Anna Burgess Yang

Tinkering With Ideas #038: Things that make you smile

Published about 2 months ago • 3 min read

Hello, fellow tinkerer 👋 -

Happy Wednesday. This morning, I came into my office and found that my 6-year-old had left a "scavenger hunt" of post-it notes around the room. One was stuck to the doorknob, instructing me to look for the rest. I found one on my keyboard, the floor, my chair, etc. All variations of the same thing: a heart and the words, "I love you."

It was a perfect start to this newsletter issue I had planned anyway: things that make me smile. This, of course, looks different for everyone. What makes me smile might make you say, "Eh."

But I'm always on the lookout for little things that I either a) enjoy using or b) make my life easier. I get inspiration from all kinds of sources: friends, other newsletters, social media.

If you have something you think I should check out, feel free to reply and I can include it in a future issue! Include your social media handle and I can link to you. (Please: no links to companies or products you own. If you'd like me to promote something like that, you can check out sponsorship opportunities. These should just be things you personally enjoy and would like to share with others.)

1) Reflection:

We've been undergoing a large home improvement project for several weeks. It's been really stressful, with constant noise and people in the house. But a few days ago, I was able to move into my new office!

My home office has moved around a lot over the years. No matter where I'm working, I always try to carve out a little space for myself. During construction, I was working in our living room — which was tricky with a family of five. I used room dividers to section off a corner for myself. That, combined with headphones, gave me some peace.

I think working from home is amazing. And I also think it's really important that you create ways to block out distractions, especially if you're in a shared space.

2) Product:

I've been exchanging emails with members of my family since 2002. Yep, more than 20 years. Aunts, uncles, parents, siblings, cousins... we all send occasional emails to the entire family. My grandparents also sent emails until they passed away. ♥

A friend recently set up Letterloop, and I love it. Anyone can ask questions, and then people in the group can reply. It's been a great way to stay connected with my friends, and I can see that it would be fun for families or teams as well.

3) Tip:

In Letterloop, one of my friends asked for tips for staying energized during the day.

I wake up very early so by afternoons, I'm exhausted. The only way I can get through the day is to take a nap in the afternoon.

I've perfected the art of the power nap. I used to be frustrated by naps. I'd nap too long or couldn't fall asleep. Then I realized that I needed to train myself to nap. It took about 30 days of "training" but now I can take a good nap in under 30 minutes.

You can read more about my training process here.


In March, I announced a new course: 30 Days of Online Writing. I'd planned to release this in April (checks calendar... only a few days left in April...)

I'd grossly underestimated how distracting our home improvement project would be. Loud. Dusty. A struggle just to get my client work done.

The good news is I've found a group of beta testers for the course (woot!) so I'm working on wrapping it up and then getting it into the world for feedback. You can still sign up here to be notified when it's ready.

That's it for this issue of Tinkering! See you again in two weeks.


LinkedIn | Threads | Medium | Substack

Want more ideas?

I wrote about the barriers to starting a business.

Since my course is about writing online, you can check out my process to select topics from my backlog of ideas.

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Anna Burgess Yang

Writer. Productivity Geek. Always Tinkering.

Practical tips to make your day better & make your life easier.

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