On Twitter @LinzeBrandon

Sunday, 9 June 2019

A bright star at a dreary book fair

We had another book fair yesterday, this time at a large mall to celebrate the opening of a library in the mall. Although the event for me was a letdown in terms of book sales, I did have the privilege to meet and chat to the other authors, some new and some old acquaintances which made the day seem less grey.
Linzé's table at the book fair - 8 June 2019
One particular highlight was chatting to the mother of a young writer. The girl, now fifteen, published her first book at age eleven under the guidance of her mother, who is not a writer herself.
What was of particular interest to me was the reason for that first book: bullying. The girl's mother discovered by accident that her daughter was being bullied at school. This had been unknown to her until she read the girl's journal. After taking steps to rectify the bullying, the mother then encouraged the young girl to write a book about bullying. This was the first step, and her third book is presently being edited for publication.
When the young lady joined our conversation, it became clear that this aspiring engineer had big dreams in those shiny brown eyes. While chatting about her history and future plans, I was reminded once again why I love being an indie author - the sharing and support. Usually, this happens in the form of support of a fellow author struggling with some kind of issue. This time, however, it was pure pleasure to dole out advice and support to a young author who knew what she wanted for herself.
As an engineer, writing to me started as an escape from a particularly stressful job, and yet I can no longer see myself not doing it. Twenty-five books later and the bug still bites daily.
Like many other authors in the world, writing is not my primary source of income, and I am perfectly happy with that. I also told this to the young author and her mother - writing does not have to be a job, but our stories are still something that we can share with the world purely because of our love of the written word.
If you too want to discover the powerful impact of journal writing, my latest book Reflect. Grow. Become. is available this month at 75% off. The offer is only available to the first 20 purchases.
Until next time...
💜 Linzé

Monday, 22 April 2019

A-to-Z Blog Challenge: S is for...special mention

And the award goes to Francois! Ha, I thought to make this post a dedication to my husband, Francois.
He is a terrific photographer in several genres. Here is a picture of him holding the award for portrait photographer of the year for 2018. The award was made last week.
Well done!
Francois holding his award and certificate

Saturday, 6 April 2019

A-to-Z Blog Challenge: F is for...fiction

A word post for
the challenge today
While I may not like editing so much, I love writing. Even in the midst of a hectic life of a self-employed consulting engineer, I have managed to keep up with my writing target for Camp NaNoWriMo. For many people, it is a time socialise and support each other on social media. I on the other hand like to hide in my writing cave, i.e. my home office, and work on my next book project.
This April a little romance invaded my writing cave, and as the story unfolds, I wonder how Lucy is going to take it when Craig reveals the family secret to her.
I hope she will be brave enough to handle it! A love story with a dark twist which will leave you gasping when the truth comes out.
Until Monday; when my newsletter will also pop into your mailbox. Have you signed up yet?

💜 Linzé

Sunday, 3 February 2019

My theory of wasted time, proven true

time, tracking time, running against time, clock, running woman
How much time do you think you spend doing things? I have a theory that we overestimate how much time we spend doing something, and then when it comes down to actual measuring it, it is not as much as we think. My theory is purely based on personal perception, and I think I have proven it - at least to myself.
For the past month or so I have been using an App to track my time with minimum interference from me. This means that it asks me what I am doing now, and unless I am lying (to myself, because the App doesn't care) it is accurate. The surprising thing (and the reason for my theory) is that I wasted a lot more of my time than what I thought I was. While I think I am doing something (even if it is reading a book) I am wasting more time doing nothing, than doing something useful or enjoyable, like reading.
While you might think that I am obsessed with time (and perhaps you are correct) my biggest issue is that life is too short to waste the time we have on useless activities. Meaning that if I am taking a break when I need to, the break should not become two hours of watching TV, or surfing on social media.
Time away from a computer is a good thing, so I realised that whatever time I am spending not working, or writing (or whatever other activity I want or should do) is not spent as effectively as I thought it was. Yes, the word is procrastination.
Since I am self-employed again, the saying that time is money is more accurate than what it was when I worked for a salary. I am not going to get paid for two hours wasted on the Internet, that's for sure, but working for a salary meant that I wasn't getting paid by the hour either.
The App allows me to draw a report of the time per activity/task that I am tracking, and the results confirmed what I suspected, I am a time waster. Not what I wanted to see, that's for sure. But all is not lost.
What it helps me to do is to find out which tasks take longer than planned. This is a good thing since planning is essential, I can now see where I need to allow for more time for a specific type of task. When some things take less time to complete, I can then plan for a shorter period to finish the job in future, or I can add a task in that same time slot. A task that I probably would have scheduled later because I wouldn't have the time to do it on that day.
It all sounds complicated, but in actual fact, it is more simple than it looks. What I also like about this, is that I can now plan for time to do things that I want, like reading or drawing. Whereas in the past, I had to hope for some free time that will allow me a few hours to enjoy myself.
My 30 days of free usage of the App expires tomorrow, but I have already decided to pay the license fee as the benefits I have already received, definitely outweigh the cost of its continuous use.
A last word
There are a number of these applications for both Windows and iOS operating systems, phones and computers, available in your favourite online store. If you need to track your time for either invoicing or purely to find out where you are wasting it, I can recommend exploring the various options available to see which of these apps will work for you.
I am using on a Macbook if you want to check it out.
Until next time!

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Seven ways to a new beginning

drawing of words, new beginnings, 2019, hand drawing
Recently I wondered why people perceive time to go by faster. I mean clocks do not tick more swiftly, and the International standard for time, the second, is still the same. As an engineer, this puzzled me, and the answer I found is not a good one. It all has to do with our brains and the way we learn and challenge ourselves.
You can read more about that here, but this concerned me a bit when I sat down to figure out how I was going to structure my 'new life' after working for a boss for ten (plus) years.
Sure, I had been down this road before, but in my thirties. Now I am a decade older, and keeping the grey matter healthy is not just about time flying past anymore. I need to be on top of my game, and I want to be there for a long time to come.
So here are 7 things I found that are going to help me and my brain:
1. Set up a routine for more than work. People who are self-employed, especially at the start of their new venture into the business world, often overlook one crucial detail, their own wellbeing. Yes, the new business will take a considerable chunk out of your day, your week, and your life, but if you do not look out for number one, that business is going to become your nightmare, instead of the dream you wanted.
2. Put non-work reminders in your calendar too. The life of self-employment allows for one significant aspect of your life that other people don't have: control of your time. While many would argue that time is not within our control (if it was we would all schedule at least another two days every week), but what we do with our 24 hours is within our control. So schedule your kids' activities into your calendar, book that appointment for that back massage you desperately need and do that coffee with the friend you haven't seen in months. These non-work things will not only contribute to your own wellbeing, but they will make a difference in your relationships too.
3. Schedule alone time at least once a week. Looking at the world around us, one can safely assume that people are afraid of being on their own. The noise that bombards not only our ears every day, is frightening. Everywhere you go people have their eyes on their phones or tablets, and for those of us who don't, it is an obstacle course navigating the pavements or malls to avoid those people. So why alone time? Give your mind some rest too, will you? Give yourself a moment, or six, to just be a human being for a change instead of a social-media-selfie-addict-with-narcissistic-bluescreen-radiation-wave-patterns all over your face. You might actually meet someone interesting when your mind has a chance to reflect on itself.
4. Make an appointment with your future self. Business is built on risk-taking, but it is not a hit-and-miss situation. Companies plan for the future. They consider changes in the market, the expectations of their customers, and how they can stay ahead of the competition. It is called survival. Without future planning, a company is doomed to failure. The same goes for your life and your goals. While your dreams may change as you grow older, or you start to tick them off your bucket list, you need to spend some time to assess where your life is going. Is bungee jumping off that high bridge in a foreign country still something you want to do? People often regret the things they haven't done, but I think many people also regret the things they had continued to do because they let time go by. It is not just about big things like career changes, or relationships. Sometimes you only need to take a small step to put your goals back on track.
5. Don't put off your dreams to some future date. It will never happen! The oldest excuse if ever there was one: one day I am going to... All I can say, yeah right. Unless you are doing it right now, only you will believe that fairy tale. Make time to pursue that dream: write a book, take an art class, or learn the guitar. Life is too short to put things off until later.
6. Challenge your brain, learn something new. That time flying past thing mentioned earlier can only be counteracted if your brain is learning, and being challenged. Do not confuse learning with academic studies. Learn to play chess, or paint portraits, or do Sudoku puzzle competitions. Challenge those brain cells and time will no longer be a waste of days flying past without notice.
7. Be kind to yourself. While time is not going to wait for anyone, sometimes we need to give ourselves a bit more. Todo lists are notorious things. They are often the fabric of nightmares because you have the habit of making a long list, and at the end of the day nothing got done. It can be demotivating, to say the least. As a species, we tend to be overly optimistic and then have the habit of kicking our own selves because of it. So, pick one, maybe two things for your todo list today. And when you made them happen, pat yourself on the back. If not, take a moment to reflect why not. Procrastination is often the actual reason, but if it is not, then relax. You probably did two other things.

hand lettering, todo list words, colour drawing with brush pens
Self-employed people are often seen as living the dream, although it is not an easy life. But if the effort you put in, does not forsake the important things in life, then your life will be one of fulfilment, satisfaction, and contentment.
Sounds about perfect to me, and I will be working hard to get my own routine adjusted to suit my new beginnings.
Until next time!

💟 Linzé

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Stories, almost everywhere

The past few days we spent with family in the Kruger National Park. Here are a few pictures telling some of the stories of this trip.

A selfie of the two of us standing on the Tropic of Capricorn. The grinning windblown fool is me. 😁
fuel station, Haenertsburg, mountain fresh fuel sign

Mountain fresh fuel (on our way back home) - don't rightly know where they brew this stuff. 😉

Shingwedzi camp in Kruger. Francois is watching two squirrels chase each other up and down the trees.
car display outside temperature at 14h40

If the gates of hell had a temperature, we would gladly have believed it. It was not fun at all! 😓
  If only people thought a bit before putting up signs. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. (Nobody is an actual place in the Limpopo province)

BOOK RELEASE: SOLANGE an ebook by Linzé

Will she get the future she wants? M/F/M Erotic vampire romance (18+ only)   Solange knows that she is not like the average woman who...