We’re already a quarter of the way through this year, how did that happen? Good writing, sewing, managing, and this newsletter are all filling our cups.
|🎞️||Next In Fashion||Poker Face|
|🎧||The Pineapple Project||She’s on the Money|
|📖||Copywrong to Copywriter||The Making of a Manager|
|📱||MailChimp||Meal subscription service|
|➿||Unproductive time||Daily incidental movement|
|🎒||How to sew||Google Analytics 4|
Next In Fashion (TV series)
Jess: These reality fashion shows get me every time: every episode is a self-contained project from brief to conception to completion, the stuff of dreams for any project manager! Next In Fashion is the best of the bunch because it covers all genders (not just womenswear, like Project Runway), and a range of styles (not just streetwear, like The Hype).
Poker Face (TV series)
Aimee: This series had me at Natasha Lyonne (Russian Doll). This ten-part murder mystery centres around Charlie Cale (played by Natasha). A common storyline weaves each of the ten episodes together, with each episode having its own unique narrative and mystery to solve.
This isn’t your typical murder mystery drama. It’s addictive and easy to watch through its unique blend of mystery and comedy. For our Australian readers, this American crime drama is available on Stan and all ten episodes are ready to be watched! The series ended with a clear introduction for a second season. Here’s hoping!
Listening to 🎧
The Pineapple Project (podcast)
Jess: The Pineapple Project is an ABC podcast all about money — how to spend less, spend better, and understand why you buy things at all.
Each episode covers a different aspect of managing your money, like:
- The psychology of money (20min)
- The life changing magic of a budget (31min)
- How to earn more (31min)
- Love and money (21min)
- Teaching kids about money (29min)
A couple of my takeaways so far:
- Figure out your money personality: are you a status seeker, money worshipper, money vigilant, or money avoidant?
- Make your savings goals ’emotional’: so don’t just say “I’m going to save $1000”, instead try making a vision board with photos of the things you would purchase with that money.
- Call your service providers regularly to ask for a better deal (mortgage, insurance, mobile, internet, electricity, etc).
- Use a dedicated tub in the fridge to put things that are getting close to expiry, as a reminder to use them.
She’s on the Money: Back to Basics of Investing (podcast episode)
Aimee: If you’re new to investing, or looking for a refresher on the basics this is a great educational episode. Victoria Devine (She’s on the Money) does a great job at breaking down the basics with easy examples to follow.
This episode is for you if you get overwhelmed with all the research and jargon that is out there.Victoria Devine
In this episode Victoria explains:
- The TLDR on shares (stocks)
- A breakdown of asset types
- Common concerns about investing
- Thinking about future-you and your next steps
Copywrong to Copywriter
Officially titled “Copywrong to Copywriter: a practical guide to copywriting for small businesses, small organisations, sole traders, and lone rangers” or unofficially “The book I recommend to anyone who wants to improve their writing skills”. It breaks down the building blocks of good writing in such a clear, easy-to-understand way, and comes with a handy checklist:
- Have a strategy
- Say one thing well
- Keep it short
- Find your voice
- Write hot, edit cold
- Read it out loud
- Show it to others
- Be a grammar nerd
- Don’t stop, keep going
- Relax on the couch
Take ‘write hot, edit cold’ for example: writing hot means writing without stopping, letting the words flow and resisting the urge to edit as you go, and then editing cold is about taking a break from the first draft before you come back to edit, making it easier to review objectively.
The Making of a Manager
Aimee: I’m an avid believer that there is always something we can learn to better develop ourselves and those around us. I strive to be a teacher and a student. As a manager, this is something I am incredibly mindful of, and believe it’s my responsibility to continue to evolve my skills in order to lead a team effectively. Enter Julia Zhuo’s The Making of a Manager.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never read this book from end to end. Instead, I use it as a manual and refer to it in times of education, uncertainty, and reassurance.
I just went through performance reviews at my day job, and I found myself reaching for this book during the process. It was reassuring to re-read the chapters on feedback and growing a team before having performance conversations with my direct reports. This refresher helped to ensure I was having clear, actionable, and constructive conversations.
Jess: We’ve just started sharing these Monthly Favourites posts as a handy newsletter, and maybe that’s what you’re reading right now?! As anyone who listened to the Serial podcast will know, MailChimp is an email marketing tool that makes it easy to get a newsletter up and running… so that’s what we decided to use for ours!
It took a bit of hacking to get our newsletter design together. What do you think? It’s only one email a month for now, so if you’d like to know what we’re crushing on each month, pop your email in here and we’ll tell you.
Meal subscription service
Aimee: I’ve dabbled in meal subscription services previously, but I’ve never stuck with one for the long term. A friend recently gifted us a discounted subscription and we’ve just finished two weeks of Marley Spoon deliveries. The food quality has been good (much better than others I have experienced), and the selection of recipes ensured there was enough variety. However, the main difference it made in my day-to-day life was convenience.
I haven’t renewed for a third week, instead, I am taking some learnings into my week ahead:
- Meal planning and scheduling: to help with daily decision fatigue
- Choosing a set of recipes that will share common ingredients over the week: to help with grocery costs & food wastage
- Shopping and food preparation on Sunday: to prepare ahead for my ‘week of convenience’
- Clean the kitchen while dinner is cooking: to reset for the day and wake up fresh
- And finally, fresh ginger is the real MVP: stir freshly grated ginger through cooked rice and thank me later
If you’ve got a busy week ahead or are keen to try some different recipes, here’s a discount code!
Jess: The advice I took away from Oliver Burkeman’s book “Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals” and Madeleine Dore’s “I Didn’t Do the Thing Today: Letting Go of Productivity Guilt to Embrace the Hidden Value in Daily Life” essentially boils down to the value of unproductive time, and how rest itself is productive.
Here’s the detailed version from my ‘Readings and learnings’ table in Notion:
- I Didn’t Do the Thing Today: Downtime, prep and planning is productive (even crucial!). Comparing yourself to others can undercover hidden desires of who you want to be, but ultimately the most useful comparison is only with ourselves (who we used to be). Set intentions rather than expectations. Leave space in our days for formative surprises. Setup habit fields that support certain behaviour (clean desk vs cosy reading nook).
- Four Thousand Weeks: Do the things you enjoy. Don’t try to do too much.
Since finishing both of these books I’ve been getting better and better at building rest time into my life, often via my calendar.
Disclaimer: I feel like having a blog/newsletter sideproject feels counterintuitive to this advice, but it’s something I just love to do (for free! in my spare time!) and I take time off from it when I need downtime. More often I find working on this project leaves me energised, so I do it when I need a lift.
Daily incidental movement
Aimee: As a full-time remote worker who works from home, I miss out on a lot of the incidental movement that happens for daily office workers. I’m not referring to the movement that happens pre or post-work, I’m referring to those unplanned acts of movement such as walking to and from transport, daily walks with colleagues, and walking around the office. These are not things that exist in my world and I have to make a conscious effort to get daily incidental movement.
If you’re someone like me who doesn’t usually buy a daily coffee or lunch, here are some creative ways to experience more movement in your day:
- Walk with someone: if your partner or house-mate travels to an office, walk with them to or from their method of transport
- Take the least direct pathway: working from home means everything you need to access is likely only a few steps away. Try doing a couple of laps of your house to get to where you need to go. It’s not much but 10 steps can be easily multiplied!
- Take a lunch break: Yes, you heard me. Take that lunch break! Read our past reflections for some inspiration
- Plan movement in your lunch break: If you take your lunch break, then the next step is to plan movement in your break. Sign up for a gym class, go for a walk or cycle, step on your yoga mat
- Take a walking meeting: If you don’t need to be at your computer for a meeting turn it into a walking call
- Celebrate context switching: End a meeting? Finished a task? Before diving into the next thing on your to-do list do a little movement. Ideas: squats, burpees, star jumps, or simply clock a few steps. You could also apply this to a time-based approach too!
How to sew
Jess: It’s been a few years since my last sewing stint but I’m back at it, baby! Inspired by all the fashion reality shows, “The Future of… Fashion” episode (Netflix, 22min) and the Open Source Fashion Cookbook, my partner and I have started scouting clothes we can remix, repurpose and redesign into new ones.
Google Analytics 4
Aimee: Google is introducing its next generation of analytics: GA4 and sunsetting Universal Analytics on 1st July 2023. This is slowly creeping up on us, which means not only making the switch but also understanding the key differences between UA and GA4 and getting the most out of the new functionality.
From July 1st, your Universal Analytics property will no longer process data. Here are some resources I’ve found helpful:
- UA -> GA4: Comparing metrics
- Neil Patel: What is the Difference between GA4 vs Universal Analytics?
- Optimize Smart: UA vs GA4 differences