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The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, February 2019: Do Less Better.

One thing I’ve been particularly horrible at is learning to say “no”.

The Long Road to Becoming a Better Blogger

They say hindsight’s 20/20, and if my old report cards are an indication of anything, the people around me could see I was sowing the seeds to my destruction long before I could.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, February 2019 — Do Less Better. — The Pile of Work

We all know there’re only twenty-four hours in a day, but I’ve been working to optimise every minute of my days since I was twelve. I could sleep when I was dead—I had too many ideas and a plethora of interests; it was all about the short-term pain for the long-term gain, and I was confident that I’d reach the day where I wouldn’t need to work so hard anymore.

But it’s been more than twenty years of sleepless nights and wishful thinking since, and I’m still not quite so sure when I’ll figure it all out.

I mean, the question is this—how do you succeed with your content when you can’t make it your everything?

Casey Palmer, the Unconventional Blogger — How Can I Make This All Work?

I’ve been watching a lot about content creators on Netflix—Instaf@mousThe American MemeFollow Me—and you have your exceptions, but if you really want to make it in this hustle, there isn’t time for anything else. Children. Relationships. A regular job. Basically, all the things I was taught to reach for as a child of the ’90s hold a lot less value in this world I dabble in, and I somehow need to make it all work.

But it needs me to think beyond anything I’ve been up to for the last decade. Once, I thought I could just write about my everyday life and that’d be enough, but this world is thirsty. You have to offer more than your peers—make everyone laugh, think or feel. There’s a tall order for what it takes for people to give up their time, and I don’t think I’m about to fill it through blogging.

Blogging’s not dead, my friends… but it might be dead to me.

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop — The #BloggerLife Ain’t Quite Over Yet.

If you asked me why I’m still blogging so far past its glory days, I’d say it’s because I still have something to prove.

But it’s not to anyone else. I’ve become all too used to my obscenely high standards—I don’t know if I’ll truly move on ’til every last draft’s found its time in the sun.

It has become clear to me, though, that it all has to go—trying to be everything to everyone just isn’t a viable game plan anymore.

I was originally going to name this post “Febru-wary” to play on my success to-date and my cautious optimism for the rest of the year, but a friend’s wisdom at church showed me I needed to focus on the now instead of worrying about what might happen later.

I needed to do less better.

“Do Less Better” — Because Less is More and There’s Only So Much Time to Spare

The confusion’s intentional—I don’t want to do worse than I’m doing, trying to settle for less; no—I want to do less things than I’m doing but do them even better… ain’t nobody got time to be so all over the place.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, February 2019 — Do Less Better. — A Desk Full of Work, March 2019

In 2019, I’m moving into new spaces. Speaking more from the soul, I’ve spent far too much time telling stories on everyone else’s terms, so now I’m doubling down on myself, having faith that I’ll get where I need to go. I’m going to keep reaching for my dreams—and even if I don’t exactly know what those dreams look like yet, I’m not going to get there if I just stop trying.

So here’s to the future and working to make the most of it. There’s plenty I’ve learned so far and many lessons yet to learn—with any luck, I’ll do so sooner than later!


The 2019 200 Monthly Update — January

But what would a monthly look at my life be without a careful examination of my list of goals and where we’re at with their progress?

As a quick reminder, two hundred goals in a 365-day year means accomplishing one every 1.825 days to keep on track. By February 1st, that’s just shy of 17 goals to check off the list.

Let’s see how we’re doing!


Table of Contents

Duplicates

The Dutch Birthday Calendar, or de vejaardagskalender for Long.
Some Cook. Some Hang Up Growth Charts.
Casey’s Guide to Riding Toronto’s Subways 101 — Because Manners Matter.

Changes

86) More self-care.

Completions

1) Be firmer with the boys. (Be the Dad they deserve, because that’s what they need right now.)
2) Donate more art supplies to my kids’ classes.
7) Hang a basketball net over the boys’ bedroom door.
8) Help the boys wean off of their device addictions.
10) Make treats TREATS again.
16) Write a card to my brother.
20) Find good versions of “Alleluia 21” and “O Poverty” to add to my classical playlist.
23) Get a copy of P is for Pterodactyl.
26) Get Winnie a Space Invaders glass.
30) Holla at Lindor to hook a brotha up with an endless supply of Peppermint Cookie chocolates.
35) Visit Halo Brewery in the Junction.
38) Buy a second recycling bin for the house. Yes—I go through THAT MUCH paper.
56) Re-caulk the bathtub.
59) Sew an outfit for our poor Cabbage Patch Kid Tony who’s been naked for a good while now.
63) Clean out the boxes I have at work which have recently travelled with me from job to job. I’m at this one to stay—it’s time to act like it.
88) Purge some socks.
121) Return Apple’s gear to them. & 194) Send my Sennheiser Momentums in for repair.
138) Post up the audio files from Govfest for the bands.
157) Draw more on my iPad Pro!
178) Check any outstanding lottery tickets.
179) Close most of my Chrome tabs once and for all.
185) Give some old SD cards to church.


A bit of time away from the list (and a little help from viewers at home like you) helped ferret out a few items that were either duplicated or needed a little clarification.

Duplicates

The Dutch Birthday Calendar, or de vejaardagskalender for Long.

1
Family — 9) Install a birthday calendar in our house.
Organisation — 67) Get a central calendar in the house so we can prepare for birthdays, major holidays, etc.

This might not make sense if you’re not Dutch, but one of the things I’ve always loved about my in-laws’ house is their birthday calendar—a physical calendar kept in a central place that lists important dates so you can make sure cards get to the people who matter to you when they’re meant to get there.

You might be thinking it’d be easier just to do it digitally, but easier isn’t always better. With the number of distractions I get on my phone, it’s hit-or-miss for any dates I haven’t committed to memory, and that just isn’t right.

So in 2019, I’d love to get one of these in the house… but I don’t need to do it twice.

Solution? Find something else to do with my time!

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, February 2019 — Do Less Better. — Business CardsSo since the items are in the Family and Organisation categories, I figured I’d take my pick of which one to replace, and I think Sarah figured it out for me: I need to make my way through the stack of business cards that’re sitting on my desk! I’m holding on to them for a reason, but it’s time I make something of them.

And so that’s my new #67—Turn all the business cards I’ve collected into conversations! It’s so easy to fall out of touch with others, but taking the time to get back in touch can make all the difference!

Some Cook. Some Hang Up Growth Charts.

45) Cook more often and cook better stuff.
46) Cook some delicious-ass dishes.

So real talk, yes, we’ve got a case of the traditional gender roles in the House of Palmer, with Sarah taking on the lion’s share of the cooking, and me doing more of the household chores and fixes. And it works okay, but all this time away from the kitchen’s gotten me pretty rusty, which is a tad shameful for the son of a restaurateur.

In 2019, I’m ready to get over that hump and make some of the food I find so delicious.

But I’m not about to cheat my way through The 2019 200.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, February 2019 — Do Less Better. — Casey Cooking

I already gave myself plenty to do in my list of goals for the home, but here’s the thing about being a homeowner—there’s always more.

So for the new #46, I’m bringing up something I should’ve done a long time ago and hang my sons’ growth chart with the power drill I have laying around. I’ll have to learn how to deal with plaster and what I’ll need to do it right, but this one’s long overdue.

Casey’s Guide to Riding Toronto’s Subways 101 — Because Manners Matter.

153) Create my guide to subway etiquette, complete with diagrams on how to employ it.
154) Create my infographic on subway etiquette.

If you can’t tell, I’m very passionate about our subway system and how I think people should act while using it. Apparently, the idea’s so nice, I just had to say it twice! No, I have plenty of ideas for this, mapping out our stations and drawing out isometric subway cars to boot (you’ll get it when you see it), but really, this is all one thing.

Good thing I’m not lacking for design ideas then, right?

So I dug through my files to replace this one, and I think I got a good one—154) Design animated infographics for my videos! Because after all—data can be fun!


Changes

86) More self-care.

Kinda redundant, don’t you think?

When I started writing this list, I didn’t know what the categories would be, but I knew I needed to take better care of myself this year.

The question, though, is always how.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, February 2019 — Do Less Better. — The Boys Chilling on the Couch

With a self-care category covering my physical and emotional well-being, and my spiritual self covered further down the list, the only thing left was mental… but how could I do that better?

What I figured out was this—the best thing I could do for my mind was to free up some space.

Just like how a computer’s bogged down with too many files on its hard drive, you’re just not as sharp muddled with too much on your mind.

So my new #86 is to take some time to smell the roses—the work will always be there tomorrow, right?


Completions

1) Be firmer with the boys. (Be the Dad they deserve, because that’s what they need right now.)

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, February 2019 — Do Less Better. — The Boys Reading in BedBigger kids, bigger problems.

Life with a five- and a three-year-old is already much different than it was a couple of years ago, with a lot more opinion and defiance than either Sarah or I expected. You underestimate how quickly your kids will pick up on things.

Gone are the days of clever conversations that skirt around the issue and rely on spelling to hide the truth—the kids are catching on, so I need to treat them accordingly.

But that also means they can fully understand every statement that comes out of my mouth, so I expect them to get in like when I ask it.

So in 2019, I’m stepping up my parenting game—they’ll thank me for it down the road.

2) Donate more art supplies to my kids’ classes.

I think plenty of us could take this one to heart—if you find your home bursting with arts and crafts supplies that you never get around to using, consider donating them to your kids’ classes.

At least where I’m from, teachers have to buy many of their supplies, and while teachers do alright for take-home pay, shopping regularly for twenty or more kids gets costly.

Through my parents’ move and some early spring cleaning around the House of Palmer, I found several things I didn’t plan to use, like massive slabs of construction paper and numerous Crayola markers just gathering dust. Having lots of things to play with is nice, but sometimes it’s important to remember that there are dozens of little hands who could use them more immediately than you can.

I feel good about this one.

7) Hang a basketball net over the boys’ bedroom door.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, February 2019 — Do Less Better. — Tony, the Cabbage Patch KidWith our youngest getting a basketball net for Christmas, it was only a matter of time before we got around to this one.

And while I don’t expect to see either of the kids in the NBA anytime soon, at least they’re having fun with it!

8) Help the boys wean off of their device addictions.

Me: “We realised they started acting out because we gave them too much. So we started cutting down their stimulants—less screen time, less toys, less sweets.”

Fellow parent: “All the things that help you?!”

When your kid starts screaming bloody murder every time you’ve turned a device off, perhaps it’s time to reconsider how much screen time they have.

I learned to stop judging other parents for giving their little ones screen time ages ago—sometimes a ‘rent’s gotta do what a ‘rent’s gotta do!

But it’s a delicate balance.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, February 2019 — Do Less Better. — The Boys on Their Tablets

While it’s great to know that the boys get entertained while we take care of everything else, I saw how too much screen time affected their behaviour. More meltdowns. Less engagement in family activities. It became quickly evident that we needed to break the trance and get our boys back, and that’s where we are today. Screens on weekend mornings and long car rides only—there’s plenty we can all do together with the rest of our time.

10) Make treats TREATS again.

I feel like this one was a bit too open to interpretation, so let me explain.

Essentially, Sarah and I had different stances on treats after dinner for a while. She was used to dessert with dinner, and the boys loved her for it. I was used to treats on special occasions—after all; if you’re having treats every day, they’re not treats anymore, are they?

So we reached a compromise—Pizza Fridays and treats on Fridays and Saturdays. They got snacks on Sundays after church as it is, so it’s not like they’re really missing out.

They’ll thank me for this when they’re older. I’m sure of it! (Okay, I’m not.)

16) Write a card to my brother.

The thing with siblings—especially when you come from an all-boy family—is that you don’t always express your emotions as honestly as you’d like. And sometimes when you do, it’s the wrong ones that come out, and it can take a while before you make it right.

I finally sat down and put my feelings on paper—hopefully they’re the right ones!

20) Find good versions of “Alleluia 21” and “O Poverty” to add to my classical playlist.

I’d first heard these songs at a meditative Taizé service at church, drawn to the musicality you can find in a simple chant. And while I found “Alleluia 21” without a problem, I couldn’t find any professional recordings of “O Poverty” afer a decent amount of searching.

So I added the live version of Israel Houghton’s “Again I Say Rejoice” to my playlist instead.

No complaints here!

23) Get a copy of P is for Pterodactyl.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, February 2019 — Do Less Better. — P is for PterodactylI thought it’d take much longer for the book to come in (Amazon estimated 2-3 months when I ordered it), but on the way to church on the 6th, a deliveryman handed my eldest a package with the book inside!

Granted, I haven’t even had a moment to look at it since getting it, but it’s good to know it’s there so I can mess with my kids for years to come!

26) Get Winnie a Space Invaders glass.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, February 2019 — Do Less Better. — A Glass of Space Invaders IPAOnce when eating at Union Social Eatery with my buddy Trevor, he commented on how much he liked the Space Invaders glasses with our Amsterdam Brewing Space Invaders IPA sitting in it. A couple of sandwiches and a conversation with the manager later, and he promised to order some in for us in the future!

Fast-forward to a few months later, and I mentioned the glass to a friend at Govfest who instantly fell in love with it and said she had to have it.

Uh oh.

But truth be told, I’m on that “less is more” tip this year (and for the record, I started well before all this KonMari business took over the internet), so getting rid of a glass wasn’t really that big a deal. It doesn’t even hold a full pint anyway.

So, Winnie, I hope you enjoy your new glassware! Maybe you’ll eventually come here and read the story behind it!

30) Holla at Lindor to hook a brotha up with an endless supply of Peppermint Cookie chocolates.

Who needs a brand to send things to you when you get massive post-Christmas sales?

When I tried Lindor’s Peppermint Cookie truffle over Christmas, I knew there was no going back! It’s the perfect blend of minty and crunchy—I’m not afraid to say it’s the best truffle Lindt’s come up with yet!

Which makes it a good thing they were selling them by the hundred for $24.99.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, February 2019 — Do Less Better. — A Peppermint Chocolate Cookie Lindor

I won’t tell you how many we bought, but let’s just say it was enough to make us sick of ’em after a while, so I’m game to call this one a done deal!

35) Visit Halo Brewery in the Junction.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, February 2019 — Do Less Better. — My Visit to Halo BreweryUpon realising that our New Year’s Eve was a mere five-minute drive from Halo, I decided to cheat and hit it up a day too early.

Forgive me.

But in a season where sour beers are a bit of a rarity, the fact they have seven different ones available made me an instant fan. I’ll have to give you a review once I’m done with some older beers I have around.

Now it’s not to say I won’t visit again sometime this year—they’re just down the street from our friends’ place—but I’m going to count this one as an early win!

38) Buy a second recycling bin for the house. Yes—I go through THAT MUCH paper.

A project like The 2019 200 really gives you a sense of purpose and a way to keep productive in your life.

Even when it’s the so-called “slow season” for creators.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, February 2019 — Do Less Better. — New Recycling Bin

One of the things I started doing for my weekends is making lists. I take a look at The 2019 200 and an ongoing to-do list I keep with me and see which things could be quickly done with a little effort. And a list numbering in the hundreds is one thing, but when you choose a dozen or so and just focus on those? It makes getting things done so much easier.

And that’s just how I went about ordering a second recycling bin for the house—something that turned out to be free because we already have an extra-large one. It took literally five minutes on the city’s 3-1-1 website, but I might’ve never gotten to it if it stayed stuck in such a large list.

I feel like I’m learning something here, guys.

56) Re-caulk the bathtub.

What I’m learning in 2019 is that life is sometimes so much easier when you go at it with a plan.

Laying down some caulk on the tub isn’t difficult, but gets easily put to the side by a myriad of other things you could do with your time. Family outings. Time with friends. But sometimes you’ve just gotta do what needs doing, and on a rare Saturday with minimal plans, that’s exactly how the tub got done.

59) Sew an outfit for our poor Cabbage Patch Kid Tony who’s been naked for a good while now.

When a coworker told me he about his trouble getting motivated in 2019, I told him to make a to-do list and share it with the people he cares about.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, February 2019 — Do Less Better. — Tony, the Cabbage Patch Kid

When my Mom read this pick from the list, she wasn’t about to leave me to do it on my own. No—she took matters into her own hands and hit up a thrift shop so she could get clothes that fit our diminutive friend. She surprised me with it when she visited one weekend.

Thank goodness for Moms, right?

63) Clean out the boxes I have at work which have recently travelled with me from job to job. I’m at this one to stay—it’s time to act like it.

After seventeen role changes over the last dozen years, I’m finally back to my home position with the day job, and I’m here to stay. Sure, there were other offers on the table, but the rest of my life is complicated enough—why not plant roots in a place I know while I work at sorting it out?

It took me a while to make my cubicle my own when I got back, though. There always seemed to be some other priority. But I finally unpacked by boxes and sorted out my things—let’s make the most of this run, shall we?

88) Purge some socks.

When you have enough socks to wear a pair a day for three months without needing to do any laundry, you may want to reconsider how many you have.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, February 2019 — Do Less Better. — Socks

‘Til recently, this was my sock collection. I didn’t usually pay it much mind, but when it got a little harder to close the armoire door with them bulging out, something had to give.

So I sat down and took a good look at what I actually wear—ten minutes and a few dozen pairs later, the wardrobe’s looking a lot more comfortable.

121) Return Apple’s gear to them. & 194) Send my Sennheiser Momentums in for repair.

Okay, firstly? If you’re shipping anything through UPS, make sure to bring it packed and ready to go your damn self—the number of surcharges they’ll tack on otherwise is ridiculous. And secondly—it’s kinda sad that I only get around to doing the stuff I need to do when I’m pissed off at somebody.

I had the gear from Apple sitting above my desk for entirely too long before I got my act together and shipped it out. But all it took was one person to say one thing that’d set me off…

*sigh*

In any case, it’s done, and I got 194) Send my Sennheiser Momentums in for Repair done at the same time!

This how we do!

138) Post up the audio files from Govfest for the bands.

Don’t worry—this one will actually be a short one since I already wrote an entire post about the affair, but needless to say, the files are up and the bands are happy. Next!

157) Draw more on my iPad Pro!

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, February 2019 — Do Less Better. — Kyle Kongo Ready for BattleThe last time I had an iPad Pro, I didn’t draw on it all that often because the process felt so unnatural. Always searching for the Apple Pencil so I could get to drawing. Making sure I had a cord with the awkward adapter to keep it charged, and keeping the Pencil’s cap nearby so its charging end wouldn’t feel so… naked.

The newest iPad Pro, now charging the Apple Pencil while magnetically clipped to its side solves a lot of that.

In 2019, I’m better building drawing into my workflow, finding reasons to do it, like the featured images for my personal posts, or finally getting Fish & Chimps running after all these years away. It’s not easy to make it happen with everything else going on, but somewhere deep inside, I think I need to.

178) Check any outstanding lottery tickets.

Convenience store workers can usually tell how infrequently I play the lottery when I go in asking for a “Super 7” Quick Pick with Encore.

Since the odds are so infinitesimally small, I’ll only a buy a Lotto Max ticket if the jackpot’s capped out at $60 million. And even then, it’s only if I remember to do it.

When I saw two old, unchecked tickets in one of my various folders, I knew they needed to go. A quick check at the store confirmed them as duds, they found a new home in the recycling outside, and as they say, all’s well that ends well.

Shy $60 million or so, of course, but let’s be honest—I probably wouldn’t know what to do with all that money if I got it.

179) Close most of my Chrome tabs once and for all.

I didn’t truly know how many tabs I had open on Chrome at once ’til I finally went to close them, but I wouldn’t see it as far-fetched to say upward of a hundred.

I spend an exhaustive amount of time on the internet, and when you’re as used to exploring around it as I am, you often find a ton of cool things that’ll come in handy somewhere down the road. Which is fine… except if you use inefficient ways to keep track of all these discoveries.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, February 2019 — Do Less Better. — Too Many Tabs in Chrome

And this is just one window.

So I’d click a link, love what I saw, and then keep it open as a reminder to myself to go back and use it when the time was right. And that’s okay with a few tabs, but when you start doing that dozens of times over, your computer makes it known that it takes issue with your sloppiness. It runs its fan as long and loudly as it can, asked to cool a computer processing far more than it bargained for. Or refusing to quickly start from sleep mode, because that is a lot of information to keep on the tip of one’s electronic tongue!

But when Noor suggested using a reading list extension to catalogue any links I wasn’t currently using, well—I think it’s fair to say that it changed my life a little!

My laptop and I are happier than ever before, we don’t fight nearly as often, and enjoy quiet evenings together working away on little projects.

185) Give some old SD cards to church.

Anyone who’s upgraded a camera over the years is keenly aware that the more you do it, the more you end up with memory cards that you just don’t use anymore.

As my cards started hitting the 64 and 128 GB marks, older cards of 8 GB and less just weren’t as useful as they used to be.

So I started looking for other things to do with them.

The Life and Times of Casey Palmer — The State of the #BloggerLife, February 2019 — Do Less Better. — SD Cards

It won’t get rid of all of them, but when I heard we were rotating between a 2 GB and an 8 GB card at church to record Sunday’s sermons and could always use more—I figured there had to be something I could do to help.

Mission accomplished!


  • January tally: 23/200
  • Total-to-date: 23/200

And That’s a Wrap!

And that’s it for this year’s very first wrap-up! Part of me wants to apologise for being verbose, but another part’s impressed that I had that much to say.

In any case, this is but the beginning—we have some projects in the works, and another 178 items left on the to-do list before calling the year a wrap! Until the next post, I hope you enjoy everything 2019 has to offer, and we’ll be right here, wherever the next story takes us.

Be well, and until the next, I remain,

–case p.

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