Sunday, September 15, 2013


So often I hear, "How much is your time worth?"  It's a marketing ploy, designed to have you pay for services you could do yourself, if only you had a little time.  This marketing tactic isn't pure evil.  It is true that spending your time doing other things may have value to you, so you choose to go that route.   However, many times, asking me how much my time is worth is not motivating.  Maybe it's because I am young and I feel infinite.  If I don't have time to do something today, I'll just do it tomorrow.

For me, "How much is your sanity worth?" is much more inspiring.  I had never thought of this in the past until my significant other mentioned it the other day.  He's been trying to save a bit of money by doing some car repairs on his own.  While he knows how to do the repair on his car, he does not have all the right tools or know the process by heart.  These situations have lead to new problems, and the initial problem was not solved.  Perhaps if a professional had been involved, they would have told him the process wouldn't fix the problem.  At the very least, it wouldn't have lead to breaking other things and having to fix them as well.

Being able to have a positive attitude through the day and get something done correctly and reliably have worth to me.

However, there is also value from doing things yourself.  The pride that comes when you complete a task.  The accomplishment of learning something new.  The bragging rights.  I love that feeling.

Sometimes we go into a situation looking for those feelings of pride and accomplishment, only to be derailed by getting in over your head.  We've been there.  It's tough to know whether to go the professional or DIY route.  Understand your limitations.  Research the process.  Make an informed decision.  And remember, your sanity has worth.

A Problem - Constantly Reaching

Dear friends,

I have a problem.  I have a problem and it is always out there for everyone to see.

I am constantly reaching.

You probably knew this about me.  A person who writes a blog called "Making Better Best" is, understandably, always reaching for something better.

However, there are some things that maybe we shouldn't be reaching for.

I am constantly reaching for a better job.  I have job postings for searches come to email each day.  I have job sites that I check each week to see if there is anything of interest.  I've applied to hundreds of jobs.  I've interviewed for a handful. When does this just become wasted effort?  And further, when will I ever be able to settle.  I haven't bought a house. I haven't committed in a relationship.  All because I am constantly reaching for the next best thing.

Some may say that is just because I am unhappy in my current situation, and that I'll settle when I'm in a situation that's right.  I haven't gotten far enough down the road to confirm that.

I still think that trying to make yourself the best you that you can be is important.  Where has your desire to constantly reach for something better impacted your life negatively?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Misfit Con

I love the message of this conference.

Misfit Con Fargo 2013 from Misfit, Inc. on Vimeo.

"Perfect is always the horizon.  To reach that horizon you can keep walking toward it, and you should, but there's always going to be another horizon."

"Making Better Best".  It sounds like a lot of work.  It sounds like a never ending journey.  It's walking toward that horizon and never stopping to rest.

It sounds tiring to me too.  I bet you aren't giving yourself enough credit. You are probably walking toward the horizon each day, even if you're only taking baby steps and accomplishing tiny goals.  Recognize all that you are doing to be the best you that you can be each day.  Some days for me it really is as simple as keeping a snarky comment to myself.  The horizon is to not let the negative thoughts enter my mind, but in the mean time, keeping things to myself that don't need to be said is a good step.

Be proud of yourself and all that you are accomplishing.  Those feelings are the best motivation to keep you going.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Back to School - Decide on a Degree

What do you want to do with your life?  Who the heck knows the answer to this question when they're 18?! If you're 18 or younger and you know what you want to do with your life, good on you.  Seriously.  I admire your style. I certainly didn't know.  And when I graduated with my bachelor's degree, I still didn't know.

A few years later, I have a better idea.  Now I'm choosing a master's degree.

Analyzing yourself - What courses have you enjoyed in the past?  I was really into the marketing class that I took during my first four years of college.  So interested that I recorded each lesson so I could go back and listen to the ones that inspired me.  Asking yourself what parts of each of your previous jobs you loved or hated is also a good way to analyze yourself.

Job searching - I've found this is the best way to determine what degree I would like to pursue.  I typically use for my job searches. (Full disclosure: I have never gotten a job that I learned about through Indeed.  I very rarely ever got interviews from jobs I learned about through Indeed.)  However, Indeed has a nice feature that will send new job postings to any of your customized searches to your email, and I'm a total dreamer.  Vitamin C implied that you'd think it's so cool.

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Sidenote: a) check out those cool 90's moves! b) wish I looked that good in yellow. c) I fell down the rabbit hole of 90's music and lost an hour of my life.

Look at some of the jobs you'd love to have.  I created a spreadsheet with some of mine, writing down the title, organization, degree requirements and experience requirements.  I got at least a 3 job postings per dream job to compare, and eventually I knew exactly what it'd take.

Talk to people - Once you narrow down a few degrees, talk to a few people who earned that degree and ask them how it helped them land a job.  Were there a ton of options out there?  Did their degree make them feel pigeonholed?

What Didn't Work for Me:
Tests - All those career tests told me what I may be good at, but not what I would love.  They didn't help me at all.

Asking others how they found their mojo - What I did discover is that most people haven't.  And the ones that have say "they just knew".  Maybe people just didn't want to talk to me.

Working within tight timeframes - "I have to decide before I graduate high school!", "I have to decide before my sophmore year of college!", "I have to decide before I graduate with my BS so I can apply for an MS!"  I felt pressured.  I felt like I was making decisions because they had to be made.  I needed a little time with less pressure.

My decision:  Marketing


Ironically, the first class of my Master's degree was Decision Making Analysis.  Why don't they teach you this in highschool?!  One of the first techniques we learned was so applicable that I have to share.  This one is for all you number freaks like me.

Step 1: List your potential majors on a sheet of paper with some space in between.
Step 2: List the pros and cons about each one.  Try to keep the total pros/cons the same (how I did 3 for each)
Step 3: Rate each one on desirability from -100 (completely and utterly undesirable) to 100 (super-awesome-fun-time)
Step 4: How likely is this pro or con to happen? Give each a percentage.
Step 5: Get a rating for each pro/con by multiplying desirability times the probability.  Don't forget your negatives!
Step 6: Total your ratings for each major.  The one with the highest total rating might just be your winner.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Avoiding the After 5 Burnout

Have you reached that point in your life where you suddenly freeze and think "Whoamygosh, I'm turning into my parents!"  Not that we don't want to be like our parents.  Maybe you had that thought when you realized you're a rockstar cook like your dad.  Rock on! (and please do share your recipes)  Or maybe it was when you freaked out about wet towels on the floor.  I get it.  Sometimes our patience goes on holiday without us, and it just makes us freaking mad!

As a species, we observe, judge, declare we will NEVER do the observed item, and then, years after our declaration, lapse into doing exactly what we rebuked.  And sometimes, parents are observed.  I'm just saying, it happens.  A total coincidence.

I'm talking about the 5pm burnout today.  Growing up, I observed (where? who knows...) that life after 5pm consisted of sitting on the couch and watching TV until bed, at least 4 days a week.  I vowed to never be that person.  After all, there was life to live out there.

I'm dancing on the edge of that line.  I need to be pulled right back to the me side, and stop flirting with the side that I observed.  When it's not the TV, it's the computer.  I validated the computer because I was "learning" or "connecting" or "applying for jobs" but when I'm honest, I am mostly wasting my time being sedentary.

I know all the excuses.  I'm totally there.  I just really don't want to be.

Ideas to fix the problem:

  • Get out of the habit - I think that I set myself up to fail by watching TV during dinner.  Once it's on, you're glued to it.  Perhaps this can be remedied by purchasing a dining room table.  Or maybe only allowing one episode and then having to find something else to do.
  • Get 8 hours of sleep every night - Sometimes energy is the problem, not habit.  I'm going to try to get 8 hours of sleep each night and see if that gives me more energy to be more active after work.  That means a 10pm bedtime for me.
  • Get the other involved - This isn't going to work if my partner is on the couch while I'm trying to get off it.  I'll need to get him on the betterment train too.
  • Eat clean - Another energy booster, so I'm told.  I'll try to eat well and see if proper fueling helps motivate me to move after work.
  • Help cook - My significant other cooks for me 95% of the time.  I offer moral support (read: sitting in the kitchen while he cooks and talking to him to prevent him from becoming ridiculously bored, which would surely happen if he didn't have my voice as a backdrop) but that's not really enough.  Maybe I'll pick up some cooking skills along the way.
  • Free up the weekend - I want to have as much fun as possible on the weekend.  I do not want to do laundry, gardening, cleaning, etc. Why save all these tasks for my precious days off?  If something only takes a few hours, it can be done in the evening to keep me off the couch.
  • Make weeknights fun - I like lists.  Maybe you don't need one.  Maybe you just need to think about other activities you could be doing aside from watching TV on the couch.  Props to your brain power.  I'll make a list of activities we could be doing instead of vegging out.

I can't wait to share what works for me this week!

Back to School

When people consider ways to improve themselves, continuing their education is almost always a thought.  In 2011, I finished my bachelor's degree and while I thought I'd eventually get my masters, I wanted to do it slowly on the side.  I simply wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do with my life yet, and didn't want to contniue going to school to put off "real life".

But now, I've decided that I need to go back to school and get my master's degree.  Join me on the journey.

Here's the breakdown:
  • Decide on a degree
  • Choose a school
  • Determine costs per credit and configure into budget
  • Complete application requirements
  • Register for classes
That all seems way too easy.  Why should I wait?

*Image credit to

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Staying Current

Some days I really want someone to come up to me and say "Dang girl, dang!".  Like in a really good way.  These are the days that I feel like I'm living right.  These are the days I'm way too pleased with myself (because no one else is volunteering).

So my first tip of the day is to tell yourself, "Dang girl, dang!" and be proud.  (If you're of the masculine variety, feel free to switch that up to "Dang man, dang!".  I'm here to support all kinds.)

Need something to feel good about to inspire the above phrase? (I refuse to type it again, lest it get annoying)  Knowing what's up with the world.

I'm kind of busy.  I bet you're busy too.  We're totally out there killing it.  I want my news to be brief, informative and mildly entertaining.

In order to know what's going on with the world each day, I turn to two sources:

The Daily Show - How many of you just rolled your eyes?  Sorry... but not really.  Is there ridiculousness on The Daily Show? Yes.  But there is also great insight into the big stories.  I am also a fan of his interviews with authors and documentary producers.  I've been introduced to a lot of great pieces from this show.

The Skimm - This is my newest way to stay current and I am in love.  Witty and very insightful.  These girls stay up all night to ensure that at 6am you are delivered the most up to date news from the day before.  I hope they never go away.

If you have more time, another great source of news is  I tried to keep up with this for a while, but found scrolling through the things that I found unimportant was tedious, and reading each article took too much time.  If you crave more, I definitely suggest this site.

My absolute favorite ways to stay current are by learning about new discoveries and ideas.  My favorite way to do that is to watch TED talks.  I typically watch 2 per week and have found that is a good balance of what works with my time schedule and the rate of the site's uploading of content I'm interested in.

Staying current is also about checking in on other people's lives.  We get so caught up in our life, and our problems and our successes that sometimes the lives of others seem very foreign.  I love gaining a new perspective like that, and the This American Life podcast is an amazing place to start.  I have a 45 minute commute to work, and I love listening to this in the mornings on my way.

I also like to stay technologically savvy.  I often check out the stories on Lifehacker.  Technology isn't the only theme covered (I'm also a huge fan of the DIY stuff) so be sure to take a look around!

Most importantly, change up the ways you stay current!  Gain a new perspective.  Help me do this by telling me the ways you stay current!  Let's make this a group effort.