The Zen of Everything Podcast, Episode 26: Zen Books

“Zen is a special transmission outside the scriptures, not depending on words and letters.” With that in mind, Jundo and Kirk discuss Zen books: how to read them, what to read, and when to burn them.

Find out more at the Zen of Everything website and at Treeleaf Zendo.

5 Tips for Working at Home – Comfortably and Productively

Working remotely (i.e. working from home) has been gradually becoming more common. In recent weeks, global health concerns have rapidly accelerated this shift, and many people who have never worked from home before will be doing so for weeks or perhaps months to come. Some companies may even decide to continue to offer remote-work opportunities if they find that employees are just as productive working from home.

For many workers, this may not necessarily be an easy transition. As a telecommuter, you must consider a number of factors to make your workspace comfortable and efficient.

In this article, I’d like to share some tips based on my 25 years of working at home. I’ll cover how you can organize a space to work, how you can enhance your environment, and how you can pace yourself.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Free Take Control Book about Working From Home Temporarily

Tc working homeI’m in my 25th year of working from home as a freelancer, and over the years I’ve learned how to work productively, and how to avoid wasting (too much) time. A lot of people are suddenly discovering what it’s like to have to work from home temporarily.

Glenn Fleishman, a fellow author of Take Control books, has just released a free book with tips and advice on how to set up a home office, and how to get work done. Like me, Glenn has been working at home for years.

As the book blurb for the free Take Control of Working from Home Temporarily says:

We’re in a time of unprecedented uncertainty. In the middle of a global viral outbreak, you were told or asked to work from home—and you’ve never or rarely had to be productive where you live before. What to do? We’re here to take at some stress out of your life with a new, free book that details how to set up a home office and balance work and home life for those not accustomed to it.

Did I say that the book is free?

In this book, you’ll learn more about how to:

  • Stake out a physical space, even if it involves setting up a curtain or moving a bookshelf
  • Pick or adjust a chair if you plan to sit
  • Figure out the right mic and headphones or speakers for your needs
  • Add a monitor for efficiency, or use software to turn an iPad or other devices into a second display
  • Stand while you work without necessarily investing in a new desk
  • Set working hours to avoid never being off the clock
  • Put up a sign or otherwise signify when you’re working to those around you
  • Invest a tiny amount or a lot into noise-canceling headphones or earbuds
  • Use videoconferencing to replace meetings and casual conversation you miss from an office
  • Adjust your expectations and that of your employer to how much work you can produce, initially and in the long haul
  • Take regular breaks to avoid burnout, but if you get in the zone, you can stay there, too
  • Juggle the simultaneous burdens of full-time home parenting with home working
  • Remember to eat lunch

If you’re new to working at home, get Take Control of Working from Home Temporarily. It’s free. As in beer.

Coronavirus and the Culture Industry

These are difficult times for everyone. For some, the worry is that they will get sick and perhaps die of this new plague. For others, it is that they may lose their livelihoods. As stores, restaurants, and bars close around the world, the people working in those businesses may have no protection, no sick pay; or if they do have sick pay, it’s not enough to live on. Here in the UK, “statutory sick pay” is £94 a week.

This is especially tough for creative professionals: musicians, actors, and anyone involved in the production of live performances. By their very nature, these performances are now hazardous, and countries have started cancelling them. In New York, Broadway is shut down; in the UK, individual theaters are starting to close, and it won’t be long before they are all shuttered. (It actually seems irresponsible now that they haven’t all closed.) The performers and staff will have no work, and in general, these performers, eking out a precarious existence even in the best of times, will have little or no support from their governments. When I was living in New York City, I knew some actors who worked in restaurants in between acting gigs, but even that possibility is disappearing. As for musicians who make their living on the road, they’ll have to take a long hiatus. (Obviously, A-list performers will be fine; but it’s the other 99$% who face difficulty.)

But even when this plague winds down – as I hope it eventually will – it may take some time for people to go back to the theaters, the bars, and the concert halls. Unless we can be certain that we have immunity from the disease, it won’t be safe to be in enclosed spaces. I go to the theater in my neighboring Stratford-Upon-Avon regularly, and the average age of the audience aligns with those most at risk from the coronavirus. I can’t imagine them rushing to go back to the theater. Even at the best of times, there are plenty of people coughing in the theater, and you always here this at classical concerts when people try to hold back their coughing until between movements. Sitting there for a couple of hours, listening to that, would be stressful now, and even after things cool off.

So the only thing we can do, if we can afford it, is try to help support these creative professionals. For musicians, you can buy their music, if possible directly from artists. It’s a lot harder to support actors and musicians who are members of an orchestra. I have no solution for this, but we need to ensure that when we get through this crisis, our culture still exists.

Stay safe.