mind jogs

Goodie Bag: The Mind Jog List


So far, 2009 has been Year of Busting Hump: all very well and good, but even the hump-bustingest of hump-busters has to have some kind of steam valve with which to ventilate every once in awhile.

Since much of my hump-busting time is spent in front of a computer monitor on my, um, hump, I try my best to take actual physical breaks where possible. Rolling around with Arno J. for a few minutes is always a good way to shake things off, but when you've been sitting awhile, even cleaning off a sink top or throwing a load of laundry in the washer can feel good. Unlike a lot of the big, fat, hairy projects I work on, a small physical action both gets me up and gets something actually completed (praise the Lord and pass the lemonade) in a short period of time.

Sometimes, however, like all nerds, I just want to veg for a few moments in front of my beloved, shiny iMac screen. Because that big, shiny screen should not be solely associated with work: it should, sometimes, scream, "FUN." I've been sharing the best of these must-see sites in my monthly newsletter for...well, as long as I've been putting out the newsletter.

But long, long ago, before I ever knew I'd have a newsletter, much less some kind of business to write about, I created a little folder on my browser toolbar called "mind jog" (which, come to think about it, I wrote about in a newsletter. Cue Twilight Zone theme.) I got a little stuck in my seat over the weekend, so I thought I'd go through it and pull out the best of what's there both to share some cool stuff and to maybe give you ideas about what you might go about collecting to amuse yourself in your minute slices of spare time.

And YES, I know that now there's Twitter and Facebook and a million other social web outlets in which to fritter away your time. I also know that sometimes, you don't want to go where everyone knows your name, you just want to chill with some cool stuff and me me me time. So without further ado...

Selected Contents from Colleen's Mind-Jog Folder on her Browser Toolbar

  • Michael Vance's Book Notes God, I love this guy. He summarizes all of the books he reads into concise, mainly bulleted notes, and shares them. I guess they're up there for him to remember, but what a service to the world! Lots of business-y stuff, but also stuff on communication, writing and the enemy category of GTD, "Miscellaneous"
  • Why They Hate Us Just hilarious, horrible pictures. Like a miniature StumbleUpon where the category is "American excess."
  • Top 10 Creativity Boosters A lot of these you probably know, but still, sometimes nothing can get you out of a creative rut faster than stuff specifically designed to get you out of a creative rut. Dave Jeffreys pulled the original site down, but it's still there thanks to the magic of the Wayback Machine.
  • Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools Sure, you can subscribe to this via RSS. But really, do you need to be kept up to date on EVERY cool thing to buy? I like dipping in here and there with Kevin's site; maybe you have a similar kind of site you can move from your RSS feed (where, let's face it, you're in danger of getting sucked down the rabbit hole) to your local mind jog folder.
  • Susan Miller's Astrology Zone Ridiculously long and detailed monthly entries on your sign's forecast. Personally, even though I have fun with the whole Virgo thing in my tagline, I'm really not a huge one for astrology. But every once in a while, as a lark? Sure! Fun! (Note to Virgos: it might not be so fun to read your forecast right now. September is gonna suck eggs, so much so that she warns us repeatedly in August. Just sayin'.
  • iSerenity wind chimes I've pimped this site before in my newsletter, and I really like to work with the library sound. But the wind chimes out of nowhere are like a big breath of "Aaaaahhh...", so I think they deserve their own mention here.
  • Singles Home Exchange International Kind of my version of real estate or vacation pr0n, I like browsing this occasionally to see what's out there. Not that many people would want to trade my tiny crib for their gorgeous condo by the whatever, but it's fun. And free.
  • "Music Only" for your iTunes playlist One other excellent, hyper-productive kind of mind jog can be taking a break from a big, gnarly project of one type, writing, say, or coding, or designing, and doing a fun-extra bit of "work." I save stuff like this with various tags in delicious (my snarl of bookmark tags is a mind jog project in and of itself) but I'm thinking of moving them over to the browser. Or maybe I'll just bring the ones I have locally, like this one for organizing your iTunes for better efficiency, over to delicious. Decisions, decisions...
  • Dog Licking Screen Because sometimes, you just need a smile, goddammit. (I keep YouTube folders called "Funny" and "Cute as a Basket of Kittens" for when I get bummed, too.)

Of course, another mind jog is just pruning one's toolbar. So to speak. Because like anything else, it can get musty and outdated, too. And nothing is more of a buzzkill than reaching into your mind jog folder and pulling out a big can of 404 page. Bleh.

Okay, now it's payback time: what are your favorite mind jog sites? Summaries and links in the comments section, puh-leeze!


Image by Pink Sherbet Photography via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.