Our monthly favourites for November 2018. These are the things we thought were pretty spesh, or worth sharing.

A duotoned dark purple and beige version of the Apple heart emoji, in front of a light blue zig zag shape across the bottom
🎞️Creativity in managementNanetteGavin and Stacey
🎧ReworkDavid GogginsLayers
📖20 pictures that will teach you more than 100 booksThe Happiness ProjectMultiple books
📱Sleep CycleAlfred home securityDepop
Monthly budgetingReducing my food wasteMeditation
🎒Qualitative researchHow to be more decisiveThomas Cromwell

🎞️ Watching

John Cleese on creativity in management (YouTube)

This school address from John Cleese (37 minutes) was something of a revelation. Both (a) because I thought John Cleese was just a funny guy, and (b) because he explains how to encourage creativity through accessing your ‘open’ mode — for example, by setting a 90 minute timeboxed space in your day for play. It’s a fascinating talk, probably recorded many years ago but still relevant today. Here’s the description:

“In this lecture-style presentation, John Cleese claims that creativity is not a special talent. People are either in an ‘open’ or ‘closed’ state of mind. The closed mode enables people to apply themselves to tasks with vigour and concentration; the open mode is more relaxed and conducive to creative thinking. Cleese talks about how leaders can induce an open mode in their team members and establish confidence in them to accept that there is a succession of learning steps on the road to total quality.” [Promise you’ll watch it, or at least bookmark for later]
— Jess

Nanette by Hannah Gadsby (TV show)

I’m not sure how much I need to say about this beyond watch it. It’s on Netflix. Go!
— Aimee

Gavin and Stacey (TV show)

I had never seen this cult classic (first season was released in 2007), and now I am utterly obsessed with it.
— Lil

🎧 Listening to

Rework (podcast)

I gave Basecamp’s REWORK podcast a whirl with one of their bonus episodes (8 minutes), which talked about the development of MeetEdgar’s company handbook, as well as how they’re encouraging openness within their organisation through open meetings and open Slack channels. It was a great introduction to the podcast; I’m keen to follow it up with the full episode (31 minutes) and to check out MeetEdgar’s company handbook.
— Jess

David Goggins on Joe Rogan (podcast)

One inspiring podcast episode I listened to lately was David Goggins on Joe Rogan’s podcast. David Goggins is a retired navy SEAL (among other things). He holds the world record for most pull-ups done in 24hrs! This guy is a machine when it comes to physical and mental strength, I was listening to this before I was due to climb up a mountain. It was inspiring to say the least.
— Aimee

Layers (podcast)

Layers podcast. An insightful look into what we wear and why. Ana Kinsella and Steve Mackenzie-Smith examine dressing from all angles. Each episode has a particular theme, such as Glamour, Conviction. With am amazing roster of guests, from a priest to it-girl Naomi Shimada, season one was a true delight. I’m hanging out for season two!
— Lil

📖 Reading

20 pictures that will teach you more than 100 books (article)

I came across this Medium article (27 minute read) in the category of personal betterness and goal setting, and found it to be insightful from start to finish. If you’re a little time poor, skip to point #14 for the story about a ceramics class which starts like this:

“The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality…” [Read on!]
— Jess

The Happiness Project (book)

One of my goals this year was to read more books. It’s very common that I’ll start a book, then another, and another. I end up with multiple books floating around without ever finishing any of them. So, I’ve been trying to work on that.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.

I stumbled upon Gretchen Rubin via her Happier podcast and I bought this book for myself last Christmas when I was buying gifts for… other people 🎅🏻. I recently went on a holiday and this was the book I chose to take with me. I’m ¾ of the way through and really enjoying it. I enjoy Gretchen’s writing style, and find her very relatable. I haven’t picked up another book while reading this, so that’s saying something! I think I might treat myself to her other books once I finish this one (one at a time Aimee, one at a time).
— Aimee

Multiple books on the go

I usually have between three and seven books on the go. From my November roster, I recommend both Too Much and Not the Mood, by Durga Chew-Bose; and The Best Australian Essays 2017, edited by Anna Goldsworthy. Chew-Bose presents us with a smorgasbord of essays and memoirs. I found the first and longest essay, Heart Museum, impossible and didn’t finish. I skipped ahead and was glad I did, the rest of the book was brilliant and heartfelt.
— Lil

📱 Using

Sleep Cycle (app)

I’m a bit of a data junkie, particularly when it comes to self-examination. Sleep Cycle (Apple & Android) listens to you while you sleep to diagnose your sleeping patterns then reports them back to you, including trends like:

  • Average bed/wake-up time
  • Average hours in bed each night
  • How different factors affect your sleep (like exercise, coffee, location, weather, or whatever else you choose to make note of)
  • Sleep quality affected by the moon (this one’s my favourite)

I was slightly nervous about having a live microphone constantly recording me while I sleep (because when you put it like that, it seems like an incredible privacy risk, right?) but someone convinced me that it wouldn’t be viable (or legal) for them to store everything they recorded. I should probably check on that huh.
— Jess

Alfred home security (app)

I recently got a doggo, and while I’m very fortunate to be able to work from home on the reg I try to at least make it into the office on occasion.

I was looking for an app that I could install on my old iPhone to set up a makeshift doggo-cam. I settled on the Alfred home security app and I’m very happy with it, It’s been working a treat! You can set up any number of “camera” devices and “viewer” devices.

It’s been great for peace of mind. As we’re all settling in, I’ve found it useful to get some understanding of what my dog gets up to during the day which is mostly: barking, playing, being naughty or sleeping. It even has a two-way intercom that allows you to talk to them through the device if you need (I haven’t done that yet).
— Aimee

Depop (website)

Depop. As an ex eBay-junkie, I find the premise Depop very appealing. It’s super easy to post, view and buy second hand clothes. However, jury is still out, as it hasn’t seemed to have taken off in Australia the same as in America and Europe. Less content, but their are a few goodies on there.
— Lil

➿ Practicing

Sticking to a monthly budget

Sticking to a monthly budget ain’t easy. There’s a whole other blog post in this really, but I’ve recently sharpened up my household budgeting so there’s an allocated amount for each category of spending, and I can keep an eye on how I’m tracking over the course of the month by inputting every little thing I spend into a spreadsheet. It’s a lot of work, and probably not for everyone, but it’s helping me to see where my money is actually going and figure out any adjustments I need to make.
— Jess

Reducing my food waste

I’ve been picking a couple of similar recipes at the start of each week and putting together a shopping list. I try to pick recipes that will use similar fresh ingredients so that I’m not buying too many variations of things. If I get to the end of the week and I haven’t used up all the fresh produce (and before the food spoils) I’ve been chopping, grating, shredding and storing in the freezer. Perfect for stir frys, soups, zucchini slice, smoothies – anything!
— Aimee


I’ve been working on a daily habit of mediation for a couple of months. I think it can be really hard to start meditating, because it seems like everyone gets up at 5am for a two hour session. Not really achievable for us mere mortals. I spend twenty minutes meditating each evening with the help of the HeadSpace app.
— Lil

🎒 Learning

Qualitative research

I’ve been involved in many projects with research components over the years, but it’s only recently that I’ve come to understand the value of qualitative research, particularly through doing some user interviews of my own. Stay tuned for a more detailed post on the topic soon!
— Jess

How to be more decisive

It’d be fair to say that I make a lot of decisions during my 9 to 5, not to mention outside of work. I’ve been learning techniques to help reduce the number of decisions I have to make, the amount of time I spend on decisions, and making sure I give the right amount of energy to each decision. If you’re interested and as a starting point I’d recommend this Straight & Curly episode as good kick-start.
— Aimee

About Thomas Cromwell

This month I’m reading about Thomas Cromwell, as well as Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel.
— Lil