Informed

7 May 2015

When I worked in a more traditional office setting, I engaged in the daily co-worker banter of current events, pop culture gossip and exchanged niceties of one another’s office attire. Things are different now that I “work from home.” If I don’t count the other four people in the coffee shop where I tend to set up shop, for the most part, I find myself… alone.

Which is why I have to create a sense of conversation for myself. This doesn’t mean talking to myself (although who’s to say that doesn’t happen), it’s more about being engaged with my industry and the ever evolving world around me. Do I miss my co-workers interrupting my train of thought by asking if I’ve read such + such article on Jezebel or NYMag, no – I don’t. But what I miss is the post discussion to hear their side of the article or idea.  I have to stay up to date on the world as we all do to feel like a productive citizen of society. For me, staying current in “my industry” includes an array of lifestyle topics such as art, culture, travel, politics, fashion. These are topics that not only interest me but that I tend to write about here on Ocean Violet.

Whether you work from home, are a new stay-at-home-mom/dad, or looking for a new inspiration, here are a few ways I like to stay current that I think you’ll enjoy!

On the daily:

  • I subscribe to the New York Times Daily Briefing. The email arrives before I even open my eyes with a quick rundown of what I need to know in the world every day.
  • The Skimm: a lighter version of above but equally as informative. The Skimm is written by two women who scour the must-reads across subject lines and party lines. They also include a little pop culture and witty quips to keep it fresh.
  • Top 10 articles on Flipboard: a mash-up from music, art, travel and more from everything from Harvard Business Review to Glamour.
  • MUG Manhattan Users Guide: Although I technically no longer live in New York City, I still open up MUG every single day. It’s often about New York City happenings, but also fun wacky facts about the city, history lessons, restaurant openings/closings and complete randomness, like today’s edition. It’s also 100% reader sponsored – no absolutely no advertisements or sponsored anything.
"the quiet ones" by Rebecca Mock

the quiet ones” by Rebecca Mock

Podcasts:

Now that my Serial binge is over, I can get back to my regular scheduled programs:

  • Commutes to the city are over in a flash when I turn on This American Life. The show is one hour long and broken up into four acts. So often I find myself wishing there was another because each one is so incredible. It’s hard to describe This American Life in just a few sentences or put the content into buckets, but it’s typically about our lives as Americans with some sort of unifying theme. Heck, just go to the favorites page and start there. I recently listened to Part I and II of “Cops See it Differently,” which puts so much of the current policing and race into perspective.
  • The Accidental Creative: These podcasts are around 15-20 minutes and usually I scan the synopsis to see if it’s something relevant to me. Episodes include interviews with artists and industry leaders, and delve into the stickier aspects of living in a create-on-demand world. The show is thoughtful yet practical, providing useful information on ways to stay creatively engaged and thrive despite real-world issues. Next-up on my list is this episode with Tom Rath, who wrote Strengths Finder 2.0, anyone who has gone through a career change has read this book. Definitely worth a listen.
  • In rotation: mostly from NPR: Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me when I’m feeling like I need a test on everything I’ve read for the week and Radio Lab when I’m feeling geeky.

Beyond that, I subscribe to a few other blog posts that arrive in my inbox weekly. Trick here is, that you actually have to read them. (Just like when you get my Ocean Violet posts!) I get it, sometimes it’s hard to consume everything you intend on reading. If I’m not in a place where I can digest everything, I just mark it as unread and save it for a long line at the grocery store. I have also gone on a huge unsubscribe mission, ridding myself of any unnecessary noise. This includes e-mail marketing from brands I’ve purchased from to hotels I’ve stayed with – just get rid of it. If you really need that 20% coupon, go to their website, I’m sure you’ll find something.

Aside from the podcasts and daily reads, which can usually lead you into a wormhole anyway after you click through supporting articles.

Here are a few others I peruse to keep me in the loop:

  • New York Magazine (both digital and print.)
  • My most recent obsession: Wait But Why which is about everything and nothing totally at the same time. It’s absolutley brilliantly written, hilarous and 100% thought provoking.  I found it after reading their “How to Name a Baby” post which includes not only anecdotal tidbits from the writer’s own lives but statistical information to give you the “why” behind so many questions.  Also, after reading this post, the name I thought we may name our unborn child, is no longer. Thanks guys!
  • If you’re into art: I highly recommend Fox is the New Black which is not just art, but culture + design. It’s Nice That, which often has wonderful artistically directed music videos as well. Also love The Jealous Curator and Artist a Day.
"The Party,"  by Rebecca Mock.

“The Party,” by Rebecca Mock.

animated Walrus Magazine cover by Rebecca Mock

animated Walrus Magazine cover by Rebecca Mock

I know what you’re thinking, does she work at all? I am the queen of scanning and starring to read for later. I also think it’s important to create a curated list of trusted places where you get a mix of topics that interest you while keeping you stimulated and up to date. Promise me one thing though: when you’re done reading everything and learning new things/tricks, discuss it with someone. Look them in the eye when you’re having the conversation and really see what they think. That’s the balance.

I hope I’ve been able to bring a few new reads to your life and would love to hear from you if there’s anything I should be reading/subscribing or listening to, please tell me in the comments!

Featured Image from the New York Times and artist, Rebecca Mock.